Along with wanting to be more self-sufficient, I have an interest in disaster preparedness. I think we should all have some basic plans in place for if a local disaster occurs. I think preparedness is a part of being self-sufficient because you aren’t relying on other people to help. Let’s face it; a lot of people around us aren’t always able/willing to help us if we are to need it. I have wanted to bring up some things I think are good to include in these preparations. To jump start these ideas, I would like to relay a two-part article from the Harrison Times discussing the subject. I will post the first part today and the second tomorrow.

Timely tips for disaster preparednessby Dave Robinson

Of the many (mostly lame) excuses I hear for not prepping, one of the most common is that it takes too much time. Now I won’t mislead you. There is some time involved. It also takes some thought, some effort, some planning and some expense. But there are plenty of things you can do that will get you going in your preparations, that won’t take up much time. This week’s column will give you some simple tips that take little time but are invaluable in the event of a disaster.

Tip 1: Purchase a notebook for accumulating information, phone numbers, insurance policies, and the like for a reference in case of emergency. Either that or store your information “on the cloud” and you can access it from any computer. Just remember in a disaster, you may not be able to get online.

Tip 2: Wash out some empty juice jugs. Swish a bit of bleach, rinse and fill with water for an emergency. Be sure to date them and refill after a year. Another idea is to put some of these (not quite full) in your freezer so when you lose power you can transfer certain items to an ice chest and the frozen jugs will keep things cool for a few days. Then when the ice melts, you can still drink the water.

Tip 3: Place a plastic garbage bag under your bed containing, shoes, socks, work gloves, and a flashlight with batteries (or light sticks). If you wish to include a pair of jeans and sweatshirt, that’s always a good idea in case you have to leave your house quickly. Some folks tie them to the leg of their bed so it doesn’t get misplaced.

Tip 4: Discuss with the rest of the family where you will meet up after a disaster. Pick three or four locations and play “what if.” Cell phones may not be working and communication can be limited and getting re-connected with loved ones is vital after a disaster.

Tip 5: Choose an out-of-state relative with whom you can relay messages if necessary. Often it is easier to get a message out-of-state than it is to get connected locally.

Tip 6: Introduce yourself to a neighbor you have not met. Exchange phone numbers. Don’t worry about what he might think. He’s probably been wanting to meet you anyway. That guy may just be your first responder in an emergency.

Tip 7: Purchase a manual can opener on your next visit to the store.

Tip 8: Check out the website at FoodSafety.gov. Print off the food safety charts and attach them to the inside of a cupboard door. They will tell you how long you can safely store certain foods without refrigeration.

Tip 9: Mark your canned goods as you purchase to remind you to rotate them out one year from now.

Tip 10: Pick up a few extra canned goods each time you visit the grocery store.

Tip 11: Locate your utility shut-off valves and review the instructions for turning them off. Affix a shut-off tool nearby.

Tip 12: Test your smoke alarms.

Individually these tips take very little time. So set aside five minutes each day and start checking off items on your list. The list will continue tomorrow, but if you have any suggestions or questions you may email me at disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.

Dave Roberson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us.”

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