Monday, January 15, 2018

Preparedness On the Go

It seems like we spend a lot of time on the go - commuting to work, school, church, shopping, and so forth.  For many of us, our cars seem like a second home, we spend so much time in them. When the time comes to bug-out, most of us will depend on our vehicles to get us out of danger. Here are some ideas and tips for preparedness on the go:

1- When traveling long distances or short, it is best to let someone know where you are going, what route you plan to take, and when you expect to arrive or come back. That way, if something goes wrong, folks can more quickly realize you have "gone missing" and have some idea where to start looking for you.

2- Be sure to keep your cell phone charged, and keep a phone charger in your vehicle.

3- Keep your vehicle in good repair. Perform all routine maintenance on a regular basis. Make sure your tires and brakes are in good condition, and all your headlights, taillights and directional signals are working. Drive safely, and practice defensive driving. Pay attention to the road. Don't drive distracted (no talking on a cell phone or texting while driving). Doing these things will make you less likely to get in a wreck, break down, or get a ticket. It will also mean your bug-out vehicle will be ready when you really need it to be.

Check out my article Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule.  

4- Keep your gas tank topped off. I rarely let mine drop to even the halfway mark. It is also a good idea to keep some gas safely stored at home. I keep five 5-gallon gas cans safely stored on my property away from my house. Remember to keep your gas fresh by rotating every few months. Consider getting a portable fuel filter, for reasons I outlined in a recent article.

5- Keep a pair of jumper cables and/or a car battery charger in your vehicle. Make sure all drivers in your family know how to use them.

6- Make sure you have a good spare tire in your vehicle, along with all tools you need with it.  Make sure all drivers know how to change a flat tire. There's a great commercial that used to run on TV, showing a teenage girl by herself changing a tire on her car in an empty parking lot at night. The camera then swings back showing Dad standing twenty feet away watching, not helping or doing it for her. Be that Dad.

7- Consider a can of Fix-a-Flat for quick use in an emergency. Fix-a-Flat is NOT a long-term fix, and can actually damage your tire and rim if used for an extended period. It may also void your warranty if the tire is still under warranty. But, better a damaged tire and voided warranty, than getting stuck in a bad neighborhood/situation.

8- All drivers should know how to check the oil level, and how to add extra oil if needed. Same for transmission fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant, and other fluids.

9- Its a good idea to always keep an overnight bag packed and ready to go at a moments notice in case you ever need to evacuate your home on short notice (approaching wildfire, nearby chemical spill, and so on). Peppers and survivalists typically call this "bugging out" and put together "bug out bags" that can be quite extensive. 

Non-preppers should at least pack a change of clothes, personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), some snack food (possibilities: packs of seeds & nuts, peanut butter crackers, energy/protein bars), and a couple of bottles of water for each person. 

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Other items you might consider: a small first aid kit, a compact emergency survival kit (see my article on putting one together), a good blanket, a road map of your area, a three-day supply of any prescription medications. an extra pair of eyeglasses, and a good multi-tool.

10- If your typical footwear is dress shoes, high heels, sandals, or flip-flops, I suggest you keep a pair of more practical athletic shoes or hiking boots in you vehicle, for when you need them.

11- Maps, a road atlas, and written directions to possible destinations in an emergency (Grandma's house, Uncle Fred's place, etc.) are a good idea. Smart phones, Google maps, and GPS may be temporarily (or permanently) down.

http://amzn.to/2r9ECPM12- Here's an idea many folks haven't thought of: keep a 4-way sillcock key in your vehicles and bug-out bags. They are small and inexpensive, so get one for each vehicle and BoB. Sillcock keys are used to open water spigots on commercial buildings, and at parks & golf courses. Get access to water that you otherwise wouldn't be able to get.

13- Always practice situational awareness when you are on the go. Watch what is going on around you and be aware of possible problems and threats. Be wary of people who look out-of-place, are loitering, or who act nervous. Before getting out of a car or walking out of a building, look out a window first to identify possible dangers.Park in well-light, highly visible areas.

14- Avoid dangerous neighborhoods and sections of town. Travel, walk, shop in groups. Park in a highly visible, well-light location near the entrance to minimize chances of ambush & muggings. Don't make yourself a target by wearing expensive, flashy clothes & accessories, or driving an expensive luxury car. Don't make yourself a target by appearing easy-prey - instead wear practical clothes, and walk confidently, head up. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Emergency Preparedness for Your Children

Here are some ideas and tips for getting your children prepared for emergencies. Children do have to face dangers and emergencies in life, sometimes when their parents are not around. You are NOT protecting your child by trying to hide this uncomfortable truth from him or her. Children do mature, both physically and emotionally, at different rates. You will have to take their individual age, maturity, and abilities into account when helping them prepare for emergencies.

1) All children should learn their full name, address, phone number, and parents' full names as soon as possible, well before kindergarten. My mother taught primary grades (k-3) and was constantly surprised by the number of her students each year who didn't know this basic information.

http://amzn.to/29UGBt72) Seriously consider getting your children  "dog tags" to wear with their name, address, and parent's name and contact info, along with blood type, allergies, and any other important medical info. Dog tags work better than ID bracelets, in my opinion, because you can include a lot more information on a dog tag. Its also hard to find bracelets small enough to not easily slip off a small child's wrist.

3) All children should learn how to call 911 in an emergency. 

4) Teach your children basic safety rules. Teach them about "stranger danger," to not open the door for people they don't know, and to not tell people over the phone that Mommy and Daddy aren't home. Teach them not to play with matches, guns, or knives, and to not run with scissors. Children, especially young children, really do need these reminders often.

5) Children should start learning first aid early on. I remember being taught basic first aid in school when we were in fourth grade. There's no reason whey we couldn't have started learning the basics even earlier.

6) Teach your children to make health and fitness a part of their lives. Teach them to eat healthy and to be physically active. Limit their screen time (TV, computer, gaming system, etc.), and make them spend some time outdoors. Better yet, teach by example. Activities such as walking, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and gardening, can be dome as a family.

7) Scouting and 4-H clubs are great ways to help kids prepare. They will be active, learn new skills, build character, and learn self-reliance. Concerned about the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts moving away from traditional values? It mainly depends upon the leadership of your local scout troop, so get to know the troop leaders. Or, consider Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls as Christ-centered alternatives.

8) Teach your children gun safety. Two resources are the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Club (by the NRA) and the recently-released book Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules: A Children's Book About Gun Safety.

Remember, it is your responsibility to get your children prepared for whatever the future may hold. It is not the responsibility of government, the schools, or even your local church. It is your responsibility.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gun Safety for Kids

I was just made aware of this book today, which came out last week. I STRONGLY believe in the topic and want to make as many people aware of it as possible. Many - probably most - folks reading my website have guns. many also have children, grandchildren, or nieces & nephews. Guns are fantastic tools for self-defense and hunting. But, like many other types of tools, guns can be deadly dangerous if handled improperly. People, especially children, should learn gun safety.  

 Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules: A Children's Book About Gun Safety

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Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules: A Children's Book About Gun Safety

 ***Yes. I am an Amazon affiliate, and if you purchase a copy of this book (or anything else) through a link on this website, I will make a (very small) commission, which is paid to me by Amazon, and costs you nothing (its the same price regardless). 

 

Monday, January 8, 2018

General Preparedness at Home

Many preppers and survivalists are preparing for major long-term emergencies, such as economic collapse or political turmoil, civil unrest, war, plague outbreaks, or EMP events. But we must not forget about the smaller, everyday emergencies like house fires, bad weather events, temporary power outages, car or appliance breakdowns, sickness, household accidents, and other bad events that don't quite add up to the Apocalypse. 

Here are some ideas for preparing for those smaller, less Earth-shattering, but more frequent emergencies. Frankly, all preppers and survivalist should be doing these things before preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.


General Preparedness at Home
 
1- Every household should have an emergency fund. A recent study found that almost half of all Americans cannot come up with $400 in an emergency without borrowing the money, using a credit card, or selling/pawning something. This is not a good situation. Do whatever it takes to build an emergency fund - hold a yard sale, sell that exercise machine you don't use, sell that ATV or other expensive toy that you don't really need, brown bag your lunch for the next few months, downsize your cable TV package, work extra hours or get a second job... Aim for an emergency fund of at least $1000, and slowly work up to at least six months worth of expenses (or more).

2- Have some cash on hand. The bank may be closed (weekend or holiday) when you need the cash, and ATMs don't work when the power is out. I suggest finding a really good hiding space in your home to stash $300 or $400. If you can't do that, start with what you can and work your way up. 

3- Make sure everyone in your household is aware of what to do in case of a fire. They should know at least two escape routes. Hold a practice fire drill every few months, especially if you have small children.

4- Make sure everyone knows, especially younger kids, how to call 911 in an emergency.

5- Every home & apartment should have at least one working smoke detector. It should be battery-powered not hard-wired. Make sure the batteries are fresh!

6- Every home & apartment should have at least one Fire Extinguisher. Be sure everyone in your home knows where it is and how to use it. A possible alternative, back-up, or supplement to the traditional fire extinguisher is the Fire Gone Extinguishers. These are smaller, less expensive, very easy-to-use, and easier to clean-up (and they work on class A, B, and C fires).

7- Have a good First Aid Kit in your home (rather than just having random supplies scattered about your house). Make sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it. A good first aid handbook is useful, but all adults and all children of school age should take a first aid/CPR course.

8- Have a bright LED Flashlight, and extra batteries. Several are better than one. Consider keeping a flashlight in each major room of your house.

9- So you can stay informed of what's going on in a power outage, you should have a electrical and battery-powered AM/FM/NOAA Radio. Don't forget to have plenty of extra batteries in case of power outages. You can keep up with weather and news reports, emergency announcements, school and business closings, and so forth...

10- Everyone should have at least a week's worth (and two weeks is even better) of food & water. Think in terms of not being able to go to the store because of a bad winter storm or similar event... Oh, don't forget to include some foods you don't have to cook (peanut butter, pop-tarts, canned tuna, canned soups, canned pastas, etc.) in case of a power outage. (Many preppers and survivalists strive for a year or more of food storage for long-term emergencies, but this article is aimed at everyday, shorter-term emergencies.)

11- Do a home safety inspection. Walk around every room of your home, looking for potential problems, such as clutter that can cause falls, fire hazards such as frayed electrical cords, and poison & other chemicals that are unmarked or easily accessible by children. Make sure all knives, guns, matches, lighters, etc., are secured from young children. Walk around you property and all outbuildings doing the same thing. Most scouts learn to do these safety inspections as part of earning various merit badges and skill awards, so if you know a scout, have them do it for you!
 
12- If you have guns, please teach your children gun safety. The NRA has gun safety programs for all ages, including young kids.

13- Be sure to talk to the children in your house about basic safety rules, such as not answering the door for strangers, not telling anyone over the phone that Mommy and Daddy aren't home, not touching Daddy's guns, knives, or tools, not running with scissors or playing with matches, and so on. Kids, especially young kids, really do need these reminders often.
 
14- You may also want to check out my article Workshop and DIY Safety.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

My You Tube Channel

Hi Folks,

In 2017, I quietly launched a You Tube channel. Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm not a polished, professional speaker (obviously), nor am I technically or artistically adept at producing and editing videos. But the information I'll be sharing on my channel will, hopefully, be useful, and I'll also try to provide some motivation. So, please check out my channel and subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvYXs-yMv4ZuwJsgyPDGB1w

Here are a couple of my most recent videos:

Priorities in an Emergency

 

The STOP Plan