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.
If you live in a large city, the risk of a riot is always present. Riots can be triggered by many reasons, from rowdy festival goers, the aftermath of a big game, , dissatisfaction with a verdict or official actions, and many others. Even people who are lawfully congregating or holding a peaceful protest can unintentionally be swept up in a riot.
How do you prepare for a riot?
There is no telling when a riot can happen. Because of the unpredictability, it is not one of the risks that people really think about when preparing for a disaster. But there may be ways to avoid getting yourself or your family hurt if one erupts in your vicinity.
Consider the possibility. Never think for a minute that this won’t happen to you. If you live in a city, it can happen.
Stay calm. If you start seeing things escalate in a crowd, resist the urge to panic.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t be one of those people who are tethered to their phone and never look up.
Listen to the news and know what’s going on before you venture out.
Scope things out, even when things look normal.
Know all the exits wherever you are.
Avoid the area
Don’t be a lookie-loo. A lot of people get curious about what’s going on, and instead of avoiding the area, they will be tempted to go check it out, drawing them closer to the line of fire.
Resist the urge to take pictures.
As soon as you become aware of something developing, start moving in a calm, orderly fashion. You would not want to stumble and get trampled
Move in the same general direction of the flow of traffic, until you can veer off to a safer area. Moving against traffic will be much harder, attract attention, or make you a target.
Don’t attract attention
Keep your head down
Do not get involved. You may agree with one side or other, but if you are trying to keep yourself or your family safe, now is not the time to get caught up.
Stay close to your companions
Kids can easily get separated from their parents in a riot. If you have kids with you, keep a tight grip on them. You may have to carry the smallest one. In shopping malls, have seen parents doing a fast walk with kids struggling to keep up behind them.
If you are with others, try to stay close or within earshot of each other.
Items to have on hand
Have cash and change at all times so you can arrange for transportation if you can’t drive or get to your car.
Keep a pair of comfortable shoes in your car or in your office.
Many stores shut down if they are in the middle of an afflicted area. Have a week to two weeks worth of food and water in your home, same as preparing for any disaster.
If you are driving
Know alternate routes home – it would best to avoid main roads and instead take side streets.
Lock your windows and doors.
Watch out for pedestrians – there may be a lot of people milling around or trying to stop traffic.
Always keeps your gas tank at least half full – you don’t want to have to stop for gas at the worst possible moment.
We’ve been watching the news about the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa for months now. As I write this, a lot of people are concerned that the virus is making it’s way to the U.S. as two of the victims, American health workers who have contracted the disease are being brought to a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) in a recent speech, stated, “…this outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.”
I am not a doctor or scientist, just a regular person who is wondering “what if?” A lot of sites have weighed in on this subject, and the news reports all assure the public that the virus will not spread here. But there are never any guarantees. All you can do is be aware of what’s going on, hope and pray that the virus is contained.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a virus that causes a horrific hemorrhagic fever with up to a 90% death rate. The incubation period, or the time between a person is infected until they show symptoms is between 2-21 days. Symptoms start out like the flu, with cough, sore throat, malaise, fever, aches and pains, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. At advanced stages, victims get severe bruising and rashes, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting, bleeding from eyes, nose, mouth, multiple organ failure leading to death. No doubt, it’s a nasty, terrible disease.
How do you prevent it?
From what I have read, preventing it means staying away from blood, secretions and other bodily fluids from infected persons who are symptomatic. Caregivers must be covered from head to toe, with impenetrable materials to avoid accidentally coming into contact with bodily fluids. According to the Doom and Bloom Ebola update,
“It’s thought that Ebola doesn’t spread until a victim develops symptoms. As the illness progresses, however, bodily fluids from diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding become very contagious. Poor hygiene and lack of proper medical supplies in underdeveloped countries, such as in West Africa impede the progress of medical authorities to tame the outbreak. The best they can do is isolate sick individuals as best they can and follow infectious disease precautions. This is something they are, apparently, not doing so well, because so many medical personnel are getting sick. When the doctors and nurses are dying, you know you have an illness about which to be truly concerned. Imagine if the disease becomes worldwide.”
Is there a cure?
There is no known cure for Ebola; there is no vaccine either. The only thing that can be done for patients is to keep them comfortable and hydrated, while the patient fights the virus and hopefully gets better on their own.
What can you do to prepare?
We don’t have any control over much of what happens in these developments, all we can do is be aware of what’s happening so we can decide what to do if anything happens. Just the fact that you’re reading this means you are concerned enough to prepare. Here are some tips to cope:
Don’t panic – This is the last thing you need. If you are full of fear you will be incapacitated and unable to make proper decisions
Have a discussion with your close family members about the situation. Talk about how you feel and what you would do “just in case” Things to consider are: At what point would you miss work or keep kids home from school if there is an outbreak of some kind? Would you hunker in your home or stay someplace else?
Keep close tabs on the news – be aware of what’s going on. Learn the facts and stay away from sensationalistic or fear mongering stories. Here’s a good article 12 Things You Must Know about Ebola by James Hubbard, M.D.
Stock up on bleach, disposable gloves, masks, toilet paper, trash bags, water, food, first aid supplies, to last for a month just in case.
Read The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True StoryI was terrified to read about the first time the Ebola virus reached the U.S. (suburb of Washington, D.C.) back in the 80s. Though the story was downplayed at the time, it really happened and now it’s about to arrive again.
From the news reports, the treatment facility that will be receiving the patients is well-equipped with isolation environments, protective equipment and everything needed to keep the patients stable. We’re assured that the personnel are experienced in handling infectious diseases and well-trained in all protocols to protect themselves and everyone else. I pray for the victims and their caregivers and hope there are no mishaps.
I hope these tips are helpful. By being aware of what’s going on, and taking a few sensible steps, you will sleep a lot better at night.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to another Monday Musings were we share blog updates and interesting links. Can you believe half the year is over?
First the blog updates…
What’s it like having no cable? It’s been a couple of weeks since we got rid of cable and so far, the family and I don’t miss much. I’ve watched some new shows straight from the networks’ websites on my computer; the rest of the shows are from Hulu and Netflix at a fraction of what we were paying for cable. All in all, it’s been a positive change.
Welcome to another Monday Musings were we share blog updates and interesting links. Today we celebrate Memorial Day to remember our fallen heroes. At 3:00 pm (local time) please observe a moment of silence to remember the real meaning of this holiday.
First the blog updates…
Who won the copy of Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival? Jeffry won the copy. The question for the giveaway was What aspect of food storage do you find the most challenging and why? His response was “I find dehydrating and canning as my next challenges in food storage.Never having done either.”
Inspiration for the Jake and Miller characters – I’ve posted the “real” Jake and Miller photos – the two who inspired me as I was writing the book – See the Jake and Miller Facebook page – check them out!
Moisturizing Salve Benefits – Continued A month ago, I posted about my moisturizing salve experiment, (aka miracle salve), and I wanted to let you know all the benefits I’ve found so far. I gave them away to relatives with various maladies and so far, I’ve received reports of improvements in their eczema, psoriasis, skin allergies and muscle cramps. As far as products I’ve replaced, I no longer have to buy makeup remover, foot softener, hand and cuticle cream, facial moisturizer… the list goes on. I even replaced the dog’s hot spot spray with this stuff and it works! After a month, I am just about ready to make another batch.
Emergency Essentials Mountain House Sale
Just a reminder that the Mountain House Sale ends May 31. Now is a good time to stock up: All Mountain House Cans are now 28-32% off!
Now for the links… Just a very quick one today!
It won’t be a walk in the park Good discussion on what would happen if there were a long term power loss
Hurricane season starts next month (June 1 – November 30), and one of the recommended steps to prepare is to have a survival kit.
You have a couple of options: make your own OR buy a pre-assembled survival kit. You also need to decide how much money and how much time you want to spend.
Here are a couple of factors to consider:
Number of people in your household
Number of days you are covering
Type of emergency
Purpose of the kit – home emergency, car emergency etc.
Whatever kit you choose, there will be some crossover – some of the same items would be useful regardless what type of disaster- power outage, hurricane, earthquake, flood etc.
For a 72 hour kit, you should have the following items:
Food – Include food that does not need a lot of effort to prepare: energy bars, canned food, “just add water” meals (dehydrated or freeze dried foods), crackers, etc. Include some comfort food such as chocolate, candy and chips. Don’t forget the manual can opener
Water – One gallon per person per day is the guideline
First aid – in addition to the basic first aid contents, include personal prescriptions, eyeglasses, contact lenses etc. It is also a good idea to include a pocket first aid manual.
You’ll also need to include other miscellaneous items such as stuffed animals for children, special needs, pet food and medicines etc. While you’re in the planning mode, device a plan on what you will do if you need to evacuate the area.
If you decide to buy a prepackaged survival kit, go through the contents as soon as you receive it, so you know what you have stored up. If you are planning to do it yourself, now is the time to get started with building your kit.
I’ve started a Facebook page for Jake and Miller, and I’ll be posting fun facts about the book, as well as prepping with kids and pets in the coming months. I invite you to come and visit the Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure Facebook page. www.facebook.com/jakeandmiller I appreciate the Likes!
I’ve been seeing several news reports of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and got to thinking about pandemics in general. Lots of people fear a global pandemic. If you had to rank a list of super scary threats, pandemic would be pretty high on the list. We’ve all seen movies like Contagion, which is scary enough. We also associate pandemic with nightmarish throngs of zombie like disease ridden creatures. But let’s pull back to reality and get some sense of what is a pandemic and whether they can happen.
What is a pandemic? According to Flu.gov, a pandemic is defined as a global outbreak of disease. It’s not determined by the number of deaths, but by how quickly it spreads.
Do they happen? Pandemics do happen, as in three outbreaks of flu pandemic in the 20th century:
Spanish flu killed $40-50 million in 1918
Asian flu in 1957 killed 2 million people
1 million deaths from Hong Kong flu in 1968
What are the chances?
I don’t have a crystal ball, and there is really no way to predict when and how a pandemic can happen. Certain “tells” would be:
A new virus emerges, which means people would have little or no immunity to it
The virus is easily spread to others
Virus starts affecting various countries around the globe at the same time. This is not hard to imagine, given the speed of air travel.
Outbreaks come in waves.
This would overwhelm the healthcare systems in affected countries, cause a shortage of medicines and caregivers, large scale deaths would disrupt the economy and systems. People would not be able to come to work if they are too sick or too busy caring for family members.
What can an average person do to be prepared?
The basics for preparing for a pandemic is similar to preparing for a regional disaster, such as hurricane or ice storm, except for a few added precautions:
Have at least two weeks worth of stored food that does not need refrigeration. Don’t forget to store enough for kids, pets and other special diets. Increase your supplies if you have the means or the space.
Store enough water for your family for at least two weeks- the recommended amount is at least one gallon per person per day.
Have a power outage kit, which means backup lighting, cooking and communications, in case of power disruptions, Your car survival kit should also be fully stocked.
Keep a fully stocked first aid kit, complete with backup prescriptions
Make sure you also have toilet and sanitation provisions
Be aware – pay attention to the news, both mainstream and alternate sources.
Stock up on additional supplies including:
N-95 face masks
hand soap and antibacterial wipes
bleach – a good standby when in comes to disinfect surfaces. According to the Clorox website, use 2 tbsp bleach to one gallon of water, to sanitize a surface. Bleach loses its potency so always mix a fresh batch for cleaning.
garbage bags for disposal of waste
Bolster your Immune System
Strengthening your immune system is always good to do, whether there is a risk or pandemic or not:
Get enough sleep and rest.
Relax and avoid stress.
Exercise at least three to four days a week.
Eat a healthy diet. Take vitamin supplements if you feel you don’t eat well enough.
A few other tips:
Have a plan Decide in advance under what circumstances you would start keeping kids home from school, staying home from work or creating a sick room in your house.
Discuss your plan with family members and plan care giving tasks ahead of time.
Avoid crowds Being among lots of people increases your chances of getting contaminated. If you live in a condo or apartment complex, you would need to avoid common areas, possibly take the stairs that are used less frequently than elevators. If you must be around others, you’d need to wear a mask
Wash your hands 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.
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze Use tissues or a handkerchief to cover up and avoid spreading germs.
Stop touching your eyes and face Once you touch something with germs, and you touch near your eyes or mouth, you can instantly catch a disease. Be aware of this and if you cannot wash your hands right away, at least keep your hands away from your face.
Disinfect surfaces around you Droplets from coughing and sneezing travel several feet. These germ filled droplets can last for hours on surfaces such as paper, steel or plastic. For this reason, keep a box of antibacterial wipes and clean door knobs, light switches and other commonly touched items around you.
Learn basic first aid and herbal remedies If there is a pandemic, hospital emergency rooms and doctors’ office would be overwhelmed, and also filled with contagious people. If you had a minor issue such as a cut or a cold, and can take of it at home using first aid, essential oils or herbal remedies, you are better off avoiding these places.
Recommended reading: If you are interested in finding out about the time when the Ebola virus made it all the way to Reston, VA, read The Hot Zone, a nonfiction story that is all the more scary because it really happened.
Preparing for a pandemic is similar to being prepared for other disasters. There is no need to panic or live in fear – being prepared will help you sleep better at night.