Monday Musings: 4/14/2014

 Monday Musings 4142014

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps. 

First the blog updates…

I am working on a new round of reviews and projects that I will be posting about soon.

One of the projects I had hoped to get going hasn’t worked out just yet, the Back to the Roots AquaFarm which I mentioned last fall   I originally purchased it to try an aquaponics project indoors, but found out during the set up that we don’t have a good spot for it.  I didn’t realize this before buying it, but found out later, that it cannot be near any bedrooms because the pump generates a steady noise.  At the same time, it needs a sunny spot to work properly.   I’m not saying it doesn’t work – we just don’t have the right space for it.  Back to the patio garden!

New Mountain House products for 2014   I received an announcement from Mountain House announcing their new 2014 products:  

 ·       Mountain House® Biscuits and Gravy: This traditional breakfast comfort food provides the energy outdoor enthusiasts need to fuel up before or after vigorous activities. Unique in the industry, Mountain House developed a recipe for biscuits in a creamy sausage gravy that offers a perfect combination of soft, yet crunchy while maintaining just-add-water convenience. Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy come in a 4.94 oz. pack with an MSRP of $5.99.

 ·       Mountain House® Apple Crisp: This classic dessert can be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack or by the fire as the perfect finish to a satisfying meal in the outdoors. Mountain House Apple Crisp provides that homemade flavor and comfort outdoor enthusiasts crave at the end of a strenuous day. It comes in a 4.59 oz. pack with an MSRP of $7.49.

 ·       Mountain House® Fire Roasted Vegetables: The savory, delicious taste of fire roasted peppers, corn, and onions with hearty black beans is the perfect side dish for favorite Mountain House meals. One serving contains 100 percent of the daily Vitamin C requirement – just the nutrient replenishment needed after activity. They come in a 1.48oz pack with an MSRP of $3.99.

 ·       Mountain House® Just In Case… Breakfast Assortment: This 16-pouch assortment includes 29 total servings, including: Scrambled Eggs with Bacon, Scrambled Eggs with Ham & Peppers, Granola with Milk & Blueberries, and the Breakfast Skillet (Hash Browns and Scrambled Eggs with Pork Sausage, Peppers & Onions). Each breakfast provides plenty of fuel for when it’s needed most. The assortment comes in a reusable bucket and has an MSRP of $89.99.

The Biscuits and Gravy, Apple Crisp and Fire Roasted Vegetables are available in cases of six. The Just In Case… Breakfast Assortment is sold individually. All four new products are available now to retailers nationwide.

I’ve tested their beef stroganoff and their spaghetti and meat sauce and they turned out well.  When I try some of the new offerings I’ll be sure to let you know how they turn out.

News about my new book, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure:  A Prepper’s Book for Kids

The release date on Amazon changed again, but the publisher tells me the books are shipping out this week.  It’s available for pre-order.  You still have a chance to enter the Goodreads giveaway- deadline is April 15th.

Enter the giveaway by clicking on the the Entry button below!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure by Bernie  Carr

Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure

by Bernie Carr

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Good luck!

Now for the links…

So many data breaches, so little time  Last week it was all about “Heartbleed”  And it’s not even over yet.

 The Heartbleed SSL Flaw: Are You Affected?

Not another one…

Massive U.S. credit bureau data breach has experts worried

More earthquakes than California   An area not widely known as an earthquake zone, Oklahoma has been experiencing a lot of earthquakes:

Oklahoma rattled by an uptick in earthquakes

Good life lessons  Interesting article from someone who has been through his own personal downturn.

The End of the World: The Sequel

Don’t neglect this   Good reminder about a prep that is often neglected.

Your Most Important Prep

Remedies for a common problem   A lot of people suffer from acid reflux, and taking over the counter medicines may have undesired side effects.  Check out this article for some relief:

Home Remedies for Acid Reflux

Easy-peasy    Making homemade butter seems easy enough.  I hope it works when I try it.

Make fresh homemade butter with heavy cream and a mason jar

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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10 Prepping Tips for New Parents

10 Prepping Tips for New Parents

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

On one of of the blog comments, a new mom expressed her concern for the safety of her young child in the event of a disaster.  It is bad enough worrying about yourself in an emergency; it is only natural for a new Mom or Dad to have extra concerns about protecting their young children.

If you are a parent of young children, here is a quick list of actionable steps that will help you be more prepared AND ease your mind:

  1. Make a list of all the essential baby items you use on a daily basis from the minute the baby wakes up until you put him or her to bed.  You would be surprised at all the items you use.  Once you know what you need go to the next step.
  2. Build a three month supply of these commonly used items.  Of course you will want to stock up on baby formula, diapers, wipes etc.  Buy the next sizes that you can foresee using in three months.  Don’t forget to rotate your stock so nothing goes to waste.
  3. Stock up on extra water for yourself and your children.  Don’t forget you will need water for washing and cooking.
  4. Always keep a flashlight next to your bed:  in case of an emergency in the middle of the night, and you lose power, you can get up quickly and run to your child’s bedroom.
  5. Children outgrow clothes very quickly so you will need a stockpile of clothes in varying sizes.  To save on cost, visit consignment stores or thrift stores and buy the next sizes above what your child is using now.
  6. Always carry a well-supplied baby bag in the trunk of the car.  Include extra clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks, a toy or two for each child.  This will come in handy for any minor emergencies, such as a child throwing up in the car, getting stuck in traffic or the child getting fussy.  It’s not a bad idea to have a small suitcase that contains extra clothes for each member of the family in the car, to be changed seasonally.  This is in addition to the emergency survival kit that every car should have.
  7. Consider lower cost or home made alternatives to the store bought supplies you are currently using:  cloth diapers, homemade baby food, wipes etc.  The savings can be substantial.  After I discovered how easy it was to make baby food from normal recipes such as spaghetti, chicken and rice soup etc, I cut down on using bottled baby food.
  8. Don’t forget to include baby supplies in your go-bag, in case you have to leave your home in an emergency.  Include the baby sling and stroller on your way out in case you have to walk out of the city.
  9. Keep a list of emergency contacts not only in your cell phone, but also a hard copy, in case your cell phone isn’t working.  Build a texting tree in case of emergency.
  10. Become familiar with the emergency procedures at your day care center or pre-school.  Leave an extra set of clothes, food and prescription medicine at the care giver in case of emergency.  Learn alternate routes to your child’s pre-school, back to your home from the office.

New parents have their hands full, and realizing the fragile state of the system does not make it any easier.  Taking concrete steps to become more prepared will make you feel more in control of your situation, and you will feel more confident you can handle both small and large emergencies.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Monday Musings: 3/31/2014

 Monday Musings 3312014

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps. 

It’s now starting to feel like spring in southeast Texas, with the bluebonnets and other wildflowers blooming and the air is heavy with tree pollen.  This also means stuffy noses, itchy watery eyes and nonstop sneezing for us allergy sufferers.  

First the blog updates…

Huge giveaway planned  I joined up with several members of the Prepared Bloggers for a huge spring giveaway.  The details of the giveaway will be published shortly.

Now for the links…

I hope more people pay attention  We really need to protect our electric grid – no one wants long term power loss

Newt Gingrich’s Plan to Stave Off the Apocalypse

Mobile users of sites – beware of ID theft  More news about accounts being exposed to hackers.

Feds: Fandango Customers Were Vulnerable to Hackers, Identity Theft

Spring is the perfect time to exercise  And it won’t even cost you much!

Nine Free Resources for Inexpensive Home Exercise

Using food storage supplies Great example about creative ways to use food storage stockpiles

The fascination of DIY Cool Whip

Handy skills to have  Even apartment dwellers would benefit from knowing some basic plumbing

Basic Plumbing Skills Every Prepper Should Know

Before an emergency happens, a chance to “do over”  I agree with the ideas in this article – now’s our chance to make it right!

If I Had the Chance to Start Prepping All Over Again, Here’s What I Would Have Done…

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Fast Tips to Prepare for an Earthquake

Fast Tips to Prepare for an Earthquake

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

The recent earthquakes in Southern California had us worrying about our families and friends who live in the Los Angeles area.  I was relieved they were fine but with a lot of frayed nerves.  I don’t usually post on Sundays, but I am hoping people will take a few steps to get more prepared before a bigger earthquake happens.

Earthquakes are always unexpected, so preparations need to be made as soon as possible and maintained are part of everyday living.

Find the safest place to be in an earthquake

Identify the safest spots in each room and let all family members especially kids, know how to find them.  Under a sturdy table or against an inside wall are some areas to consider.

While the earth is shaking, remember to

  • Drop – try to be low to the ground so you do not get knocked down.
  • Seek cover – protect your head and neck, and try to get under the sturdy desk or table mentioned above.
  • Hold on – to keep your balance, hold on to something firm until the shaking stops.

Fasten your furniture and appliances

Secure large furniture such as bookshelves and large appliances to the walls to prevent them from falling on top of you in the middle of the night.  You can use brackets or straps to secure even a large screen TV.

Consider the placement of mirrors, large picture frames and other heavy objects.  They may look good over the bed or couch, but they can fall on people very quickly when an earthquake happens.  If you must have them close to you, at least make sure they are secure against the wall.

Have an escape route

Know all the exits out of your home or building should it become unsafe.  If you live in an apartment, get familiar with all the stairways and exit doors.

Keep comfortable shoes next to your bed.  Resist the desire to bolt out of bed and run barefoot – you may be stepping on broken glass.  Keep flashlights next to you where you can easily reach for them.

Three days of food and water is not enough

A lot of people I used to work with when I lived in earthquake country always cited they were protected by a ready made emergency kit that had three days worth of food and water.  Keep at least a week’s worth of food and water to get started.  Include a gallon of water per person per day.

If you have an “Earthquake Emergency Kit” open it before and earthquake happens.

They are better than nothing, but when I actually opened one, I found a couple of servings of instant noodle soup, aluminum packets of water, a handful of candles and a couple of match books.  A better step is to build your own, and tailor it to your family.  Include aforementioned food and water, lighting sources, backup ways to cook, radio and batteries, as well as a first aid kit, including prescription medicines and extra glasses.

Keep a survival kit in the car as well as your office.

Make a communications plan

Have an out of state contact, build a texting tree, and have a plan to get home in the event of an earthquake while you’re at work.

Always keep your cell phone charged, and have a hard copy of emergency numbers.

Know how to turn off utilities

Even though you live in an apartment, you may have to shutoff the water going into your unit, or turn off gas.  Learn how to do this so you can practice before it happens.  Repair crews may not always be around, so  a few tools handy to help you do what’s needed.

I hope these tips that are easily done in an afternoon or two will help someone get started before the next earthquake happens.

 

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Monday Musings: 3/24/2014

Monday Musings 32414This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps. 

First the blog updates…

Giveaway Winners  Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for Through Many Fires.   Here are the 10 winners who have been chosen via a random drawing:

1) Smoker11

2) Jake R

3) Mom of 5

4) nathan

5) Dairy

6) Adam

7) grammyprepper

8) Jamie

9) Beth

10) Pierce

The author will contact the winners directly.

Now for the links…

BioLite Giveaway  Just wanted to pass this along:  BioLite is having a spring giveaway:  they are giving away a CampStove, KettlePot and Portable Grill, plus a bonus prize for referring friends to the contest.  We’re not affiliated with them, but readers may want the chance to win.  Here’s the link to the sign-up form: http://bit.ly/1oMItVD

What’s it like to live with hyperinflation?  Here’s a personal story:

Brazilian Hyperinflation: A Reader Explains What Life Was Like  Part 1

Brazilian Hyperinflation: A Reader Explains What Life Was Like  Part 2

This could happen to anyone

Do Not Make Fun Of Those That Have Fallen Out Of The Middle Class – You Could Be Next

Good to know    Alternate sources for power  http://tri-fuelgen.com

These stories always creep me out  

At least 59 people dead in Guinea Ebola outbreak

 Ebola Outbreak: Could It Happen in the United States? The Answer May Surprise You

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 © Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Will You Need Companions During a Collapse?

Why you need companions during a collapseThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A few months ago we traveled with another family to enjoy the snow for a few days.   Each family took their own vehicle.   On the day we were scheduled to leave, it snowed heavily the night before.  We were apprehensive we would not be able to get to the road without a snow plow, and there were none available.  Our vehicle made it just fine, but our friends’ car got stuck in the deep snow.  Fortunately we were able to tow them out.

This event got me thinking about the need for companions when things get rough.   While the idea of the “lone wolf survivor” may be appealing to some, the reality is life would be so much tougher if you had to go at it alone.

Safety and Security

The old adage about “safety in numbers” is true, but only if you pick the right companions.  They would have to be people you can trust.

In one of the books I recently read, Going Home by A. American the main character originally did not want any companions in his journey.  But one of the travelers who wanted to tag along reminded him he would need to sleep sooner or later and someone should watch his back.  This was a convincing argument.  No matter how good at self defense or how well-armed you are, when you go to sleep you are vulnerable.  Having others keep watch would be much safer.

Even during normal times, a neighborhood watch group can help protect the neighborhood from thieves and other criminal activity.

Food gathering and preparation

People can split chores according to their expertise:  some people can hunt, fish, garden, while others can prepare food.

Skills

Another good reason for having companions is to share skills and expertise.  If you know someone with a medical background, or other skills such as building and construction, sewing, canning, etc. you can help each other or barter your time.

Now that we realize the benefits, the real challenge is really getting to know your community.  Unfortunately, most communities especially in big cities are not close knit – some neighbors who have lived next door to each other for years barely even know their neighbors.  A few ideas to consider:

  • Take the time to get to know who’s around you.   I’m not saying you should tell the neighborhood about your prepping but at least get to know who’s who and build rapport with them.  It takes a while to find trust worthy people.
  • If you don’t think they are reliable find some other like-minded friends or family members and develop a relationship.
  • Don’t be heavy handed in trying to convince people to be prepared; if they are so inclined, you will know.
  • Once you find people you trust, even if it’s just one other family, make plans to communicate with each other and get together in the event of a dire emergency or collapse.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Read this Before you Toss out Expired Medications

Read this Before You Toss Out Expired Meds

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I mentioned a few weeks ago I’d be clearing out and rotating my supplies.  Upon opening the first aid bucket, we found a lot of over the counter medications that were at or have reached their expiration dates.  The boxes and seals were unopened, so I was hesitant about throwing them all out.  So I reached out to our community experts, Dr. Joe Alton, aka Dr. Bones of www.doomandbloom.net and Dr. James Hubbard aka The Survival Doctor to find out their thoughts.  I gave them a list of the medications in my storage.  I did not expect a response from both, after all doctors are busy so I thought if I get one response it’ll be great.   I was fortunate to get a prompt response from both!   Both were fine about my posting their responses.  Here is what they said.

From James Hubbard, MD, The Survival Doctor

Most solid medicine stays good long past their expiration dates. Some studies have shown antibiotics, in particular, can be quite effective for several years. Usually, the worst thing that happens is the effectiveness of the medication gets less with time. I recommend buying medicines with the farthest expiration dates available, staying refreshed by using the ones closest to expiration date for everyday use, and immediately replacing those with a newer medicine. Store all in a cool, dry place. Moisture and heat can make many medicine deteriorate much faster than they otherwise would.
Here’s a link to a 2000 Wall Street Journal article. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB954201508530067326.html?dsk=y  The Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) is the study usually mentioned when citing prove that medicines last longer than their expiration date. And here’s another article that has tables that cite specific medicines and their extension times. http://www.ofcaems.org/ds-Stability_Profiles.pdf
Dr. Hubbard did suggest I could start a new supply and buy new ones remembering what I wrote above.
From Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones of www.doomandbloom.net   
Dr. Alton sent me a file:  http://www.ofcaems.org/ds-Stability_Profiles.pdf
listing the results of testing on expired medications.  He said, “It has all the meds listed, and I think it includes many of the medicines you mention in generic form. I would say this about aspirin: if it goes bad, it tends to smell a little like ammonia (just a personal observation on some very old meds).  Otherwise, I wouldn’t throw them away.”Here’s another article I wrote October 2012 about some interesting tests on some drugs found in a storage room of a pharmacy that were 28-40 years expired:

October 8, 2012 — An analysis of 8 medications indicates that most of the active ingredients they contain were present in adequate amounts decades after the drugs’ expiration dates, according to results from a study published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine. 

Lee Cantrell, PharmD, from the California Poison Control System, San Diego Division, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy, and colleagues used liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to measure the amounts of the active ingredients in the medications. The medicines, which had expired 28 to 40 years ago, were found in a retail pharmacy in their original, unopened packaging.

To meet US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, an active ingredient must be present in 90% to 110% of the amount indicated on the label. Drug expiration dates are set for 12 to 60 months after production, even though many compounds can persist far longer.

In the new analysis, 12 of the 14 active ingredients persisted in concentrations that were 90% or greater of the amount indicated on the label. These 12 compounds retained their full potency for 336 months (Dr. Bones 28 years) or longer. Eight of them retained potency for at least 480 months (dr. bones: 40 years). Dr. Cantrell’s team was unable to find a standard for homatropine, 1 of the 15 ingredients.

Only aspirin and amphetamine fell below the 90% cutoff. Phenacetin was present at greater than the cutoff in Fiorinal (butalbital, aspirin, caffeine, and codeine phosphate, but was considerably less in Codempiral No. 3. The authors attribute the deficit in Codempiral to conditions that led to preferential degradation of phenacetin because of its amide group, compared with codeine, which is also in Codempiral but is more chemically stable.

Three compounds persisted in greater than 110% of the labeled contents: methaqualone (in Somnafac), meprobamate (in Bamadex), and pentobarbital (in Nebralin). These relatively high amounts may reflect degradation of other components of the compounded drug, the fact that the samples were produced before FDA-instituted quality control measures in 1963, or inconsistencies of the analytical techniques between when the drugs were compounded and now.

The new findings are consistent with the efforts of the Shelf-Life Extension Program, which has extended the expiration dates on 88% of 122 drugs tested so far. Extensions range from 66 to 278 months.  “Our results support the effectiveness of broadly extending expiration dates for many drugs,” the researchers conclude. They also point out that extending shelf life can significantly lower costs to consumers.

Limitations of the analysis, the investigators write, include an inability to confirm the storage conditions of the drug samples, as well as imprecise dating of the samples. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

 **************************

For the preparedness community, this information is very important, as it lends credence to what I have been telling you all along:  get your medical supplies together, and don’t throw out drugs in pill or capsule form just because they have passed their expiration dates. 

What did I end up doing?

I kept most of the bottles of aspirin and acetaminophen, rotated them for use now and bought fresh ones for the emergency supply.  I tossed out items that had changed in appearance and odor such as  liquids that appeared darkened, bottles that had tablets that were crumbling.

My thanks to Dr. James Hubbard and Dr. James Alton for their prompt and thoughtful responses.   The prepper community is fortunate to have their expertise to help guide us regarding these issues.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Monday Musings: 3/3/2014

Monday Musings 332014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps. 

First the updates:

Who won Prepper Pete Prepares?  Stephanie won the book.  She shared the following comment:  We are just now starting our kids on official preparation stuff, but, having several kids in of family, they have always had chores and have been taught how to cook at appropriate ages. We are starting with different ways of making fire and moving on to finding water and making shelter. Older kids should heave extensive preparation/survival knowledge and little ones should be brought up with it as a lifestyle. We hope to do just that.

Lots of info in one place.   I am happy to belong to the Prepared Bloggers group – you’ll find a wealth of information from this great group of bloggers.  https://www.facebook.com/PreparedBloggers

Now for the links…

Storage facilities and prepping  The author Jay MacDonald contacted me and a few other bloggers about storage facilities – check out http://blog.sparefoot.com/5457-doomsday-prepping-storage/

Here’s a good deal if you are interested in Ham Radio:  Ben at Advanced Survival Guide.com told me about this.  They do this program every year in hopes that it motivates folks to get their Ham ticket.  The Centerfire Antenna 2014 Ham Incentive Program begins on March 1st 2014 and ends on June 27th, 2014.

To defray the cost of the FCC Exam fees, Centerfire Antenna and US  Dipole are offering a $15.00 discount to all first time US hams and US hams that upgrade their license before the 2014 ARRL Field Day. You are eligible for this offer if you receive your first call sign or an upgraded license between March 1st, 2014 and June 27th, 2014.

More details are available at the Centerfire Antenna and US Dipole websites-click on the links below:

http://www.CenterfireAntenna.com
http://www.USDipole.com

Do it yourself solar power  You can buy solar chargers, but for those who want to learn how to do it yourself, here are a couple of interesting links:

Make your own solar power generator for less than $300

 How to Build a DIY Solar Laptop Charger

Here comes credit card debt  Adding to credit card debt when income is already dropping does not bode well but that is what’s happening.  See

 Personal income faces first year-over-year drop since recession ended: As incomes collapse, spending via consumer credit begins to increase.

I really need to stock up on this   Tea tree oil has so many uses, it’s a great addition to your emergency supplies.

9 surprising uses for tea tree oil

Even more uses for tea tree oil here

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Monday Musings 2/24/2014

Monday Musings 2242014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps. 

First the updates…

Still checking and rotating the storage   We’re trying to use the older stored items, and replacing with new stuff.  The budget is tight this month, so although I would have wanted to order more, I ordered a couple of #10 cans of Apple Cinnamon Pancake Mix, a family favorite, from Emergency Essentials.

Who won The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness?  

Kris won the giveaway.  Her main concern about disaster readiness is:  “Because I have preexisting conditions I am most concerned with the medical aspects of prepping and how to deal with it both short and long term.”

Come back in a day or two for the final giveaway of the month!

Now for the links…

You never really know what’s in processed food…   I ate them years ago, but now I wonder what really goes into processed food.  Hopefully you’ve heard about the Hot Pockets recall, but this bad meat was also sold by retailers.

Feeling poorer these days?  See Food Prices Soar as Incomes Stand Still  

and it’s not about to get better soon.
15 Reasons Why Your Food Bill Is Going To Start SOARING

Better learn a few more skills like this one  

The Definitive Guide to Dehydrating Jerky   But I need to get a small, more compact food dehydrator first!

Add this to your list of worries  U.S. Currency Weak and About to Crash—Karen Hudes

Instead of worrying, learn to do these now 

65 Tips to Save Money Through Self-Reliance

If you have to walk home after a disaster   Urban camouflage: Blend in if you have to walk home after a disaster

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Having Gear Does Not Guarantee Preparedness

Solar ChargerThis article is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

 

One of the first things people do when they get interested in prepping is going out and buying gear.  It is great to have a list and just check off items you already just purchased.  Whew!  Got the stuff, now I’m prepared.  Well… sort of.  There is one critical step that is being missed.

Use it!

I’ve heard and read comments from people who, on one hand, have made the commitment to be prepared and are buying the items needed;  but on the other hand, when asked how the things worked, they say, “I don’t know, I haven’t opened the box yet-I’m saving it for an emergency..”  I am glad they are getting started, but not even opening the box to check it is a critical error.

Here’s why:

The item might not work.   When we first got started we bought some cheap stuff that ended up being junk.   Sure, it might be better than nothing, but why rely on something that will fail you when you most need it?  Being in the middle of a power outage would not be a good time to find out your flashlight does not work, or you did not have the correct size batteries for it.  Which brings me to the next point…

Know what you actually need to make the item work.   For example if you have a backpacking stove for a power outage, you will need fuel for that stove.  If you had never opened the box, you may not know this until the day you try to use it.

Some gear need maintenance  Knives, machetes and other items with edges need be sharpened or oiled, firearms need to be cleaned, even

Know how outside factors affect the use of some items  Until you actually practice with the gear, you won’t know how it will work in the “real world”  You may remember my bear spray experiment  where we found out how just how fast you need to use that spray when being attacked, and how a small change in wind direction will affect you.

Read the instructions!  Some things are self-explanatory, but some things are not.  For me, putting a tent together is NOT self-explanatory.   If you have a tent as part of your bug out gear, do yourself a favor and practice with it a few times.  Try assembling it in the day, as well as in the dark.  Putting a tent together at night is a whole experience in itself… especially with kids around.   I know it sounds tedious, but imagine if you were stranded somewhere, and you’re trying to build a tent you’ve never seen assembled, with parts that are still encased in plastic, in the dark, in a rainstorm.

Some items don’t last long   Check your supplies a couple of times a year, so you’ll  know what items have expired or deteriorated over time.  Then you’ll have a chance to repair or replace damaged goods.

Or they may not fit   Another reason to try things out are size changes.  Kids quickly outgrow clothes, backpacks and footwear; adults gain or lose weight so any items that no longer fit should be replaced.

There you have it, a cold, rainy day or a snow bound weekend when you are stuck at  home would be a great opportunity to check your emergency stuff and try things out.  Do it now, before you find yourself in a real emergency.

 © Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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