Thursday, January 23, 2014

Emergency Prepardeness - Getting Started

A great question was posed to me by a friend who I sent a quick emergency supply "check list" to the other day. 

"Where do I put everything?!"

Space for your supplies is a very important consideration!  You can only stockpile what you've got room for, right?  I mean, none of us have a 3,000 square foot underground bunker, do we?  In California, most of us don't even have a basement or an attic.  Keeping your supplies in an off-site public storage place is not realistic. 

So what do we do to make room?

I've seen people get pretty creative with ways of finding storage space for their supplies.  From making "secret" compartments under their floor boards to buying a steel shed for the back yard, the possibilites are endless. 

I've installed cabinets in my garage and overhead hanging storage racks.  The storage racks are readily available at Lowe's or Home Depot, cost between thirty and a few hundred dollars, and are pretty easy to install yourself with a stud finder and a drill driver.  The best thing about these racks is that they create space where none was before.  And they can hold from a couple hundred pounds on up!  See link

Granted, in an earthquake they may fall down, but yet the whole house may fall down, so why let that stop you?  Store items overhead that are relatively bulky but unbreakable and you should be okay.

Aside from creating storage out of thin air, consider you supplies in general  For instance, if storing 300 gallons of water in 1-gallon jugs is not possible, try a 300-gallon tank instead.  Its foot print is much smaller than 50 cases of water!  If you can't fit a 300-gallon tank in your garage, try the Water Bob.  The Water Bob is a 100-gallon, food grade, plastic reservoir that you can keep under your bathroom sink and fill up in case of an emergency.  You can buy direct from the manufacturer or any online store such as Amazon.  See link;jsessionid=A5966BCE451BB93834E3C32606EDD99A

Perhaps you don't have a bathtub.  Maybe you live in a small condo with just a shower stall.  You can always buy a ceramic filter kit and a couple 5-gallon buckets and use those to filter water as you need it!  In an emergency, you can use your condo complex's swimming pool(s) and filter that water!  See link for an example

Almost all every day items can be found in small or compact sizes.  And remember, packaging takes up a ton of space as well.  Remove items from their bulky boxes can containers.  I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find some pretty ingenius ways to store your supplies. 

There are organizers that hang off the backs of your closet or bedroom doors that you can use to hang canned goods.  How much space is wasted under your beds with junk only the dust bunnies ever use?  Do you have a small crawl space in your attic?  Maybe you can throw down some plywood over the rafters and use that space as storage?  Even things like MRE's can be broken down (we called it "field stripping" in the Marines) by opening each pouch, removing the stiff cardboard packaging, and folding the soft pouches in half.  You can put double the amount of MRE's in the box that 12 initially came in. 

If you have a pretty decent sized backyard you can put a shed outside to store your cooking gear and other bulky items.  Voids under stairs and "junk drawers" are easily repurposed for storing more essential items than old bills and throw pillows. 

The point is, I'm sure if you really start to look, you'll identify many wasted square feet in your humble abode that can be cleared out and used to store your life saving emergency supplies.  Consider cleaning out the boxes of old DVDs, books, TV sets, winter clothes, old shoes, and all the other stuff we tend to hang onto without realizing it and put THAT stuff into a small public storage unit.  If an earthquake hits, you're not going to miss your DVD box sets, snow boots, childhood little league trophies, etc. 

Once you clear out and set up your storage areas you can begin filling them up again with food, water, and other essential supplies and equipment! 

I hope this was helpful to all of you who previously thought you had no room for prepping! 

Please feel free to leave all questions or comments in the comments section below!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Emergency Preparedness 101

The content of my blog is going to change from nothing… to giving advice about how to prepare yourself and your family to survive a natural or man-made disaster.   I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from my Facebook posts about common sense ways to be prepared for earthquakes, power outages, food shortages, etc.  After much consideration I've decided to listen to those voices and expand those quick posts into something more comprehensive. 

I’m compelled to do this because I read many expert opinions on the subject and they all have the same three pieces of advice. 

1.)    Leave your house and go to the woods or mountains.

2.)    Create a massive secret cache of supplies in said woods or mountains.

3.)    Build a nuclear bomb proof shelter buried deep under said woods or mountains.

This “advice” is good only to those who can afford to build a massive underground bunker complex, stockpile 25-30 year’s worth of food and water, and who already live in the woods or mountains.  For us regular people, this is just not practical or realistic. 

I’ve been told many times that I am going to die if a serious event occurs because I live in the suburbs.  Well.  Many of us do.  In California especially, the wilderness is an hour or two away by car.  If roads are shut down due to accidents or checkpoints, then no one is driving anywhere.  Your only way of getting to the woods or mountains is on foot.  And you’re left with only those supplies you can carry on your back.  Walking for four days to the spot you’re going to starve to death at just seems counterproductive to me. 

So the advice and recommendations I give will be primarily for people who live in the suburbs or cities of California.  I will take into account that you have small children.  I will take into account that your mobility may be hampered (either by ailment or just not being able to drive anywhere).  And I will take into account the fact that you will likely have to stay in your home, condo, or apartment. 

I will not be speaking of an end of days scenario.  I will not attempt to predict Marshall Law or anything like that.  What I will speak of is earthquakes, economic collapse, and water, fuel and food shortages which will likely occur in the event that a terrorist or cyber-terrorist group attacks the United State’s power grid, banking system, etc. 

I know many “experts” predict that everything is hunky-dory, a-okay, and that these things will never happen.  But keep in mind that in 2006, I attended a conference given by “experts” who predicted that the housing boom in the US would continue unabated for years because “poor people with bad credit are always going to want to buy houses.”    

And we know how that turned out.

Experts are wrong more than they are right.  Their jobs are to placate the masses using “best-case” scenarios.  Look at gold prices.  The experts told everyone to buy gold because it was going to be over $2,000 an ounce. It was a “sure thing” they said.  The safest place to put your money.  Well.  It never got to $2,000 an ounce.  Now it’s barely hovering above $1,200 an ounce.    

So I’m going to give you practical tips and tricks to help your family survive ten, 15, 30, 60 or even 90 days without electricity, water, and sanitation. 

If things are not restored after 90 days, we are facing a whole new world.  And I don’t think anyone can realistically prepare for that. 

And please, if you have a topic you would like to know more about, drop me a line in the comments section and I’ll address it in a future post!