The months seem to be flying by. And as each month passes, I feel a sense of relief that that except for a short burst of extreme winter weather, my household has not had to dig into our emergency supplies for sustenance. On the other hand, some unexpected personal emergencies have come up and with them, a renewed focus on being prepared not only for the big events in life but also the smaller events that can turn your world upside down. More about that on the Sunday Potpourri.
What are we doing in month five of 12 Months of Prepping, One Month at a Time? In Getting Prepared Month 5 we are focusing on cleaning and personal sanitizing supplies and on taking steps to establish a neighborhood community of like-minded folks that are interesting in learning about preparedness.
This is going to be an easy month so let’s get started.
MONTH 5 – SUPPLIES & GEAR:
- Liquid dish soap
- Plain liquid bleach
- White vinegar
- Empty spray bottle
- Liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer
- Bar of soap
- Disposable hand wipes
- Disposable latex or nutile gloves
- Canned, ready-to-eat soup – 4 per person
- Portable am/FM radio with batteries
It is understandable that food, water and first aid are at the top of everyone’s list when they first start gathering emergency supplies and to that end, yes we are going to add some food this month. But before we do so, we need to take a tour around the house and gather up some cleaning and sanitizing supplies.
Why are cleaning supplies important? Well for one, staying clean is necessary in order to remain healthy. But perhaps equally important is the sense of calm we feel when we are in a clean environment. Think about your own living conditions in normal times. My guess is that you would much prefer to walk in to a clean home than one that is littered with dirty dishes, towels, crumbs, dust and heaven forbid, grime and mold. Just the thought of it makes me want to check in to a nice clean hotel room!
We are not going to go overboard with our initial cleaning supplies – just some dish soap, white vinegar and plain liquid bleach (which also doubles as a sanitizer). With these items, you can pretty much clean everything with some elbow grease. You might want to throw some rags into the mix (and of course, my personal favorite is what I like to call “magic rags” but are actually microfiber cloths. And of course, you can keep those dirty rags clean with some dish soap and a tad of bleach.
And what is with the vinegar, you say? Add about a quarter to a half cup (no need to measure) in to your spray bottle then top with water and you have an easy, inexpensive and effective household cleaner.
Clean hands are essential to good health
Anyone who has traveled a lot – especially by cruise ship – will know that being in a close environment accelerates the spread of germs from one person to another. One of the best ways to avoid illness is to keep those hands clean. For that reason I can not emphasize enough the importance of hand soap, hand sanitizers and some latex or nitrile gloves.
One thing to be aware of when shopping for your sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer is to look for products with an alcohol content of 60% or more – preferably more. This is not an area to be cheap since the cost of these items is nominal to begin with. If you are interested in learning more about hand sanitation, I suggest that you go back and read Killing the Cooties-Good Hygiene is a Survival Skill We All Should Practice which was researched and written after I became confused by the various marketing claims of hand sanitation items.
Okay. So I have drilled you on the importance of cleanliness. We are now going to take a trip to the grocery or warehouse club and pick up some canned soup. This time we are going to get four cans per person. I personally chose the Healthy Choice Chicken Noodle or Chicken and Rice flavors since they are not overly salted but your mileage may vary. Pick out something you already eat and enjoy. Remember, this is not the time to experiment with something new and foreign to your palate.
Speaking of canned soup, I know you have already put away a can opener but is it a good one? Last night as I was opening up a can of spaghetti sauce, I realized what a job my can opener was (an OXO Good Grips). A good can opener (versus a lousy one) will set you back maybe ten or fifteen dollars and is well worth it.
And finally, the last item this month is a portable radio plus batteries. Or, if you can swing the extra cost, a hand crank radio that also works on batteries or by solar power. I do have two personal favorites: the Kaito Portable Dynamo & Solar-Powered Radio and the Etón Red Cross Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather . Either one will serve you well but if you can not swing it budget wise, a good portable AM/FM radio can be had for less than $10.
Month 5 Tasks:
- Make two photocopies of important papers and put one in the storage container, and one away from your home.
- File an electronic copy of your important papers on a flash drive
- Talk with neighbors about organizing a neighborhood preparedness group.
Call me paranoid, but one of my personal fears is not having access to my important documents and papers. The basics, for me, include copies of my drivers license, passport, a brief medical history and listing of prescription drugs and dosages, pet vaccination and rabies certificates, and an emergency contact list. I have copies of all of these items tucked away in my bug out bag, my emergency first aid kit, a relative’s home down in Seattle, and on a flash drive that I carry in my handbag.
You list may vary but whatever it is you consider important, just do it!
The Community is Going to Be Important
There are some folks that may not agree with me, but I truly believe that it is better to make friends with your neighbors than to consider them foes. The more like-minded people you can gather around you the better. And so, today, I would like to suggest that you reach out to neighbors or others in your community to share preparedness ideas and to perhaps organize a neighborhood preparedness group.
There are a number of reasons why I suggest this.
One important reason for sharing your knowledge with a group is that they will share back and you will learn so much more than you could on your own. You will learn what skills they may have that you don’t have and when the time comes, working together you can spread the burden of chores and duties among eachother. Another important reason is that by being friendly, you will begin to establish a trust that translates in to watching each other’s back, keeping a collective eye out for bad guys or simply watching for zombies trying to get to your stuff.
If saving money is important – and these days I don’t know a single person where cost is not a concern – consider the economy of pooling purchases to get a group discount or to save on shipping. Just last month Survival Husband pooled his ammo purchase at Lucky Gunner with some of his buddies and together they saved over $60 in shopping. That is significant!
Another savings can be in book purchases. It may not be a lot but if you purchase a lot of survival type books, you can create a lending library amongst each other, saving $10 or $20 each time you borrow instead of buy. The possibilities are endless.
Keep in mind that as you reach out to find like-minded neighbors, you do not have to form a large group., Even four people – two households – can make an effective group. Start small, and slowly establish trust. You will not be sorry.
The Final Word
Looking back at the calendar with twenty twenty hindsight, it would have been so much more logical to start month 1 at the beginning of the year instead of in October. But as with life, we can not turn back the clock and start over. We can only renew and revisit and keep up our efforts to soldier forward.
Being prepared has become a true adventure for many of us. And while for some may be considered a hobby, it is also a necessity. There is a certain sense of calm that kicks in when you have the knowledge that you are doing what you can to prepare for unpredictable events in life. Thank you for following along.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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From the Bargain Bin: Today I feature some of the items mentioned in today’s article. Most of these items can be found at your local grocery store, Wal-mart, warehouse store (Costco, SAMs) or even in your own pantry. Whatever your shop of choice, I encourage you to gather them up now, while your mind is focused on “Getting Prepared Month 5”.
Zwipes Microfiber 12-Pack of Cleaning Cloths: These magic rags are the rags that keep giving. Seriously. I have had mine for over 10 years. They may be a bit stained but they still work. Forget about paper towels. For a one time cost of $12 (or $23 for a 36 pack) you are all set.
8 GB Flash Drive: It always amazes me that people do not use flash drives for storing copies of important documents. This particular drive is the one I use and it is currently only $6.98. Sure, in some emergencies you will not have power but in many cases you will or it (the power) will get restored. These flash drives are small and easy to stash in a bog, box or purse. Plus, it might be nice to store a few family photos, as well.
Sani-Hands Instant Sanitizing Wipes: These are the wipes I use. I personally called the manufacturer and confirmed that they have a two-year shelf life. This is an important consideration when purchasing hand sanitizers. I also can recommend the version that comes in individual packets such as the Purell box of 100.
OXO Good Grips Locking Can Opener: Some people will balk at spending $15 for a can opener but this one is worth it, Like everything else on today’s list, I own this one and can recommend it.
Kaito Portable Dynamo & Solar-Powered Radio and Cell Phone Charger: The Kaito radio is my favorite because it does it all. Yes it is $50, but I would rather scrimp on something else.
Etón Red Cross Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger: A bit more modestly priced, this is a good alternative to the Kaito.
Sony Pocket Radio: This radio is less than $10 but will still do the job. Just don’t forget the batteries.
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Emergency Essentials is your source for all things preparedness, from prepackaged foods to water barrels to first aid kits. Here are some of the February specials.