Replacing Documents After a Disaster

Written by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper
This article first appeared in The Organic Prepper

We often talk about having a bugout bag that includes a folder with important documents, but despite your preparations and efforts to protect them, sometimes disaster strikes quickly and unexpectedly, and those documents are lost.

For example, the fires in Northern California moved so rapidly that some people fled from their homes without even a moment to put on their shoes. (See these videos for an idea of how dramatic the escapes were for many families.)

Although it’s not always the first thing people think of, in the event of a fire, flood, tornado, or other natural disaster, important documents can be lost or damaged beyond recognition.

The loss of vital documents can make it difficult to function in today’s society. Replacing documents is one of the first steps you’ll need to take. After a disaster, you’ll need identification, proof of citizenship, and proof of ownership before you can begin to rebuild your life.

Be Proactive Before a Disaster

Many of the major stressors after a disaster can be lessened by taking these vital steps before anything bad actually occurs.

1.) Photograph all important documents and store them securely in the cloud. (This report from Boston University provides tips on how to do so.)

2.) Keep photocopies of documents in a secure location away from your property. Consider procuring a safety deposit box for this purpose. (I have copies of all of our information at the home of a family member in another state.)

3.) Scan documents and save them on a password protected USB drive that you keep in a different location. This one is particularly secure and has an automatic cloud back-up.

Protect Important Documents

There are some steps you can take to protect documents from fire and flood damage, but these are not foolproof.

Invest in a good quality fire-proof safe. However, keep in mind that fire-proof isn’t going to necessarily hold up to an inferno like the ones we’ve seen in California recently. The safe I recommend here has excellent reviews, but note the manufacturer’s classifications:

Advance fire-protection- UL Classified for fire endurance ( 1 hour at 1700 f/927 C )

ETL verified for 1 hour fire protection of CD’s, DVD’s, memory sticks and USB drives

ETL verified water resistance up to 8 inches for 24 hours

You can add an extra layer of protection by placing papers in fire-resistant document bags or case.

What to do if your documents are damaged or destroyed

Vital documents must be replaced quickly and efficiently. Keep track of any fees you incur to replace these documents. Your homeowners or renters policy will most likely cover the cost. Below you’ll find the steps you need to take to replace a variety of documents. Links to helpful websites and documents are underlined and bolded.

Birth Certificate

The first thing you’ll want to replace is your birth certificate. You will need this to get your other documentation.  Visit your county records office and explain the situation for an expedited copy of a notarized birth certificate.

Driver License and Auto Registration

Contact your local DMV to talk with them about your situation. They’ll let you know what their requirements are for getting your documents replaced. You may have to wait until you have your birth certificate in hand to get a new license. Some DMVs will issue a temporary license while you’re waiting.

Social Security Card

You’ll have to apply for this in person at your nearest Social Security Administration office. This web page will tell you what documents you need for both children and adults before your appointment.

Passport

You can apply online for a lost passport.  The information can be found at the US State Department’s website.

Military Records

Go to any office of the Veterans Administration, American Legion, VFW, a service recruiter, or Red Cross.  You’ll need Standard Form 180 (SF-180).  If you have access to a printer, you can download the form HERE.  If you’re a veteran, you’ll need these records for medical treatment from the VA and for your benefits.

Insurance Policies

Your insurance company will be able to help you quickly and efficiently by replacing your homeowner’s or rental insurance policy, life insurance policy, and automobile policy. As well, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction for the next steps you should take. Many policies will provide a stipend to meet your immediate needs for shelter, food, and clothing, and they’ll explain what you need to do to file a claim for your losses.

Tax Records

If you use an accountant, they should be able to provide copies of all of your tax records. If you do your taxes yourself, contact the nearest IRS office (find it HERE) or call 1-800-829-3646. (Often the 800 number has very long wait times to speak to a representative.)  You can download Form 4506 online at THIS WEBPAGE.

Firearms Records and Permits

If you have lost firearms that are registered to you, you must report the loss to your local law enforcement and the ATF. If the guns were not actually destroyed but were taken by someone scavenging through the rubble of your home, there could be ramifications if they commit a crime using your guns. (And let’s face it, anyone scavenging through the remains of someone’s destroyed home has questionable morals to start with.)

The ATF will have you fill out THIS FORM.

Contact the issuing sheriff’s department for replacement of your CCW permit.

Credit Cards

Your first step should be to go to your local branch and get your debit card replaced. It may take up to a week for your replacement to arrive. The difficulty here lies in whether or not you have a relationship with your bank. If they know you, you may be able to do this without ID. Otherwise, this may have to wait until you have a copy of you birth certificate.

These are the phone numbers for major credit card companies. You’ll need to call and speak with a representative.  Explain your situation and ask for an emergency replacement to be expedited to you to meet your immediate needs. You’ll be able to pay this off when you receive your insurance money.

  • MasterCard: 1-800-622-7747
  • Visa: 1-800-847-2911
  • American Express: 1-800-528-4800
  • Discover: 1-800-347-2683

Property Deeds

Visit your county records office to get a copy of the deed to your property.

Marriage or Divorce Records

Marriage records are available from the county clerk’s office in which the licenses were issued. Divorce records are available from the Superior Court that granted the decree.

Immigration Documents and Green Cards

Contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Service if you need documents to verify citizenship, immigration, permanent resident card (green card), employment authorization, or a re-entry permit.

Money

FEMA offers the following advice for replacing money that was damaged in the disaster.

Handle burned money as little as possible. Try to place each bill or part of a bill in plastic wrap to help preserve it. If money is partly burned—if half or more is still ok—you can take the part that is left to your regional Federal Reserve Bank to get it replaced.

Ask your bank for the one nearest you, or you can take the burned or torn money to the Post Office and mail it by “registered mail, return receipt requested” to:

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of Engraving and Printing Office of Currency Standards

P.O. Box 37048

Washington, DC 20013

Damaged or melted coins may be taken to your regional Federal Reserve Bank or mailed by “registered mail, return receipt requested” to:

Superintendent

U.S. Mint

P.O. Box 400

Philadelphia, PA 19105

To replace U.S. Savings Bonds that are destroyed or mutilated, get the Department of Treasury Form PD F 1048 (I) from your bank or at www.ustreas.gov and mail to:

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of the Public Debt Savings Bonds Operations

P.O. Box 1328

Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328

Don’t be too proud to accept help

If you’ve lost everything in a disaster, don’t be afraid to accept help. Those of us who witness the loss want to assist you while you get back on your feet. While you do see the worst in people, like looters and scavengers, disasters can also bring out the best in your neighbors.

On the same venue, when disaster strikes, see what you can do to help. If you have extra clothing, bedding, furniture, or food, it can be of great help and comfort to someone who needs a hand up.  Assistance need not always be limited to the practical. Items like toys or books can provide a big psychological boost to a family who has lost everything. Be generous, for someday it could be you in that situation.

About the Author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter.




Monday Musings 12/7/2015: Health Benefits to Use Before the End of the Year

Health Benefits to Use Before the End of the Year

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.  Can you believe it’s the last month of 2015?  It feels like 2015 just got started, now it has flown by.  It’s time to think about year-end activities again.

First the blog updates…

Health Benefits to Use Before the End of the Year  Part of year end planning is to assess your health benefits and figure out what you may lose out when the year ends.  Look at your health plan and review your benefits closely.  A lot of people don’t use their benefits and can possibly lose these opportunities to get healthy or boost your preparedness efforts.

  1. Medical checkups – Most health plans allow for one yearly checkup with your primary care physician.  Have you gone this year?  How about your spouse and kids?  Now is your chance to have your health checked and make improvements.  Part of being prepared is getting healthy and fit.  Also if you feel your job is unstable and staff cuts are on the horizon, it is even more imperative that you use your medical benefits now while you have coverage.  The same goes for the rest of the benefits outlined below.
  2. Dental evaluation – Again, most dental plans allow two cleaning visits per year, either at no cost of low cost.  Don’t miss out one getting your teeth professionally cleaned.  You may also find out you have some needed dental work.  This will allow you to make plans for next years’ expenses.
  3. Flexible spending accounts (FSA) – I can write a whole post about just flexible spending accounts.  They are a “use it or lose it” benefit.  If you have money left over in the FSA, it does not carry over til next year.  Review your balance and the covered expenses.  You could potentially use any remaining dollars to boost your first aid kit: thermometers, blood pressure monitor, Ace bandages and many other items are covered.
  4. Eye exam – Just like medical and dental checkups, many health plans also cover eye exams once per year.  Have your vision checked, as well as your family’s.

Giveaways coming soon…

I finished reading Jim Cobb’s Prepper Hacks and will be posting a review and giveaway this week.

I am reading Ted Koppel’s Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.

Now for the links…

How to Save Money with a Home Brewing Hobby

More Attacks Are Coming: “The Intent Here Was Jihad And It Was Carefully Premeditated And Planned”

25 Ways People Earned Money During the Great Depression

The Many Different Types of Locks

25 Natural Remedies for Diabetes

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2015

This is What Happens During a Food Crisis

This is What Happens During a Food crisis

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentpreppper.com

These last few weeks, I have been seeing some dire warnings from economic forecasters, about risks of another financial disaster, in spite of good economic news from main stream sources.  However, a large segment of our society still seems to be oblivious to the need to prepare.  They have no clue what happens when truck deliveries stop, or when grocery stores run out of food.

What happens during a food crisis?

To find out what happens when there are no supplies to be found, one need look no further than current events in Venezuela.

This is getting very little coverage in the evening news, but people should be paying attention.  Venezuela’s citizens are experiencing shortages of the most basic supplies such as milk, flour and rice.  With shortages come higher prices, as demand outstrips supplies.  People cannot afford to keep up with food prices that increase daily.  Even if they had the money to shop, people wait in line for four or more hours just to get groceries.

Imagine not having any food in your pantry, even when you have cash to spend.  People are risking their lives just to buy a few groceries.  With no food to feed their families, they are getting angry and desperate.   As a result, violence is erupting throughout the cities:  shootings and stabbings are daily occurrences while waiting in line to get in the grocery store; looting has become widespread.

People may say, this can never happen here, Venezuela is just another poor country.  Venezuela is considered a developing country, however, it has some of the world’s richest petroleum reserves, and is the largest exporter of oil in Latin America.  Not too long ago, it was a thriving, prosperous country.   However, government corruption and mismanagement of finances have caused an economic crisis and eroded the citizens’ faith in their government.

How do you protect yourself from a food crisis?

It doesn’t take much to interrupt the supply chain and cause food shortages.  The best way to protect yourself and your family would be to have to basic food supplies on hand of foods you eat normally, as well as a small stockpile of items you use daily such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc.

Resolve to pick up an extra package or two of staple foods such as rice, sugar, flour, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned foods, on your weekly shopping trips.  Keep adding a little extra each week.  In a short time, you will have an emergency food stash for any emergency.   Aim to have a month’s worth of food, then go from there, depending on your storage space.  Keep track of what you have and resupply before you completely run out, giving yourself time to for coupons and sales.

Buy in bulk if you have a warehouse store card, or split large packages with family and friends who also want to build a stockpile.

Learn how to grow food, even if you have a small space.  You can grow an herb garden in the tiniest of balconies.  If you have lots of space, plant some fruit trees and grow some vegetables.  Or, you can participate in a community garden near you.

Food shortages can happen anywhere and it does not hurt to be prepared.  Even if nothing happens, learning to grow food will help you save money.  You’ll save time as well:  you’ll avoid running out of supplies and having to do those last minute trips to the store.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings 7/27/2015 Enter to Win a Copy of My Next Book, The Penny-Pinching Prepper

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Penny-Pinching Prepper by Bernie  Carr

The Penny-Pinching Prepper

by Bernie Carr

Giveaway ends October 13, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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…

I’ve been posting less frequently lately, as I have been working non-stop to finish my latest book, The Penny-Pinching Prepper.  The book is now with the proofreaders, and is scheduled to be released mid-October.  Many new preppers become discouraged by the expense involved in buying gear and supplies – sure, there is an initial expense, but there are ways to keep costs down and make the most out of your preps, even if nothing happens.

Be one of the first to own the book!  Ulysses Press, my publisher, is giving away 10 copies, via Goodreads – you can enter now.  Just click on the link above.

Reader traffic is as good as ever – lots of people searching for apartment prepper topics.  Many thanks to The Prepper Website and Survival Pulse for linking to my articles!

 

Now for the links…

How to Make Compost in an Apartment

How to Start Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant by Seed

Bushcraft and Survival Gear on a Budget

The Pros and Cons of Being a Suburban Prepper

12 Survival Lessons from Ukraine: “Nothing Provides as Much Valuable Information as Real World Situations”

Prepper Shaming: Who Suffers Most from the “Prepper Stigma”

Take care and have a great week everyone!


 

Evacuate your Home in 10 Minutes

Evacuate your home in 10 minutes

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Recent disasters worldwide such as the Chile volcano eruption and the Nepal earthquake remind us that disasters can happen at any time.  You might think, those are far away places, they can’t possibly happen to me; however, emergencies such as chemical spills, wildfires and flooding have been known to cause localized evacuations.  Fires are not uncommon in apartment homes or condominiums, many residents may have only minutes to evacuate.  Circumstances may force you to bug out even though you don’t want to.

It’s very hard to think about, but if you had to, can you evacuate your home in 10 minutes?  If this is all the time you had what would you grab?

We had this exact discussion in our household, and we think we have a plan.  I can’t tell you what your plan should be as everyone is different – you may have more or less people in your household, of varying ages; you may have one or more pets, and have a different stage of readiness.

Here are some things to think about:

  1. Get the family together and discuss what would you do if you had to evacuate in a short amount of time.  Give each able member of your household an assigned item or area to cover.
  2. Think about the nitty gritty details such as where would you exit your home? Are your items stored within easy reach?   The old saying applies- people, pets before things.  But when it comes to that, what are your most valuable possessions?  For some people, it may be their computer, for others it could be their firearms, jewelry, or photos.
  3. Do you keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, glasses etc. in the same spot where you can easily grab them?  Or will you have to run around the house searching for them?
  4. After you exit your home, where would you go?  It depends on the circumstances.  If you live in an earthquake prone area, if there are strong aftershocks you’d want to be out in an open area, away from buildings or structures that can topple on you.  If you were bugging out due to an impending hurricane you would head out of town away from the hurricane path.  Now would be the time to map out routes out of town, and get in touch with relatives whom you can stay with.
  5. You’ll need some clothes with you, otherwise you only have the clothes on your back.  At least have a change of clothes, underwear, socks.  If you work in an office, you should have one set of work clothes in case you have to go to work in the following days.  Not all areas may be affected by the disaster, eventually, you will need to go back to work.
  6. If you have pets, plan ahead for them as well.  At the very least, you’ll need a carrier, leash, collar, food and water for them as well.  Many shelters do not allow pets – but some might.  These are all things to consider well ahead of a disaster.
  7. Don’t forget your important documents.  This is an easy project you can do in one weekend:  build your grab and go binder so you have all your documents in one place.  Even if you don’t have them all in a binder, keep all your documents together so you can easily take them on your way out.  Also keep a hard copy of your contact list in your grab and go binder, in case you happen to leave your cell phone behind, or you somehow lose it.
  8. Have a plan for your irreplaceable items such as photos, recipes, etc. Now would be a good time to back them up online or in a thumb drive.  Grab your computer if you have time especially if your livelihood depends on it.
  9. You’ll need to take cash with you in case ATMs, credit and debit cards are not working.  Keep your hidden cash in your grab and go binder or bug out bag.
  10. Lock up your home as well as you can when you leave.  You’ll hopefully be returning after the emergency has passed, and some looting goes on in the aftermath of a disaster.
  11. Review your homeowner’s or renter’s policy and be aware of your coverages.  You do have coverage don’t you?  Improve them now before a disaster happens.  Some survivalists scoff at details like this, but to me, there is a good possibility you will be returning to a damaged home or apartment so you might as well be prepared.
  12. I had mentioned clothing above – ideally, you would have a bug out bag. You may not have everything you’d ever want in it, but at least have the beginnings of one.  Each member of the family should have one.  Include special needs such as personal prescriptions, infant supplies, a child’s special comfort item such as blanket or stuffed animal.  This is a good book that’ll give you all you need to know:  Build the Perfect Bugout Bag

Of course, don’t forget to inform your loved ones when you have safely evacuated so they don’t come searching for you.  It may be stressful thinking about this now, but think how much you’ll regret not doing anything if a disaster does happen.  Make your plans now.  As we always say around here, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

How to Get Your Teen to Appreciate Prepping

I’ve talked to a few preppers who feel they are all alone in their efforts and are having a tough time getting their family involved.  We’ve focused on partners not wanting to prep, younger children; today we’ll look at the teens in your life.

Anyone who has dealt with teens know they are a tough bunch.  It is hard enough to get them to make their beds, much less get them interested in prepping so good luck with that.  But wait a second, it’s not impossible!  It just takes a little patience and understanding, plus a bit of sneakiness.. err.. persuasiveness.

The first question you need to address:  What’s in it for them?

The first step in trying to get a teen interested in anything:  figure out the aspects that would appeal to their interest, something that they care about.  Have them consider what it might be like if they were to run out of ___ (fill in what they like) during an emergency.  Of course they would be upset.   Then show how how stocking up on such supplies/ emergency items will avoid them having to go without.  For example, if your teen girl is interested in hair products, make it a point of including to include their favorite shampoo in the emergency buckets.  In no time, the teen would be making suggestions on what else they would not like to do without.

Include your teen's favorite comfort foods in your storage

Include your teen’s favorite comfort foods in your storage

Food

Food is a great teen motivator.  I don’t know of any teen who is not interested in some kind of food.

Include their favorite comfort foods such as chips, chocolates, cookies, peanut butter, etc in your emergency food storage.  Just make sure you keep rotating, but I am sure using these up will not be a problem.

Survival shows and movies

Watching a thrilling show with them such as as The Walking Dead usually will spark a discussion about a TEOTWAWKI situation and what one would do if faced with it.  If the teen is more interested in video games, then a similar video game, such as The Walking Dead video game, will have the same effect.

Fans of The Hunger Games books and movie I am sure might enjoy Creek Stewart’s book The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide.  They’ll be able to relate to the story tie-in, and learn some good survival skills as well.

Camping and Hiking

If you start camping and hiking activities while they are young, kids will continue to enjoy them as they get older.  However, if you’ve never had a chance, it’s not too late, you can still get them interested in the fitness aspect.  As an added attraction, allow a good friend or close relative to come along and they can bond on the trail.

Learn a Skill Together

Firestarting

One skill that teens find irresistible is firestarting.   We have both preteens and teens in the family and every time we have fireworks they are the first in line to try it out.  Why not do a firestarting exercise, and later have a friendly competition about it (hat tip to reader countrygirl who has tried the supervised firestarting contest with great success)

Target Shooting

Teens will also take an interest in target shooting.  First you’ll need to make sure they are thoroughly trained in gun safety and proper use.   A few hours at the range or even a simulated one would be a worthwhile activity.

Paracord bracelet

Making paracord bracelets is an engaging activity.

Paracord Bracelets

Making paracord bracelets is fun and both boys and girls would enjoy it.  Let them choose their paracord bracelet color and create one together.

Survival Themed Gifts

Of course teens would be interested in gear.  Find something they can use such as  Swiss Army knife, solar charger, sport bottle purifier and give it to them on Christmas or birthdays.

It’s not easy but trying out a combination of the above just might work.  You may not be able to accomplish this all at once, but little by little, you just might get them into a preparedness mindset as they start to see the value of being prepared in their own life.  It is worth a try.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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What would You Do if Ebola Were to Spread in Your City?

What would you do if ebola were to spread in your city

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is still very much in the news.  Most news articles keep stressing that it is unlikely to reach the U.S. and downplay any threats.  On the other hand, the CDC has released guidelines for hospitals should an infected person were to present himself.  New projections estimate that 500,000 may be infected by the end of January.  (Note:  Since the article was written, the estimates have now been revised to 1.4 million)

Earlier this week, Urban Survival had a good discussion about it:  When Will Ebola Infect the Markets?  Mr. Ure brought up a good point that if people got desperate enough, they would say anything or do anything to get out of their area and fly somewhere.  The problem would be if they were already infected and didn’t know it, then get on a plane, potentially exposing hundreds of people.

How people can get exposed in a hospital

Consider for a moment what could happen when a person who appears to have flu-like symptoms but has Ebola were to go the emergency room.

  1. The person signs in and sits down before getting called.  If they appear to be in urgent need, they may get seen quicker than others, but either way, they sit in a waiting room with people on either side, in front and behind them.  These people could potentially be exposed.  I should state that all reports say they virus is not airborne, yet a few healthcare workers who have suits on still seem to catch it somehow.  Let’s say just four people are exposed, being on the conservative side.  There would be more if the hospital is in a busy urban area.
  2. The patient then gets called to speak to a billing person who interviews him or her regarding insurance and payment.  That person could now be exposed.
  3. Finally, the patient is sent inside the emergency department.  While waiting for the doctor, a nurse or assistant takes their blood pressure, temperature, questions them about symptoms, etc.  None of these personnel were protective clothing.  Now we have seen five people exposed, from the minute the patient came in.
  4. Finally, the person is seen by a doctor, who then orders that the patient be admitted.  The doctor is now the 6th person who came in contact with the infected patient.

If the patient is not immediately identified as contagious, more workers will be taking x-rays, wheeling the patient around in elevators, etc.  By now, there could be at least 10 people exposed.

At a recent doctor’s appointment, I asked the doctor if he was at all concerned about the spread of Ebola in the U.S.  This was around the time the first patient was sent to Emory University Hospital.  My doctor indicated was not too worried, since he was very familiar with Emory and they have the best infection control policies and equipment.  However he said, “unless some grievous error were to happen,” in other words, a medical mistake, which can happen if there were more infected patients.  I’ve worked in hospitals in the past, and accidents do happen.  Even the most careful, rigorous protocols occasionally fail.  I don’t want anyone to panic by any means, but to consider the possibility and make a plan just in case.

A few things to think about:

  • Are you at risk for infection if the virus spread to your town or city?  Densely populated areas tend to have people living closer together, thus increasing the risk of exposure.  If you live in an apartment building that has common areas such as coffee rooms, reception areas, swimming pool, management office and elevators, you may need to away from these areas should there be a pandemic.
  • At what point would you keep everyone at home?  When would you skip work, have your partner stay home, and keep kids from school?
  • Would you stay in your apartment or home, or leave and go to a safer, less populated location?  Many city dwellers do not have a bug-out location, but do have family or friends outside of town who may be in a less crowded area.  Now is the time to think about this, before anything happens.
  • Are you prepared for a lockdown?  You’ll need enough food and supplies for a couple of weeks without having to shopping.  You won’t want to run out of toilet paper, prescriptions and other essentials if you are trying to avoid crowds and exposure.
  • If someone at home were to get sick, do you have supplies to get you through?  You would need sick room supplies such as protective clothing (gloves, protective goggles) lots of disinfectant such as bleach, antibacterial wipes, basic first aid supplies, etc.

I don’t have all the answers, but I hope this exercise gets you thinking and getting a few supplies just in case.  If nothing happens, then we can all be relieved and grateful.  Just like with any other disaster, if the dreaded event happens, it’s best to be prepared.  See What to Do If you are Worried about Ebola

When the CDC Tells Us to Prepare for the Ebola Pandemic, Things Are About to Get Real

Get updates from the CDC website

Apartment Prepper readers know I am not given to fear-mongering and I try to take a common sense approach to preparing for disasters.  I pray the troops who are sent to help with the outbreak stay safe and  hope that current measures are enough to contain the ebola outbreak and it will burn out soon.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

 

 Ebola Survival Handbook now available

Ebola Survival Handbook

How to Protect Your Family from Enterovirus D68

How to Protect your Family from Enterovirus D68This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

We’re now hearing that more states have been reporting cases of the Enterovirus D68, the virus that has been sending many children to the hospital due to complications.  This article discusses symptoms to watch and how you can protect your family.

What is Enterovirus D68?

The symptoms caused by the virus start out similar to cold:  sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, coughing.  Many cases turn out fine, and the sufferer recovers on his or her own.  However, a percentage of cases develop complications, such as trouble breathing.  According to the CDC, the virus had not been very common in the past.  IN recent weeks, many states such as Missouri, Illinois, Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, etc. have been reporting that hospitals’ emergency rooms are full of patients with respiratory problems.  The virus especially affects babies, children, and teenagers.  Children with asthma are most at risk.

Treatment

Just like the common cold, there is no specific way to treat patients afflicted by Enterovirus D68; you can only relieve the symptoms by taking over the counter remedies such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), Motrin or Advil (ibuprophen).  If symptoms worsen and the person has trouble breathing, see a doctor as soon as possible or go to the nearest emergency room.

Prevention

Prevention is the best way to protect yourself and your family.   (Note:  I am not a medical professional – these are steps I personally take to keep from getting sick.  If you are unsure and need personalized advice, see a doctor or medical practitioner.)

Avoid crowds   Being among lots of people increases your chances of getting contaminated.

Frequent handwashing  Get everyone in the family in the habit of washing their hands as they come home from public places and before eating.  If you cannot wash your hands right away, use antibacterial wipes.

Stop touching your eyes and face  It is very hard to keep kids from touching their faces, but you have to try to teach them this lesson.

Disinfect surfaces around you  Keep a box of antibacterial wipes and clean door knobs, light switches and other commonly touched items around you.  Keep a canister of Lysol wipes at the office and disinfect your desk, keyboard and phone on a regular basis.

Stay home if you are sick  Avoid going to work or sending the kids to school if you notice any symptoms.  Staying home and getting plenty of rest will not only help with recovery but also prevent spreading germs.

Bolster your Immune System

  • Get enough sleep and rest.
  • Relax and avoid stress.
  • Exercise at least three to four days a week.
  • Eat a healthy diet.  Avoid eating processed foods too frequently.  Include fresh vegetables and fruits in your menus.  Take vitamin supplements if you feel you don’t eat well enough.

What to stock up

You hope no one in your household catches anything but keeping a few items in your emergency kit will help you avoid having to go to the store if someone does get sick:

  • Over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, Advil, Nyquil as well children’s versions of these remedies
  • Thermometer
  •  Extra boxes of tissues
  •  Cough drops
  •  Decongestant
  •  Canned juices
  • Apple cider vinegar – This home remedy has helped me prevent several colds since I first tried it.
  •  Canned chicken soup – I know home made is best, but sometimes you just feel too sick to make anything and canned chicken noodle soup will do in a pinch.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil – Eucalyptus oil relieves congestion in a pleasant way.  Just add a few drops to a warm,moist wash cloth and breath in.  In an upcoming article, I will discuss some really effective essential oils that can be added to your home’s emergency kit.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 


Spark Naturals Essential Oils
Back 2 School Kit

Why You Should Keep Tarp in Your Survival Kit

Why You Should Keep Tarp in Your Survival Kit A few weeks ago, we took a day trip to a wilderness area for a picnic.  There was no rain in the forecast that day, and there were no clouds in the sky when we set out.  After an hour’s drive, we arrived and scoped out a spot by some trees.  A couple of hours later, the clouds started coming in.  Pretty soon the sky was dark and you could just feel a slight cool down in the temperature, which signifies rain.  The wind came in and we knew we were about to have a downpour.  We didn’t want to leave just yet, so Mr. Apt Prepper rigged up a tarp into a makeshift shelter.  Paracord came in handy for tie-ups.

It was not a very attractive set-up but it kept us from getting drenched.  The rain lasted for about 45 minutes then the sun came out.

I was glad we had the tarp and paracord to build a makeshift shelter.  I have written about paracord before, but not about tarp.

Mutiple uses for tarp:

  • Barrier under a tent floor to protect you from sharp rocks or critters
  • Blanket to keep warm
  • Picnic blanket
  • Use as a hammock
  • Improvise a stretcher to carry an injured person
  • Use as a surface to field dress game
  • Make a shelter to protect from rain or to get some shade
  • Protect your car’s seats from messes
  • As a wrapping for stuff
  • Assemble into a backpack with paracord straps
  • As a covering for items carried on top of your car or truck
  • For camouflage if it is has the right colors
  • Make a sail
  • Catch rainwater:  dig a hole in the ground, line it with tarp and collect water.  It can also be used to direct the flow of water into a container
  • Protect your floor while doing a paint job
  • Use as a way to signal – if you are lost somewhere, find an area to spread out the tarp so it can be seen from above.
  • Makeshift shower curtain
  • Privacy screen for an outdoor toilet
  • Make an indoor fort for kids to entertain themselves during a power outage
  • Covering for windows

Keep some tarp, along with paracord and some duct tape in your car survival kit.  While you’re at it, might as well keep one at home and in your bug out bag.

 

What to Do If Your Partner Thinks Prepared = Paranoid

What to do if you partner think prepared equals paranoidThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

On a beautiful day such as the one pictured above, it’s hard to even imagine a natural or even a man-made disaster disrupting things.  If you even mention something about being prepared, your relatives or friends will say “you are just being paranoid.”  I have heard this so often among people who want to prepare; even one of our readers has brought it up in a comment.

Should you forget about being prepared because your partner and your family do not support you?  No!  I think there are a ways to get around this issue.

Understand the other point of view

We have to accept that the majority of the population is not concerned about preparedness.  Even when faced with facts and news about what happened to other people who had been in disasters, they refuse to do anything to prepare.  There are a lot of reasons for this:

  • Ignorance:  Many people are not aware of the threats to infrastructure, and what would happen if trucks stop delivering goods.
  • Fear:  Afraid to admit a lot of things can go wrong.  People do not want to feel threatened and may get turned off the idea
  • Consumerism:  Would rather spend money on shopping for clothes, gadgets, expensive vacations
  • Someone will save us:  Belief that someone (government, family) will be always around to help
  • Normalcy bias:  Belief that things will always be as they were before; refusal to admit something could go wrong even in the face of facts.

Once you understand the reasoning for their resistance, you can start working on your approach.

What NOT to do

Do not try to get preachy or argumentative.  If they are already resistant to the idea, getting into an argument isn’t going to change their mind.

If you get confrontational about it, the person may just “dig their heels” even more or become hostile about the idea.

Start slow

If you sense that your family has objections, you will need to start slowly, with baby steps to get them used to the idea.  Introduce the idea during appropriate times, such as while watching a zombie movie, TV show or hearing about a disaster in another state (that could happen in your location).

Approach the idea in a way that is not threatening but as a conversation piece “What would we do if that were to happen?”  The type of responses you get will determine your next move.

Regional disasters

The easiest things to prepare for are regional perils that your family may face.  It is easier to justify your efforts because of probable threats.

If it’s hurricane season and you are in a hurricane area, you have a good reason to gather supplies and set it aside “just in case.”  Then you can slowly build your stockpile.

Compromise

If your wife or husband loves to shop for the latest and greatest, but you’d rather spend money on emergency supplies, come to an agreement on spending.  Some couples agree on a certain amount of “fun money” per pay period that each one is free to spend without judging from the other.  He or she may want to spend “fun money” at the mall, but you spend yours on supplies.

Other non-threatening approaches

  • Convenience:  If you have supplies, you do not have to be constantly running to the store to restock.  Every new parent knows panic when their baby runs out of formula late at night and they have not gone to the store.  That is something to avoid.  Even running out of everyday items such as sugar or toilet paper is a big pain if you have to drop everything and go to the grocery store for one item because you left it out of your list one day.
  • What matters most   Everyone has things that he or she feels strongly about – , things they would not want to run out or lose access.  The wife or husband who feels you are just being paranoid won’t be so critical if you show you are “doing it for the kids.”  No one would want their kids to suffer in the event of an emergency.  Teens may be concerned about losing power on their smart phones – get them a solar charger.  If your teen daughter is concerned about never running out of tampons, then by all means, stock up on those items.
  • Cost-Cutting:  You can start your stockpile without raising a lot of eyebrows by using frugal techniques that help your household save money.  Start using coupons and taking advantage of “buy one get one free” offers.  When questioned about buying multiples of one item such as canned fruit or granola bars, emphasize what a great deal you got so you stocked up.
  • Hobbies and skills:   You can learn survival and self sufficiency skills like bread making, canning or wood-working without making someone feel insecure by labeling these activities as hobbies.   I once had a long conversation with a mom at church.  She was describing all her husband’s hobbies- gardening, archery, hunting, fishing, and even metal working.  The family, who lives in a nice neighborhood, even has a mini foundry in their garage where her husband crafts swords!  These sound like great survival skills to me, but no one had a problem with it in the neighborhood.  These activities are all considered “hobbies.”

If you feel strongly about becoming prepared and getting some degree of security for your family, it is important that you get started.  Don’t alienate your significant other in the process; instead, frame your activities in a common sense, practical light.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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