This is What Happens During a Food Crisis

This is What Happens During a Food crisis

This post is by Bernie Carr,

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, 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,

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

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,

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,

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.


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 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,

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.


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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10 Prepping Tips for New Parents

10 Prepping Tips for New Parents

This post is by Bernie Carr,

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


Jake and Miller's Big AdventureI’m excited to announce that my new book, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure:  A Prepper’s Book for Kids has been released!  It is now available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


Will You be Stuck in a Traffic Nightmare?

Traffic Nightmare


This post is by Bernie Carr,

We all heard about the gigantic traffic jam in Atlanta a few weeks ago that resulted from the unexpected snow storm.   You can’t really point a finger at one specific cause.  A number of factors contributed to the snafu, including lack of planning on the part of city officials, freakish weather, and some articles even blamed the problem on high dependence on automobiles.  Whatever it was, I felt bad for the residents that were stuck in unending traffic, cars running out of gas on the road, and kids having to spend the night at schools.

This is a nightmare that can easily happen anywhere.  It actually did happen in Houston, when residents tried to flee the city at the same time in the wake of Hurricane Rita.  Travel times to neighboring cities such as Austin that normally takes four hours, took 12-18 hours, and people did run out of food, water and gas in their vehicles.

And it can happen again.  It only takes one emergency that causes people to try and leave the city at the same time.  As long as you live in a metropolitan area that is heavily dependent on cars to get anywhere you need to think about the possibility.

Is there anything you can do to avoid it?

On a personal level, there are a few things you need to consider:

1. Start paying attention to your commute   Many people drive to and from work on auto-pilot, lost in thought and not paying attention to what’s around them.  I’ve done my share of long commutes, and sometimes you just keep driving without realizing you’ve passed certain landmarks and you are really close to home.  Start paying attention, I mean really paying attention while driving.  Know what different exits to take, rush hour times, bad neighborhoods to avoid, traffic choke points and other obstacles that you can foresee will keep you from getting home

2.  Listen to the news  A lot of people I know don’t care about the news and don’t even check the weather.  You have to be aware of what’s going on so you can have a plan for the day.  Have alternate ways to get news even in an emergency.

3.  Avoid the situation  If you hear there is a storm coming, decide quickly on whether you and your kids will try and venture out.   I know there is a price for missing work or school – lost wages, having to call your boss, missed lessons, but they may be overridden by safety issues.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is just stay home.

4.  Carry a car emergency kit     I wrote about building a survival kit for your car in case you get stranded.

5.  Know your kids’ school emergency plan  Many schools go on lockdown in the event of an emergency.  Know the procedures, how and where to pick up your child.   Make sure the school has a backup emergency contact in the event you are unable to get there.

6.  Map out several routes you can take to get home or out of the city   Most people will rush to the same route they take to and from work.  Plan your alternate routes before anything happens.

If you do get stuck, there are things you can do to help yourself, as long as you plan ahead.

  • Carry a car emergency kit     I wrote about building a survival kit for your car in case you get stranded. 
  • Keep your gas tank half full at all times  This will keep you from running out of gas in a traffic jam.
  • Always have comfortable clothes and weather appropriate clothes in the car  If you do have to walk at least you can be comfortably dressed and not have your feet covered with blisters by the time you get home.

Sometimes you can do all the right things and still get stuck anyway.  But planning ahead may help you alleviate or avoid a difficult situation altogether.


© Apartment Prepper 2014

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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 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


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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Water is one of the biggest needs when it comes to survival.  Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 For beginning preppers

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