20 Tips on Staying Safe During the Holiday Season

20 Tips on Staying Safe during the Holiday SeasonThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and the Christmas season will soon be in full swing.  Theft and other crimes seem to increase when people are out and about shopping or partying and not paying much attention to anything else.

The other day the management company left a flyer on our door about a “Resident Meeting” regarding apartment safety. I was concerned enough that I attended the evening meeting after work. A couple of policemen and the building management were in attendance. The reason for the meeting was to discuss recent criminal activity in the area, and to warn residents about personal safety.

My neighborhood is in the middle of the city of Houston. If you ever visit the city, you will notice very quickly that the city does not have strict zoning laws. As a result,most areas include a mix of residential, commercial and industrial. One block could be a nice residential area, and across the street would be high rises or industrial parks, unless you live in a planned community in the suburbs. So you can live in a block with nice residences, but go two blocks and you can quickly find yourself in an unsavory looking area. Being careful and aware of your surroundings is very important. Not being critical or negative, that is just the way it is. While we carefully picked the apartment we live in, checked crime statistics and all that, crime in any area is inevitable.

Back to the meeting. Apparently, the management company decided to have a meeting due to a recent shooting that occurred in the complex. They wanted to reassure the residents that it was not a random event but a shooting between acquaintances, a “drug deal gone bad.” There were no fatalities, the shooter was arrested and the victim was shot in the leg. I was still unsettled by the incident – it is not very reassuring to hear that a resident was doing a drug deal. The resident has since been evicted; at least he is not around anymore. The cops also informed us there have been car break-ins and some theft.

Staying safe during the holiday season

  1. This meeting has just reinforced my feeling that there is no such thing as a “safe area.” We need to be on guard at all times, and always aware of our surroundings. Always find out about what’s going on around you. Surprisingly, for a complex this large, not a lot of tenants attended the meeting, considering it was about something important.
  2. Maintain an alert stance and scan the people around you.  Thieves avoid people whom they perceived is too alert and may have already noticed them
  3. If you start to have a bad feeling about your surroundings, stop and pay attention to these feelings, it is your intuition telling you not to proceed.
  4. Thieves try to target people whom they perceive as more vulnerable: the elderly, women alone or women and children.
  5. To avoid being targeted by thieves, think about what attracts these criminals: flashy jewelry, a large purse that looks stuffed with goodies, smart phones, shopping bags, etc.
  6. Carry only what’s necessary and leave the rest at home.
  7. When shopping, always lock your vehicle and do not leave your items in the car, lock them up in the trunk. The cop revealed that they patrol certain malls because thieves are known to “harvest” items that people leave in the cars while shopping.
  8. Consider a protection device such as mace, pepper spray or a concealed gun if you know how to use them and are licensed in your district.
  9. When in public, avoid being engrossed in your phone or tablet.  This sounds simple, but I have seen so many people with their heads buried in their cell phones even while crossing the street.
  10. When walking to your car, have your keys ready in your hand, no fishing around the parking lot for missing keys. Brief inattention to your surroundings can cost you your life. If leaving at night, try to walk with someone or have security escort you.
  11. Train the kids to only open the door to family or friends who know the “password” and never open the door to strangers.
  12. Keep your curtains or blinds closed. The more passersby see your appliances and items, the more likely a thief will get interested in you.
  13. Consider an alarm system or a dog if your building allows it.
  14. Make sure you always lock your doors and windows.
  15. Look around the area before you open your door or garage, as thieves have been know to follow people in as they get home.
  16. Be careful about announcing your activities and plans on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, this will give potential thieves a “heads up” that your house is available.
  17. Before walking or driving up to an ATM machine, make a note of who is in the area.  Is there a car just parked nearby?  Are there a lot of bushes where someone can hide and jump out at you?  If you are not sure, just bypass it and go somewhere else.  The most you will lose is time and possibly gas, but at least you’ll be safe.
  18. When in crowded shopping centers, be alert for pickpockets especially when someone bumps into yo
  19. If you are working late, walk out with a co-worker or call security and have them walk you to your car.
  20. If you feel you are being followed home, don’t pull into your driveway.  Instead, keep driving and go to a crowded area, police or fire station.

Sorry if this article sounds a bit paranoid, but these are the times we live in. A big part of survival mentality or preparedness is paying attention to your own personal and family security.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 



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How to Keep Your Apartment Warm

Staying Warm in a Drafty ApartmentThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

This week, a cold front, AKA polar vortex is coming to town.  Indeed, it was much colder getting out of work this afternoon than it was early this morning.

Our apartment windows are very flimsy.  They are single paned aluminum windows that let in the frigid air.  You can really feel the cold air seeping in as you get closer to the windows.  We had to come up with ideas to keep the apartment warm without doing any major work.  These are the options we considered:

Option 1:  Install window films.

Because we rent, we cannot do anything that involves major alterations, and we want to make sure we get our security deposit back if we move.  Window films are hard to remove, and after pricing them out, we found that window films were also far above the budget.

In a pinch, you can try using clear plastic wrap- just stick it around your windows to keep the draft out.

Option 2:  Plastic Trash Bags

On the opposite side of expensive, some people use plastic trash bags to line the cracks and the windows.  Sounds like it can work, but that would be too unsightly.  It is our windows after all, and I don’t think I want to look at plastic trash bags for several days.

Option 3:  Bubble Wrap

We opted for the middle ground:  bubble wrap insulation.  It is temporary but not so ugly.  Please keep in mind this works because there’s trapped air between the bubble wrap and the window.  If the window is leaking around the frame, this will not work and the window would need caulking instead.

If you are planning to do a project like this, please research the various options carefully.  I am not an expert in insulation or window reinforcements, so your results may vary.  You may find something else that works better in your situation.  Just sharing what worked for us.

Here is how we did it:

We went to the home improvement store and bought several rolls of bubble wrap.  We spent about $28 total for 2 large rolls of bubble wrap and a couple more dollars for painters tape.  Upon returning home, we raised the blinds and started lining the windows with bubble wrap.  We then taped the bubble wrap to the window sill with the painters tape.  We lined each window of the bedrooms with the bubble wrap, making sure the drafty crack between the windows and window sills were covered.

The result was great!  You can really tell the difference in the room temperature.  The cold air stays out, and you can no longer feel the temperature drop and you approach the windows.  From the outside, the bubble wrap does not look obvious so the apartment management won’t notice anything odd.  As you can see from the photo above, the downside is, you can’t see the outside too clearly.   This is only temporary though.  In a few weeks, normal warm temperatures should come back, and the bubble wrap insulation will come off.  Then I can recycle the bubble wrap as packing material.

What are other ways to keep your apartment warm?

  • Space heater.  A small space heater may help, if you set it up in the room you are in.  If you are worried about heating when there is no power, a good possible choice is a propane heater such as Mr. Heater.  However there are precautions that need to be taken when setting it up.  I have not tried it personally, so I can’t tell you how well it works, but see this review from TacticalIntelligence.net.
  • Dress in layers.  When it’s this cold, and I have to go outside, I wear a tank top, a T-shirt, a turtleneck and a jacket.  Am I bulky?  You betcha!  But it works and I don’t like to be cold so I put up with it.
  • Rearrange your sheets.    Cotton sheets are meant to keep you cool, but that is not what you need in a cold snap.  Place the fleece or micro fiber blanket closest to you.  It really works.  Flannel sheets work just as well.
  • Warm up your bed before getting in Use a blowdryer and warm up your bed right before getting in.  If you have a dog or a cat have them snuggle in the foot of your bed – they help keep you warm as well!
  • Hang old comforters or quilted blankets  Readers have suggested hanging comforters or quilted blankets as curtains.
  • Set up a warm room  If you have no power, it’s best to congregate in one room and make it the warmest one.  Set up tents and sleeping bags in the middle of the room.
  • Layer on the blankets.  We place several blankets in addition to the comforter on all the beds in the house.
  • Drink warm liquids.   Sip some herb tea and warm up.  Make a nice pot of soup.
  • Rice heating pad.   Just pour uncooked rice into an old sock, sew it closed.  Microwave it until hot and use it as a warmer.
  • Run electric appliances during the day.  Run the dishwasher, cook and bake during the day.  They all help warm up the house.

Caution:  Always make sure your room is well ventilated.  Always have a carbon monoxide detector.  Never turn on gas stoves for heat.

Each winter, I receive emails from apartment dwellers asking for ideas on warming up their space during a cold snap.  Hopefully the tips above help out.  Stay warm!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Substitutes for Toilet Paper

Substitutes for Toilet Paper

I recently posted about being off-grid for 48 hours, and using a lot of baby wipes due to the lack of water during our adventure.  One thing that would run out quickly in a survival situation if you did not have a huge stockpile would be toilet paper.  Not having a lot of space we have about three months worth on hand right now, but that can run out quickly.  Also, a large stockpile of toilet paper is not portable in a bug-out situation, and in a shelter in place scenario, the TP supply is bound to run out.

Space saving tip:  Remove the cardboard insert and flatten the roll and you can fit more rolls in a small space.

What are some substitutes for toilet paper?

Back in ancient times, the Romans used a sea sponge on a stick.  They would clean themselves with it, rinse it in the running water (public bathrooms had them on the floor) and leave it soaking in salt water in between uses.

In colonial times, people used corncobs, and later, old newspapers and catalogs were used in outhouses.

Here are a few ideas:

1.  Wet wipes or baby wipes

These would work just like toilet paper, but again, a large stockpile would have to be accumulated.

2. Paper Substitutes

Newspaper may work, but the ink would turn everything black.   I read other people prefer The Yellow Pages but these days, a lot of people don’t keep phone books around.  Store catalogs may be more common, and flimsy pages instead of high end glossy paper would work best.  Just crumple up the sheet until it softens up, then wipe.

3.  Cloth

Cloth, such as wash cloths, terry cloth or  cloth diapers can be used as toilet paper substitutes.  You can even cut up old, soft t-shirts into squares.  If you want to make reusable cloth wipes, this article from Food Storage Moms has good instructions.  The method would be to wet the cloth, wipe, then launder the cloth.  Supporters of this idea feel that most people would have nothing against rewashing cloth diapers, therefore personal washcloths should be okay.  I would think it would be a good idea to throw the soiled wash clothes into a bucket of water with some bleach before washing.

4.  Plant material

Sage leaves are said to be soft and fragrant enough to use, some say banana leaves would work too..  You must have some knowledge about which plants are safe; you would not want to use something like poison ivy, poison oak or sumac by mistake!   Remember: Leaves of three – let it be!

5.  Water

Many countries already use a spray water fountain called a “bidet” as part of their bathroom facilities.  Since this is being considered in an emergency scenario, we would need an alternative to that too.  In many countries, use of the left hand in combination with pouring water in a pan or small bucket with the right hand is the way to clean up.

Possible water carriers:

Fill any of these containers with plain water, add a drop of essential oil for fragrance and wash up.  (Don’t use mint or and don’t overdo the quantity of drops, or you may irritate those sensitive areas.)  After washing, dry the area with a clean towel that can also be reused.

To avoid disease, one would have to wash the hands well with water or antibacterial gel right after.

I’m not ready to give up toilet paper but you gotta do what you gotta do to stay clean.   In an emergency, the water route seems like the most likely one to try.  I may try making those clothes one of these days.  We will keep stockpiling toilet paper for now, and store them efficiently by flattening them for maximum use of space.   Another idea would be to decrease the use of toilet paper by combining with the methods above, thereby extending the life of the stockpile.

Toilet paper shortages sounds unlikely, but it has happened:  a year or so ago, Venezuela faced a toilet paper shortage and the government had to take over a toilet paper factory.   Before I got interested in preparedness, I can recall snagging the last package of toilet paper and waiting in a long line right before a hurricane.  Toilet paper is one of the first items to disappear if a disaster disrupts supply deliveries.  It’s good to know some alternatives just in case.

 

National Preparedness Month: Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged

 National Preparedness Month Put Your Preps to the TestWritten by Daisy Luther

This article first appear in The Organic Prepper

It’s National Preparedness Month, and the Professional Prepared Bloggers Association is celebrating by providing you with tons of information from some of the best writers in the niche in our 30 Days of Preparedness round-up!

It’s Day 28!!!! It’s time to take your game up a notch with 24 hours unplugged! No fair doing this on a day when you will be away from your normal activities anyway – you want to put your preps to the test!

A grid down scenario doesn’t have to be a massive EMP that detonates over the middle of the country, throwing us back to the 1800s.  It can be as simple (and likely) as a winter storm, a hurricane, or a computer issue at your local power station. While this is a fairly common occurrence, many people still seem taken completely by surprise when it happens. Without back-up heat, cooking methods, and lighting, the unprepared family could be in for a very unpleasant time until the lights come back on. Every family should be prepared for a minimum of two weeks without power.  Nearly 2000 families were still without power 94 days after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast.

Here’s why you should test your preps.

A couple of years ago, my youngest daughter and I spent a year in the North Woods of Ontario.  It was a grand adventure, totally different from the city life we’d had previous to this.  Our small cabin was on the banks of a beautiful lake and the edge of hundreds of acres of forest wilderness.  It was heated only by wood, and although we had electricity, we were warned that it was sporadic, since we were fairly remote and regular maintenance was not always performed on the lines of the area.

As a prepared family we were pretty sure we’d be just fine when the power went out.

The first time it happened was on a mild early autumn morning. The power went out for no apparent reason, and we high-fived each other. Game on!

Since it was afternoon and the weather was nice, it really wasn’t much of a challenge. The power returned before daylight, we had some stuff in the fridge for sandwiches, and we basically just needed to entertain ourselves sans grid. No big deal – we are bookworms, so we spent the day curled up with some good reads.  We did make one unexpected discovery – our well was pumped by an electric component, so when the power went out, we also had no running water, including water to flush with.  Of course, we had stored drinking water, and we brought a couple of buckets of water up from the lake for flushing, so this was a minor inconvenience.

However, it did get me thinking about how we would flush if the weather was cold enough that the lake was frozen, but there wasn’t snow on the ground.  Hmmm…#1 Note to Self – store water for flushing too!

The next power outage occurred a couple of weeks later and it was a much bigger deal. The initial outage hit at about 7 o’clock on a chilly fall evening. It was dark and cold. We stoked up a fire in the woodstove, and began to search for our lighting solutions. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the forethought to set up off-grid lighting in each room, so after digging for my candles in the dark closet, I had to carry one around to light candles in subsequent rooms.

#2 Note to Self: Keep candles, holders, and lighters in each room in a place which is easy to access in the dark.  After this, we placed candles in holders are part of the decor all around the house.

The wind roared around outside the cabin and our power did not return for 3 days.  We used the woodstove to heat up meals, but we couldn’t find all of the bits and pieces for a game we wanted to play. #3 Note to Self: Keep off-grid entertainment well-organized, especially if there are children in the house.

On the second day of the outage, we dragged our chest freezer out onto the deck to keep our food from going bad in the cozy cabin. #4 Note to Self:  Get something sturdy to store food in outdoorsthat won’t draw wild animals to your porch that also doesn’t require you to drag a 200+ pound appliance outside.

By the time the next power outage rolled around, we had learned many lessons. At the first sign of windy weather, we immediately filled the bathtub. A bucket right beside the tub served as a container to transfer water from the tub to the toilet so that we could flush. A sturdy Rubbermaid storage bench with a lock resided on our deck, waiting to be pressed into duty as an outdoor freezer.  Each room boasted of decorative candles.  Home canned meals in jars lined my kitchen shelves, and a beautiful cast iron Dutch oven sat at the ready to simmer a delicious stew or pot of beans on the woodstove. A couple of pretty baskets were filled with art supplies and games (with all of their pieces) and a couple of kerosene lamps that were bright enough for reading sat at either end of the sofa.  Since the fans that blew the heat into the bedrooms obviously did not work without power, we had a couple of air mattresses to set up in the living room on the coldest nights, so we could stay cozy by the fire.

The next time the power went out, we were excited because it meant a break in our day-to-day routine of work and school.  Power outages had become mini-vacations, and were no longer even a blip on the radar for us.

We don’t live in our little cabin in the woods any more, but the lessons we learned allow us to take power outages in stride in a way that most people don’t. Even though we don’t expect a shaky grid where we live now, our home is organized in the way that we learned up North. Lighting, extra water, sanitation, cold food solutions, and off-grid cooking tools are all close at hand should they be needed.

Are you ready to test your preps?

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to go for 24 hours without the grid. This means no electrical power, no central climate control, and no running water!  Some people will go hardcore and turn of the main water valve and flip all of the breakers. Others will just opt not to use those items.

 

  1. During your 24 hours off-grid, you’ll eat three meals, go to the bathroom, keep your family clean and at a comfortable temperature, and entertain yourselves. This a tall order in some locations!
  2. Plan ahead of time how you’ll overcome the challenges – you can learn a lot this way.
  3. But the real learning experience will come from the challenges you didn’t expect and plan for. This is how you will fill the holes that exist in your preps. It is far better to discover those gaps now, when back-up is as close as the breaker box in your basement, than it is to discover it when disaster strikes.
  4. Give every family member a notebook so they can jot down what works and what doesn’t.  Once your Grid-Down drill is over, compare notes.  You may be surprised at the observations your children have made.
  5. Make a shopping list based on the notes and fill those gaps!

 Testing…1,2,3…

Have you tried an off-grid drill before? What did you learn? If not, what’s stopping you? Share in the comments below.

Supplemental Reading:

One Second After

Alas, Babylon

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

 

About the Author:
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

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

Monday Musings 9/8/2014: Preparedness Updates and Links

Monday Musings - Preparedness Updates and Links  09082014

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…

September is National Preparedness Month as we mentioned in yesterday’s post.

We’re having to look through our food storage to rotate items for freshness.  I hate to see anything go to waste, so we periodically go through our emergency items.  I know… I know, many food items can go well past their expiration dates, but how far past is safe?  No one really knows so I prefer to err on the side of caution.   What if you were relying on canned food that are five years past expiration, only to find out they emit ba bad smell by the time you open it?  Things would be much worse in a disaster when items are scarce.

Thanks for being our sponsor   A big thank you to Ready Made Resources for renewing their sponsorship with us!  Please continue to visit our sponsors  – they help keep the lights on at Apartment Prepper!

readymaderesources.com

Vote for me!  I got a really positive responses about Monday Musings when we ran our first poll ever.  If you like Apartment Prepper, please go out and vote for me!

Now for the links…

Mommy, I Have to Go Potty! Make Your Own Emergency Toilet

Drought in Spain means massive olive oil shortage in months ahead

“Grid Jihad”: What If You Had a Week to Prep for the End of the World?

The Escape Exercise

Recharge Alkaline Batteries

Looking out for your finances as a renter

Ten Steps To Turn Financial Disaster Into Financial Independence

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Monday Musings: 8/25/2014

Monday Musings 8252014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

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

First the blog updates…

Thanks for taking the survey!  We had a great week at Apartment Prepper.  A good number of readers responded they like Monday Musings “as is” with both blog updates and link sharing.  We also got some great suggestions for future posts and I am working on those articles now.  Thank you everyone for responding to our first poll!

Who won Countdown to Preparedness?  Kathi won the random drawing.  She left the following comment:

When I travel, I drive and am pretty well prepared from most things. Walking home wouldn’t be fun though.

Hubby flies to his jobs and refuses to do much in that regard. He does carry his meds in his carry on and that is an improvement. Sometimes, if he is going to be gone a couple of weeks, he will put his pocket knife in his checked bag.

Don’t forget to enter the Potty Box giveaway.  It’s going on now, and ends Friday, 8/29.

Now for the links…

New site that gives free resources: TopSecretSurvival.com

20 All Purpose Remedies Using Essential Oils

EMP: What You Need To Know To SURVIVE

What to Watch on Food Labels

Smart Survival Strategies for Kids: Forbidden Items at School

Is It Really That Easy to Live Off of Your Garden?

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

The Potty Box – Review and Giveaway

The Potty Box Review and GiveawayToday we are reviewing the Potty Box – Complete Toilet Set.  I received a review sample from Emergency Zone  I agreed to review it because I wanted to see if it would deliver on the product features as named in the website:

  • Triple-wall heavy duty design
  • Light weight & compact storage
  • Easy to set up and reuseable
  • Biodegradable
  • Enough chemicals and liners for 10 uses
  • Each scoop of Blue Gel will treat up to 1 gallon of liquid waste
  • Designed to hold up to 250 lbs
  • Fits under your bed, in your trunk, or under your desk in your office

This is how the box looks like:

Pottybox1

You turn the box over and you can already see how it will be constructed.

Pottybox2

Here is a photo of the box with contents.

Pottybox3The potty itself comes with:

10 trash bags

1 red bag labeled “biohazard”

small roll of toilet paper

Blue Gel porta potty chemical

small bottle of hand sanitizer

Pottybox4The instructions on how to construct it are right on the side of the box.  The Potty Box is easy to assemble.  All you have to do is unfold the cardboard and insert the cardboard tabs into the grooves.   Then you take a trash bag and fit it over the opening and tuck it under the sides.  It is as simple as putting together one of those filing boxes at work.   I wondered whether this construction would be flimsy like the filing box.

Actually this box is much stronger and sturdier.

I had a few people in the family of varying builds and weights try it out (no one weighed over 200 lbs. in this test, so I cannot vouch for anything above 200).  The box shows it can support up to 250 lbs.

At first, I imagined the cardboard might cave in but actually, it held up pretty well.  Some of the ones who tried it said it was comfortable enough, and some felt it was tight.

The plastic bag cushions your tush somewhat against the edge of the box.

Another comment was “You can’t do #1 and #2 at the same time,” but that is just something that would have to be worked out individually.

The lid of the box also functions as a toilet lid.

What I liked about it was it was very compact and lightweight.  It is very easy to assemble.  I also has the basic supplies needed for hygiene purposes and it functions as described.

As far as emergency potties for an apartment, it is very space efficient, however there are other choices such as 5 gallon buckets if you wanted a multi-purpose item.  If you are someone who does not want to assemble a potty kit, and want something quick that you can store under the bed or furniture, then the Potty Box would be good to have.  I would advise storing lots more toilet paper than the one roll.  You’d also have to consider how many people would potentially be using it in an emergency and the number of times used – each box has enough supplies for 10 uses.

I think the Potty Box would be ideal for a car survival kit – I’d certainly be grateful to have one if I were stranded somewhere.  It would also make a great gift for a non-prepper who would otherwise not have any hygiene supplies for an emergency.

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY…

Emergency Zone is giving away one Potty Box.   Please answer the following question for a chance to win

 What is your biggest concern about hygiene in a disaster?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  August 29 at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

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Monday Musings 8/18/2014 – Tell Me What you Think!

Monday Musings 8172014This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

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

First the blog updates…

This week I am supplementing my hygiene supplies:  picked up a couple of bottles of bleach from the one of the dollar stores, and added a few extra packs of toilet paper, and garbage bags that were on sale at the market.  Unfortunately garbage bags from the dollar stores fall apart too quickly and at the worst possible moment… trust me-I know.

There’s still a chance to win Countdown to Preparedness   The drawing is on Friday,  August 22 at 8 pm Central.  Please visit the link here.

What would you like to see in our posts?

I’d like to see what’s working and what’s not for our readers.  I can tell somewhat from the daily blog traffic and comments what articles are popular, but I’d like to do a better job for y’all.  Would you mind taking a quick survey to let me know?  I promise it won’t take too much of your time.

Survey Link

Don’t worry, I won’t take it personally.   Thanks for taking the time to respond!

Now for the links…

Ebola outbreak vastly underestimated, WHO says

Hospitals in the U.S. Get Ready for Ebola

Warning: The Coming Pandemic and How You can Prepare Yourself

Job = Just Over Broke

It’s Time for a Prepper Reality Check

Add Photos to Your 72 Hour Kit: 10 min Preparedness Project

The SAD Way of Preparedness Websites – Possibly An Analogy of the Preparedness Life!

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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