Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Challenge Day 20

Yesterday, Russian markets stopped trading for a second day after emergency funding measures by the government failed to halt the biggest stock rout since the country’s debt default and currency devaluation a decade ago. They are opened today but not for stocks.

This image is taken from MSNBC from the US Stock Exchange yesterday.

This day 20 of a 21 day count down to basic disaster preparedness. We are looking at how to prepare for an event lasting at least 6 months with a finite time to prepare. (Figure most disasters don't give 21 days advance notice). I have no particular expertise but together I bet we have a lot of creative ideas.

We're starting with water because it is a non-negotiable. I took my LE biology credits in a course called 'survival biology' where the instructor said that no food for 30 days was an involuntary fast(there are plenty of exceptions) but you don't survive 3 days without water (or even one day exerting yourself in a hot, dry climate). So, fill containers, and in a pinch remember the hot water heater contains potable water as does the tank on the toilet. Right now, you have time to mail order barrels suited for water storage of tap water and rain barrels. We'll come back to water after the household evaluation.

I'm assuming anyone reading has been doing some preparations all along. So now take the time to evaluate your household according to categories. Look at what you have so far. In doing so, put on an analytical mind and check emotions at the door. This is no time to get overwhelmed or depressed. Be an evaluator with a check sheet and a critical (does not mean judgmental) eye. You are looking not so much to inventory (time issue) but to see what you need to do next. Write down where the basics that need covering.

Evaluate your Household:

Water - Do you have stored water, the means to access more water, the means to purify water that has been wild caught. As crucial as water is, water born illness will take you out fast.

Food - I'm assuming that readers here have been working on food storage. Mostly we work on storing what you eat and eating what you store. We aim for balance. But right now, focus not so much on perfection but on six months supply to fill your bellies with energy giving food. Think of things like beans, rice, the means to make bread, cooking oil and salt. Put up what you and livestock can't live without. If you have that, then begin to evaluate your nutritional balance, comfort foods, pet food, protein, fruits and veggies. Begin to fill in the holes. Store water specifically for preparation of dry foods - it takes a lot. Remember dogs evolved with humans because of similar nutritional needs and commercial dog food is an institution of the 20th century. They need more fat and calcium for an optimal diet.

Shelter Again, most who are reading this have a place to live and are in the U.S. Do you have winter blankets, an alternative heat source such as wood stove and wood, electric heat and solar power, kerosene heater and kerosene, room to take in others, extra towels and linens, window covers? Coats and boots and clothes for those who are still growing? What practical tools do you need? What can you share with those nearby?

Fuel This is alternative means of cooking, propane, kerosene,solar (if you can afford it), lighting for the darkest days of the year, extra gas for emergency transportation or for generator.

Sanitation A friend who worked as an ER nurse in the Appalachian region told me one time that most of what they saw could have been prevented by good hygiene. Have enough water that you can wash cuts and take sponge baths. Take care of little cuts, don't let your skin crack, take care of your teeth. Have the means to remove toilet waste, to wash clothes, to brush your teeth, stock up on soap homemade versions. If the worst comes, don't get complacent.

First Aid and Medication Stock the first aid, learn alternative remedies, get your medication filled and squirrel away what you can. Some Drs. are very sympathetic to third world travel (and we're traveling there).

Cash and barter goods Be frugal starting this instant - stash cash in small bills, don't run the bank but begin easing some cash out. However if money were to be too devaluated, turn your money into goods and consider in bad times what others may crave may have high value to them. Figure ways to find money, now.

Diversions and celebratory There is no point in being fed and secure if you lose your mind. All societies celebrate, so don't forget to. Have books, puzzles, games, cards, the means to listen to or to create music (solar ipod charger or crank Victrola), sewing and handiwork. I bought baking supplies because if the holidays are bleak in America, home made treats will be very welcomed.

Evacuation If things are bad all over, generally folks will be safest staying put. However if a disaster is happening where you live, have a bug out bag, the camping supplies in one spot, and know what food to grab.

So, how did it go? Did you look in the closets and the garage and the cupboard? Do you know what you have? Were there any surprises? What have you remedied since yesterday?

We bought gas cans and gas, filled a 50 gal water barrel, bought all the fire bricks in two towns and need 28 more for our adobe oven, and then canned peaches. Canning is time intensive but picking up a case of peaches at the store doesn't take much time at all.

Mr. Greenjeans noted that there were no red gas cans in town. He had to get a kerosene can and write on it.


Tara said...

Just getting caught up here! I just saw this and we're both at our offices today, so no preps yet. Need more stored water, at least one replacement filter (to filter pond water for drinking), livestock feed, some cleaning/sanitation items, plus add a bit to our food stores. Gear is mostly together and in good order, but could use going over. I'd love to sharpen all the tools.

Anita said...

We went looking for gas cans yesterday—none to be found, other than the little chainsaw gas cans. We have one good one and a couple of others that can be used for storage but are not good for carrying to the station because the caps have gone missing. So we will just ferry gas to the bad ones—as soon as the stations here have gas again.

We have heat—a woodstove in the back addition, which is where we live anyway (the rest of the house is basically storage), with a duct running through the attic to the living room so it will stay at 50 or so. Plenty of wood split and stacked, and more waiting to be split.

Warm clothing, blankets, towels—I think we're OK. First aid supplies need to be evaluated, medicine seems to be OK (our insurance co. requires that we get ours by mail, three months worth at a time, which I hate—but I'd hate paying full price for it worse). Need to stock up more soap, toilet paper . . .

We have entertainment, too—we are both readers and we'll never be able to finish all the books we have. I've stocked up on thread, needles, pins, made sure I have crochet hooks and knitting needles. Need to replace the belt on the treadle machine.

What worries me the most is dental care. I have *awful* teeth (luck of the genetic draw, and a bad former marriage with no dentist money) and am currently coping with badly receding gums. . . My dentist wants me to see the periodontist, but there's just no money and I don't see any in the future either. Although I suppose there are worse things than another missing tooth or two! said...

We are prepared! We have stockpiled and have filters. We have a garden and lots of first aid supplies. We have gas cans, too.

It's comforting to know that should we need to -- we could survive.

Excellent post!!!


Anonymous said...

Should we add a stabilizer to the cans of gas? How long will it last otherwise? I just don't think we are ready, although a lot more ready than most. This is very helpful. I will be checking back regularly.
Cindy in FL

Verde said...

wasteweardaily: DH opinion is that if you plan on storing the fuel longer than 6 mos to add a stabalizer. Our plan is to use it and replace it.

Anonymous said...

After looking through our preps, I feel pretty good. Of course, there is always more to do and I don't think I will ever feel TOTALLY prepared. It really is an on-going process, isn't it?

- Today I took out some cash to keep in a safe place at home.

- I need to sew some more cloth tp (in case we run out of flushable tp)....

LisaZ said...

Thanks for this, Verde!

Yesterday I bought 7.5 more gallons of drinking water. So far I'm buying the 2.5 gal. containers for $2.18 each at the grocery store. I just don't want to deal with other types of plastic bottles right now (BPA issue!), and I think this is the easiest way for me to have emergency water. We also have three 55 gal. rain barrels full of rain water, but no way to filter that to drink. I know we could probably boil that for chicken water, at least, if needed. The 7.5 gallons yesterday added about 50% more to my water supply--I now have ~20 gal. drinking water good for one year (exp. dates are on bottles so we'll be sure to use them up w/in that time)--that 20 gal. in an emergency would last 5 days minimum for my family of 4.

I also went to the secondhand store and bought 4 backpacks to use as bug-out packs, for less than $5 each. We needed "extra" backpacks for this so I can keep them filled and ready at all times.

I'm also stocking some necessities like chocolate chips to last 6 months! Found some good sales at the grocery.

Today I'm posting on freecycle for an electric room heater, and I'm going to find a gas can and some stove fuel.

Anonymous said...

Whats next? I bought 2 gas cans, a fire proof safe, an led lantern, regular and rechargable batteries, zip ties, parts for 3 oil lantern bases I found in a dumpster, case of 1/2 gallon ball jars, and lamp oil. I put in an order for 25 lb bags of pinto beans, garbanzo beans and popcorn. I bought more olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar.
What is best to put in my lamps? Lamp oil or kerosene? Anyone got an idea what they will do for their lighting?
Cindy in FL

Verde said...

Wow, everyone is looking to be in great shape! I may be the furthest behind.

Cindy, what does your home evaluation show about what you need next? I would think your lamp would just take lamp oil, but it should say on the base. Do you know if it is an aladdan? Do you have Amish neighbors who could look at it?

My evaluations showed that my family is pretty good on the food and water front (there are some specifics that I'm working on - waiting for the fall potato crop). We want another propane bottle (to always have one full). Hubby did research on a wood stove, need crank radio, more batteries, oil lamp.

Anonymous said...

Hi Verde,
I don't have any Amish neighbors. I think there is an Amish settlement in Sarasota, but that is 3 or 4 hours away. I went ahead and bought lamp oil. The hardware store owner said either oil or kerosene would work, but that kerosene smelled bad. It is quite a bit cheaper though.

I have a list of things I need. Man, if I knew "IT" was really gonna happen, I would get a dog and a bunch of fencing materials, maybe even some solar panels. We are in a strange position to have some liquid assets to aquire most of what we need. It almost makes it harder than knowing you can only get certain things.

I do have a tredle sewing machine that my parents gave me a few months ago to sell. I never sold it. It does need a belt though. Where are people getting those?

Cindy in FL

Chile said...

I made notes while reading and need to order dog food and look over the 1st Aid kit list. I think I'm low on large dressings. Otherwise, we're in decent shape for many of the things on the list, although I've really got to buy a few more shoes. Due to foot issues, finding shoes that fit is a real b*tch so I hate shopping for them. Gotta suck it up and do it, though.

The winter is mild enough here we'd probably be able to get through it without supplemental heat if absolutely necessary.