What if I have no money?

Personal Abridgements: Living Well Together

It does take some money to build or rotate a survival kit.
But, it doesn’t take any money to gather what you have.

Start with what you have. Gather it together into a plastic trash bag or pillow case. Work from there.

It doesn’t take money to plan.
Make a list of what you need.
Take the time to sort it with most critical on top. Then, when you have the opportunity to work on it, start at the top.

It doesn’t take money to store water.
Ask a friend or neighbor for their old, empty two liter bottles.
Clean them thoroughly and fill with water at the tap or a drinking fountain.
You can live without almost everything else, but you NEED water. Find a way to store water. A gallon of drinking water is usually around a dollar. If you have little or no money, buy this before…

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Bags: What is the best size of pack? Type?

The best size or type will be what works best for you or your family. There is no “right” or best answer.

But, some things you want to keep in mind:

1. Easy to carry or roll if lifting is a problem. Even children can carry their own if it is in a backpack they can lift. This is in case you have to hike out of where you are to seek shelter in another location. Worst case scenario, you have to walk, there could be trees down or debris in the road. So, think light and portable.

2. Waterproof: Here in FL, especially during the summer or hurricane season, when it rains, it pours. So, you want your kit to be waterproof. Ideas: Check boating supplies and camping supplies for waterproof bags. Or, just get a really big poncho and wear it over your pack. You can put every item in your bag into smaller plastic grocery bags or zip locks or all of it in a trash bag to waterproof your kit more economically. I recommend you do this anyway, that way if something leaks or spoils, it doesn’t ruin everything.

3. Economical: It should fit into your budget. It should work for you. You can always upgrade later. Really a double lined trash bag with items inside that are also packed in plastic will work fine until you can find something better. Goodwill and other places might have luggage or backpacks for less cost that would work just fine. Remember the idea is to survive, not fashion. Really, if it works, you don’t even have to like it. 🙂 Similarly, a big pillow case lined with plastic would work. Just sling it over your shoulder like Santa if you have to hike it out.

4. Size: It depends on what you are packing what size is best. You might wait to purchase or decide on your container until you have gathered all your supplies and see how big you need. Each item can be many different sizes: For instance: a heavy duty poncho is going to be much bigger than the flimsy pocket sized ones.

To save space, take off extra packaging. Squeeze out air. You might trying rolling clothing items or putting them in zip lock and squeezing out the air to save space.

Hurricane Window Preparation

In hurricane prone areas, you will want some protection on your windows.  

Usually there is plenty of warning when a hurricane is headed your way so that you can take care of this.  Still it is easier to get the supplies ahead and prepare them so that it can be a simple thing to get covers on your windows.

Solutions I know of 

1–Professionally installed roll down shutters.  These are metal looking boxes above your windows (outside)  that look like planter boxes above instead of below the windows.  In the house will be a handle of some sort that comes down next to your curtains.  This handle can be bent to roll them down gently and fairly easily from inside the house.  THese are very nice because you don’t have to lift almost anything.  Plus, as soon as the storm is over you are not stuck in a dark house.  Plus, if there was a fire, you could, conceiveably remove the shutter from inside and get out (if you had enough time–the door would probably still work faster).  

2–Professionally installed metal  panels.  A metal track is installed above and below the windows.  Bolts slide into these grooves with the threaded end sticking out.  THese slide down to get into place to match the holes in the top and bottom of the sheet metal panels.  Slide the panels onto the bolts and secure with wing nuts.  Fairly simple to do.  Probably the second easiest to manage–it is lighter than plywood and they are ready to go.  

2b–Another way professionals secure these same panels is to drive receivers into the concrete blocks or brick on the sides of the windows.  These are like anchors.  Then, you hold the holes in the panels over the holes in the wall and hand screw a large flat head bolt into it.  These can also be tightened with a power drill, but you want to be sure to not overtighten them and yank the anchors out of the wall.  

3–plywood.  Traditionally, this is the most common and cheapest way to secure all the windows in your home.  You can get the drill bits and screws to place a piece of plywood over your window and screw it right into the wall with concrete screws.  I recommend if you are going to do this to get advice both from a homeowwner who has done this and a hardware store clerk to be sure you have both the right type of equipment and ideas of how to do it the easiest way.  You may even be able to set anchors into the wall yourself  so that each hurricane does not mean  another hole in the exterior surface of your home.  

Tips:  IF you cut your plywood to match specific windows on your home, be sure to Mark or label them so they are easy to match up next time.  

Keep them out of the rain.

If possible keep them away from your home in a shed or somewhere unattached when not needed to try to protect your home from termites.  

3b–and my personal favorite when it comes to plywood protection.  There are clips you can buy at the hardware store that look like 2s or large, squarish Zs.  The particular brand we have is called plylox.  These are wonderful for a quick set up and take down.  You do have to cut out your plywood to match your windows.  (Follow their directions) But then, you can just pop them in and out.  These clips press into your window casing a lot like a spring rod does and holds the wood secure until removed.

4–Taping:  I have seen people tape their windows in big Xs before a hurricane.  I have found nothing that indicates that this is useful protection against a hurricane.  Perhaps it would make clean up easier in the event that the window is compromised, but I don’t know of any real reason to bother doing this.  

I hope this information will help you consider how to better prepare and secure your home in the event of a hurricane.  Please leave any helpful comments you have learned that might make this process simpler or easier for others.  I love to learn from your experience.

Fireproof Important Documents

If I understood correctly, household fires are the most common emergency that Red Cross responds to. Keep in mind that although you may be preparing for a hurricane or another likely emergency in your area, that household fires are a danger to us all at any time.

A fireproof box can be purchased to include documents like wills, passports, birth certificates, and other important documents and identification. These are portable, so you can grab it if you need to evacuate. But, fireproof so that if you are unable to, these items should be protected. Different strengths and sizes are on the market. Research what you need. You may also want to include important pictures, family history information, or key contacts. Some small amount of emergency cash. Inventory of items owned–lists or pictures for insurance.

Other ideas for fireproofing documents include:

Store copies of important items and computer backups off site.

Use a bank safety deposit box

If you have other ideas, please submit them in a comment. I’d love to learn from you and help to pass it on.

Homeowners or Renters insurance may be able to insure you for replacement of most items. Take a moment to assess what is not replaceable and how to best protect that. Prevention including working fire alarms and extinguishers is always preferable to recovery.

Prepping 101: On a budget!

Here is another blog you may find useful

Prepping, Pop Culture & Politics

I recently had a close friend respond to one of my posts and ask a very good question related to getting into prepping on a small budget.  I think this is an issue for many folks who are interested in disaster preparedness but have no idea where to start and might be experiencing financial stress.  The irony here is that the financial stress might even be the issue that showed a person the need to be prepared for disasters yet they feel they are unable to implement any basic preparedness principles based on a lack of money.  I intend to show in this post that basic entry level disaster preparedness does not require much cash.

So lets review the ABC’s of preparedness.  A stands for ALWAYS by informed!  B stands for BUILD an emergency kit.  C stands of CREATE a plan.  You can do two of these things with literally…

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Step 1: Schedule a Time

Like anything, preparing takes some time and thought.  Start today by looking at your schedule and deciding on a time you will be able to prioritize your emergency preparedness.  If you have no preference, choose Monday morning or Monday evening.  (I’ve found that if you want something done, Monday is a winner).  Do not become overwhelmed.  It does not even require an hour.  Plan at least 20 minutes to do SOMETHING each week on your preparedness.  Even if you only think about it, those thoughts will eventually lead to action. 

If you are too busy one week, just come back to it.  Don’t let an immediate need go neglected because of your plan, but don’t let your plan always be neglected, either.   Just keep coming back to it.  If you do your plan even 80% of the time you will move mountains a teaspoon at a time.  But, if you find it is almost never happening, reschedule:  pick a different day or decide on which activities you can and will sacrifice to make this path of peace a priority.