How an Average Person can Prepare for a Pandemic

How an Average Person can Prepare for a PandemicThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

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.
  • Have some emergency cash.
  • 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
  • goggles
  • gloves
  • 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.

 

 

Monday Musings 4/21/2014

Monday Musings 4212014

This 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…

Now that we are finally starting to get some sunny weather, I am getting ready to try cooking with the Sun Oven  I’m looking for easy recipes, so if you any favorites, please share.

Don’t forget to enter our ALTAI Tactical Boot Giveaway, going on right now.

Now for the links…

Diseases to watch   I’m continuing to watch the news about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; turns out there continues to be a cholera epidemic in Haiti, that has been going on since the earthquake a few years ago.

West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of disease: study

U.N. Struggles to Stem Haiti Cholera Epidemic

Speaking of fighting disease   This is a good article from Survival Doc on clothing

Your Disaster Fashion Guide: The Outfit That Fights Diseases

Glad this was said    As someone who devotes countless hours writing this blog, I have to say I am glad this article was written.   Well said, Survivalist Prepper…

Picking the Right Prepper Website

Another reason why your money buys less  The price of food just keeps on rising, first it was meat, now it’s fruits and vegetables.

Attention Shoppers: Fruit and Vegetable Prices Are Rising

Organize your bag for optimum weight  Testing your gear is important; Survival Sherpa has some great tips on paring down the weight

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program 

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

Monday Musings: 4/14/2014

 Monday Musings 4142014

This 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…

I am working on a new round of reviews and projects that I will be posting about soon.

One of the projects I had hoped to get going hasn’t worked out just yet, the Back to the Roots AquaFarm which I mentioned last fall   I originally purchased it to try an aquaponics project indoors, but found out during the set up that we don’t have a good spot for it.  I didn’t realize this before buying it, but found out later, that it cannot be near any bedrooms because the pump generates a steady noise.  At the same time, it needs a sunny spot to work properly.   I’m not saying it doesn’t work – we just don’t have the right space for it.  Back to the patio garden!

New Mountain House products for 2014   I received an announcement from Mountain House announcing their new 2014 products:  

 ·       Mountain House® Biscuits and Gravy: This traditional breakfast comfort food provides the energy outdoor enthusiasts need to fuel up before or after vigorous activities. Unique in the industry, Mountain House developed a recipe for biscuits in a creamy sausage gravy that offers a perfect combination of soft, yet crunchy while maintaining just-add-water convenience. Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy come in a 4.94 oz. pack with an MSRP of $5.99.

 ·       Mountain House® Apple Crisp: This classic dessert can be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack or by the fire as the perfect finish to a satisfying meal in the outdoors. Mountain House Apple Crisp provides that homemade flavor and comfort outdoor enthusiasts crave at the end of a strenuous day. It comes in a 4.59 oz. pack with an MSRP of $7.49.

 ·       Mountain House® Fire Roasted Vegetables: The savory, delicious taste of fire roasted peppers, corn, and onions with hearty black beans is the perfect side dish for favorite Mountain House meals. One serving contains 100 percent of the daily Vitamin C requirement – just the nutrient replenishment needed after activity. They come in a 1.48oz pack with an MSRP of $3.99.

 ·       Mountain House® Just In Case… Breakfast Assortment: This 16-pouch assortment includes 29 total servings, including: Scrambled Eggs with Bacon, Scrambled Eggs with Ham & Peppers, Granola with Milk & Blueberries, and the Breakfast Skillet (Hash Browns and Scrambled Eggs with Pork Sausage, Peppers & Onions). Each breakfast provides plenty of fuel for when it’s needed most. The assortment comes in a reusable bucket and has an MSRP of $89.99.

The Biscuits and Gravy, Apple Crisp and Fire Roasted Vegetables are available in cases of six. The Just In Case… Breakfast Assortment is sold individually. All four new products are available now to retailers nationwide.

I’ve tested their beef stroganoff and their spaghetti and meat sauce and they turned out well.  When I try some of the new offerings I’ll be sure to let you know how they turn out.

News about my new book, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure:  A Prepper’s Book for Kids

The release date on Amazon changed again, but the publisher tells me the books are shipping out this week.  It’s available for pre-order.  You still have a chance to enter the Goodreads giveaway- deadline is April 15th.

Enter the giveaway by clicking on the the Entry button below!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure by Bernie  Carr

Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure

by Bernie Carr

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Good luck!

Now for the links…

So many data breaches, so little time  Last week it was all about “Heartbleed”  And it’s not even over yet.

 The Heartbleed SSL Flaw: Are You Affected?

Not another one…

Massive U.S. credit bureau data breach has experts worried

More earthquakes than California   An area not widely known as an earthquake zone, Oklahoma has been experiencing a lot of earthquakes:

Oklahoma rattled by an uptick in earthquakes

Good life lessons  Interesting article from someone who has been through his own personal downturn.

The End of the World: The Sequel

Don’t neglect this   Good reminder about a prep that is often neglected.

Your Most Important Prep

Remedies for a common problem   A lot of people suffer from acid reflux, and taking over the counter medicines may have undesired side effects.  Check out this article for some relief:

Home Remedies for Acid Reflux

Easy-peasy    Making homemade butter seems easy enough.  I hope it works when I try it.

Make fresh homemade butter with heavy cream and a mason jar

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Get out of debt

Using Four Year Old Rice

FourYearOldRiceThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

We are rotating the first batch of rice we stored away and replacing it with the new batch.  I bought the rice back in April 2010 but did not repackage it for for long term storage until November 2010.  Usually, rice that is left in a pantry with no special packaging will last one to two years.

Since this is the first time I am using my rice storage I was really curious as to how the mylar bag/oxygen absorber packed rice held up.  We don’t keep it especially cold in our apartment – usually 75-78 degrees, and it does get humid indoors sometimes.

First, Mr. Apt Prepper opened up the five gallon bucket.  I didn’t realize they are not the easiest things to open, which is actually a good thing, because you know the contents are safe.  After he released the plastic zip seal, he had to slowly pry open the lid with a butter knife.  It would have been easier to have a bucket opener so I added one to the Amazon wish list.

Rice in mylar bagOnce opened, we examined the mylar bags inside and found them to be the same as when we packed them nearly four years ago.  The bags were still very much air tight as they shrink around the food once the oxygen absorber activates.  When I opened a bag, I found that the oxygen absorber was still soft and fresh, and did not harden as expired ones do.  I poured the contents into a jar, and cooked up a batch.

Pouring rice from mylar bagThe rice tasted good and there was no difference in taste or texture at all.  I am really glad the process works, and feel confident the food storage will hold up for many years.

Buying food in bulk and repackaging it yourself is a cost effective way to store for emergency long term storage.  As long as you keep rotating your food, it will not go to waste.  If you’d like to get started repackaging bulk food for long term storage, the easiest method is described here.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Monday Musings: 3/31/2014

 Monday Musings 3312014

This 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. 

It’s now starting to feel like spring in southeast Texas, with the bluebonnets and other wildflowers blooming and the air is heavy with tree pollen.  This also means stuffy noses, itchy watery eyes and nonstop sneezing for us allergy sufferers.  

First the blog updates…

Huge giveaway planned  I joined up with several members of the Prepared Bloggers for a huge spring giveaway.  The details of the giveaway will be published shortly.

Now for the links…

I hope more people pay attention  We really need to protect our electric grid – no one wants long term power loss

Newt Gingrich’s Plan to Stave Off the Apocalypse

Mobile users of sites – beware of ID theft  More news about accounts being exposed to hackers.

Feds: Fandango Customers Were Vulnerable to Hackers, Identity Theft

Spring is the perfect time to exercise  And it won’t even cost you much!

Nine Free Resources for Inexpensive Home Exercise

Using food storage supplies Great example about creative ways to use food storage stockpiles

The fascination of DIY Cool Whip

Handy skills to have  Even apartment dwellers would benefit from knowing some basic plumbing

Basic Plumbing Skills Every Prepper Should Know

Before an emergency happens, a chance to “do over”  I agree with the ideas in this article – now’s our chance to make it right!

If I Had the Chance to Start Prepping All Over Again, Here’s What I Would Have Done…

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Will You Need Companions During a Collapse?

Why you need companions during a collapseThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A few months ago we traveled with another family to enjoy the snow for a few days.   Each family took their own vehicle.   On the day we were scheduled to leave, it snowed heavily the night before.  We were apprehensive we would not be able to get to the road without a snow plow, and there were none available.  Our vehicle made it just fine, but our friends’ car got stuck in the deep snow.  Fortunately we were able to tow them out.

This event got me thinking about the need for companions when things get rough.   While the idea of the “lone wolf survivor” may be appealing to some, the reality is life would be so much tougher if you had to go at it alone.

Safety and Security

The old adage about “safety in numbers” is true, but only if you pick the right companions.  They would have to be people you can trust.

In one of the books I recently read, Going Home by A. American the main character originally did not want any companions in his journey.  But one of the travelers who wanted to tag along reminded him he would need to sleep sooner or later and someone should watch his back.  This was a convincing argument.  No matter how good at self defense or how well-armed you are, when you go to sleep you are vulnerable.  Having others keep watch would be much safer.

Even during normal times, a neighborhood watch group can help protect the neighborhood from thieves and other criminal activity.

Food gathering and preparation

People can split chores according to their expertise:  some people can hunt, fish, garden, while others can prepare food.

Skills

Another good reason for having companions is to share skills and expertise.  If you know someone with a medical background, or other skills such as building and construction, sewing, canning, etc. you can help each other or barter your time.

Now that we realize the benefits, the real challenge is really getting to know your community.  Unfortunately, most communities especially in big cities are not close knit – some neighbors who have lived next door to each other for years barely even know their neighbors.  A few ideas to consider:

  • Take the time to get to know who’s around you.   I’m not saying you should tell the neighborhood about your prepping but at least get to know who’s who and build rapport with them.  It takes a while to find trust worthy people.
  • If you don’t think they are reliable find some other like-minded friends or family members and develop a relationship.
  • Don’t be heavy handed in trying to convince people to be prepared; if they are so inclined, you will know.
  • Once you find people you trust, even if it’s just one other family, make plans to communicate with each other and get together in the event of a dire emergency or collapse.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Surviving an Economic Collapse – Advice from Mark Goodwin, Author of The Economic Collapse Chronicles

American MeltdownMark Goodwin, who runs Prepper Recon has written two books in The Economic Collapse Chronicles:  American Exit Strategy and the recently released American Meltdown.  With all the fears about economic collapse, I was glad to have the opportunity to interview Mark about his thoughts on the best way to prepare.

1.   What do you think are the most likely disasters to prepare for and what is the best way for a beginner to be prepared?

I believe in preparing to survive without systems of support. Those types of conditions can be triggered by a hurricane, earthquake, EMP, solar flare, or socioeconomic upheaval. With that being said, I think the most likely scenario to trigger tough times is an economic collapse. I think the current monetary policies of the Federal Reserve are creating a massive amount of destructive energy in financial markets. The M2 money supply is around $11 trillion. That is up 57% since the beginning of the crisis in 2008. These are the types of things done by banana republics like Zimbabwe, not by the central bank of the world’s reserve currency. Zimbabwe, by the way, had a hyper-inflationary currency collapse, just like every other country in the past who has tried to print their way out of economic hardship. Argentina in 2001 suffered a similar fate, the Weimar Republic went through the same thin after World War I. It always ends the same. Now the US is doing the same thing and hoping that this time it will be different. Well, I hope this time is different than the other 599 fiat currencies that have failed throughout history, but I highly doubt it. If it is, from a statistical view, it would be considered an extreme outlier. Statistics tell us that the odds of a currency collapse are close to 100%.

For a beginner, the best thing you can do is to get on a budget. It doesn’t sound as cool as buying a bunch of guns and long term storage food, but it will keep you from creating your own persona SHTF moment. We don’t know what the meltdown will look like. For many folks, myself included, it has already meant losing a job and having to reinvent yourself. That is much easier to do if you have some savings and are already living within your means. If you are spending everything you make right now, you can’t survive a 10% pay cut, much less The End Of The World As We Know It.

2.   For an average person, what are ways to prepare for an economic collapse?

To prepare for the turmoil associated with a currency collapse, I am diversifying my assets away from dollars. I try to keep a portion of my assets in silver and gold. Unlike the 599 currencies throughout history that have failed, silver and gold have maintained their status of being stores of value since Genesis 13:2 which says “Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.” That is pretty much the beginning of time.

I am looking to purchase a bug out location. I hope that is something that will turn out to be a good investment. I hope to use it as a vacation spot and to be able to harvest timber from the land. There are several ways to monetize your bug out property between now and the apocalypse.

3.   What would you advice city dwellers on improving their chances to survive a disaster?

I recommend balancing Operational Security or OPSEC with getting out there and forming community. No one can survive on their own. OPSEC means not telling people that you are preparing and it seems to be juxtaposed to forming a community, but there is actually a middle ground. Don’t invite all of your neighbors over to show off your new gun. Instead, get to know your neighbors and get the conversation started. You can initiate conversation by talking about things that threaten your area. If you live in California, you can start talking about earthquake preparedness. If you live on the east coast, ask your neighbor how well they are prepared for a major hurricane. Most anyone can talk about the recent chemical spill in West Virginia. Ask your neighbors what they would do if they had no drinking water for a week.

3.  Please tell us a bit about your background.

I woke up from my normalcy bias in September of 2001. I realized how fragile our system was and understood that I wasn’t as safe as I though. I put together a bug out bag at that time and started taking responsibility for my own security. I think everyone should do that. The police can’t be everywhere at once, and we wouldn’t want them to be. Their main task is to show up and take a report after the crime has already been committed. Hopefully, they can catch he bad guy, but the damage has already been done.

In 2008 I realized how much I didn’t understand about the fragility of the financial system. I went to school and got my Accounting degree and independently studied our economic system. The more I learn, the more I want to be prepared. Two years ago, that turned into a passion for teaching others and I started PrepperRecon.com. Last year, that grew into a podcast where we have had some awesome guests like, James Rawles, John Rubino, Glenn Tate, Doug Casey, David Morgan, Ferfal, and Bernie Carr. All of those interviews are available to stream or download in the archives section on Prepper Recon by clicking the Prepper Recon Podcast tab at the top of the page.
I love prepper fiction, so I started writing it last year. I try to weave my knowledge of economics, politics, and survival into an action-packed tapestry of fast-paced, post-apocalyptic fiction. I think prepper fiction can be a useful tool for waking folks up to the need to prepare. I think it’s a great tool for seasoned preppers as well. It forces us to consider how we would deal with the situations in the book. We questions whether our preps and training would be adequate to survive the scenario.

5.  Any plans for other books?
Book Three of the Economic Collapse Chronicles will be out this summer. I may attempt a practical survival manual if the Lord opens the right doors. The first book of my next trilogy should be out by next winter. Whereas the Economic Collapse Chronicles pre-supposed the meltdown to be caused by incompetence and buffoonery on the part of the Federal Government, the next trilogy will look at the collapse as being a planned event.

Mark is giving away a copy of American Exit Strategy and American Meltdown.  To enter, just leave a comment regarding:

Are you concerned about a possible economic collapse?  How are you preparing?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, March 8 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 HAS ENDED.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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AP Book Feature – Prepper Pete Prepares: Interview with Kermit Jones + Giveaway

Prepper Pete PreparesToday we are looking at something different:  Prepper Pete Prepares, by Kermit Jones,  a children’s picture book about prepping.

Upon reading the book, I thought it would be a great addition to our AP Book Feature.  I must say even adults who are “in denial” about the need for prepping would benefit from reading this book.  I sent Kermit a few questions related to kids and prepping and he graciously sent us the following responses:

1.   When do you feel it is appropriate to start getting kids involved in prepping? Is there a specific age or maturity level?

Starting with your second question, I firmly believe it is the latter of the two. That is, parents should know the maturity level of each of their children and make their own decision. It is vital to not simply equate age with maturity (they are not synonymous), but with that caveat aside, I generally propose that the younger, the better. Many parents mistakenly assume that when something happens, their kids will simply fall in line, but that’s only going to happen if they’ve been consistent in their expectations until that point.  Whereas age appropriateness is key, more discussion will generally lead to more understanding.

It also happens to be the point of “Prepper Pete Prepares” in that it provides a launching point for discussion that isn’t designed to scare kids. Instead, it prompts the opportunity to see where each child is in the process, and engage them from that point forward. The depth of discussion should be tailored to each child in question, though I readily admit that parents often don’t give their kids enough credit for what they are able to understand (assuming the information is presented properly).

The primary warning would be that parents should keep in the back of their mind that kids sometimes can’t easily distinguish between possibility and reality – they should be clear that there is no immediate danger or reason to be afraid.  I think Prepper Pete’s signature quote really hits home: “Some people prepare because they are afraid. Our family doesn’t have to be afraid… because we are prepared.”

2.   A number of people generally get worried about getting kids involved in certain prepping activities, while some get them involved at a young age for things like fishing, hunting etc.  What activities do you recommend parents involve their kids?

That is a great point. Skills like hunting and fishing can serve a dual purpose of both hobby and Prepping. Many people who don’t consider themselves Preppers engage in those activities, and they can be useful in both everyday life and a TEOTWAKI scenario.  I recommend that parents realize that the best prepping skill they can teach their kids is critical thinking… and that will serve them well throughout their life, regardless of circumstances.

That means recognizing and understanding that Prepping skills can be both generic and useful in a variety of situations in addition to Prepping.  The biggest advantage, however, is that it helps prevent kids from freezing due to fear.  They gain confidence in themselves so that they can, in fact, act.  And simply acting is often what saves lives.  The old adage applies – you can’t steer a parked car.
I also recommend teaching kids other skills such as how to build a fire, garden, can veggies, use weapons, defend themselves, and much, much more.  Reading books that engage critical thinking skills and imagination are great Prepping activities, even if they aren’t obvious on the surface.  And for the record, anything that encourages responsibility (such as assigned chores, etc.) should all be considered part of “Prepping.”

My philosophy is that Prepping should be a lifestyle – not an event. Parents shouldn’t let learning opportunities pass them by.  They can even teach fun skills independent of “Prepping” and link it back at a later time.  For instance, they can teach their kids how to build a fire without matches for the purpose of making s’mores.  Obviously, it could later save a life in the cold.

3.  Preppers generally like to keep their prepping as private as possible; however, kids may not understand the importance of “loose lips sink ships.”  What is the best way to explain secrecy/privacy to young kids without scaring them?

Operational security, or OPSEC, is definitely a concern.  Unfortunately, parents often explain “what” their kids should or should not be doing, but they fail to explain the “why” of it.  Kids (and adults, for that matter!) need to be able to connect actions with motivations.  Again, parents should be age appropriate about this, but I think many parents simply fail to sit down with their kids and have a conversation on the topic.  They should talk about it with their kids – and talk about it often.  Taking time to ask kids questions and see what they think will often clue parents in on the approach they should take.

If someone has multiple kids, the older ones can really help get the point across to the younger ones, as well.  When my ten year old daughter tells my four year old something about the importance of “keeping a secret,” it carries a different (and in this case, positive) weight than when it is just mom or dad saying it.  It becomes important from a “peer perspective” with an attitude that, “if it’s important enough for them, it must be important enough for me, as well.”  It also engages the older kids appropriately and gives them a sense of responsibility towards keeping the family secrets.  Parents can’t do this, however, if they don’t talk, question, and know where their kids stand.  They just need to be sure it’s a conversation – not an interrogation!

Also, it’s important to let kids know what they CAN say, and who they can say it to.  If they can tell something to a close relative or friend, then it can act as a “relief valve” of sorts.  Parents will also be able to observe the filters and perceptions their kids have in place.

Finally, it’s important to have graduating levels (age/maturity appropriate) of responsibility.  On the one hand, parents shouldn’t mistakenly assume their kids know nothing (they always know something). On the other, they don’t have to provide them with every last detail.  Perhaps only a portion of information is needed, and it may be enough to convey their purposes.

4.  Please tell us a bit about your background.

I’m a husband of one, father of four, and a Chaplain in the Navy Reserves. After graduating from the Naval Academy, I spent a few years as a Surface Warfare Officer before transitioning into ministry.  I’ve been fortunate to live in Japan for four years and several places in the U.S.  I was trying to figure out how to explain the world of Prepping to my own daughters and couldn’t really find much information out there on the topic.  So I started by writing “Prepper Pete Prepares” and it’s taken on a life of its own, growing into two magazine columns, a few website article and several podcasts.

5.  Any plans for other books?

Definitely!  Prepper Pete’s “Gun of a Son” is a gun safety book for kids and should be on the market in late February.  March should see Prepper Pete’s “Be Prepared!” which covers steps every parent should take to help prepare their kids for a wide range of emergency situations.  “Survivalist Sam Stocks Up” (the Four B’s of Prepping) and “Prepper Pete Gets Out of Dodge” (Bugging out and OPSEC) are coming later this year.

Additionally, I’m launching a new chapter book series called “The Survival Kids” which I hope to be a mix of Boxcar Children, Magic Treehouse, McGyver, and James Wesley Rawles.  Two of my kids are a bit older and I want to provide something for that age range, so I expect it will be out by mid-year.  For those who want to keep track, I invite them to like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PrepperPeteAndFriends) – where we’ll be giving out a free book at the 500 Likes mark.

Our thanks to Kermit Jones for participating in our Book Feature and for addressing our questions thoroughly!

Now for the giveaway:

One copy of Prepper Pete Prepares, by Kermit Jones is reserved for the winner.  Please post your answer to the following questions in the Comments.

How much involvement should children have in prepping, and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, March 1st 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 HAS ENDED.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Having Gear Does Not Guarantee Preparedness

Solar ChargerThis article is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

 

One of the first things people do when they get interested in prepping is going out and buying gear.  It is great to have a list and just check off items you already just purchased.  Whew!  Got the stuff, now I’m prepared.  Well… sort of.  There is one critical step that is being missed.

Use it!

I’ve heard and read comments from people who, on one hand, have made the commitment to be prepared and are buying the items needed;  but on the other hand, when asked how the things worked, they say, “I don’t know, I haven’t opened the box yet-I’m saving it for an emergency..”  I am glad they are getting started, but not even opening the box to check it is a critical error.

Here’s why:

The item might not work.   When we first got started we bought some cheap stuff that ended up being junk.   Sure, it might be better than nothing, but why rely on something that will fail you when you most need it?  Being in the middle of a power outage would not be a good time to find out your flashlight does not work, or you did not have the correct size batteries for it.  Which brings me to the next point…

Know what you actually need to make the item work.   For example if you have a backpacking stove for a power outage, you will need fuel for that stove.  If you had never opened the box, you may not know this until the day you try to use it.

Some gear need maintenance  Knives, machetes and other items with edges need be sharpened or oiled, firearms need to be cleaned, even

Know how outside factors affect the use of some items  Until you actually practice with the gear, you won’t know how it will work in the “real world”  You may remember my bear spray experiment  where we found out how just how fast you need to use that spray when being attacked, and how a small change in wind direction will affect you.

Read the instructions!  Some things are self-explanatory, but some things are not.  For me, putting a tent together is NOT self-explanatory.   If you have a tent as part of your bug out gear, do yourself a favor and practice with it a few times.  Try assembling it in the day, as well as in the dark.  Putting a tent together at night is a whole experience in itself… especially with kids around.   I know it sounds tedious, but imagine if you were stranded somewhere, and you’re trying to build a tent you’ve never seen assembled, with parts that are still encased in plastic, in the dark, in a rainstorm.

Some items don’t last long   Check your supplies a couple of times a year, so you’ll  know what items have expired or deteriorated over time.  Then you’ll have a chance to repair or replace damaged goods.

Or they may not fit   Another reason to try things out are size changes.  Kids quickly outgrow clothes, backpacks and footwear; adults gain or lose weight so any items that no longer fit should be replaced.

There you have it, a cold, rainy day or a snow bound weekend when you are stuck at  home would be a great opportunity to check your emergency stuff and try things out.  Do it now, before you find yourself in a real emergency.

 © Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Repackaging Salt for Long Term Storage

Because salt is one of those essential ingredients with multiple uses, I decided to add more of it to my storage.

I bought a huge bag of salt at Costco, but knew I’d need to repackage it for storage sooner than later to preserve its quality.  I know you can always break it up if it were to clump up, but it’s so much easier to use if it does not have clumps and is free-flowing.  I’ve posted about bulk food storage a couple of years ago, but this time, I am doing it a bit differently.

Salt for long term storageMaterials I used:

Mylar bags (one gallon size)

measuring cup or scoop

hair straightening iron

food grade 5-gallon bucket

Steps:

  1. Wash and dry hands thoroughly.  You don’t want any moisture around when doing this.  It’s best to do this away from kids or pets, to avoid accidents with the hot straightening iron.
  2. Scoop salt into the mylar bag with a cup or scooper until it is about 1/2 – 3/4 full.
  3. Gently shake the bag to make sure the salt is evenly distributed throughout the bag.
  4. Squeeze all the air out by placing hands on each side.  Now you are ready to seal.Sealing a mylar bag with straightening iron
  5. Use the straightening iron, set on the high setting, and start sealing one side to the top of the bag.  When I did this process a couple of years ago I used a clothes iron.  But ever since I read the tip from Gaye, Survival Woman, I wanted to try using the hair straightening iron.  I found that it is so much easier this way.
  6. Do the same thing on the other side. DO NOT TOUCH the Mylar bag after you’ve run the iron across it – bag will be hot!
  7. You do not need oxygen absorbers for salt or sugar.  But if you are storing flour, rice or some other bulk food, you will need them.
  8. Label the bag with the item name and date.  This way you’ll know what bag to use first when you rotate your food storage.
  9. Store the bags in a 5-gallon bucket with a lid.  Store in a cool, dry place, with temperatures around 72 degrees or lower.

Here is a photo of the results of my salt storage project before I placed them in a 5-gallon bucket:

Salt Repackaged for Long Term Storage

How long will it last?

Properly stored bulk foods should last 10-30 years, however, other factors such as light, heat and humidity may affect the stored food.  If the food is stored at higher temperatures, the shelf life would be shorter.  Storing food in less than ideal conditions may be a bit of a challenge but don’t let that stop you.

Always rotate your food storage

To avoid food going to waste, periodically go through your food storage and rotate your stores.  Use up the foods with the oldest dates, and replace with a fresh batch.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

 

You’ll find lots of great food storage tips from Gaye Levy’s latest e-book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage, which I reviewed here Preppers-Guide-to-Food-Storage-268-x-403