Sunday, July 12, 2015

Taking Prepping From the Top: The Prepping Reboot

These are just some of the medical supplies which are almost always available at the Dollar Tree.  (Picture from: )

         Some of our readers have been interested in preparedness for thirty years. A lot of new readers have been interested in learning about it for only a few months. It can be challenging to have something to say which is relevant to both groups, and those in between.   Periodically, I think it is important to take a couple of weeks away from prepping entirely. It is important to actually live the life and the family you are protecting and not to lose sight of that.  I usually do this when on vacation, but because vacations have become a rarity to so many of us, you may have to self impose a period of two weeks where you cease to prep.  I call this process a prepping reboot   Then, look at prepping with new eyes.   I always break prepping down into two main categories, dealing with the issues that would necessitate sheltering in place, and then dealing with family evacuation (which might also trigger a farm evacuation as well.)    However, my friends in Alaska need to prep differently than I.  Our friends who headed to Belize also will need to plan differently than I.  My friends in Ontario will also need to have different items and amounts than my family might.   Following your break, evaluate once again what the most likely emergencies at your location may be.    I might be looking hard at tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, but some of my friends at 6,000 feet or greater, in Colorado for example, plan most heavily for ice storms and serious snow storms even as late as April.   YOU are the expert of what is most likely to go wrong in your own geographic location.

             After you have dealt with  the most likely natural disasters in your location, and made specific plans for these, then give some thought to the less likely varieties.  In my highly rural location, a spilled hazardous truck is not likely unless the truck decided to take an illegal shortcut through the country.  However, that could happen.  So, look at your second string of man-made potential emergencies, and plan for those as well.  Again, many emergencies neatly fall either into the sheltering in place category or the family evacuation plan.

              When you have considered the first two categories, then consider the financials.  How prepared are you for job loss or some type of financial collapse ?   This can be the most difficult for families to consider.   Still, any amount of preparation is better than no advance thought or preparation whatsoever.  Minimizing debt is probably one of the most valuable financial disaster tools at our disposal.  Living a life in which you earn two incomes but require only one of them is also another useful modality.

               Many people tell me they "can't afford to prep".   The people who need to make advance preparations the most are people who are short of money.   Wealthy people could conceivably take a large amount of cash and simply head out, but if this is not an option for you, then you need to have made plans even more urgently.  Fortunately, this need not be expensive.

               The first place a family new to preparations should go is the Dollar Tree or similar establishment.   In putting together a first aid kit, many things are available there.   These could be bought and stored over several weeks.   These are some of the things available at the Dollar Tree.

    Sterile cloth bandages
    Elastic bandages of several sizes
    sterile gauze in 2x2 and 4x4 sizes
    Small bottle pedialyte (generic) flavored and unflavored
    neosporin generic
    benadryl cream generic
    medical tape
    ice packs    (or skip it, buy sponges,wet them,  put them in baggies,  and freeze them for later use)
     Loperamide  (for diarrhea)   Use for adults.  Use liquid only for children with physicians order)
     Diphenhydramine tablets, capsules, or liquid for children.
     Hydrogen peroxide in bottles.
     Isopropyl alcohol in bottles.
     Witch Hazel in bottles.
     Varietal vitamins including high potency prenatal varieties.
There are a lot of fine values in toiletries in the Dollar Tree.  Of course, read the packages. I always prefer items which are manufactured in the USA or Canada, and many of them are now.

      Toothbrush and toothpaste kits
      a broad range of prepackaged snack foods (From individual servings of peanuts to peanut
       butter crackers, baked chip snacks, 
       Generic six packs of ginger ale

  Of course, you can buy larger amounts of these for just a little more money somewhere like Wal-Mart, however if you need to amass a kit fairly quickly, then Dollar Tree can provide a nice start, especially for an evacuation kit.

          Check your kits regularly as everything does expire eventually.  Also, keep your medical items secure from small children and grandchildren.  Isopropyl alcohol and vitamins should never be within reach of small children.