August OTA: Clothing and Hygiene

Our August Opportunity to act is: Clothing and Hygiene

This is a great time to get deals on clothing with the back to school sales and tax breaks.

Ideas for clothing:

Scrubs: light, comfortable, adjustable (if you get thinner or fatter)

Next year’s size: For kids, if you buy the next size, when they suddenly outgrow something, you look in their kit first. This has been a life saver for a last minute pair of socks or underwear, too. Put a few extra of each package away in the kit. *Remember to buy the next size and replace it in the kit.

Sweats: Although a better idea for up North, Sweats could still work here. If it is hot, you can cut off the sleeves and the legs. You can sleep in them. They stretch, etc.

Shoes: You want a sturdy pair especially if you are walking out in after-hurricane debris. Start with your sturdiest old pair instead of throwing them out. Eventually buy ahead or get some metal soled work boots as a permanent addition.

No room in your pack for shoes? Tie them with the laces to the outside. You will probably wear them anyway.

Extra socks and Underwear: It is very hard to stay dry in the heat (sweating) and rain. Pack extra socks and underwear in waterproof bags.

Long sleeves: Although long sleeves seem counter-intuitive, if you burn easily, you might prefer a long sleeve shirt with a collar. An old Sunday shirt might work well for men. Think beach or boating–what would you like to have out in the wet, sun, and heat all day?

Hats and Ponchos: Sun and Rain: Find ones that pack well and are reuseable. Big trashbags can be your first ponchos, then save up for something better (if you want).

Hygiene: Think what you would need for 3 days. A wash rag might be a useful edition as you may have to sponge shower for quite a while. You can live without deodorant, but you’ll be glad if you don’t have to.

One often neglected item is some type of petroleum jelly for rashes. Choose clothes that do not rub when wet especially between the legs and along the calves. Use the jelly as soon as a problem begins to help prevent it from getting worse.

Toothbrushes: You can get them prepasted or the tiny wisp brushes to save space or just a regular dollar store version. This is another great thing to have an extra of around for company or when you just found your toddler scrubbing the toilet with yours. 🙂 lol

Other ideas you might want to include: anti-itch cream, diapers, depends, pullups, fem hygiene, wet wipes or paper towels, toilet paper, etc.

July OTA: First Aid and Shelter

The 5th step is First Aid and Shelter.

Greenies:  For a first aid kit, gather what you have into a double zip lock bag or plastic container.  This can do for a start.  Make a list of what you need and start to gather it a piece at a time.  Or, buy a premade first aid kit.  Red Cross and other reputable organizations make lists of what should be in a first aid kit.  So, use theirs or make your own.  

Take CPR:  I teach CPR so I am partial to this training.  But, hey, it could save the life of a dear family member.  It is never too soon to make time for it!!  Even if you lose someone you love, it brings peace to know everything was done that could have been.  No regrets.  

Shelter:  Greenies can start with a tent or several very large tarps, ropes, stakes and tie downs.  This will keep the rain off you in case you are unable to stay in your home.  Also:  Find out about the local shelter programs and locations in your area.  Make plans of when you will go there and under what circumstances.  People requiring electricity for medically necessary devices and those that need other services may need to relocate sooner than those who can live through power outages, etc.

Maintenance/Experienced:  First Aid Kit:  Update and rotate any expired or damaged items in your kit.  Take the time to add  to the kit such things as large bandages for large wounds, snake bite kit,  cpr mask, update your CPR and first aid certifications (usually good for 2 years), a small sewing kit, ipecac–Use your knowledge of what might be to prepare even more.  

Shelter:  Review your shelter plans and make sure they are still current.  Be sure two family members and/or a neighbor you trust know where you plan to be.  Upgrade your tarps to bigger ones, or a better tent.  Maybe make it actually comfortable and useful by getting one nice enough to take camping–hey, lots of fun state parks here to try out and hone your camping skills.  Make some non-electronic memories.  

Advanced/Extra Milers:

Continue to expand your first aid kit to the degree that you feel might be useful without being wasteful.  

Check your tent for maintenance issues or needed repairs and be sure it is still water tight and viable if you needed to live in it.  

Reach out to others in the community and help them with this type of preparation. 

Red Cross is looking for volunteers to teach awareness and preparation in the community.  You could volunteer.

Donate these types of items (even if they are the hand me downs after an upgrade) to someone else in your neighborhood, church or community to help others prepare who may not have the financial means available to prepare as well as they’d like to.

Increase your personal First Aid or CPR training.  Red Cross teaches Aquatics (life guard training) and also Wilderness Survival classes.  

Youth can take babysitting classes that teach many of these same skills.

Help Boy Scouts or others teaching youth these same skills.

June OTA (step 6)

Although Supplies and Equipment are listed as the 6th and final step to building your 72 hour emergency kit, I’m listing it here 4th or in June rather than August because of the Florida Tax holiday.

Greenies: Be sure you have tarps, flashlights and/or candles or oil lamps, plus the batteries and matches or lighters and oil to keep them going. Of course, flashlights would travel well in kits, oil lamps/candles might last well in an extended power outage at home. A good first aid kit is a must.

Experienced/maintaining: Add weather band radios, rotate batteries so they are all fresh, Start eating up the expensive items in your freezer and replacing it with ice or blue ice blocks, check and update your first aid kit. Make sure you have large enough tarps with plenty of ropes to tie them up in trees for shelters or homemade tents. These can also be tacked over leaky roofs or placed on the ground to protect sleeping areas. Keeping things dry will most likely be difficult. Extra rope can also be used to rig up laundry lines, etc. to dry wet items, etc.

Advanced: Take the opportunity to see if you want to purchase items like a generator and/or perhaps a chain saw (learn how to run one, buy protective equipment, I know you also need bar oil for this). Stock up on a reasonable amount of gas, oil, and bar oil. Learn precautions for any of this big equipment. Generators, for instance, should not be running indoors. If you have a generator or want to buy one, research what you would need. Does it have a refrigerator type plug? Could it charge your cell phone? Do you have enough heavy-duty, long extension cords (it has to be running outside and reach to your appliance, etc.). Gas cans need stabilizer added to them so that they are less flammable and less likely to explode, etc. in the heat. Take the time to study the safe use and storage of these items.

Gift your friends or neighbors with candles, oil lamps, flashlights or other emergency equipment to let them know you care.




Store food for 3 days, Prescriptions, glasses, a spare can opener or include no cans. Examples of food you might pack are granola bars, emergency bars, MREs, etc. You can pack any kind of food, but you want to ensure it is light and easy to pack and carry and you want it to stay good for 6 months.

For example: cold cereal would be light and easy to carry, but it takes up tons of space and is not very filling and goes stale quickly.

Look for items that are compact, filling, light and last a while.

Greenies: Start with what you have that would work. Maybe cans of beans, fruit, tuna, instant oatmeal, crackers, peanut butter. These things would keep you alive and work fine if you remember to rotate them at least every 6 months. Keep them dry and in containers that resist bugs and moisture. If cans, include a can opener. Remember baby food and/or formula and any special dietary needs.

Maintainers: Take this opportunity to rotate the food in your kits. Evaluate if the food is still good. I’ve found it is easy to rotate these items on family vacations or packed in school lunches. Buy the same things, eat the old, store the new. Or take this time to see if you want to upgrade some of the food items to items that take less rotation like emergency rations or MREs. (Remember baby food and/or formula and any special dietary needs.)

Ideas for Advanced:
___ Your kit is waterproof, transportable and packed with fresh food, water, and medications. IF not, try upgrading your kits into wheeled or backpack style containers. Take action to reach this point before moving on.

___ Consider increasing your medication supplies up to 3 months if you must have it to live and if you can safely store it and rotate it and get approval from your doctor

___ Share your tips that come from your experience here on this blog or with others on facebook or at your church or with your neighbors.

What food items last well?
What are the best containers for your area?
How do you rotate?
How do you remember to rotate?
What dishes or equipment have you found worth their weight and space?

___ Donate storable emergency food items to your church group, Red Cross, family or friends who are working to build their kit for the first time.


March 2014:  Opportunity to Act

  • Trust yourself.  These are suggestions.  Do what you know is best for you and your family.   

Group Goal:  All group members will have enough water appropriately stored for 72 hrs (at least 3 gallons per person) by the end of April.  72 hr kits for all members will be complete by the end of August. 

Beginners (Greenies):  Set aside a regular time each week to think about preparedness.  Consider how you will store water and begin to gather and fill water containers.  Get at least 1 gallon of water appropriately stored for each member of your family by the end of March. 

Maintainers:  Evaluate your water supply.  If the containers are adequate, empty and refill them.  If not, make the adjustments needed.  Set a time once or twice a year that you will evaluate, rotate, or empty and refill your water supply.  Many people choose Spring and Fall as reminders for 72 hr kit evaluation and maintenance.


When you are finished getting or updating your water supply for 72 hrs, help others do the same.


1-Give a bottle or gallon of water to someone else along with the challenge of the month. 

2-Give extra water to a group leader who can gather them to distribute to those who confide a need for assistance. 

3—Give water to your neighbors for their hurricane preparedness

4—store more water than 72 hrs.  Get 1 weeks worth or more

5– buy a high quality filter, a large water barrel, or a rain barrel