8/16/2011 10:43 AM ET|
Survive a disaster -- in your condo
Laying in emergency supplies is never easier than when there's no great urgency to do so. Which is why we all should be figuring out what we need and how to get it.
The great blizzard of 2011 closed highways, collapsed roofs and knocked out power to two-thirds of the country last February. Wonder how many people wound up fumbling for flashlight batteries and dining on dry cornflakes?
Object lesson: You need to be ready. If a natural disaster or even just a really big windstorm happened, how would you eat, drink and stay warm? And where would you go to the bathroom?
"It's just common sense to have something set aside for when you need it," says Bernie Carr, the author of "The Prepper's Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster."
Maybe the word "prepper" conjures up images of camo-clad guys waiting out Armageddon in rural bunkers, surrounded by ammunition and MREs. Certainly, some prepper sites toss around acronyms like BOBs ("bug-out bags") and TEOTWAWKI ("the end of the world as we know it"), and emphasize survival skills and marksmanship.
But not everyone who preps is hard-core or imagines the collapse of society -- or even lives in the country. About 60% of the visitors to Carr's website, The Apartment Prepper's Blog, live in cities or suburbs. Carr lives in Houston.
"It doesn't have to be an end-of-the-world scenario. I'm talking to people who are prepping for things like job loss," says Richardson.
Preparedness isn't paranoid -- it's prudent. Just ask Uncle Sam: The Department of Homeland Security recommends having enough supplies to survive for at least three days after an emergency. And right now, while there isn't an emergency, is the time to get those supplies.
The list might seem daunting if you're living in a tight space on a tight budget. Chin up: You probably already have some of those items, and you can use frugal hacks to get the rest cheaply or maybe even for free. Here's how.
Easy does it
The American Red Cross has an even longer list of suggested emergency items. Because every family (and every disaster) is different, however, pick what works for you. You don't have to get it all at once.
California reader Kelly A., who blogs at My Friend Kelly, says it's like building an emergency fund.
"You accrue (items) little by little," she says.
Until you can get specialized gear, Kelly suggests using things you already have: comforters rather than sleeping bags, a hibachi instead of a camp stove. (Note: Never use either one indoors.)
Instead of or in addition to buying bottled water, fill your own bottles. Some preppers prefer two-liter soda bottles, because they're fairly sturdy and also easy to store in small spaces. Refill every few months, and don't waste the "old" water -- use it in the garden, to do hand laundry or to rinse shampoo out of your hair (or the dog's).
Your emergency food stash should require little to no cooking. Choose things you'd eat anyway, so you can rotate and replace the stock. Some obvious choices are crackers or pilot bread, peanut butter, dried fruit, granola or protein bars, and canned meats, fish, stews, fruits and vegetables.
If you'll would have a way to heat water -- camp stove? barbecue grill? -- store instant soups or oatmeal, noodle bowls, bouillon cubes, teabags and instant coffee or hot chocolate.
Watch for sales, and use coupons and/or rebates if possible. A few examples from my own shopping trips: granola bars for a penny apiece, hot chocolate for a nickel per envelope, dried plums for 40 cents a bag, 12 ounces of peanuts for 69 cents, a 14-ounce bag of M&M's for 50 cents, 3-ounce pouches of tuna for free.
'Shake lights' and hand-cranked radios
Don't neglect dollar stores, where you can buy useful items like disposable dishes and utensils, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and -- this is important -- a manual can opener.
Drugstore loss leaders have yielded hand sanitizer, baby wipes (aka "shower in a pouch"), painkillers, batteries, energy bars and crackers for free or nearly free with coupons and/or rebates. Check clearance bins, too.
While living in Alaska, I bought polypropylene long johns and a down vest at a thrift store. They're just as warm as if I'd paid retail. Also, watch for rummage sales.
Some readers in hurricane country store disposable plates and utensils in case of prolonged outages. Post-holiday sales are a good place to find these, at discounts of up to 90%. If you must use candles, the same sales can yield votives for pennies apiece. Note: Burn your candles inside wide-mouth jars, set high up so kids or pets can't knock them over.
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Having lived for many years in rural Alaska, where survival is a daily experience .. you might say, I am well educated on the subject. Even survived an airplane crash on a remote glacier, in a raging blizzard, with more than a few ouches. Shelter, water, food and meds if you need them, lighter, flash light, all top my list .. but above all else COMMON SENSE and a little knowledge of how to improvise.
For you uptown condo livers: What are you going to do when the power goes off? the heat stops? the food cache is empty? the house blew down or washed away or went up in smoke? A good back pack tent makes for an inexpensive shelter, but if you are on a budget a cheap plastic tarp will do in a pinch. A few gallons of water in plastic jugs sure quinces the thirst. Canned goods are nice, provided you have an old fashion can opener. MREs military lunch taste like crap, but better than eating grasshoppers. Meds are best left to each, but a simple first aide kit covers a lot of the minor ailments. An extra roll of toilet paper is worth more than a wallet full of $100 bills when nature calls. A handy combination pocket knife tool kit is on my belt all the time, and I have a K-bar camp knife and a roll of parachute cord in a small back pack with all my other essentials. And I am hardly ever without my insulated Carhart coveralls, which double duties for a sleeping bag. But you might think about a fancy mummy bag if the temps get down below minus 40 at night.
Good article. Address the reality. I always wonder how I would get a semi in my drive way for all the stuff required. Here are some things we do.
1. Camp, most items used for camping can be used in an emergency. We enjoy practice.
2. Rechargeable flash light plugged in by back door. Use it a lot to take out late night trash.
3. Empty Containers vs. Packed. 99% of food is already in the pantry. 2-smaller vs 1 large, hang a empty day pack in closet for clothing, pics on flash drive, BOB's should be with you every second. What you have is what you got. Snow storms are big ones for us. I keep it in the car.
4. Transportation: Auto's have batteries, lights, heater, radio. Keep well maintained and fueled.
5. Community: Know resources. Know your neighbors. Work together. Check on Elderly.
6. Air mattress: Great flotation devices and for friends or family on visits. (queen size)
7. Toilet Paper: Lots and Lots of TP. 5 gal empty bucket lined with plastic bags. all you need. One box of plasic bags, one box of wooden matches, and as much TP as I can stuff in it. Keep ready.
8. 72 hours: Help will come. Don't Panic, Number 1 killer of People in trouble. Don't worry.
9. Know what problems could happen: Ours is earthquakes, wildfires, and Yellowstone blows top.
10 .Bikes, float tubes, sleds. If possible, have one for every family member, you might enjoy them.
We have gone through 3 disasters. One an evacuation, chemical spill, and was not at home. We spent the night at brother-in-laws. The other 2 a snow storm and flood, both lasted 2 weeks before the roads were open. We did have our house in both of these and did fine. Enjoyed the days off work in the snow storm. We never lost power, water or heat. Also my mom worked in an evacuation shelter and said the number 1 thing people did not pack was Toilet Paper, that's why you don't see people in long sleeve shirts or socks at these shelters. Also shelters do not allow pets.
Same class taught us that heavy-duty menstrual pads make excellent bandages.
After my post below, I read through the other posts. One observation on keeping your family and supplies safe.
You would be amazed at what people will do when they are desperate. In England, where I am from, about 40 years ago, the bread bakers went on strike. I remember seeing a crowd of respectable middle class ladies outside of a bakery get into a pushing match, which turned into a slugfest, because the only store in town that had bread was down to their last 3 loaves. There was plenty of flour and yeast in the supermarket. They weren’t starving and the stores were full of crackers and cookies. They had taken on mob mentality and weren’t thinking rationally. That’s what happens in a crisis. Be prepared.
PS My friends think I am crazy for drying half my garden produce as part of an emergency food supply. They are right I am crazy, crazy like a fox.
Prepping is not a way of life it is No Different then buying INS- We INS our Homes Our Cars Our Pets Our Life (of course we're dead then lol) So... WHY doesnt it make common sense to INS Our LIVING To store food & emergency supplies is your INS so when the rain falls on your head- you will survive. Things like Welfare and Unemployment, LHEAP, Food Banks has made people to cozy- but what if those lifeboats drifted away? Like in Katrina? Had they prepared can you imagine how many less Deaths & Crimes would have occured? WE THE PEOPLE HAVE TO SECURE OUR LIFE! When all is lost do you really think the GOV OR State employee's are going to risk themself or there family to save yours?- It is your JOB to safe guard your family- its not crazy to prep- its crazy not to! Just look at history I bet those in the depression woulda liked a warning that so many of you have heard yet choose to ignore. I love children but even I wouldnt feed yours if it ment taking it from My own childs mouth- as well I would do anything to insure food gets in there mouth. Truth hurts but better to plan with it in mind.
a few yrs ago we lived in mt arlington nj
for 3 days the power was out and it was winter
the town had no emergency plan
like for people to go to a community shelter NOTHING
because of this we now have an emergency plan of our own
this is also a wake up call donot depend on any type of government to help you
help thy self and neighbors if you can
A much simpler way to prepare for loss of water to flush toilets during a power outage. If you know that inclement weather is coming and you're likely to lose power. Or if your city is planning rolling brown/black outs due to extreme heat. Simply fill your bathtub, and every few uses fill a bucket (I've even used a plastic waste basket) from the tub and pour down the toilet. Or you can leave the lid off and fill it, but this takes more water. I've even used snow that I melted over a large candle during one prolonged blizzard.
And it's most important to remember the old addage: If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down.
OK Everyone, I have been doing my own survival thing as I do business with a lot of Military Personal at Ft. Lewis. They have given me the best of the worst case scenerios that the military have used for years with the new updated things we all forget.
Aside from all the canned supplies including meat, canned milk, veggies and fruit that include larger amounts of Vitamine C you need the full line of canned red foods that have high levels of antioxidents like Beets, Red Cabbage, Cranberries, Raspberries, and the entire raft of juices. Then all the available canned fish which also if you have shrimp, clams and other good smelly fish also doubles as great bait for sturgeon and cat fish which go nuts over the smelly stuff. Next remember live traps for game. Use a small trap for Squirrls, larger trap for raccoons and possum (Which is a delecasy in the south), then save packets of corn to grow and then the corn attracts Deer. Save Ammo for emergencies. Snair The larger game. If you can afford to have a friend or company drill a small well (Deep Well Mfg.) which have a very inexpensive gas powered well drilling set up, set up a hand pump well...Harbor freight has a great hand pump for about 20 bucks that works well just hafta pump by hand. No Power needed and it stays primed with a installed valve to keep it primed.
Now Everyone! E.M.P. Electro Magnetic Pulse which happens when a Nuclear bomb is discharged above the atmosphere and the pulse radiates down covering mega miles of territory rendering all electronic and computer operated devices useless. A Book called "1 Second After" is a must for the kit as this is the book that the USA calles the best survival scenario guide book in a story format and primary reading for 90% of the military who need to keep the masses under controll as keep them from going Postal. One Big Thing is a vehicle that has no computer electronics. In the book the best were the 64 Mustang, Old Army Jeep, VW Beetle, and best of all was the Edsel...Dont Laugh, How are you gonna bug out when your beautiful new Dodge Truck wont even click over??? I have a 1937 Desoto on a Extended Jeep CJ Chassis 4x4 and even a baseball bat wouldnt dent this beasts fenders. Its Tough and runs on regular gas. Now... Even better...Remember how the ozarks had Moon Runners??? Their cars were also able to run off their alcohol and the first alcohol cars were based off the same old Moon Runners. Another thing you need is a small aluminum boat and cammo tarps to use in case you need shelter and keep hidden. I could go on but best thing is that where ever you are you need to prepare for that territory. Even if that means to take to the hills in a remote area away from the masses. Even your best neighbor can be a hazzard just as easily as they can band together to help all survive. Last but not least is your pets. Dried Dog Food and Cat Food to keep them going and remember that a good hunting dog can assist in your survival especially the lean sight hounds like Greyhounds, Saluki, Ibizan Hound, Borzoi, Whippit and the harty Afghan that was bred to take down Snow Leopard and protect the flocks. Sight Hounds course game and can literally bring down 5+ Rabbits in a day in a redially available field or meadow. Jacks and cotton taild being best in the spring n early summer when the presence of parasites is at a minimum. Once you have the prime meat your dogs and cats can make a great meal of whats left. Remember cats keep the rodents under controll and have a great deal to offer with keen hearing when something is amiss. Animals can tell when a disaster is comming like earth quakes. Amazing how a entire neighbor hood howles when a quake has not even started. So, Nuff For Now- Remember the book!!! One Second After.... You Wont Regrett it! Live Long And Prosper!
You know everyone is so tense about survival. Yes you should be prepared but a little common since will allow you and your family to survive. You would think there is several months supply of food in stores and warehouse but sadly this is not the case. There may be at most two weeks worth of food that a city has.It used to be a lot more but the industrialist have found that it is cheaper just to produce the food as it is used and to store more then what is used in a week cost a lot more money.
So if you do as a lot have suggested you can survive for maybe a week or two, but what if the event last three, four weeks or longer. Then you have a major problem. What I suggest is to learn about the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, gathering of roots and vegetables. Learn what is eatable and what you should stay away from.
With a few skills you can survive and with a little plan you can even live as well or better then you did before.
Some of the skills I suggest is learn to make weapons from what ever is handy, You can make a spear out of a broom handle. Split one end or slot it and use a pointed piece of metal. With a little pratice you can kill rabbits. A cross bow is not to hard to make from a spring off a golf cart and a couple pieces of wood. Don't laugh it works better then a store bought compond bow and is easier to aim.
So with a little work and imagination you can survive anything, that is if the planet itself survives.
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