Increase Storage Space in a Small Apartment

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Increase Storage Space

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A major challenge to prepping in an apartment is lack of storage space.  We’ve learned to make do with what we have by being creative.

Here are some ideas to increase storage space in a small apartment:

Declutter

  • Go through every closet and room in your apartment and weed out things you have not used in over a year (excluding seasonal items)
  • Sell or donate these items before the week is up.  There is some urgency to doing this because the longer you keep them, the less space you have, and you will get tempted to hang on to them.

Utilize vertical space

  • Before you add shelving, check your apartment lease to make sure adding shelving is allowed.  Our lease allows it as long as we remove them before we move.  In our case, we built shelves above the washer/dryer.
  • Add shelves in the garage for non perishable items.

Nest items inside other items

  • Store items inside empty spaces in larger items.  For example, empty suitcases can be used to survival supplies.  Large pots can also be used for storage.

Use space savers

  • We bought a few inexpensive space savers that double or triple storage space in the closets such as Wonder Hanger, over the door shoe storage etc.  The vertical shoe storage can be used to hold other items besides shoes, such as power outage supplies, first aid, dehydrated food packets etc.

Under furniture

  • Items that can be flattened, such as tent, sleeping bags etc.  can be stored under beds.
  • We also used an under the bed shoe organizer to store canned goods under one of the beds in the house.
  • Cover your dining room table with a large table cloth and hide some of your supplies underneath.

Make a list

  • Keep track of all your hiding places by making a master list of where everything is stored.  This way, if you have to rush out of the house in an emergency, you can gather everything up as quickly as possible.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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Bug Out Bag Checklist: What are the Most Important Items?

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Bug Out Bag Checklist

Written by The Tenth Man, A B.O.B. List

What do they know that we don’t?  For those unaware , it was reported in December of 2014, in both mainstream and alternative news outlets that the US Treasury Department put out for bids to purchase $200,000 in Bug Out Bags for over 3800 federal bank examiners.

Emergency Preparedness ExpertThe story doesn’t stop here.  Recently, the Federal Reserve put out a job request for Emergency Specialists with experience in emergency preparedness, Homeland Security directives and Hazmat training. A further investigation on the Indeed job website turned up current  listings (January 2015) for Emergency Preparedness Specialists for such institutions as the Smithsonian and the Federal Aviation Administration. One begins to wonder if these anticipated purchases and hirings are                                               not just mere coincidences but preparation of a foreboding                                                       event yet to come!

                                                      Bug Out Bag Rationale
Different Bug Out Bag Types

With this in mind, don’t you think it is even more urgent now more then ever, to have a bug out bag ready for when that zero hour is at hand? Because we cannot know exactly when a calamity will occur, one needs to be vigilant and ready to run, evade or escape wherever you are when this tragedy occurs.

Typically, those that have a fully stocked emergency bag keep it at home safely stowed away . But what good is it, if you are not at home to retrieve it? Let’s face it most of us spend 1/3rd of our day away from home. The threat of a disaster happening unexpectedly during the normal part of a school ,work or play day is very real.

Therefore, I advocate the purchasing and assembling of an assortment of “Bug Out Bags” to be used in specific circumstances and predicaments stored in strategic locations nearby where you most frequent during the day or night. The bags I suggest are;

1. Everyday Carry Kit/Bag (EDC)                                                                                                      2. Get Home Bag (GHB)                                                                                                                     3. 72 Hour Bug Out Bag (BOB)

Unique Checklists and Bug Out Bag Types Explained

For each of the bag types below, I provide a categorized list of emergency items and supplies. The survival items on these lists were selected and chosen not by me but from emergency preparedness and  professional survival experts. I collected the data, tabulated it and presented as a list. This list was extensively researched and painstaking constructed.  Therefore, the lists presented below are quite unique and more objective then any other bug out bag list found in print and internet .

                                                    Everyday Carry Kit/Bag/Gear
Everyday Carry Gear

Everyday carry kits/gear/bags provides you with the necessary emergency items needed during the time you are without your more comprehensive Get Home, 72 hour bug out bags or supplies you would need during a crisis.  It thus complements and completes your preparation repertoire.  Ideally, this limited but effective gear will provide you with the necessary aid until you able to access your more complete emergency stash or get                                               to safer surroundings.

The items selected to be part of an EDC kit are survival tools (e.g. neck chain knife, tactical pen, etc…) and items (e.g. key chain photon LED light, pocket survival kit, etc…) found throughout your person. This gear is secured and stored in and among your every day clothing, pockets, purses, simple backpacks, jacket, key chain, wallets, belt and neck chain or lanyard.  Being prepared means keeping your EDC items simple and at hand.

everydaylist

                                                               Get Home Bag (GHB)
Get Home Bag

It is easy to get confused between a Get Home Bag and 72 hour Bug Out Bag.  In fact, they are often used synonymously. Conceptually a get home bag is meant to be used if an emergency or disaster event takes place during the day or night when you are away from your home or bug out location.

Typically the bag or container is kept at work, school or car stored in a safe location (ex. locker, workstation drawer, filing cabinet, car trunk etc…) near you to be grabbed at a moment’s notice.  All of the items contained in the bag should appropriately address all your needs until you arrive to your safe destination (in other words your supplies and gear should last long enough to get you from your evacuation site to your safe designated location).

Keeping it lightweight, compact and inconspicuous is key since your walk home in dress shoes or flats could be long and arduous.

gethomelist
                                                 72 Hour Bug Out Bag (72 BOB)
72 hour bags

For many, the most popular and best known of the bug out bags is the 72 hour or 3 day bag.  This the bag you would grab at a moments notice if requested or force to evacuate your current residence.

According to some top emergency preparedness experts, a 72 hour BOB is designed to support you and the people who are with you for seventy two hours to get you from point A to point B safely and comfortably as possible. Therefore, a 72 hour bug out bag would not be a tactical bag which is mostly used in a battle scenario or for a defensive military response.

This bag by far carries the greatest amount of emergency preparedness supplies. It must provide you and possibly others with more than enough provisions to get by. A 72 hour BOB is kept at home securely with routine monitoring of expiration dates of perishable supplies in your bag.

72list

Although the complete lists above gives you the necessary and useful information to purchase the most essential items you would need for your bags, I am a proponent of buying ready made/fully equipped EDC, GHB and a 72 hr. BOB.  I give you why in my article, “5 Reasons Why to Buy That Ready Made BOB Now!

I also provide a complete downloadable PDF all in one Super List. This downloadable checklist can be found on my main page (click here).

About the Author:

John aka The Tenth Man received his Master Degree in The Teaching of History and Education from the University of Illinois. A professional educator, with 12 years of teaching experience, John has taught at the secondary and post secondary levels in History, Education, English Language Learning and Teaching. He is a family man with a strong passion for his boys and wife of 26 years.  He incorporates an independent lifestyle of self sufficiency.

His interest in research and activism in the areas of Survivalism, Prepping and Risk Anaysis was fueled by the events and aftermath of September 11. 2001.  He seeks to bring an objective viewpoint on current events and future trends striving to offer effective emergency preparedness strategies and viewpoints. The Tenth Man’s mission is to share his findings in the obscure and less traveled roads with a desire to help those seeking honest answers to the many poignant questions during this most critical phase in human history… one day at a time.

Please visit his website, A B.O.B List

 

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Monday Musings: 1/26/2015 Almost Time for Gardening!

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Monday Musings 1262015

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…

A Time to Endure Giveaway   We got some great responses to the question:  What threats are you most concerned about this 2015?  What steps are you taking to prepare? The winner of the drawing was Dee who has been notified via email.

Almost Time for Gardening  We’re starting to see some good weather out here in Houston, and even less cold is expected next week.  I know many parts of the country are still in a deep freeze, but with the weather changes we are seeing now, our thoughts are turning to starting the planting season.  One of the local TV news anchors even mentioned he already planted his entire garden last week.

I will write more about the getting ready for growing season soon.

Now for the links…

How To Easily Grow an Endless Supply Of Onions Indoors

Feeling Lost? Start Here if You’re New to Prepping

Your ePreparedness Binder – Saving Stuff from the Internet for SHTF!

8 Delicious Ways to Use Freeze Dried Vegetables

DIY Ice Packs

12+ Easy Homemaking Tips for the Busy Homesteader

Know Your Stuff: The 110 Best DIY Tips Ever

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

 

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Is Expired Food Safe to Eat?

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Is Expired Food Safe to Eat

Written by Julie

This post originally appeared in Home Ready Home

Last week, I went through my pantry, trying to get an idea of how much food storage I have. By the time the organizing session was complete, a dozen or so “expired” items sat on my kitchen counter.

In the past, I didn’t hesitate to throw a can in the trash if it was expired. And according to an article on Urban Survival Site, I’m not the only one tossing the goods. More than 75% (and some studies claim it’s as high as 90%) of us believe that food is unsafe to eat after the expiration date. This time, though, I’ve decided to change my ways and put the expired items back on the shelf.

Why?

Because it turns out that none of those dates stamped on canned goods have to do with safety.  A recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic claims that expiration dates aren’t regulated like we would believe. There is no standardized system for expiration dates.

The study found manufacturers determine for themselves how to set dates, if they want to put a date on packaging, what kind of date they will use, and what that date means.

So what do those dates mean? 

Well, it gets confusing because there are several different types of dates used on packages—like “sell-by”, “best if used by”, “best before”, and “use-by”. Here’s how the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines of each of these dates:

Types of Dates

  • A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires.
  • A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
  • A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.
  • “Closed or coded dates” are packing numbers for use by the manufacturer.

And here’s what the USDA has to say about expiration date safety:

Safety After Date Expires: Except for “use-by” dates, product dates don’t always pertain to home storage and use after purchase. “Use-by” dates usually refer to best quality and are not safety dates. Even if the date expires during home storage, a product should be safe, wholesome and of good quality if handled properly.

The only exception to this is the “use-by” date on infant formula, which is mandated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The bottom line is after the expiration date, the food may not be as fresh and it may have lost some of it’s nutritional value, but generally, it is safe to eat.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking—if you can’t rely on the date, how do you know when the food is unsafe to eat?

The simple answer is open it and inspect it. If it smells bad, looks off-color or has a funny taste, get rid of it. And don’t eat the food from rusty, bulging, dented or otherwise damaged cans.

There are also some online resources that can help you determine shelf life of your pantry items. Eat By Date  is my favorite resource and here’s one that my friend, Shelle of Preparedness Mama refers to: Still Tasty 

These sites can help you avoid throwing away still-good food as well as learn the best way to store food for optimal freshness and longest shelf-life.

P.S. If you need a little help keeping your pantry organized, I highly recommend The Preparedness Planner.

The Preparedness Planner

About the Author:

Julie

Hi! I’m Julie, a suburban mom during the week and mountain mama on the weekend blogging about my transition from country club to country living and from fast food to food storage. Follow along as I learn how to garden, cook-from-scratch, build a pantry, master back-to-basics skills and more.
Please visit Home Ready Home for the latest posts.

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Should You Keep Prepping When Things are Good?

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Should You Keep Prepping When Things are Good

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Now that gasoline prices are a lot lower than they have been in years, many people with whom I’ve been speaking with lately to be really optimistic about their finances.  Sales of trucks and other gas guzzlers have gone up again, as people forget about the pain at the pump.  There is good news about the economy.   Lots of conversations going on about the new car that now seems to be within reach, the “I deserve it” shopping spree and the high priced vacation plans.

Should you keep prepping when things are good?

It may be tempting to ease up on preparedness when things are going smoothly.  I am not trying to be Chicken Little warning that the sky is falling when there is not a cloud in the sky.  I think it’s great to hear good news about the economy and people feeling good about their prospects.

Don’t forget that our system is based on everything running smoothly all the time – and just in time inventory systems means stores only keep enough supplies to last until the next truck delivery.  If anything interrupts the supply chain for any reason, the stores stop selling.  One local disaster such as a snow storm sends unprepared people in a panic buying mode, long lines and empty shelves at the store or even dumpster diving when they find themselves hungry in the aftermath of the storm.

And at the same time that good economic news are being touted, we are still hearing about layoffs going on in the oil industry, steel,  and many retailers are closing.

Now it not the time to get sidetracked.  Even on good news days, you can sit back and soak it all in, but don’t let up on your preparedness efforts.

  • While prices are still manageable, continue to build your food storage, water and essential supplies.
  • While you have a job or other source of income,  continue set aside emergency cash and get out of debt.
  • While times are fairly peaceful, find a way to increase your security.
  • Buy gear and supplies that will help you in the next power outage or disaster such as solar chargers, light sources, backup stoves etc. while you still have funds
  • Get in shape now.
  • Get healthy; take care of medical and dental needs
  • Learn skills every weekend while you have the luxury of time.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy life and take a break every now and then.  Things can change quickly: if and when they do, you will be glad you continued to prepare.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

 

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Monday Musings: 1/19/2015 The First Steps to Take when Getting Out of Debt

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The First Steps to take when getting out of Deb
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, my updates…
Add your “two cents!”  For our avid readers, our giveaway for A Time to Endure by Kyle Pratt is still going on.  Read the review and sign up for the giveaway here.  All you have to do is enter your answer to the following question:  What threats are you most concerned about this 2015?  What steps are you taking to prepare?   There seems to be a common thread in the answers so far.  Add yours and I will do my best to post articles regarding your most pressing concerns.
When getting out of debt is a goal Like many of you, I too have some credit card debt that I am resolving to pay off.  Although I am frugal and have been careful with spending, I have some old debt from the last downturn that is still hanging around.

Whether you have old debts or new debt incurred from recent Christmas spending, you know that feeling that comes over you when you JUST KNOW you need to do something.  But just like prepping for the first time, planning to get out of debt can be overwhelming.

What first steps can you take to when you want to get out of debt?

1.  The first step is simple but requires self discipline:  Stop using your credit cards!  Do whatever you need to do to get out of the habit of using credit.

  • Don’t keep your credit cards in your wallet within easy reach-leave them at home.
  • Store the cards away in a safe deposit box.
  • Some people freeze their cards in a block of ice, or take the more drastic measure of cutting them up.
  • Even if you cut up your cards, don’t cancel the cards because some creditors will immediately expect you to pay the debt in full, OR, your credit rating will be negatively affected by the loss of credit.

2.  Check the balances for all your debts, interest rate and monthly payments so you know what you are up against.  Knowing this number will stop you from being in denial about how much you really owe.

Once you’ve done the two steps above, you’ll need to track and slash your spending and make a budget.  I am doing various cost cutting measures and will write about it in a future posts.

Please share your favorite money saving tips in the comments! 

Now for the links…


 

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A Time to Endure by Kyle Pratt – Book Review and Giveaway

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A Time to EndureToday we are featuring A Time to Endure by Kyle Pratt.  It is the second book in the Strengthen What Remains series.  We featured the author, Kyle Pratt and his first book, Through Many Fires in this article.

What is the book about?

A Time to Endure follows Major Caden Westmore whom we met in the first book, Through Many Fires, when six American cities are destroyed by nuclear terrorism.  From the Amazon description:  “Caden struggles to get home across a stricken, terrified nation. In the second book, A Time to Endure, the nation’s economy teeters on the verge of collapse. The dollar plunges, inflation runs rampant, and the next civil war threatens to decimate the wounded country. In the face of tyranny, panic, and growing hunger, Caden struggles to keep his family and town together. But how can he save his community when the nation is collapsing around it?”

My impressions:

A Time to Endure is just as fast paced as the first book.  There is enough action to keep the pages turning, and it is a fast paced book.

The characters are flawed and deeply human.  While I did not agree with some of the main character’s, Caden Westmore’s decisions, I understood where he was coming from.   As the reader, I do not feel it is necessary to always agree with the character, only that the characters interest me enough to see them through.

A country in the midst of chaos along with the struggles of its citizens are plausibly described.  Despite the backdrop of rampant destruction, there is still some semblance of infrastructure and law and order but in a lesser degree.

A Time to Endure is a good read and we look forward to the third book.

Now for the Giveaway:

I am excited to hold our first giveaway of the year!  We are giving away a copy of A Time to Endure

 

To enter, just comment on the question below:

What threats are you most concerned about this 2015?  What steps are you taking to prepare?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, January 24th at 8 pm Central.*Winners will be notified via email.  *Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or other winners will be drawn.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2015



 

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Can Food Shortages Happen Here?

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Can Food Shortages Happen Here

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I’ve been seeing news articles about the food shortages happening in Venezuela:  people standing in line for hours just to get their basic necessities, their National Guard closely watching shoppers to prevent fights from breaking out, and rows of empty shelves inside the stores.

This got me thinking, what would happen if there were food shortages here?  Can you imagine having to get in line just to enter the grocery store?  Or worse, you get in line at dawn and by the time your turn comes, there is nothing left on the shelves.  What if you were not able to find your basic food items at the grocery store?  

Actually I did have one experience of having to wait in line for an hour just to enter the supermarket.  And when I did manage to get in, the shelves were bare and most of the items were completely gone.  This was back in 2008 right after Hurricane Ike swept across Houston.  The streets were flooded and truck deliveries were not coming.  That was when I learned about “just in time” inventory – grocery stores keep just enough stock until the next truck delivery.  I ever asked a store clerk if they had any food “back in the store room” and was told “stores don’t do that anymore.”  Luckily, the problem I experienced was short term, and stores started getting deliveries as soon as flood waters receded.

But this experience showed me that our system is vulnerable.  If the trucks stop coming, supplies aren’t delivered.  All it takes would be an interruption in that supply chain.

Back in World War II the US had widespread shortages of essential items and many things we take for granted today were rationed:  butter, meat, cheese, sugar, canned fruit and vegetables, oils, even coffee.  Shoppers could only purchase certain items on certain days.  It was then that people put up “Victory Gardens” to supplement their food and learned to conserve food and plan their meals.

If there were a food shortage today, I think people would be a lot angrier and more demanding and food riots would result.  I haven’t forgotten this experience: Up Close Reminder to Continue Prepping from a year ago.  And this was just for roast chicken running out!

What can you do?

Build your food storage pantry.    While things are available, and nothing is interrupting the supply chain, now is the time to add to your food storage.  Build up a few weeks worth of your most used foods:  rice, sugar, salt, coffee, olive oil, peanut butter, oatmeal, cereal etc.  While you’re at it, stock up on toilet paper, toothpaste, soap and other personal care items.

Avoid wasting food.  Learn a few skills to avoid wasting food.  I tell my kids, “Don’t waste food, because one day, you may miss a meal for whatever reason – getting picked up late, forgetting your lunch, and you will think about the food you threw away.”  This actually works because they do remember.

Start a garden.  It may be the middle of winter now, but spring is not far off – it wouldn’t hurt to start planning your garden, even if you only have a balcony or a sunny window.

Back to the original question:  Can food shortages happen here?  Some may say, no way, that only happens in countries like Venezuela.  But the true answer is, Sure they could, and they have happened before.  We hope it never happens but just like insurance, it’s better to have it, and not need it, than need it and not have it.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Puritan's Pride

 

 

 

 

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Monday Musings: 1/12/2015

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Monday Musings 1122015

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to the first Monday Musings of 2015!  I would have posted last Monday, except I was laid up from the flu.  I tried to be as careful as possible, but in spite of all my precautions, I still caught it.  Goes to show you, sometimes it is unavoidable.  But if you catch it, at least you can try to avoid spreading it to your family.  Good news, I am on the mend and trying to catch up with work and blog activities.

I should have more updates on preps in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, I wanted to call your attention to a great resource, published by Todd Sepulveda over at Prepper Website called the Preparedness Review.  It is a collection of valuable preparedness articles written by several my capable colleagues, all free for download.  You’ll find the latest issue here.

Now for the links…

How to Make Hardtack

Preppernomics:  How to Survive When the Dollar Dies
Everything You Need to Know About Essential Oils (almost)

Get ready for the cold & flu season with these all-natural recipes — 20 of them!
Could You Make a Final Run to the Store Before the SHTF? Think It Through!
This is What Food Shortages Look Like

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

 

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10 Skills that Urban Preppers should Learn

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10 Skills that Urban Preppers should Learn

By Tess Pennington

This article first appeared in Ready Nutrition

Skills are a major part of prepping. Although it is important to have supplies in place; the belief is that skills, and not supplies, will give you a greater survival advantage during a long term emergency. Learning new survival skills and abilities creates a new platform of knowledge to draw on when times get tough.

Skills are a major part of prepping. Although it is important to have supplies in place; the belief is that skills, and not supplies, will give you a greater survival advantage during a long term emergency. Learning new survival skills and abilities creates a new platform of knowledge to draw on when times get tough.

There are many preppers who taking the time to make skill building a priority. The Survival Sherpa is applying his vast knowledge to the field and showing his audience ways to learn skills and be more efficient. Check his site out, it’s very informative. The Organic Prepper is turning her back on consumerism and focusing on finding local sources for food to create a food pantry.

There are many things you can learn to promote a more sustainable lifestyle while living in a densely populated area. In fact, 80% of the population lives in an urban environment, so do not let that stop you from your prepping endeavors.

Make the best of where you are and begin learning skills or continue refining them so that you can use them confidently during a disaster. Some great skills you can easily learn are:

  1.  Raise micro-livestock in small confines. Some popular breeds are rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, etc.
  2. Garden and produce your own food supply. You can easily grow these types of produce, even on an apartment patio!
  3. Forage for local plants and herbs. You’d be surprised to find some of these in your own backyard.
  4. Learn about hydroponic/aquaponic food production. There are many local classes and sustainability expos in your area that you can take advantage of. Alternatively, there are also community colleges that are offering these courses.
  5. If the proverbial S hits the F, we will see a lot of serious injuries, and even deaths, from people making unaccustomed physical demands on their bodies. Train your physical body now in the event of evacuations.
  6. Take an emergency first-aid class or self-defense class. The American Red Cross offers a variety of first-aid classes that you can take advantage of.
  7. Learn how to confidently use a firearm. A lot of dangers exist during and following emergency disasters. Learn how to protect your family by any means necessary. Many urban centers have gun ranges and classes to take to refine this important skill. This site can show you where the nearest gun ranges are.
  8. Start a prepper’s pantry and store shelf stable foods. We must put measures in place before a disaster is upon us in order to have these lifelines available to us when we need it the most. Check out these 25 must-have foods.
  9. Learn how to preserve your food supply. If you know how to dehydrate and use a pressure canner, then you are already ahead of the game.
  10. Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers and practice bartering. Here are some great tips on how to barter better.

Many families have to stay in urban areas for financial or familial reasons, but do not let that stop you from learning a more sustainable way of life. There are lots of things you can do and many people who are in the same place as you with the same interests. Sometimes your friends could end up teaching up and thing or two that they have learned along the way.

 About the author:

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared
 



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Puritan's Pride

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