Today I was refilling the first aid kit I carry in my purse (or diaper bag) and realized that although many of us carry first aid kits in our car and go bag, few people keep one at hand at all times.
Oftentimes we don’t carry one because it’s inconvenient and the prepackaged options just never seem to have what we need.
What I did was take a small (3″X4″) hard sided box I found in a Johnson & Johnson baby pack. In truth, an Altoids case would probably carry most of what you need. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to see them in the comments so we could all benefit.
Inside the box I have:
3 Butterfly Cosures (Steri-Strips)
10 full size band aids
1 2X2 gauze
2 diabetes lancets
2 Triaminic cough and cold dissolving strips (nicely packaged in individual servings)
2 cough drops
1 small tube of triple antibiotic cream
If you are using something small, like an Altoids or Sucrets tin, the triple antibiotic will be the hardest thing to include. I suggest checking for individually packaged “packs”.
Since I have two toddlers that spend an entire season with sinus problems, the cold medicines are a necessity. We also need the full size triple antibiotic cream for all the resulting scrapes and bug bites. No matter how much bug spray I use, Mosquitos will find my kids in the dead of winter.
I use the lancets for all kinds of things like splinters and blisters (they make a hole large enough to release pressure, but heals quickly enough to leave the spot protected).
Although you can get a snack size ziplock, I really suggest something hard sided to make sure everything stays in good packaging.
Thinking about it I should keep one set of all of my normal daily medications and I’ll look around the house for something to separate them in the box.
Keep in mind, I have a backpack in the car with a “full size” first aid kid. That one has a weeks worth of my meds, stretchy wrap, pain killers, and even up to stitching materials. There’s a few other good ideas in that one, so I may share that later.
Hope this helps you come up with a few other good ideas.
Water is most likely one of the most underprepared item that people store. In many ways, I think it is misunderstood and often undervalued. Unless you have spent any time doing extended backpacking trips (or already experienced a water emergency of some time) it is unlikely that you have a firm grasp of where water should fall in your priorities.
Most likely, all of us are aware of the statistics regarding how much water each person needs, and how often. However, these challenges are about turning “book learning” into practical understanding.
Challenge: Water shortage
Take an old Clean milk jug and fill it up with water. This is what you have for a water supply for the next 24 hours.
For making ice, tea, cooking, brushing your teeth. Any time you would normally turn on the tap you now have this one source for your water. If you live on city water, you may add a second gallon for washing.
Please realize, there are many types of water crisis. Some situations you may still have water access, but it may be compromised. In our home we are on well water. In the case of a power outage we would need to use our generator to even wash dishes or bathe. Yes, we have a generator, but it will also be needed for things like the freezer.
It will be interesting to hear how you fare!
I often see people asking the question of whether or not children should be involved with prepping. As a parent of two toddlers it amazes me that the question is even asked. After all, do you ask at what age they should be introduced to church or allowed to meet your family? If prepping is truly a part of your life then you must believe it is a positive thing. Therefore, why would you hide it from your children?
I guess I should also qualify, at this point, that prepping should not be done in a spirit of fear. It is not necessary to dwell on the negative things that could happen in order to prepare for them. I’d say about 80%, if not more, of the things “we” do are completely kid friendly. Even gun usage is something that can/should be shared with children. No! I am not recommending you set your two year old to shooting a shotgun. However, gun safety can be taught to any age. Personally, when I was being raised we were not allowed to even play “bang! Bang!” with a finger gun.
We were taught that every gun should be treated as real and loaded. My parents had guns, and used them for hunting and potential personal protection. (say THAT three times fast) as a military family we moved often and usually lived in areas with a lot of neighbors with children. As such, I think my parents felt it was better to teach a healthy respect of TOTAL hands off.
My husband was raised in a country environment and was shooting BB guns at 5. He was also taught how to carry a gun – and respect of the damage a gun can do. Honestly, I can’t tell you which way is better.
When it comes to the basic concepts of prepping I believe that children are already surrounded by examples and opportunities to talk with them about preparedness. If you’ve had young children within the last few years you are probably familiar with The Fresh Beat Band. A show watched, and loved, by my two kiddoes. On an episode shown today, one of the characters said “Well, I like to be prepared.” at least 4 times. How much more of an example do you need?
Yesterday, our family was watching “Twister”. My almost 4 year old was fascinated by the “bad storms” and we talked about the “safe places” the families stayed in during the storms. We are still doing fire drills and both children (2 and 3) know exactly where to go if anyone yells “Fire!”. In truth, there are many, many, opportunities to discuss why and how to prepare for emergencies.
Wake-up Wednesday is a series to help bring preparedness efforts to practical reality.
This week’s challenge is to evaluate how realistic you efforts are for an unexpected emergency level evacuation of your home. In the case of a tornado or fire (of which many have been in recent news) it is necessary to not only leave your home quickly, but to do so with whatever you need to survive.
It is often recommended, especially if you have small children, to do a fire drill so that everyone knows where to go. However, I propose to add a level or to of practicality.
At some time before next Wednesday conduct a Preparedness Drill, call it whatever you like to explain it to your family. The rules are:
1. You must leave the house as quickly as possible in one trip. You can not return to the home.
2. You can warn your family that a drill will be run, but try to minimize foreknowledge of when it will be. If at all possible, have a friend or relative initiate the drill by calling you or knocking on your door at a time completely unknown to you. To get the full impact try something in the middle of the night (weekend?) to test how you respond when awoken from deep sleep.
Once you’ve made it to your “safe zone” ,and established everyone is there, evaluate what you’ve brought with you. If you’ve done this in the middle of the night, take everything carried out and put it on the table. Do not add anything once you’ve returned to the house.
Do you have a bug out bag (BOB)? Would it really take care of your family if your house was destroyed and you could not return (money, clothing, copies of important papers)?
Can you carry the BOB and a small child if they are half asleep and unable to move quickly?
Good Luck! I hope to hear what experiences you have.
For those of you who have followed along, you may have noted that I spent some time working Disaster Recovery for FEMA. Now, before I begin I want to say that prior to the Katrina Disaster (which was actually a Levy issue, not a hurricane issue) FEMA was a actually out to help people. I personally feel (purely MY opinion) that after that disaster so many changes were made and red tape increased to where the only people who benefit from it now are those skilled in “using” the system. Before I sidestep into a full on rant, I’ll continue with my story.
When the hurricanes of ’04 began training into Florida I had about experience from 2 other disasters crossing 3 states. I thought myself “prepared”. Although I had seen hurricane damage after Isobell, this was different. I used GPS to locate my first applicant. All the street signs were gone. I eventually made my way to what was supposed to be a mixed subdivision – made up of mobile homes and so called regular homes along with a few that were a mixture of both. The simple truth – it was gone. Not the house, the neighborhood. The place was just scattered with piles of trash. When you focused on parts you could discern a foundation here, half a garage there. None of us knew at the time that FL would be hit with 3 more storms that summer. All of that debris would be picked up and turned into missiles before it could ever be picked up and taken for disposal. Most people were living in their cars, or the only remaining room of their house that still had most of a roof. The nearest place with power was about a 3 hr drive, and this was 2-3 days after the storm. I was among the first “help” in the area.
The family I was there to see were living in their garage – 3 walls of their home and the roof was gone. As we walked around the outside of the house I made my measurements and the couple did their best to describe what had been in the house and how it was laid out. I remember they had a wonderful white rock flower bed around the edge of the foundation. At one point the husband bent over and plucked a weed from between the stones. Suddenly he was overcome with the irony of maintaining a flower garden when his home was destroyed.
At another home, different neighborhood, the family had made a good attempt to set up an outdoor living area with rescued furniture. They had even set up a tent and still had their barbecue for cooking. When I arrived they were excited that they had finally made it through a Red Cross line and had MRE’s and ICE! Sacred commodities at this point. While I conducted the interview they’re daughter, who looked to be 13-14, finished her drink **and tossed the ice from her drink out on the ground*** Her Parents immediately disciplined her, and she was made to understand how critical that small bit of ice could be. Even if it were not used in another drink it could be used to keep food cool. In her mind the reality of their survival status had not sunk in. She was thinking in a “we’re just camping” mindset. This is a minor thing, but it comes to mind when considering including children in training and planning for a disaster situation.
The last family I’ll recall for you today had a father who had been in Vietnam during the war/conflict. He told me how he had never had flashbacks to that time. Yet, 25 years later, when he came out of his storm shelter he said it was like walking into a full on war zone and brought back all the memories and fight or flight instincts of that time. After I completed his interview, I returned to my car. A woman had parked behind me and would not let me leave. Her sister had applied for assistance a week before and still had not heard from an inspector. Not believing that I had no way of doing an interview I had not been assigned she would not let me leave. I had no phone signal – no way to call for help, no way to tell the people I had set appointments with of why I was late. After an hour my previous applicant came out with a shotgun and she finally let me leave.
As a final note, during this time I lived like my applicants – no spiffy govt compound – I lived in my car and ate MRE’s and the occasional Red Cross meal. Needless to say half my baggage for future deployments was FOOD. I was thankful when I finally found a single level motel that allowed me to stay for $50 a night. There was no electricity and the carpet was moldy from the water which had seeped in from the neighboring room that had lost it’s roof.
The main idea behind all this is that disasters hit this country multiple times every year. They don’t have to be widespread, It could just hit a few houses – your house. Then suddenly all that prepping doesn’t seem so silly.
I have decided to start a new series that I hope will be of help for many of us. We often check our preparations to insure we have enough supplies for a given emergency. However, it is not enough to own them, it is critical that we know how to use them, where to locate them, and to have the mindset to use them without pause or undo stress. This, I introduce you to “Wake-Up Wednsday”. A series that focuses on moving from physical ownership to mental ownership.
Scenario: Power Outage Day 4
So, I have a question for you. Is your beautiful cast iron Dutch Oven still in the box? If you’ve pulled it out, did you actually cook with it? My challenge to you is to see if you can prepare a FULL meal with stored foods (no freezer or fridge foods allowed).
If you have an electric stove (like I do) then this would also mean you have to determine an alternate way to cook. I’m sure you’ve already considered what you would do: build a campfire? Use your grill? Use a solar oven? Pull out the propane stove? All of these are acceptable, yet each can have its complications. Will your pan hold up to the heat of an open flame? (This is where that Dutch Oven comes into play). Do you have something to use to get that hot pot off the flames without catching on fire?
It is all well, and good, to have thought through how to handle these options – but nothing can compare to the actual experience and the comfort of knowing you can handle the situation.
Good Luck, and I look forward to hearing your results!!
My next step in my preparations for prepping is to increase my skills, and of course to utilize those skills.
In the past I have tried my hand at canning/jarring, but I had only used the water bath method for cranberry jelly at holiday time.
In an effort to maximize dollars spent for food storage – not to mention having ready mead food I like on hand – I’ve begun learning the art of pressure canning.
Now, I don’t know about your local area, but here on the Texas Gulf Coast you can buy all the canning supplies you need at your local grocery store. Actually, I’ve noted the smaller the store the bigger the canning section. Price wise, however, chains like Krogers and Walmart can get you started cheaper. Hold up! The cheapest way to get started is to ask around. Lots of people either do, or have done, canning and have the more expensive supplies on hand. My MIL had a pressure canner on hand that she only uses in the fall, and she was more than willing to let me borrow it until I had the money/ found one I liked. This way my investment was under $20 to get a case of wide mouth quart jars and a tool kit with a jar puller, funnel, and magnet for getting the jar lids out of the hot water.
After I got started I even found a few ladies at church who had some extra jars they were willing to give me in exchange for a pint of my now famous pintos (recipe to follow).
Next, I went to my local library and picked up a few books on canning. Most seem to focus on recipes for jams and jellies (water bath method) but, I found a few that had good pictures and details on pressure canning. It was also interesting to understand how the process works. It gives you a good respect for why steps shouldn’t be skipped. Since their are also LOTS of websites that go in to details on the subject I will not do that here.
Now, to decide what to can! Do to a recent illness (I am terribly susceptible to strep throat – more on alternate antibiotic options as I learn it!) my husband was let loose on my defenseless kitchen. He decided to make goulash (ok) and try using my beloved pressure cooker for the first time (not ok). Overfilled it, not enough water, used pasta, and I had half an inch of burn to clean up once I was ambulatory (sigh). So! I decided I’d can something that my entire family likes that can make a quick meal if I’m not available to cook. Who needs a Zombie Apocalypse when strep can take you down without a shot fired?
Of course, my decision to make pintos turned out to be one of the more difficult choices available! There are plenty of recipes for plain pintos – but that won’t do. The problem with pintos is that you want them cooked enough ( and flavored well) but you don’t want mush once you’ve factored in the cook time of the canning process.
Since my regular pressure cooker was out of order (it took almost a week to get that scorch out!) I used a regular pot and guesstimated how long to cook it. Here’s how I did it:
1. Take a 1 lb bag of unflavored pintos. Wash them to make sure there are no rocks (rare nowadays but it does happen) and put them in a six quart pot with a bunch of water. Boil for about five minutes then let sit for 45 min to an hour. Drain them and put about 8 Cups of water back in the pot with the beans (supposedly this step helps lower the TOOT factor).
1 onion chopped in large chunks
2 lb Ham steak cut into 1 inch and smaller squares
3 slices of bacon grilled in small pieces
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1/2 tsp Hickory Smoked Salt ( if they don’t have it at your local grocery store it can be found online.)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning
3. Boil for about 45 minutes. Beans should still be firm. Think aldente, not crunchy.
My pot filled 3 quart size jars (next time will be a larger batch now that I know it came out right). Fill, but leave one inch of head room. Add lids and screw tops.
Place in canner and pressurize at 10# for 90 minutes. Refer to classic canning directions on how to do this in your canner.
The next night, after the jars had cooled for 24 hrs, we opened up a jar. We needed to add a little water to get enough juice to have the consistency we prefer, but the texture and gravy were perfect!
Since then I’ve also taken advantage of a sale on chicken quarters. A 10 lb bag (after cooking and deboning) filled 5 pint wide mouth jars. That’s about perfect to add a jar to a pasta dinner or to chop and make chicken salad sandwiches.
As a final note: my husband makes great goulash in a slower cooker and is a great with the smoker/grill.
Hope you enjoy! And feel free to add feedback comments!
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed there are some who call themselves Preppers who are really just glorified Packrats. Now, I fully admit that I have the Packrat gene. I came by it honestly, and it is fairly acknowledged within my family. I fell to it’s ravages many times over the years in my prepping to prep stages. In truth, the most organized home I ever had was when I lived on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico and did not have access to the temptations of impulse buying. Admittedly, even then, I had one of the most well stocked pantries and could cook for 20 at a moments notice.
So how do you know if you’re a Prepper or just a glorified Packrat?
1. A Plan – do you have a plan (Prepper), or do you just randomly buy what looks cool that might come in handy(Packrat)?
2. Organization – are things labeled and inventoried so you can quickly visualize what you have vs. what you need (Prepper)? Or do you shove your purchases in whichever cubbyhole is handy regardless of temperature or humidity controls (Packrat)?
3. Well Rounded – are you increasing skills in all aspects of your life to work towards self-reliance (Prepper)? Or are you just buying up stuff(Packrat)?
Now, this isn’t intended to insult anyone, or hurt feelings. I have found that my house needed to be put in order – and room by room I am making progress. If anything, if I stepped on some toes, start to make the changes now and get the most out of your investments.
I watched a video this morning of a man thinking of giving up on Prepping. He worries that in the case of a true disaster the people he cares about will die from lack of medical attention. He also worries about the possible financial burden he’s placing on his family. preppingonabudget.com
Depression is an eager bugger that can cause anyone to give up. I think that more than a financial concern is he is overwhelmed by his goals. Prepping for people with pre-existing medical needs can seem unattainable. However, to combat Any of these problems it is important to break the job down into smaller parts. Don’t make your first stage of the plan prepping for a full blown Zombie Apocolypse during an EM pulse while the poles are shifting. Despite hoarding laws, FEMA recommends having three months worth of shelf-stable food and supplies for your family and pets. Do you need to buy this tonight? Not if it’s going to put you in the poor house. As I am learning: Prepping is planning. Clip coupons, watch for sales, learn to can and store food (better yet, skill improvement is a big part of my plan), get your house and goals organized first. Start with a months worth of “extra”. This can get you through a short paycheck.
Then, set for 3 months of supplies that can get you through a job shortage or other “local” disaster. After that, look at longer scenarios if you still feel your preparations do not meet what you consider likely. We work to put away savings of money in case of Emergency. This is just a more tangible savings account.
Before going out and buying a bunch of nifty survival and storage gear, I felt it was important to evaluate what I already have in my house. Like the skills assessment there are many things on the Prepper’s checklist that I already have available in my home. Organization is key to efficiency. Efficiency is paramount for reaction speed in the case of an emergency. Having already given a bit of my background it may come as no surprise that I have always pre-prepped for medical situations. Between animals, small children, and a husband that spends much of his time working outdoors, I have acquired quite a few things that were scattered in various places throughout the house, shed, and car.
I gathered everything together – bandages, Tylenols, and cough medicine. I spread everything out on my kitchen bar (and deep freezer) and put things in “like” piles. Here’s a pick of just part of what I ended up finding.
Basically, I had loads of some things – and was woefully low on others. Taking three tubs, I prepared a first aid package for my car, one for the babies room, and a quick grab bag for a central location. Then I used gallon and quart size bags to organize the extras. For example, one bag has cold medicine, one for allergies/bug bites/poison ivy, pain killers, etc. Here is how my cabinet looks now:
I’ve already had need to use a few things and it was much less stressful knowing what I had available – and how to quickly find it. Next I plan to inventory and organize my pantry. I recently noted I had lots and lots (for a pre-Prepper) of green beans and not a single can of corn. I will also do an update soon on my foray into canning.