Emergency preparedness goals
Mark and I have a very
hit-or-miss approach to emergency preparedness. We've covered the
basics --- storing drinking water, making sure we have enough food for
a few weeks, staying warm during outages, and keeping the lights on
without electricity (all of which I write about in more depth in The
But each new disaster we face reminds us
of a few ways we'd like to keep comfort levels higher, and Just in Case gave us some extra ideas as
well. So here's our new preparedness plan, which we'll be pecking
away at over the next few years.
Now or soon:
- Make sure we have cash on hand
at all times. Like many modern Americans, we use plastic
nearly exclusively, but Harrison makes a good point that credit cards
don't work without power.
- Check to make sure our car has a
spare tire. Neither Mark nor I could recall if we did this
when we bought our "new" (1994-model) car a year and a half ago.
- Stock up on toiletries.
If we didn't have access to stores for a month or two, we'd be fine in
the food line, but we'd run low on soap and toilet paper. Since
neither is perishable, it wouldn't hurt to have a couple of extra
packages on a shelf in the barn.
- Put up smoke/carbon dioxide
detectors. I'm ashamed to admit that we don't have a smoke
detector in our trailer. When we moved in, various friends and
family members gave us bags-full, but the devices were all cheap and
went off whenever I cooked (not even burning anything), so we gave up
on them. I suspect that if I get a better model and read up on
placement, we could have the benefit of a smoke detector without
constant false alarms.
- Replace our fire extinguisher
with one rated for class A, B, and C fires. We do have a
fire extinguisher easy to grab in the kitchen, but it's only good for
class B (gasoline and grease) and C (electrical) fires. Granted,
class A (paper and some plastics) fires can probably be put out with
water, but I want to add an extinguisher to the East Wing as well where
there's not water on demand.
- Buy a cat carrier.
If we had to evacuate with pets, Lucy would be easy, but my usual
cat-wrangling method (just wrap whoever needs to go to the vet in a
towel and then in my arms) wouldn't work with two cats. For our
chickens, we'd probably either turn them loose with extra food, or move
them to the barn.
- Replace my tents.
We've got all the camping gear we would need to spend a couple of weeks
in the woods, except that my twelve-year-old tents have finally bitten
Longer term projects
- Add a hood over our cook stove
and redo the cabinets so they're higher up. When
I learned that a huge proportion of trailer fires are due to the
cabinet above the stove catching fire since it's flammable and too
close to the range surface. An ounce of prevention here is worth
a pound of cure.
- Get our solar
setup to the point where it fuels ordinary, daily activities.
What's been standing in the way here is that I keep waiting for someone
else (Bradley, Mark, Huckleberry) to do the research and figure out
whether batteries need to be outdoors or indoors, what kind of inverter
to buy, etc. I think I need to buy a good book and learn more
about solar myself --- does anyone have a basic solar book suggestion?
- Convert our generator
to propane. Having fuel on hand for our generator is
tricky since gas goes bad quickly in our humid climate. Although
you can add fuel stabilizer to gas, Mark thinks converting the
generator over to propane would be a better solution.
- Hook up a second solar setup
so we can have one for the main trailer and one for the East Wing.
- This may just be at the dreaming stage, but we're also
considering a little underground
shelter up the hillside, beyond flood range, that could be used
during floods and tornadoes, and as guest quarters and a root
cellar. I probably should get an underground house book to
expedite my research --- any favorites there?
As usual, some of these
plans are quite ambitious, but it helps to have them all laid out from
easy to hard. After all, I know I can buy soap and toilet paper
and take some money out of the bank in small bills this week, putting
us 16% of the way to our goal immediately. What is on your
preparedness list for the near and far future?
Sick of dirty water?
Your hens are too. Treat your flock to an Avian Aqua Miser.
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