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National Preparedness Month: What are you doing/have done to prepare?  RSS feed

 
Nicole Alderman
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Erica Strauss has been putting out an awesome series on preparedness this month, and it's really made me get my act together and be prepared. And, since all the segments are in bite-sized chunks, I've been able to actually get the things done! Here's the current segments of her series, and hopefully they help you, too--or make you feel good because you've already accomplished all these things!

Preparedness 101: What's Your Preparedness Philosophy This is post is all about getting yourself thinking about what preparedness means for you and why you might want to be prepared. It's not the "fun stuff," but it's necessary, just like the design philosophy of permaculture is necessary, but not usually considered as "fun" as techniques like swales, hugels and herb spirals.


Preparedness 101: Everyone has a Zombie Apocalypse Scenario This one gets you thinking about what sort of disasters are likely in your region. Like Erica, I live in the pacific northwest, so preparing for tornadoes and hurricanes isn't really that necessary, but getting prepared for the BIG earthquake we're due to have, is. In many ways, if you're prepared for one disaster, you're prepared for them all. But, sometimes that isn't the case. I used to prepare thinking that my husband would walk home from his work after a earthquake. It might take him almost a day, but he'd get here as long as I prepared his Get Home bag well. ... Then I realized that since he works at a hospital, and one of the few hospitals that would withstand the big earthquake, he might not be able to leave work for weeks. I'll be on my own with two small kids and a likely-destroyed manufactured home!


Preparedness 101: Assembling a 72 Hour Bag This isn't your typical "Bug Out Bag." This is a bag to have if there's a fire and you have to evacuate your house, or if your car breaks down, or if you have to evacuate to a shelter ahead of a hurricane. Reading through the list, I discover that I had most of the items spread between my diaper bag and my purse (my "purse" isn't a normal purse--you can read about it here: https://permies.com/t/53463/guys-feel-prepping-survivalist-culture#437900). But I did realize that I don't have any flares, nor a radio in either bag, nor spare clothing for myself and my husband. I don't know if I should get another bag for those things, or not worry about them...


Preparedness 101: Information Preparedness with a Family Reference Binder This is something I've been meaning to assemble since I read about it in the blog Listening to Katrina (which is a fantastic resource, by the way! It explains all the things you need if you only have 60 seconds or 1 hour or 12 hours to respond to a disaster). I'm happy to say that, aside from scanning the documents--which I can't do while baby is sleeping--I've got that document DONE. FINALLY!!!

So, what have you done to prepare for your storm season, fire season, chance of house fire, chance of an earthquake, etc?


EDIT: adding in the last two installments here at the top for ease of viewing!

Preparedness 101: Determine Your Evacuation, Meetup and Emergency Procedures I just finally got this one done, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER for having it done! This section is about more additions to your Family Reference Binder. You figure out where you'd be evacuating in the case of various emergencies and make maps to them. You get all your financial information (title to your house, home and medical and auto insurance, etc) in one spot. You print up any necessary first aid information and add that in, as well as any other really useful bits of information (I printed up instuctions on how to dig a latrine and an outhouse, as well as how to make a well bucket and make soap from wood ash lye).


Preparedness 101: Hunkering Down At Home This is the section where you figure out your biggest problem if you were stranded/sheltered-in-place in your home, without power, etc for two weeks. Is it water? Food storage? Feed for your animals? Fuel to keep warm? How to stay cool? Figure out what it is, and work on ways to solve it! My biggest problem is water--we have various sources and ways to filter it, but with two little kids and me likely being on my own, I really wanted to make sure I had everything ready and planned out in case an earthquake destroyed our well.
 
Stacy Witscher
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I've been following Erica's blog as well. It's given me some things to think about.

I have to say, I think that everyone should memorize at least one emergency contact number. And this isn't just about natural disaster emergencies. Lost phone, stolen phone, violence, arrest, you never know. The police don't let you use your cell phone, or even look at it for numbers. If you don't know those numbers, you aren't calling anyone, once you've been processed.

There are barely any pay phones left, and people are not so generous to allow you to borrow theirs in an emergency.

I have it easy with doctors/insurance, Kaiser, one number my whole life. Memorized.
 
Deb Rebel
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I live effectively in the middle of nowhere. We are truly the end of the Grid, the last tendril of a feeder line. We have weather that can take out the power for days and often during a blizzard. And it may take days for things to get patched back together. We also have a minimal hospital which along with our ambulance, may be the only medical response for 2.5 hours in some directions from here. If this hospital closes, those numbers will go up to 4.5... you subscribe to air ambulance. To the next burg a chopper flight starts at $1800 without the subscription. We have had the water tower go dry during blizzard because everyone thought running their taps would keep their pipes from freezing... and when the tower went dry everything froze. It took a solid day of people with bars to chip out the ice and get to the pump and get it going with a portable generator they borrowed to get water back into the system. And the number of mains issues they had because of that, they are still repairing that nearly a decade later. When we looked at houses, the one we bought, the realtor said 'oh good this one has a fireplace'. We asked why. She told us why. And to get some kerosene or oil lanterns. And brace for two days average on an out.

We are in tornado alley, though usually they skirt town. We can get horrible hail. We can flash flood (a few years ago I took an acre foot on the east 1.25 acres and that was a lot of damage). We are the original Dustbowl. People here endure and we do pull together (during the one winter blizzard someone came and looked in our windows and realized we did have a fireplace and were otherwise okay. An elderly neighbor, they picked up in one of the County's road grader D9 Cats and gave her a ride to the hospital to shelter, that was about the only thing that had a chance of going down the street...

I have food and clothing stashes as well as basic first aid stuff in all four buildings. I rotate food and first aid stuff as needed. I have 1/8 cord stacked at the ready and the rest of that cord not far away. The lamps get a yearly checkout, and refill. I also have a few plain white 'saint's candles' that will burn for about a week, as backup lighting.  In the clothing stashes I also have shoes.

Paying attention during red flag burn ban (it's so dry don't think of farting) about anything starting up and having bugout stuff ready to grab and sling into a vehicle and leave.

Paying attention to the weather and radar during bad weather season, or looking that way and seeing a suspicious cloud. Knowing how the weather usually tracks in this area, also helps in deciding what to do. Very recently we had one come in from the 'tornado angle' and the clot blew up a few miles out of town and hit us... temperature dropped 18 degrees in a minute, and I said 'hailbreath' and radar showed the white pop up, we had like three minutes to run stuff under the carport awning. (quarter sized hail)

Food forest in progress, so as to fend off the zombies. Hide it in plain sight. Food stash in house that looks like something else, yes (learned that from Y2K prepping, hubby had a fit-thank you NOT Art Bell in the middle of the night).

General bugout bags for us, yes. A few jerry cans of gasoline hidden, rotated, and ready to grab if vehicle is the way we're leaving.

Stamina and endurance built up. I can walk out if I have to. This may be overlooked. Five to ten miles is no longer an issue.

I grew up farmgirl so used to tending critters, and was trained to certification with the ambulance crew when I was late teens. Years since tending self and spouse, so issues of first aid are hopefully handled. Hopefully. Basic things.

What do you do? What do you need? Where do you go? How do you get there? What then? Hopefully I have those sorted. And more than one way to deal with it. That's what I've done.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Deb Rebel wrote: I also have a few plain white 'saint's candles' that will burn for about a week, as backup lighting.


I had to look these up, then I realized I'd often seen these in stores, but just didn't know their names. In case anyone else is wondering what these are, here's a picture.



You can find them on Amazon, but they're likely a whole lot cheaper in your local ethnic grocer or dollar store.

But, you probably can't find a "Secular Saint's Candle" at the dollar store . Amazon has all sorts, like Jane Austen, Einstein, and Nikola Tesla https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BLQOZ2A/ref=twister_B01LZ0KTV6?_encoding=UTF8&th=1



From what I'm reading, the candles burn for something like 80 hours to 7 days, though they don't do too well in drafts. I also have no idea how natural their wax is. But then, most oil lamps aren't natural either. Speaking of, if you're interested in a non-petroleum lamp oil that can burn in your average hurricane lamp or oil lamp, I did find a company that makes their lamp oil out of palm oil. The oil itself is smells kind of...soapy, and not in a good way, but it doesn't smell when you burn it. Just don't spill it on stuff! Somehow our jug of the stuff tipped over and the childproof seal leaked and it made our vinyl floor bubble up and denatured the glue holding it down. Crazy stuff. But, normal lamp oil would probably do the same thing. Here's a link to the stuff: https://www.amazon.com/Firefly-Paraffin-Lamp-Oil-Smokeless/dp/B0096Q6ONQ/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1506193743&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=firefly+lamp+oil&psc=1



 
Deb Rebel
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We feed off a cross country line in the next state, they drop a line down a few counties over then run it across the panhandle going west. Our county is the end of the line, and my town feeds a few small small towns and rural off it.

The substation had something go out last night and it was pretty serious. Off, then the couple of reset flicks... power for five minutes, off, two reset flicks, annnndddd... dead. Call the number and the automessage says they've been working on it for over an hour. I call it in and the rep says sorry, they have no idea when it's coming on. So the entire service area is out.

Fine, it's not going to be below freezing, I have a gas stove (the oven won't work as it has a glow plug and if that's not on it don't burn or stay lit) and I have the lanterns, the saint's candles, etc and get them all sorted out. Then finally power comes on. Oh good, it's 10 pm but those tomatoes have to die. Fine, I get to it, and am going along swimmingly, and the power goes off again for about 45 minutes. Lantern doesn't give me enough light to do the 'find the ick' in the tomatoes-most are great but a few have evil in their hearts and need to be sent to compost. Lights come on again and I clean up for the night. I took the hint!

It stayed on after I went to bed. Today the rest of those tomatoes met the salsa crusher and I have a gorgeous batch of same simmering in the 18 quart rectangular crockpot (they call those slow roasters, those big ones, I have two) Hubby is in heaven and has been threatened with various bodily harm if he eats half of that in the first two days. (hopefully all that work that will last more than a week?)

Still, just reminded how far out to the end of the world we are. For some reason the other half has spent today on the generator we inherited in a parts swap and thinks he has it just about ready to fire...  rather than thinking about it in December...
 
Nicole Alderman
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Sorry it took me so long to get the last two installments added. I felt bad about posting about them if I hadn't done them yet. BUT, now I have my family reference binder finished. And, man, it's nice to have all that info in one place!

As I was hole punching all the papers, my son wanted me to hole punch a piece of his red cardstock. That gave me the brilliant--and really easy and cheap--way to make dividers for the notebook. Since i already had colored construction paper, I just hole punched one in a different color for each category--financial is green, emergency info is red, sanitary how-tos are brown, etc. I'll try and post a picture of it later. It's not the most beautiful folder, but it's useful and easy to work with!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Here's a bad picture of Family Reference Binder. The tabs aren't evenly spaced, and the "Table of Contents" isn't nearly as pretty as I'd like. But, I'm posting it because it's better to have it done and functional rather than perfect. My nature is to be a perfectionist, and so I often don't do something if I don't think I can do it perfectly. But, with something like this, it's better to have SOMETHING done, than nothing.

So, I'm posting this to encourage others to get whatever you can done. Something is better than nothing. Functional and ugly is better than not doing it because you don't have time to make it look professional or pretty.

And, just getting something done really does feel like a load off your back. I'm rather amazed at how much peace of mind I have from my little reference binder. It's so nice having the info all in one place!
104_7029.JPG
[Thumbnail for 104_7029.JPG]
My not-pretty, not-perfect, but FUNCTIONAL Reference Binder :D
 
Travis Johnson
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Like many of you I am on the end of the line when it comes to the grid, and even for rural Maine we are known as being "really rural." So we have learned to cope. Our longest power outage to date has been 14 days. At that time they were announcing how many people were without power starting at 125,000 people, until they got down to 500, then they stopped saying. At that time we were still without power. Yes that is how rural we are.

We have livestock so "sheltering in place" is really our only option. We have food for a year, a hand dug well we can access instantly, and back up generators, kerosene lanterns everywhere, fuel, firewood, stoves that do not need electricity and lots and lots of games for the kids.

The biggest issue we have here in Maine is Blizzards, which of course we are used to handling, and some bad ice storms. When I was a kid we got slammed head on by a hurricane, but generally speaking the Gulf of Maine is too cold to allow Hurricane's to blast us full-force.

 
Tobias Ber
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oli lamps:

i just read this book : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KB7F9SU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00KB7F9SU&linkCode=as2&tag=continmoti-20&linkId=4LECUEWPOUQVWWVC

it s about using many kinds of food-oils and -fats and how to make your own lamps

EDIT: best oils should be canola (should burn without much odor), olive and sunflower.
veggie oil will be harder to ignite, but you can use a drop if flammable fluid on the wick
wicks can be made from cotton balls, cotton fabric, toilet paper etc. strands from a mop (to clean floors) would make good and cheap wicks. don t use synthetic stuff, it ll melt.
some oil lamp designs will drip, so put the lamp on a plate or something.

using oils is easier than using (semi-)solid fats like butter, lard etc.


preparedness: it s a good thing to stock some veggie oils. they are cheap and calory-dense. i read an experiment where a lady stored canola oil for 9 years. In a trash bag and that in a non-airtight garbage can. After 9 years it was a little bit rancid but still good to use. But even WHEN the oil goes bad, you ll still have fuel for oil lamps and you can build cookers for oil. ... stacking functions ...
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Because I live in the Netherlands, the first disaster I think of is flooding. Earthquakes here are minimal, storms only good for blowing the dead branches out of the trees. But when whatever disaster happens and everything doesn't function anymore, about half of the country will flood. Where I live is exactly at sea level. But when sea level gets higher (global warming), I will get wet feet here.
Something else I think of is riots, plundering mobs, that kind of disaster.
In both cases I will leave the house, pack my camping gear on my bicycle, and my 'disaster bag' too, and ride my bike to the east, where it's higher and more quiet. If I don't have the time to pack, I only take the 'disaster bag'. There's food (canned nuts), water and clothes in it, and a hand-powered flash light (turn the handle some rounds and there's light). If I'll have to stay away from here for longer time: I know about wild edibles and building a shelter in the wood.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Tobias Ber wrote: EDIT: best oils should be canola (should burn without much odor), olive and sunflower.
veggie oil will be harder to ignite, but you can use a drop if flammable fluid on the wick
wicks can be made from cotton balls, cotton fabric, toilet paper etc. strands from a mop (to clean floors) would make good and cheap wicks. don t use synthetic stuff, it ll melt.
some oil lamp designs will drip, so put the lamp on a plate or something.

using oils is easier than using (semi-)solid fats like butter, lard etc.


Can the canola, olive &/or sunflower be used in a traditional "oil candle" or hurricane oil lamp? I have a LOT (like 30) oil lamps (both the "hurricane" style and the simpler oil candle style). I would love to burn something in there other than traditional, petroleum lamp oil, but I don't know it would wick well enough in those style oil lamps. I would much rather store giant jugs of sunflower oil that I could use for either cooking or burning, rather than storing both edible oils and toxic oils.
 
Stacy Witscher
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The fires are pretty bad around here. My parents friend had to evacuate with her livestock a couple days ago. They've let her return at this point. But it is a concern.

There is only so much you can do about livestock in an emergency. I wouldn't think that it would be feasible to be able to move all of them at a moments notice. All of the places that I want to live have wildfire issues.

The air quality is terrible, I do need to stock up on proper breathing masks.
 
Tobias Ber
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Can the canola, olive &/or sunflower be used in a traditional "oil candle" or hurricane oil lamp?


it depends... there is a certain max height that a wick can vertically lift the oil. the author states it as 1,75 to 2,5 inches for a cotton mop strand wick. if distance of the oil level and the flame is smaller than that, it might work. probably it won t work in most hurricane lamps, or may just work when the tank is totally full.

but you can make lamps ypurself or get special lamps vor veggie-oils.

Here are two link (both in german, but the pictures/video should be enough to get the idea)

floating oil light



EDIT: it s nice to see that folks here think about what threats might be most applicable to their certain situation.
For us it is: blackouts, minor storm damage (probably with blackouts), violence/civil-unrest/terrorism and flooding (ok, we live in 2nd story and have an attic for some storage). maybe certain pandemics, who knows. we had alerts because of poultry-plague something, but that affected mostly owners of poultry and free-roaming pets
 
David Livingston
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I am lucky I suppose we have no big meteorological issues , nor flooding nor fire nor earthquakes . Nor am I worried by zombie hoards either in the metaphorical or literal sence .
Terrorism is far far away and I am frankly more worried by my neighbours cows invading than the Russians coming or a fascist  take over. ( being on the far far left * a communist take over is no threat )
Yup we could have a power cut but we have a wood stove and cook on that .
Also we have a good health system here in France so I am covered there.
But what I am afraid of is fear , fear i believe make folks stupid and together with paranoia I think is being used to sell stuff and influence people . So how can we prepare for that ?
David

* I am a socialist rather than a communist which puts me still far far far left in USA terms
 
Tobias Ber
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fear is one thing ... assessing the potential risks of a given situation is another.

preparedness may transform an "unspecific fear" into an actual strategy to mitigate potential risks/threats.

but ... i think, preparedness should be stacking functions so that it has benefits, even when the shit stays where it belongs and does not decide to hit the fan

most of preparedness falls into categories of homesteading, natural life, approiate technology etc. ... and i feel free to just assume that we all here like that kinda thing already

what i realize that the "prepper mindset" in germany is much different than in the US. We rely heavily on good infrastructure and full supermarkets. I have lived in walking distance to supermarkets nearly all the time and have experienced just a few blackouts here, most just a few minutes. So most people are not used to it and do not think very much about it. That might be true for most of the younger generations that have grown up in cities or larger villages.
 
Jarret Hynd
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Tobias Ber wrote:preparedness may transform an "unspecific fear" into an actual strategy to mitigate potential risks/threats.


Yup, it's good to be able to assess potential situations and come up with risk management strategies for them.

I usually have enough wood for 2 months and enough food for at least 1 month. My basic tools are in a cabinet next to my door along with fire starter, different clothing etc, and would only take 5 minutes to gather and put in a bag.

Water is the weak point of my set up, but I'm also used to living without drinkable water as I'm very rural and so we're told to only use it for bathing. I was lucky enough to find someone selling used food-grade barrels for $10 each locally, so next year I'll have a little fresh water in reserve. I just need to buy a small cast iron pan for portable use. I'll feel pretty confident after that.

---

I skimmed through some of the articles in the OP and there is a redundancy in the power suggestions. They say to have a powerbank which is just a closed system of charger+batteries, and then they want you to buy flashlights + more batteries. (not sure why they suggest to buy alkaline AAA's..)

You can buy chargers which function like powerbanks. You put in one fully charged 18650 battery and you can charge your phone via USB. Or, you take the battery out of the charger, and put it in a flashlight which provides the best portable light possible. They can be recharged about 200 times or more which is several months of use for most applications while a small portable solar panel to charge them is $25. Just like permaculture, things should have as many uses as possible.
 
David Livingston
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They want you to buy ............................................

I agree Janet its part of  consumerism.

David

I was amused that you said you have wood for two month as I plan my wood on a three year cycle
 
Nicole Alderman
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Jarret Hynd wrote:

I skimmed through some of the articles in the OP and there is a redundancy in the power suggestions. They say to have a powerbank which is just a closed system of charger+batteries, and then they want you to buy flashlights + more batteries. (not sure why they suggest to buy alkaline AAA's..)

You can buy chargers which function like powerbanks. You put in one fully charged 18650 battery and you can charge your phone via USB. Or, you take the battery out of the charger, and put it in a flashlight which provides the best portable light possible. They can be recharged about 200 times or more which is several months of use for most applications while a small portable solar panel to charge them is $25. Just like permaculture, things should have as many uses as possible.


I can't remember seeing the power suggestions, but I do know that a big guiding principle of preparing is that "Two is one and one is none." In other words, back ups for your backups can be a really good idea. Redundancy is something to aim for. So, there's flashlights in case the powerbank fails. And, in my family at least, I like to have multiple flashlights/headlamps because (A) There's four people using them and (B) My kids love to lose things, especially flashlights.

I love the idea of a small solar panel to charge the charger! Do you have one you recommend?

David Livingston wrote:They want you to buy ............................................

I agree Janet its part of  consumerism. 


In one of the articles, I noticed Erica posted links to various preparedness items. I don't think she did this to get us to buy them, but to make it easy to locate quality items if we wanted/needed them, without having to spend as much time doing research as she'd already done a lot of footwork. I also noticed a lot of really cool things that I had put on my Christmas list (if family is going to get some things, I'd love for them to be useful!) Also, I know she hates having ads on her site, and so linking to Amazon products helps support her super helpful site...much like links to items on Amazon here also help support this site .
 
Angelika Maier
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Preparedness the question is for what most of you have natural disasters in mind and there have been many recently. It makes absolutely sense to prepare for that to know when to leave and what to take. The other point is economically. How do you prepare for job loss or simply you can't keep up with the raising prices or raising taxes or healthcare costs.
The third and important thing is out of control governments, police etc. are we helpless?
 
David Livingston
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I dont mind discussing the appropriateness of what you suggest Angelika however here on Permies we only discuss such obviously political topics in the cider press and I for one would be happy to discus this very interesting topic there .

David
 
Nicole Alderman
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I think it's a fascinating subject, too. I gave Angelika a apple for it to bump her up to 8 apples, so now she can post in the Cider Press if she wants to :D.
 
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