Archive for the ‘Apartment living’ Category

Is it just me or is anyone else feeling an urgency to prepare lately?

This past week my husband and I were noticing none of the financial news sounded good.  Today’s report featured a record number of people are raiding their 401k pension plans due to unemployment, foreclosure or just to get by.   I know the country’s financial picture has not been good for a while, but this week seemed worse than before.  Unemployment continues to be high, foreclosures and bankruptcies are also at historic highs and none of the fixes seem to work.  Adding to the unsavory mix is the threat of the double dip recession, with even more jobs being lost, possible inflation, deflation OR both–enough to keep you up at night worrying about the family’s future.  I confessed I was starting to get that insecure feeling that we need to “step up” our emergency supplies.

Then I read Survival Mom’s post, “Prepare Now Like There’s No Time to Waste” http://thesurvivalmom.com/2010/08/16/prepare-like-theres-no-time-to-waste/ and FerFal’s “There Will Be Poor…Don’t Be One of Them”  http://ferfal.blogspot.com/ and I felt like these articles were echoing the conversation we just had about increasing our efforts to prepare.

To allow us to buy more emergency supplies, we need to free up additional cash from the already stretched budget so we are taking the following steps this week:

  1. Re-evaluating each budget expense to determine if we can lower the expenses further.

During my break at work, I called the cable/internet company and spoke to the representative about needing to lower my bill.  We went over each charge and I was honest and  told her we really needed to cut back but that I would go home, think about it and discuss with my husband.  I did not intend to cancel the service but the rep said, “I can give you $20 off for 6 months to retain your account, would you accept that?”  I asked her, what’s the catch, she said nothing was needed from me.   I was really surprised and pleased with this offer so I took it.   I told her we may still lower the services if we decide to, but she still gave me the discount anyway.  We will also try choosing a lower plan with the cell phone company.  We are locked in for another year and do not intend to cancel, but it doesn’t hurt to ask how we can lower our bill.  We also eliminated a couple of magazine and online subscriptions.

2.    Cutting back on eating out.

Being working parents, there are occasional nights when things get busy and we end up eating out.  Now we will cook several meals in advance during the weekend to have enough to cover week nights.

3.     Clearing up clutter and selling off unused items.

We hope to sell off books, computer games etc. and add to the emergency fund.

4.     Reviewed our 401k statements and moved the funds to “safer” types of investments such as money market funds.  The interest rate in the safer funds is minimal, but I can sleep at night knowing the value will not sink any further.  This is not investment advise, please evaluate your own situations or talk to a trusted financial advisor before making any changes.

5.    Avoiding waste in electricity, water and food consumption.  We unplug “vampire” appliances such as TV, DVD players etc that continue to use power even when turned off.  This should lower our bills and free up more cash for the emergency fund.

Our local paper today reported on the increasing number of homeless children in Houston.   Many of these families lost their homes to foreclosure, stayed with family and friends for a while until they ran out of places of stay.  It breaks my heart to hear about children having to suffer like this and hope to continue or increase our donations.

I’d like to be optimistic by saying “Things will be better soon.”   But saying it will not make it so.  It is my hope that we all prepare now rather than regret doing nothing should things take a turn for the worse.

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Living in an apartment in the middle of a big city, there is always a chance a situation will arise that will require us to bug out in a hurry.  We need to be able to bug out of our home at a moment’s notice, just in case we ever need to leave.  I will address what situation might cause us to leave in another post; for now, I am just focusing on the bug out bag.

I have read enough survival and emergency websites to know you would need some basic items in your bug out bag to last you until you reach your destination.  Being new at this, I started reading up on all the essentials and found it can be quite overwhelming.

Depending on the situation,bugging out may entail a lot of walking, carrying the pack and maybe camping out.  I have limited camping experience, and have never gone backpacking in my life.

To get more information about what to pack, my husband and I decided to check out a class called Backpacking 101, offered for free at our local REI store.  Surprisingly, the class was packed full of families, couples and Boy Scout troops.   We figured an experienced backpacker would be knowledgeable about the best items to consider bringing with you.  If you are an experienced backpacker then you likely will know all this, but what I learned was all good information for a beginner like me.  Naturally the real purpose of our attending the class was to learn tips that we can apply to packing our bug out bag.

When considering the contents of your bug out bag, you will need to consider the five survival necessities as follows:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Security

Once these basic needs are covered, you will also want additional items to stay comfortable in a difficult situation.


The backpack should be of good quality, sturdy and as lightweight as possible.  It should also fit comfortably to your size and body type.  A good backpack will have a hip belt so most of weight sits on your hip and not your shoulders.  It should have also have enough space, and reasonably priced.   To avoid back strain, a rule of thumb is, a person should carry a pack weighing no more than 30% of his or her weight.

Security Guy has a good article about choosing your bug out bag, aptly titled “Bug Out Bag” at http://www.securitywhip.com/


Depending on the weather, you would want to dress appropriately and in layers if possible.  You may start out walking in the cool morning air, but will eventually get hot as the day progresses.  You will want to remove layers as you go.

Wool socks or synthetic fiber socks are better than cotton, as cotton retains moisture and will take a long time to dry if you sweat or get wet.

Synthetic fibers like fleece are good, as they draw moisture away from the skin.


Hiking shoes are the best kind of shoes for walking long distances, and you will want to “break them in” before you have to bug out.

It is a good idea to carry moleskin pads which are self sticking cotton flannel pads to place over sensitive areas before blisters can develop.

I now understand you must take care of your feet, as they could potentially be your only transportation.

Map and compass

Even if you have a GPS device, it is a good idea to keep a map and compass as backup, as there are certain areas where a GPS will not work well, such as valleys, or in bad weather.

First Aid

Personalize your first aid kit according to your needs.  I personally would want pain reliever, acid and diarrhea medicine, antibiotic cream for burns and insect bites, allergy medicine, wound care materials, etc.   I could write a whole separate article just on first aid supplies, so I will save this for another entry.


You would want the tent to be as lightweight as possible.   If it is too bulky or heavy for one person, you can split and pieces among your group to spread out the weight, as long as you stay together.  You would want a ground sheet inside your tent to keep water away from you.

Sleeping Bag

The sleeping bag should be lightweight and versatile for various types of weather, and go down to around 20 degrees if possible.  Down is good and comfortable, but it must not get wet; while synthetic fill bags are not as comfy, but will dry well if  the sleeping bag gets wet.

Water Purifier

There are many water bottles that will purify water; I also wrote a previous article https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/insuring-against-3-days-without-water/ on water purification techniques.  I may also considering getting a Steri-pen which can purify with UV light, but you would still need to filter out pebbles and impurities with a cloth or bandanna before using.


Dehydrated or freeze-dried food is highly recommended; as all you need to do is add hot water to the pack and you are done.  I bought a few samples for the family to try out, and I will publish our review at another post.

Cooking and Eating Utensils

The lighter the better, since you have to carry these things as well.  I will need to investigate the aluminum and titanium choices.

Stove and  Firestarting materials

A means of cooking your food and boiling water are necessities.  We have multiple ways to start a fire and keep it going and I plan to experiment on various methods as soon as I gather up the materials.  We saw the Jet Boil canister which runs on butane, which looked very light and compact, but for now, we have our propane camp stove, which does weigh a lot more, but will do in an emergency.

Toilet Paper

The Charmin camping toilet paper would be nice and compact, but in an emergency, there are other choices.  I covered this subject in another article:  Not for the Squeamish:  Toilet Paper Substitutes https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/?s=Toilet+paper


You will need to be able to protect yourself in a bug out situation.  Guns, crossbows, slingshot, pepper spray–there is a variety of options and will vary according to your personal choice.


We recently assembled our grab and go binder, containing important personal documents, as described in this article https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/the-grab-and-go-binder/.

Pocketknife and Other Tools

We already carry a pocketknife in the car, but need one for the bug out bag.  Other good tools include camp shovel,  ax, saw, pick, machete, etc.  There is so much detail and choices, whole posts can be written on each one. Since we are covering the basics, I won’t go into much detail.


Depending on the emergency situation, your cell phone/ solar charger, crank radio will help you stay connected.

Other useful items that will make life bearable:

  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and wide-brimmed hat are all useful sun protection.
  • Multi-towel – this is a nifty little towel that takes the place of several bath towels and will dry quickly.  It is not absolutely necessary but nice to have if the budget allows.
  • Headlamp – Easier than a flashlight, as you can keep your hands free to do other chores while in the dark.
  • Insect repellant – this is a must have here in Texas, with all the large bugs and mosquitoes.  The brands with the most Deet are very effective, but must be used sparingly, as they are also corrosive and may be harmful.  There are also natural alternatives such as lemon-eucalyptus herbal formulas, but may not be as effective as Deet.
  • Soap, toothbrush, and other toiletries such as deodorant are not life saving, but advisable for personal hygiene and morale.
  • Rain gear such as jackets and ponchos; backpack cover since most backpacks are not waterproof
  • Rope
  • Plastic bags
  • Deck of cards for entertainment

I know this list does not cover absolutely everything needed to bug out; this is only a basic starter list.  I also did not include individual situation items such as baby items if there is a baby in the family, pet items if you have pets with you, etc.   A concern that occurred to me as I was making this list is, this could get expensive and we don’t have all the funds to buy all this stuff.  But I realize you have to start somewhere and we can assemble these items slowly as we have the funds.  I will also check close-out sales and scour garage sales or Craigslist for used quality items.  Building a bug out bag is very personal and the contents will vary greatly according to each person’s needs.  As apartment preppers, we would have to balance needs versus space and budget constraints while making our choices.

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The green coffee shipment from MREDepot mentioned in my last post https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/nothing-beats-the-smell-of-coffee-in-the-morning/arrived and I now have to find space for 12 #10 cans.  The camp roaster for the beans arrived as well.  The boxes have been sitting in our dining area for a couple of days.  Now I have to find room to store them while waiting to buy the coffee grinder and French press when the budget allows.

As our emergency supplies increase, the storage space required keeps increasing as well.

I posted about space challenges in my June 1st post, “Finding Room for Supplies” https://apartmentprepper.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/finding-room-for-supplies/ I thought we were set with free space for a while, but I spoke too soon.  The small pantry is already full to capacity, including the space-saving shelves that we had installed below the pantry.   What’s an apartment prepper to do?  Get creative!  Every available space is now getting scrutinized.

Here is how we are adding space:

  • Build two horizontal shelves in the laundry room above the washer/dryer.   Checked the apartment lease and adding shelving is allowed, as long as we remove it and leave the wall in the same condition when we move out.
  • Also added a narrow vertical shelf in the corner of the laundry area.
  • Store items inside empty spaces in larger items.  For example, empty suitcases can be used to survival supplies.  Large pots can also be used for storage.
  • Items that can be flattened, such as tent, sleeping bags etc.  can be stored under beds.
  • Added shelves in the garage.

One last thing, keep track of all your hiding places by making a master list of where everything is stored.  This way, if you have to rush out of the house in an emergency, you can gather everything up as quickly as possible.

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Being prepared and becoming self-sufficient is not only about buying emergency supplies.  Learning survival skills if a big aspect of the preparedness mindset.  Since we started our plan to prepare for emergencies, I’ve acquired some new skills:

  • Plant a garden – We have a small balcony garden.   I first planted seedlings bought from Lowe’s, then moved on to growing plants from seed.  NEXT STEP:  acquire heritage seeds and grow a larger variety of plants.
  • Use a gun – My husband has owned a gun for a while; we recently bought a gun for me then went to the shooting range so I can learn to load and fire the new gun.  NEXT STEP: obtain a concealed carry permit
  • Bake cakes and muffins from scratch – I previously used baking mixes, but now bake muffins and cakes from flour, butter, sugar etc. instead of relying on pre-made mixes.  NEXT STEP: Bake bread from scratch
  • Basic sewing – I previously took clothes to the tailor for sewing needs, now I can sew buttons, shorten or lengthen hems, repair a tear, etc.  NEXT STEP: Create an article of clothing.
  • Change a tire – Watched my husband change a tire and practiced doing it after.   NEXT STEP: Change the oil
  • Cut up a raw chicken into serving sizes – I used to be intimidated by those whole chickens and only bought pre-cut pieces.  Now I buy the whole chicken and cut it up myself.   NEXT STEP: Kill and skin a chicken.  I watched my Dad do it, but need hands on practice.
  • Read a map – I previously relied on the GPS, but have since learned to read a map. NEXT STEP: Learn how to use a compass

This is a very small list since we just started our journey.  There are a lot more survival skills we still need to acquire such as building a fire without matches, hunting, fishing, building a shelter, just to name a few.   Learning about survival has shown me how much we take for granted and rely on others to do basic living activities.  It is not easy to give up old habits, but I did find that you save a lot of money by doing things yourself.  Another benefit is I found out that it is fun!

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A few weeks ago I posted that due to hurricane season I added a few more water jugs to the stash, in addition to water purifying methods such as Big Berkey and chlorine tablets. I stored one of these gallon Sparklets containers on top of the fridge.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, since it was easy enough to reach up when needed.   Plus I thought it was secure up there, until today when I opened up the fridge and the water jug came crashing down. Luckily it did not fall on top of my head, but on a kitchen shelf that stored oils and spices. Boy what a huge mess it made: water everywhere, oil, spices and soy sauce spilled all over, and a glass canister filled with sugar exploded on the floor.  I think that repeated opening and closing of the fridge door slowly pushed the water jug out-of-place until gravity took over and down it came.

I was irritated by the whole incident as it took me a while to get it all cleaned up, not to mention the stuff that was broken and wasted.  What a stupid mistake.  Oh the perils of being a newbie prepper.  Well, I might as well learn from it and move on.

  • The spice shelf was cluttered since I basically hate throwing stuff away.  Being a frugal person, I try to hang on to things I rarely use thinking I may need them later.   The truth of the matter is, clutter is the bane of the apartment prepper.  Space is such a premium for us, and clutter takes away space that we can use for emergency stores.
  • Clutter fools you into thinking you have some needed items but you actually don’t.  When I went through the items on the shelf, I thought I had more of some frequently used items such as pepper, but actually did not have much left.  This can be bad if you overlook getting something essential to your daily life and an emergency happens and you are actually out of needed items.
  • I will need to really re-think and evaluate the areas where I store things.  I will store water lower to the floor, possibly in another room.  It will be more inconvenient, but at least it can’t fall down and spill.
  • To free up more space, I am checking other rooms for un-needed items to sell or donate.

Finding space for supplies continues to be a challenge in our small apartment space.  Today’s little mishap reinforces that we need to continue to eliminate clutter and store things more efficiently.

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What would you do without toilet paper?  We have been pondering what alternatives could we possibly consider if a disaster occurs and all supplies of toilet paper ran out.  Being in an apartment, we do not have a lot of storage to be able to accumulate a large amount of any one item.  Also, a large stockpile of toilet paper is not exactly portable in a bug-out situation, and in a shelter in place scenario, the TP supply is bound to run out.  I did some research and found a few alternatives.

1.  Wet wipes or baby wipes

These would work just like toilet paper, but again, a large stockpile would have to be accumulated.

2. Paper Substitutes

I saw a lot of references to using various types of paper.  Newspaper may work, but the ink would turn everything black.   I read other people prefer The Yellow Pages or store catalogs, since the pages are thinner and would not transfer ink to the skin.  Just crumple up the sheet until it softens up, then wipe.

3.  Cloth

Some of the “green” sites recommend using cloth, such as wash cloths, terry cloth or even cloth diapers for wiping.  The method would be to wet the cloth, wipe, then launder the cloth.  Supporters of this idea feel that most people would have nothing against rewashing cloth diapers, therefore personal washcloths should be okay.  I would think it would be a good idea to throw the soiled wash clothes into a bucket of water with some bleach before washing.

4.  Plant material

Some survivalist sites mention using mild or medicinal plants.  Sage leaves were mentioned in some sites, others mention corn husks or banana leaves.  The trick would be to know in advance which plants are safe; you would not want to use something like poison ivy by mistake!

5.  Water

Many countries already use a spray water fountain called a “bidet” which is part of their bathroom facilities.  Since this is being considered in an emergency scenario, we would need an alternative to that too.  In many countries, use of the left hand in combination with pouring water with the right hand is the way to clean up.  The idea would then be to clean vigorously using either a small can, like an empty coffee can or a spray bottle, then dry with a towel.  To avoid disease, one would have to wash the hands well with water or antibacterial gel right after.

Now I am not saying the choices are great, but you gotta do what you gotta do to stay clean.   An informal poll of family members did not result in a majority vote for any of the choices.  The “gross” factor is definitely present, but would have to be overcome in an emergency.  We will keep stockpiling toilet paper for now, and store them efficiently by flattening them for maximum use of space.   Another idea would be to decrease the use of toilet paper by combining with the methods above, thereby extending the life of the stockpile.   In the meantime, we keep our fingers crossed that any TP shortages are temporary, keeping in mind the alternatives above just in case.

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We were watching TV and switching channels last night and a feature on ABC Nightline caught our eye. It had the words “Apocalypse Real Estate” The segment featured a couple of developers selling nuclear war bunkers/retreats out in the desert. I had read about the one in the California desert in a survival blog months ago and now it has hit the mainstream news. The other developer in Florida was selling underground condos deep under the earth, also in a desert I think it was the Mojave, priced at a minimum of $900,000. The interviewer actually brought up the question, “How do you get to the underground condo during a worse case scenario?,” but the answer was a little vague, mentioning it could be by flying, driving or walking.  The newscaster also interviewed a “regular guy” who has been acquiring supplies and has already bought into the California bunker project.

Now I don’t know about you but I don’t have $50,000 to invest in a bunker. Nothing was mentioned about the sustainability of the places, how much food/water stored etc., so I am not even sure I would want one if I had the cash. I think just plunking down some cash does not fully prepare anyone for a disaster, such as acquiring skills, having a survivor’s mindset etc. For example, how would someone who was completely unprepared get to the bunker to begin with? It would just give a false sense of security. Still, if someone could afford these places, and be self-reliant and knowledgeable with skills all at once, then more power to them.

The rest of us will continue doing what we can in our own circumstances to learn, prepare and survive.

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The other day the management company left a flyer on our door about a “Resident Meeting” regarding apartment safety.  I was concerned enough that I attended the evening meeting after work.  A couple of policemen and the building management were in attendance.  The reason for the meeting was to discuss recent criminal activity in the area, and to warn residents about personal safety.

My neighborhood is in the middle of the city of Houston.  If you are unfamiliar with the city and come to visit, you will notice very quickly that the city does not have strict zoning laws.  As a result, the city itself is a mix of residential, commercial and industrial.  One block could be a nice residential area, and across the street would be high rises or industrial parks, unless you live in a planned community in the suburbs.   So you can live in a block with nice residences, but go two blocks and you can quickly find yourself in an unsavory looking area.  Being careful and aware of your surroundings is very important.  Not being critical or negative, that is just the way it is.  While we carefully picked the apartment we live in, checked crime statistics and all that, crime in any area is inevitable.

Back to the meeting.  Apparently, the management company decided to have a meeting due to a recent shooting that occurred in the complex.  They wanted to reassure the residents that it was not a random event but a shooting between acquaintances, a “drug deal gone bad.”  There were no fatalities, the shooter was arrested and the victim was shot in the leg.  Not very reassuring to hear that a resident was doing a drug deal.   The resident has since been evicted, at least he is not around anymore.  The cops also informed us there have been car break-ins and some theft.

Some thoughts and ideas on being safe:

–This meeting has just reinforced my feeling that there is no such thing as a “safe area.”  We need to be on guard at all times, and always aware of our surroundings.  Always find out about what’s going on around you.  Surprisingly, for a complex this large, not a lot of tenants attended the meeting, considering it was about something important.

–If you start to have a bad feeling about your surroundings, stop and pay attention to these feelings, it is your intuition telling you not to proceed.

–As the economy gets worse, crime keeps spreading.  People are more desperate these days, and thieves try to target people that they perceive as more vulnerable:  the elderly, women alone or women and children.

–To avoid being targeted by thieves, think about what attracts these criminals:  flashy jewelry, a large purse that looks stuffed with cash or credit cards even if it isn’t.  I am guilty of this myself, my purse was filled with junk that I felt I needed to carry around-wallet, makeup, coupons, notes to myself etc.  It does not matter if you really have lots of cash; you may just have  coupons in there, but if the thief PERCEIVES that you have goodies, then that is enough to get their attention.  When examining each item such as checkbooks, notes, etc. ask yourself, “Why am I carrying this around, can I leave it behind?”   I have since cleaned out my purse to the minimum items needed.

–When shopping, always lock your vehicle and do not leave your items in the car, lock them up in the trunk.  The cop revealed that they patrol certain malls because thieves are known to “harvest” items that people leave in the cars while shopping.

–Consider a protection device such as mace, pepper spray or a concealed gun if you know how to use them.

–When walking to your car,  have your keys ready in your hand, no fishing around the parking lot for missing keys.  Brief inattention to your surroundings can cost you your life.  If leaving at night, try to walk with someone or have security escort you.

–Train the kids to only open the door to family or friends who know the “password” and never open the door to strangers.

–Keep your curtains or blinds closed.  The more passersby see your appliances and items, the more likely a thief will get interested in you.

–Consider an alarm system or a dog if your building allows it.

–Make sure you always lock your doors and windows.

–Look around the area before you open your door or garage,  as thieves have been know to follow people in as they get home.

–Be careful about announcing your activities and plans on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, this will give potential thieves a “heads up” that your house is available.

Sorry if this article sounds a bit paranoid, but these are the times we live in.  A big part of survival mentality or preparedness is paying attention to your own personal and family security.

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Thanks to the Survival Podcast,  I was very surprised to find out that there was another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, back in 1979.   It was in much shallower water, and closer to South Padre Islands in Texas, but it was considered the worst oil spill in US history at the time.  The owner of the rig tried much the same tactics as BP has tried, but the spill did not get resolved until the relief well was drilled 10 months later.  On the positive side, the Gulf did recover.  Unfortunately, while the technology to drill in deeper and deeper waters escalated, the technology to clean up oil spills has not progressed that much.   Check out http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/04/bp-could-learn-lessons-fr_n_600492.html for additional details on the previous spill.

It is sad to know that history has repeated itself, as lessons were not learned,  30 years later.  Amidst these depressing thoughts, I was encouraged when I read The SurvivalMom’s post found in


regarding lessons WE can learn for this disaster so we can protect ourselves and our families.  There is not a lot we can do about what companies and government do, but we can apply these lessons to something we can control, in our own life.

On a personal note, I am doing the following as a result:

-I believe seafood prices will be rising soon, so I am stocking up on seafood such as fish and shrimp.  I will just keep the stores in the freezer. Not having a large freezer,  I am extra careful about repackaging the stores carefully to eliminate air so the seafood will stay fresh longer.   I also date the packages so I use them within a reasonable time.

-Gas prices are low right now, but prices may increase, I am saving the amount left over the in gas budget to offset any price increases later.

-Continuing to gather items for the bug out bags-God forbid we have a worse case scenario:  if there is a hurricane that pushes the spill toward our area, would not want to experience an “oil-ricane” with oil and toxic dispersants raining over us.

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When starting out with emergency preparedness, it is hard to focus on how to get started and what to prepare for.  When I started thinking about it, it was overwhelming to me and I constantly had one big blob of worry stuck in my head.  What if there is a hurricane, what if there is an EMP… then swine flu hit, and what if there is a huge pandemic?  Or we lose our jobs and become homeless?  On and on my thoughts kept jumping around various worse case scenarios.   Now that I have calmed down and started to actually focus, I have broken it down in my head to long-term and short-term emergencies.

Short term would include hurricanes, wildfires, power outage, a bad flu hitting the family, unemployment.  Long term would be a large catastrophe that brings down infrastructure, such as pandemic, EMP, nuclear/terrorist attack,  just to name a few, that would likely force us to leave our homes.

Next decision would be stay put or shelter in place.  For short-term emergencies, we can easily stay put or “shelter in place.”  For long-term emergencies, we would definitely need to bug out.

In our current situation, we have a few short-term supplies, such as food, water, lighting, camp stove, with enough items to last for about two to three weeks.  Hopefully, that will be enough for this hurricane season.  Because this season is predicted to be active, I would feel better if we beef up our supplies to about four weeks.  Still not much, but this is what space and funds allow for now.

I included unemployment under short-term emergency; I could be wrong in that, depending on the situation.  My husband and I have both lost jobs before, and it was rough, but fortunately, we found other employment within a couple of months.  In the meantime, we took any work we could find, including odd jobs just to get by.  To prepare for financial emergency, we are trying to save more each month, pay down debt and cut out expenses.

I would feel fortunate if short-term emergency is all we had to worry about.

I know we are very lacking on long-term emergency preparedness.   But we just need to take it one step at a time, or I will feel overwhelmed and paralyzed.  As long as we keep doing something everyday, I know we will eventually be in better shape.

Our next focus is on the bug out bag.  Will be researching types of bags and what to pack in the coming days.

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