How to Prepare for a Flooding Disaster

How to Prepare for a Flooding Disaster

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

As you may have heard, our city experienced an unprecedented flooding disaster.  Last night, a severe storm dumped several inches of rain in a short amount of time.  Many people who were out and about – watching the Rockets game, attending graduations and proms etc. – were caught in the flood.  Many motorists were stranded in their cars all night as flood water prevented them from moving any further.  Some had to abandon their cars on the roadways.  Many homes have been flooded and damaged.

Except for a few power outages, our area was not severely affected and I am grateful.  This morning, schools were closed, traffic lights were not working and people were asked to stay off the roadways.  I was hearing about some apartments that were severely damaged causing several families to move to shelters.  Today’s developments showed me how quickly an unforeseen disaster can happen and the need to be prepared is ever present.

Here are a few thoughts one what we can do to prepare for a flooding disaster:

Before a flood happens

  • Pack an emergency kit or bug out bag in case you ever have to evacuate.
  • Build a grab and go binder that houses all your important documents so you can easily carry it with you in case of evacuation. It is also a good idea to have a backup somewhere else such as a safe deposit box, or a relative’s home.
  • Make it a habit to check weather reports and forecasts before heading off. This way you can be prepared for any possibilities. If nothing happens, you lose nothing. It does not end there. Pay attention to your surroundings and be alert for any sudden weather changes.
  • Identify routes that are not prone to flooding. Plan your evacuation destination and route ahead of time.
  • Keep your gas tank half full so you do not have to stop for gas.
  • Include your pets in your emergency plan-many shelters do not accept pets.
  • Discuss emergency plans with all family members.  Designate a meeting place in the event your family members are separated.
  • Check your homeowners or renters insurance policy to find out your coverages. If you are not covered, you may need supplemental insurance.
  • Educate kids, especially younger drivers in the family,  about the dangers of crossing flood waters.

Know the difference between a “Flood watch” vs “flood warning”

· Flood watch: means there is a possibility of flooding

· Flood warning: Flooding in the area is already occurring or is about to start.

Staying safe in a flood

Stay informed by listening to the news for any emergency announcements.

Evacuate immediately if an evacuation order is issued by authorities.  Or, move to higher ground if you feel your home is likely to flood.

If your home starts to flood while you are inside, and you are unable to evacuate, move to higher ground such as an upper floor, attic, roof or even on top of tables

Flood waters are extremely polluted as it contains runoff from cars, gasoline and oil from the street, sewage, fertilizers and other toxic chemicals. Thoroughly wash your hands and any parts of your body that comes in contact with flood waters.

Disinfect everything that flood waters may have touched. Food, makeup, medicines that got wet are no longer fit for use and should be discarded.

It is difficult to accurately assess how deep flood waters run, especially in the dark.  As little as six inches of water can knock a person down, and two feet of water can sweep away a vehicle.

Don’t push ahead when facing a flooded area.  Whether walking or driving, the most important thing to remember is, “Turn around, don’t drown.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings: Memorial Day 2015

MemorialDay2015

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

I’d like to take a moment to pause and honor our heroes who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

First the blog updates…

I’m back to regularly scheduled postings!  It’s been a busy couple of weeks as we finished moving to a new apartment.  The torrential rains we’ve been having in Texas have certainly added a challenge.

What’s your favorite mosquito bite remedy?  With so much rain and standing water, the mosquito population has exploded.  I found I got six mosquito bites during one morning walk.  I’ve been using the moisturizing salve (miracle salve version, with 5 drops of lavender, 5 drops peppermint and 5 drops rosemary oil) to relieve the itch.  It works!

Who won the The Survival Savvy Family giveaway?  We held the drawing The Survival Savvy Family by Julie Sczerbinski.  and the winner was Bobbi.  Thank you everyone for entering the drawing!

Now for the links…

Find out what Facebook knows about you

40 Percent of Unemployed have Quit Looking for Jobs

Combat Mosquitoes Naturally

1 Ingredient Simple Baking Soda Deodorant

Drying and Using Dandelions

Don’t Eat That! Seven Signs of Food Storage Gone Bad

Flood Preparedness – What You Need to Know

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Apartment Prepping Mistakes to Avoid

ApartmentPreppingMistakestoAvoid

 This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I started this blog just a few months after I started my journey into preparing for emergencies.  Now that I’ve had a little bit of time trying things out, I thought I’d share some of our less than stellar results.  Hopefully you will avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made.

  • Not keeping track of expiration dates.  I feel I have to keep reminding myself and others to keep track of those expiration dates.  I know these are not firm dates, and many items keep past the posted date.  However, some packaged foods really do not taste so good even when slightly past the date.  One example is the Dole Fruit Cups.  I tried eating one that was past the date.  I did not get sick but the stuff did not taste good– it had a waxy taste that is not there when the item is fresh.   At best, you will end up with off-tasting food, but it could be worse.  Take a sharpie and rewrite the date where it is visible and keep rotating those packages!
  • Not keeping a good inventory of items.   Storing stuff in an apartment is challenging and many times, we are forced to stash things in different spots around the unit.  When supplies are stored separately, it is easy to lose track of what you have.   You may not find your emergency items when you most need them most.  You may forget you already have an item and wind up buying multiples.  It’s good to have redundancy, but not if you lost track of what you have.  Keep a written inventory of what you have including their locations.
  • Not storing enough water.  Because of space constraints, many apartment dwellers may neglect storing enough water for everyone in the household including pets.  I know it is difficult but it is possible- consider stackable Water Bricks   The Water Bob is also one I keep for emergencies-as soon as a hurricane warning is issued, we fill up the tub.  Don’t store water in flimsy containers, including 2.5 gallon bottled water jugs.  I’ve already had an accident with a water jug once, and nearly flooded my closet another time.   Don’t make these same mistakes.  Store water in disinfected soda bottles as they are more sturdy, or those new BPA free plastic containers.
  • Buying equipment without checking if you have room.  I’ve received email from readers who bought big ticket items such as generators without checking where they would store it, or even if their building allows these items.  Similarly, I’ve seen neighbors bringing a big barbecue grill then finding out our lease does not allow grills due to fire hazard rules.  Read your lease before making large purchases and decide in advance where you would store things before buying them.
  • Taking security for granted.  Many rentals are considered “security apartments” and many tenants take this for granted.  I see many of my neighbors leaving their garage doors open all day; or being very obvious when they are going on vacation.  One security failure for preppers is having deliveries of items in labeled and highly visible boxes.  In our building, the deliveries are made at the leasing offices, so it gets very obvious who’s getting new stuff.  When ordering, find out from customer service what type of boxes will be delivered and keep track of your delivery dates.
  • Keeping supplies out in plain view.  A couple of issues about apartment living is the proximity of everyone around, and the access various people have to your living space.  Keep your blinds closed so that no one passing by your window can peak and see all the goodies you have around.  Be selective about whom you grant access to your unit.  Some are unavoidable such as when you have maintenance issues, but some can be avoided.  Our apartment has a pest control crew and I have denied them access in the past.

We’ve all had those “I sure wish I had known better” moments.   All we can do is continue to learn.  Hopefully these tips will keep you from making the same mistakes.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings 5/11/2015: Because You Can Never have Enough Water

Monday Musings 05112015 Because You Can Never Have Enough Water

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Re-evaluating our emergency supplies  This week we are checking all our emergency supplies, and getting ready for hurricane season which starts June 1st.  Finding all sorts of interesting things, and I will post about them in a later article.

Adding to our water preps  The biggest thing we did this week was add the Camelback hydration reservoir packs to the bug out backpacks.  The backpacks have a compartment for water reservoir packs, and the opening for the hose attachment.  We had planned to supplement our water from last summer’s off-grid adventure  where we learned you’d best stock up on water while you can.

We also ordered a 3-pack of the Berkey Sport Bottles from The Berkey Guy  I’d take these with me wherever I go, and keep one at work as well.

This week’s giveaway  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for The Survival Savvy Family by Julie Sczerbinski.  There are lots of ways to enter, all of them easy!

Now for the links…

How to Start Prepping in 3 Easy Steps

Manna from Motorists: 8 Roadkill Rules to Follow Before You Swallow

EMP Survival & The First 15 Things You Must Do Immediately After an EMP

Guns for Gals: Recommendations from a Green Beret

Preparing for Home Invasion

Do You have a Second Stream of Income?

Clothing you NEED to be prepared

85 Uses for Baking Soda and How it Could Save Your Life

Take care and have a great week everyone!

The Survival Savvy Family: Book Review and Giveaway

The Survival Savvy Family

I had the opportunity to read The Survival Savvy Family by Julie Sczerbinski.  Julie is  the creator of the blog, Home Ready Home.com which helps average families become more knowledgeable about survival and self-reliance.

The book covers the various aspects of preparedness, such as creating a family emergency plan, getting ready for natural disasters, financial readiness, first aid, fire safety and much more. I like that the author also goes a step further by discussing issues that concern many families such as cyber-bullying, keeping kids safe from online predators, dealing with emergencies during vacations etc. In short, the book covers topics that are not normally discussed in a typical survival book, but can help families avoid everyday disasters.

The Survival Savvy Family is an ideal book for a Dad or Mom who wants to become more prepared for disasters, whether large or small. It will get you started in an organized fashion, offering lots of checklists and quick tips. The book is practical, and detail-oriented. It conveys its message about the need to be prepared without being overwhelming, and without spreading any doomsday apocalypse fears. You will like reading The Survival Savvy Family: it is written in a conversational tone, has an attractive cover and is well organized. Families with children would greatly benefit from this book. This book would also make a great gift for Mother’s Day!

Now for the giveaway…  One lucky winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to win a copy of The Survival Savvy Family.  We’ve made it as easy as possible to enter, with lots of opportunities to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take control of your financial future!

 

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Beware the IRS Phone Scam

Beware the IRS Phone Scam

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I had a different post scheduled, but I thought I’d write about this instead, as this actually happened to me today.

I got a call on my cell phone from an unrecognized number.  The caller left a voicemail message.  I listened to the message and it was an automated voice, which said:

“Hello, this is Officer Nikki Smith calling from the IRS.  It is important that you get in touch with us immediately as we have an urgent matter we need to discuss with you.  Do not ignore this message.  It is important we speak with you as soon as possible.”

Sure, the message got my attention, but I did not call back.  I thought to myself, I filed my taxes early and the tax return was accepted.  I figured if the IRS had any issues, they always send something in writing and would not call my cell phone.  So I did a bit of research and found out that this is a huge scam and thousands of people have been victimized.  The call sounds extremely urgent and many people assume it’s truly the IRS calling.  The scammers demand some kind of payment and the frightened call recipient pays right away.

How to tell the call is fake

According to the IRS scam alert notice, the IRS will NEVER do any of the following:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get such as call, hang up immediately and report it.  For more information visit Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings: Berkey Water Filter for Everyday Use

Berkey Water Filter for Daily Use

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Who won the SunJack Lightstick?  Joseph won the Sunjack Lightstick Giveaway.   The giveaway question was:   On a scale of 1 to 5, how prepared are you for a power outage lasting several hours?  What backup lighting do you have?  His response was:

I think my wife and I would rank at about 2.5. We have flash-lights (solar-powered ones & also extra batteries), candles, and glow-sticks, but nothing like a generator or oil lamps. We get by pretty well though.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  We have another giveaway planned this Friday, so stop by and enter!

Why I started using my Berkey Water Filter everyday  Originally, we had purchased the Berkey for emergencies only, but it turned out to be great for everyday use instead of buying bottled water.

The water coming out of our tap looks brownish/greenish, and the taste was unpleasant with a strong chlorine aftertaste.  The property management said it was not their issue; their pipes were fine, the Water District has control over water quality.  After speaking with some of the neighbors, I learned this was a common complaint:  the water coming out of their tap contains a lot of sediment and tends to be murky.  Instead of buying bottled water, we decided to use our Berkey Light Water Filter.  It has worked out just fine.  Since it is used daily, the filters occasionally get covered with rust colored sediment.  When needed, I scrub the filters with a green scrubber (such as Scotch Brite), and wash the containers thoroughly in water (do not use hot water to avoid damaging the filters).   The set of Black Berkey Elements still going strong after two years of constant use.  I use filtered water for drinking and cooking.

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated  Thank you very much for donating to Apartment Prepper!  We’re renewing our domain name and hosting and this was a big help.  If you would like to help, please donate any amount via our Paypal button on the right side bar.   Thanks for helping keep Apartment Prepper free for everyone!

Now for the links…

Major US Retailers are Closing More than 6,000 Stores

22 Things to Keep in Your Car

Posting Pictures Online

How to Make Creamy Vanilla Yogurt

How I Eliminated Shingles Naturally without Rx Meds

100 Things to Do During Screen Free Week

A Throwaway Generation & The Impact on Faith!

More Crime Prevention Tips from a Veteran Cop

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Worried You Haven’t Prepared Enough?

Worried You Haven't Prepared Enough

Lately there has been a lot of bad news from all over the world:  large scale natural disasters, economic turmoil, terrorism fears, rioting in the cities, you name it, lots of worrisome things are going on.  If you have started preparing, but fear you have not done enough, your are not alone.

Here are my suggestions to help you along:

1.  If you haven’t started already, start your family’s emergency preparedness plan.  Read Getting Started for a quick run through of things you can do NOW.  Get your partner involved in preparedness; if they are unsupported, here are some ideas.

2.  Refrain from discussing these fears in front of the children-they do not need to be burdened with these worries.  Kids are like sponges and they pick up on negative emotions.  They also hear everything even though we don’t think they are listening.  They can be involved in preparedness activities, if structured in a learning and fun atmosphere.

3.  Face your fears:  Make a list of all your fears and evaluate which ones are most likely to happen, and which ones have a pretty low chance of occurring.  Do what you can to prepare for the most likely events.  Most Americans fear an economic collapse and how it could affect them, and so far this seems to be the biggest threat.  So deal with it by taking steps to improve your finances, such as tip #4 and #5.

5.  Start your emergency fund.   We really don’t know how the economy will do this year, it could get better, worse or stay in the same doldrums.  It doesn’t hurt to have some savings set aside.  If you feel you are too broke to save, see #5.

5.  Cut down on expenses now.  Everyone can find some “fat” that can be cut out of the budget, whether it’s a rich cell phone plan, premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions you never read, etc.

6.  Get healthier.   Being sick is a disaster in itself and nothing is worse than being in a disaster if you are feeling poorly as well.   If you are not feeling your best, take some steps to improve your health.  Get into shape, start a healthy eating plan, get your annual checkup.

7.   Become a bit more self sufficient by being less reliant on outside sources.  I know families that eat every meal outside.  In a disaster, McDonald’s won’t be open and families that rely of fast food for every meal can starve.  I am not asking you to become a gourmet cook overnight.  Little steps can mean a lot.  If you eat out a lot, start learning how to make meals from home.  Take baby steps-brew your own coffee, make muffins for breakfast, make a pot of soup for dinner.

8.  Learning a new survival skill does not cost any money but will help you feel a lot more confident about your chances of surviving or even thriving during hard times.   Start with simple things around your house:  learn how to turn off the main electrical switch, how to shut off the plumbing or how to empty out your water heater.   Learn how to change a tire or replace the oil in your car.  There are not “hard core” survival skills, they are practical skills you can use all the time.   You may even enjoy learning something new.

9.  Stop watching all the doom and gloom TV specials.  Filling your mind with a constant barrage of scary predictions will only scare you, and depress you into inaction.   I am not telling you to bury your head in the sand either.  Accept that these worries exist but quit feeding them.  I know because I have been a worry-wort myself.  Ever since I started my preparedness journey, I’ve actually started worrying a lot less.  Taking positive steps will do a lot more for you than being mired in worry.

10.  Realize that being prepared is a mindset.  For all we know, things will stay pretty much the same this year, and we will face the same issues in 2016 and beyond.

Bonus step:  Ease your mind through prayer and helping others.  You are still much more fortunate than a lot of people.  Helping out soothes your soul, and that is never a bad idea. Be at peace with yourself, and with God, and you will have the strength to cope with whatever happens.