Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Prepared Mommy Part 2

I've talked about Bug Out Bags and I've talked about First Aid Kits, but I haven't yet talked about preparing your home for a disaster. You may not need to bug out and leave home, you may be able to stay. What do you do in those situations? There are a lot of ways to prepare your home which can, obviously, hold a lot more than your basic BOB.

  • Maintenance! This is the most important thing you can do, long term, to assure the safety of your home. In a serious storm with high winds, no electricity, snow and worse it just won't do to have a leaky roof. If you don't own your own home, stay on top of your landlord about any repairs that need to be done!
  • Weatherizing your home. Obviously this keeps out the cold, the rain and possibly unwanted pests. Keep a roll of window plastic stored somewhere. Window plastic is cheap, can be put up easily and will help insulate your home.
  • Security! This is also very important. In hard times it's not terribly uncommon to have looters and a sudden surge in crime.
    • Reinforcement plates can be put on doors and come in all finishes to match your pre-existing hardware.
    • Deadbolts and latches also help to secure your doors, don't trust the chains- one swift kick could knock them out of the running.
    • Window coverings may be necessary. Hang blankets (over the window plastic!) at the very least so that no one can see in. A lot of criminals won't want to break in if they don't know what they're breaking into. There could be 40 body builders with guns in there, or rabid dogs- they don't know if they can't see. They also can't see how much of your stuff they want to steal. Blankets over your windows will also help keep in any internal heat.
    • Weapons. You never know what is going to happen. I'm not saying go out and buy so many guns that you look like Rambo, a baseball bat will do wonders in self protection. So will a crowbar, mace, and a tazer.
  • Food and water! I hope I don't have to explain this one! You have to have food to survive. MRE's have a long shelf life, and Walmart sells emergency food kits at reasonable prices. You can build up an emergency food stockpile all by yourself over time. Trust me, you do not want to go out last minute to the grocery store to stock up- every one else will be doing that too and the shelves will be slim pickings. Don't forget to have a hand operated can opener! A lot of foods have a good shelf life and nutritional value like:
    • peanut butter (creamy and chunky, or honey- for variety)
    • canned fish (like mackarel, tuna, salmon)
    • dried and canned beans
    • rice (beans and rice together make a whole protein btw)
    • dried and canned fruits
    • raisins
    • various canned soups and stews
    • dry milk
    • granola bars
    • canned juices
    • water water water- lots and lots and don't forget the water purification tablets as well.
    • instant coffee
    • candy and comfort foods (for the little ones as well!)
  • Then you have your foods that may require cooking. Be sure to have a gas or otherwise operated stove that does not depend on any outside paid resource - remember, you may not have any utilities! I suggest camping stoves (like these) for this.
    • Flour*
    • Sugar*
    • Salt*
    • Cooking oil
    • Pasta (don't forget the sauces!)
    • yeast (if you're inclined to make bread)
    • powdered eggs (yucky, but they'll do in an emergency)
  • A generator. You may want to consider purchasing one, they'll definitely come in handy and make life in an emergency a lot more luxurious. However, think carefully about where you put yours as looters will take these quickly.
  • Warmth, or some kind of heat source so that you're not done in from exposure. You could invest in a (or several) kerosene heaters (like these) or if you're not fond of the smell of kerosene (it sticks to everything and won't come out of some stuff) you can get several propane heaters (like these). Do not underestimate the dangers of exposure to the cold.
  • Blankets. Heaters or no heaters, you should have a lot of blankets to keep you warm and comfortable.
  • A potty. Have enough water stored up, or available, to flush your toilet. A bad smell is only going to make a hard situation harder. You may want to get a camping potty. Go to any camping retail store's website and check out the reviews first though- if it's not a good product, you'll find out fast.
  • Paper products. Paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, and paper to write on will come in handy and provide a little bit of familiarity and comfort.
  • Flashlights and batteries. Stock up.
  • Toys, books and games. In times like this it's handy to have something around to distract you. Try to avoid battery operated toys or games as you may need the batteries for something else. Board games and puzzles geared toward the ages of your family members. Simple toys are great in this situation like Barbie's, trucks, and pretend play items. Keep a ball to roll back and forth to each other. Don't forget pet toys!
  • Shelter. Well...kind of shelter. If you're in your own home you're already in shelter really but in colder situations you'll need try to gather in one room. Seal off the other doors by placing tightly rolled up towels at the bottom of the doors and maybe even sealing them off with painters tape (it comes off easily). Make sleeping mats in your room of choice close to your heater. Remember, the more rooms your heater has to heat the more fuel it uses. Staying in one room also increases your chances of remaining safe and being able to watch over the little ones. Also, make sure you situate your beds as far from the potty as possible.

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