Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Cost of Being Unprepared

Some of you may or may not know that our family resides in South Florida.
We live in an area prone to the occasional hurricane, yearly tropical storms and
daily severe thunder storms in the summer time. We deal with power
outages almost regularly during our storm season.  Our family is some
what prepared for them but we are seriously under prepared if truth be told.
We do have a generator. My husband does a wonderful job of
pulling it out at the beginning of each season and he checks it over. He
maintains it and starts it up to make sure it in good operating order.
We have had since 2005 when we were 10 days without power due to
Hurricane Wilma, which also took our home.
Our family as of late has become concerned about the approaching
hurricane season and just economic times itself. We have decided to
step up our preparations and get ourselves truly prepared.
I thought I would share with you some of the ways we are doing that
and maybe encourage you, no matter where you live, to do the same.
Also there are areas we are still quite naive about and are learning.
Maybe you have some tips or advice for us and everyone else to help
get our preps up and running more smoothly.
Here is some of the areas we are working on.

FEMA suggests one gallon per person per day for 3 days. 
We were out power for 10 days during our hurricane ordeal. 
So I feel like that amount is just a bare bones minimum. We are
going to store 2 gallons per day per person for 7 days. Or
more if we can store it. We will be purchasing 5 gallon containers like
above and keep them sealed until we need to use them. Our long
term goal is to add a Berky Water Filter to our home. 
 While various sources recommend food for 3 to 5 days, our family
is wanting to be prepared not just a natural disaster but for an economic
disaster one as well, such as a job loss. So, we are starting our with a plan for
7 days but then we will be building on that. Since we do have dietary concerns
we are also trying to do as much of this ourselves through home canning and preserving.
That is a large task that can not be accomplished easily or quickly. But in the 
meantime we will make the best choices we can to have a 7 days food
supply on hand then work on replacing it with our own home canned/preserved food.
Lights & Power
We talked about our generator we have. But one thing we don't do is
store any gas for it. Oxymoron, I know! We have plenty of empty
gas cans, so we are going to fill one each week. Two or three
cans should be sufficient supply to run the generator. For lights while
the common suggestion is to store is flashlights, we have found during our experience
that preserving batteries can be an issue. We will be storing some flashlights but
we will also be storing candles and oil lamps as well. If you are
buying lamp oil please make sure you get the kind that is safe to use indoors.
Don't forget the matches!

Shelter :
We were given a 6 person tent a few weeks ago. We plan to store that
with our supplies, along with some extra tarps. Our long term goal is to
either purchase an RV or camper in case we are unable to stay in our
home or have to leave this area. We don't want to rely on shelters.
Government run shelters are usually over ran with people
during these situations and can also be a cesspool of bacteria and germs.
They also can promote crime and general feeling of panic. We prefer not
to use them. But since we do not own a trailer or RV yet we are
going to use our enclosed trailer with a few slight modifications in the event
we have to leave. I realize not everyone can  afford the choices we have made,
but I would encourage you to have a plan in place for your own shelter.
Especially if you have pets who are near and dear to you, as most of these
shelters do not allow you to bring them.


Your will want to know what is going on in the world. We have found the
most reliable way to do this is with a weather radio. I strongly suggest you
get one that runs on batteries and hand cranked when your batteries run out.
We own one and it has been invaluable at alerting us to many of Mother
Nature's foul mood swings.  Also, it would be a good idea to keep a car cell phone
charger with your supplies. You might have to call someone for help or just to
let your family know you are okay.

First Aid:
We have a basic First Aid Kit that is store bought but we have some
medical concerns that prompts to use this as an addition to our own homemade
First Aid Kit. If you have any medications that you take on a daily or weekly
basis it is a good idea for you to have a good supply of those on hand. For our
family, we suffer from numerous allergies so we stock more than necessary. We
also like to stock ours with natural healing remedies, herbs and such as well.

Other areas we are working on:
Heat & Cooking
Pet Supplies
Rain gear for our family

Gathering supplies need not be costly. I have seen plenty of the above items and suggestions
from FEMA & Red Cross readily available at Dollar stores.  Do you have a
suggestion or an area we left out? Please comment so we can all stay prepared together.

(Note: While our family are not fearful or extremist, we do however believe current times
and nature calls for everyone to be more prepared. As evidenced with while trying to 
upload this article we lost power twice just in a causal afternoon thunder storm.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


Kara said...

We live in an old European city and have to keep water in reserve in case the 150 year old mains blow, which they frequently do. We have also found that one gallon of water per person is not enough. However, not all of that has to be drinking water. Water for washing the dishes and force flushing the toilet does not need to be fresh, so we fill up old milk and mineral water containers for that, and I refill them once a year. Otherwise I refill the drinking water jugs about every two or three months. I just use the water on our garden and refill.

Chele said...

Thanks for commenting and you make a wonderful point!
I am writing a whole post on water storage and will include our wonderful insight to it. Thank you!

Jill of all Trades said...

I've been wondering about a good way to store water, other than piling up a zillion one-gallon jugs. I like the ones you use. I guess I never thought of those because they look like the kind that go on an office water cooler type set up, which we don't have in our home.

I guess it goes to show you that you have to change your paradigm sometimes when it comes to preparedness. I'm going to keep my eye out for a local source for the jugs you featured. Great post!

Chele said...

I had the same problem! I didn't see how I was going to store 50 of those.
I'm in the process of writing a whole post on water storage. Watch for it, I am going to show other containers you can buy as well. One of those might work for you better! :)

Deb said...

Great post Michelle. I had not made the connection of adding our camping gear to our emergency supplies, I guess we are more prepared than I thought. I do need to work on our water supplies, I will be watching for your post on that. I read a while ago to get solar landscape lights for emergency lighting and it works great. I got some that are designed to go on deck posts, they sit upright on the table, just remember to put them back out in the sun come morning. We have used them on our last 2 camping trips and they even have an off switch and made great tent lights.


Chele said...

Now that is an awesome tip!!! Those solar lights are very cheap, I think the most Ive seen them is $2 each. I'm adding those to our list! :)