I like to be comfortable and also to make others comfortable. My nature is caregiver and I want to think that I have learned a few things during my life.
I know that I have posted quite a bit about living prepared but due to so many disasters lately and what I have read in the news and looked at the pictures of so much devastation and suffering that I feel I should do more.
Recently during hurricane Irma I heard on the news that they were telling people not to flush toilets due to flooding and sewers overflowing. But what I did not hear is anyone telling people what they could do.
Actually there are many things people can do but there is little information about what or how to do it.
If we remember the past or study about the past we know people lived without electricity, running water and sewers. Today we live much different and our homes are built with may luxuries such as running water, electricity, gas and sewer. Washing machines, dishwashers, hair dryers and such.
We have become dependent on these things and due to our dependence on comfort it contributes to us suffering because we are not acclimated to living without it. There are things we can do that will help us cope better during a situation that causes a disruption.
So when something happens to our grid, we need to know how to go to plan B.
When something happens to our home, we need to go to plan C.
When we are injured we need a plan D
Plan A, everything is "Allright"
Plan B "Better" have emergency supplies
Plan C "Can't" stay here
Plan D No "Doctor"
But first we need to know how to live while we are at plan B and C and D
Our most critical need is drinking water, we must have water to live. Then we need water to stay clean, being clean is not critical but it makes things a lot better.
We all should store water for emergencies but we need to do much more. If we want to be able to survive a serious emergency we need to know where to find water and have something to carry that water in. We need to know how to catch rain water and some way to filter water so we do not get sick. Most of us do not have a nice fresh running stream near by, some do but most do not.
There are a lot of natural disasters happening around the world and we are not exempt. Also there is a possibility of war. There have been many wars, there are wars happening right now and there can be another big war. We hope not but there is that possibility.
We do not need to live in fear of the things that could happen, we need to empower ourselves to be able to take care of ourselves and our family should something happen. As I am writing this right now there are people suffering miserably due to hurricane damage.
So enough said about that, what can we do? Charles and I prefer to spend our money wisely and spend it on things that we "Need" and can help us. We don't have a lot of money so we have to spend wisely.
The steps we have taken we have done over time, this is something we gradually work towards and continue to do so.
There is no lake or pond or stream near us so we catch rain water. We studied how to do this and we set up areas to collect rain water.
What if we could not do this or lived in an apartment? Rain water can still be collected by going outside and putting dishpans and buckets and such together on the ground, sidewalk, parking lot wherever and collect rain water. Look for gutter drains and try and catch water from that water that is running off the roofs.
What if there is a drought? Well then that is a problem. You need a way to drive to get water and you need containers to put that water in to transport it. How much water do we need? That depends on how many in our family or how long it has to last.
We keep fresh water storage tanks filled with city water. We use this water for things such as washing clothes or watering plants so we can keep the water recycled and fresh. But we can store water in five gallon buckets with lids that will secure tightly. Make sure if there are children the lid cannot be removed by a child.
We keep bottled drinking water behind our couch.
This is what it looks like. This year we had a city water line issue and had to use over half this water before the problem was fixed. Then it happened again. It can be any kind of reason to cause an unexpected water disruption and the older our infrastructure gets the more frequent this can happen. I personally do not like to have to deal with a situation "at need". I like to be prepared as much as I can within reason.
We have a Berkey water filter that we use daily because we don't like the chemicals in our city water. The filters last a long time but we still keep extra filters. The best part about this filter is it will filter pond water and such and it is portable.
Don't forget most of us have a water storage tank, it is our hot water heater. That is water that can be used.
Water is heavy and it is not easy to haul and to store but this is how our generations before us did every day and if they could do it we can find a way to do it. We all have our own locations and circumstances but we all need to figure out how and where we would get water "before" the need arises.
There are people today that live off the grid that carry or haul water and they will tell you it is not easy but it is necessary.
When the electricity goes out, just open the curtains during the day but then there is night time.
We have our oil lamps that we use when the power goes out and I actually move these to a safe place if we have a tornado watch or chance of severe weather just in case we get damage.
So what if there was a disaster and a possibility of a gas leak? Then you don't want to be using candles or oil lamps. We keep solar light bulbs charged and ready.
How do we afford these things? There are few times we shop at a mall. We will purchase new work clothing for Charles but everything else we shop at thrift stores. Many of my clothes are a bit tattered or mended, I don't wear named brand shoes and I save anyway that I can so we can afford the "needed" items and disaster supplies are needed items. They rank higher than a new cell phone or computer or kitchen gadget or shoes or a purse some kind of subscription or bag of potato chips or a six pack of soda.
We make it our business to take steps to have emergency supplies.
Here at our house we are all electric. When the power is out nothing runs. We use these camp stoves and they cook very well but we also cook on these often so it is not that different when we are at need using them. We keep extra fuel stored for emergencies. We slowly purchase extra fuel and store it.
We keep a food stock with non perishable foods. Pasta, rice, cornmeal, flour, dehydrated vegetables, canned vegetables.
Canned meat, and I keep the food rotated, the cans that will go out of date the earliest are in the front. There is a can in the upper right that says 10 - 9. I need to use that can in the next few weeks but it won't be bad by then it is a recommended time to use it by.
Canned and dry milk....
Oil is very important.
Don't forget the pets. We keep extra pet food stored and rotate that as well. This would be heartbreaking if we could not feed our pets.
So how much food and water should we store? There are government suggestions on their website. Minimal of three days but anyone that has been through a serious disaster can tell you this is nothing compared to what is needed.
I cannot tell you the answer to this question but our first goal was two weeks then thirty days. Three month food supply is what I would like to have and a good water supply and part of that would be catching rain water because where we live it would be very difficult to store a large amount of water.
I want to be like our generations before us did preparing for winter. They had to store up for winter and make their supplies last until the next spring and summer when the next crops were ready. If we lived like our ancestors we would be much better off when it came to emergencies.
We "practice" water conservation here at our house. Remember composting toilets do not require water so that helps a lot. We feel the need to do this every so often to be comfortable for if we ever needed to do these things.
So what about comfort?
What if it was just miserably hot?
Were where we live summer can be brutal and the heat and humidity really gets to me.
They make fairly decent size battery operated fans and will help to cool you off if needed. Rechargeable batteries would be best to use and if you have a adapter thing for your car it could be used to recharge the batteries or there are solar battery chargers.
We have portable heaters for cold weather. Make sure it is recommended for indoors and get a air monitor, whatever those things are called.
We have supplies tucked away in different places in the house.
I have talked about the composting toilet recently but I will mention it again. In the old days they had out houses and field ditches and things like that. But today we know we don't have to deal with the stinky part anymore because we know we can compost our poop and pee. Ok, it really is this simple.
We can buy a composting toilet, we can build a composting toilet, all we have to do is look on the internet. Or we can just use a bucket. One of my blog friends mentioned you can take a swimming pool noodle and cut it and slit it and put it around the top to make a cushy seat and I think that is a wonderful idea. Also walmart sells toilet seats that snap on the top of these buckets in the camping section of the store.
And we need pine shavings (Pet store) or sawdust, peat moss or coconut stuff that relpaces peat moss or cat liter if there is nothing else. But the sawdust and pine shavings etc are completely compostable and that goes on top of the poop and pee.
There is plenty information on the internet about this. This is not costly to do. One large bag of pine shavings from tractor supply was under $6.00 last time I checked and it will last a long time. Where do we put it when it is full? If we have another bucket we put the lid on the full bucket and set it outside somewhere and just leave it there for now. Use another bucket and start over. If there is no other bucket then use a large lawn bag as a temporary storage place. It can go in a compost pile but it will need to be composted for one to two years then it will be just dirt. So add 5 gallon buckets with lids and lawn trash bags to the emergency supply list along with the sawdust/shavings/peat moss, whatever you can get.
What about laundry? Boy would that ever pile up in a disaster. We use five gallon buckets, or wash tubs or whatever you have but wash those clothes with rain water or whatever you have. It is not easy but that is no reason to not do it.
Then we need a way to dry those clothes.. Clothespins, clothesline rope or wire and sunshine.
This is not a hard one for me because I have done this for a long time now. I hand washed clothes for several years when I first got married. Then along came the washing machine and now I am back to washing clothes by hand as often as I am up to it because I never want to forget how to do it or lose this skill. I have detailed information about this on my blog. In this part of the world that we live we are a bit spoiled. Many people around the world still wash their laundry by hand. Far more still hang their laundry to dry.
I keep plenty of bar soap and washing soda stored so I can just grate some soap and mix up some laundry soap. We can always just rub a bar of soap if that is all we have. Another thing to consider is washing dishes. We have dishpans and extra soap for dishes. Also toilet paper or cloth wipes. Just sit and think about how to keep a household running without electricity and running water and you will figure it out.
What if we need to evacuate? What if there is a wildfire? or some other serious reason we must leave? When we get to safety where will we stay? What if we had damage at home and our roof is torn off what will we do?
We keep a camping tent and cots and items we need so we have some kind of shelter. They are stored in a good place that is sound and close to where we can get them in a hurry for evacuation. We have pop out dog kennels for our dogs. Basically, we have camping equipment.
We have a bucket that has freeze dried meals similar to MRE's the military has only they are a simple meal.
They come in pouches and you can buy them online or in camping section of stores. Just add hot water that you heat on your portable stove. They are actually tasty and we eat them occasionally when there is no time to cook. These are called Mountain house and they even have desserts. I like the sweet and sour pork.
We are gradually adding to this bucket right now we have 14 meals in here but there are two of us so that is only 7 meals. They are four dollars and something at walmart per meal right now. We are going to keep adding meals to this bucket by buying a few each time we buy groceries.
We have grab and go backpacks in our closet in the middle of our house. They both have clothing, under clothing, socks, emergency tools, flashlights, batteries, hand cranked radio, first aid items and other needed items should something happen and we need to leave immediately. Don't forget pet food and medicine.
This all may seem silly to some people but I feel it is seriously neglectful to not have an emergency plan or supplies especially if we have children or elderly.
We cannot live depending on someone coming to our rescue should a major disaster happen. They might eventually get there but what about the unnecessary misery if takes weeks to get to us. Do you have a first aide kit?
We live in our home, we don't just pop in here for a place to sleep or eat our carry out. We Live here every day and we use these things when needed. We don't panic, or at least we try not to panic, and we try to be self sustainable as we can.
Another blog friend recently suggested a book and it is called Where There Is No Doctor. We need to learn how to give medical care if we are in a situation where there is no doctor. We should continue to learn new things especially when it can be put to practical use. I am just now reading this book and I want to thank my blog friends for their suggestions.
On the wall of our storage room we have two wheelchairs hanging on that wall and some other medical equipment. I quit work many years ago to take care of my parents and we kept the medical equipment we purchased for them in case we need it one day.
In a disaster someone could be injured and this is something that is good to have on hand. we also have crutches. The rubber tips go bad and you can buy extra tips.
I know that several of the thrift stores in our area it is very common to see used medical equipment like this and I would recommend keeping a wheelchair at home for emergencies. I remember when my father got very sick one time and we had to physically carry him but if we would have had a wheel chair we could have rolled him. We got a wheelchair after that incident.
Our home is not overflowing with emergency supplies piled everywhere, they are worked into our house to where we can use them off and on. The extras are stored hopefully in a safe place. There is more I could have shown but this post is getting too long.
I feel this is important and my hopes are that people will start practicing using emergency items such as cooking on stoves or building a camp fire.
Try catching rainwater, experiment with different ways to do this.
Wash a small load of laundry by hand an wring it out and hang it outside to dry. Store some extra water, add extra food supplies and make a family emergency plan.
You can do these things no matter where you live.
I will go and drink my tea now. Grandma Donna