I have really fallen behind on this! I will have only one more piece after this in this series. This time I want to look at the tips given from that news article that have to do with staying in your home during a disaster. Here they are again:

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 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 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 12: Test your smoke alarms.

Tip 19: Locate a source of water outside your home such as a lake, pond or stream.

Tip 20: Learn to cook a pot of rice.

Tip 24: Sow some seeds, fruits and veggies, that is.

On tip 2, I’m not a fan of reusing juice bottles for drinking water, but it’s not a bad idea for water that won’t be consumed. You could also pick up an occasional gallon of water when you’re at the grocery store. It would give you safely sealed water and keep you from worrying bleach residue. An idea I’ve heard recently for those of us that can is to fill jars with water before storing them until they are needed next. This is what I’m wanting to do.

It is a good idea to know your neighbors and have a good relationship with them if possible. If nothing else, it’d be a good idea to know your neighbors and what to expect from them. This may seem like a dark thought, but people become their core values when disasters strike. As we have seen in recent civil unrest of cities (which is a disaster to prepare for in my opinion), we see many people rioting and looting at the first opportunity. Be careful when you share information with neighbors and other people you know about supplies you have put back and preparedness plans you have in place. Not everyone can trusted to not come looking to take stuff.

It is a good idea to keep supplies well stocked and fresh. Food safety charts are a great idea. You might also consider keeping foods on hand that are easy, complete meals that your family likes. A lot of pasta, stew, and soup recipes can be make from mostly canned and dried foods. Look for freeze dried vegetables and fruits. At least if I remember right, they have a longer shelf life than canned.

Looking for a natural water source near your home is a great idea. Have plans in place for how to transport, store, and filter the water and keep containers handy for such a necessity. Also consider having a plan for collecting and filtering rain water. If your family is stranded without power because of a washed out road, rain water will be an easily available resource to collect while it is falling. It can sustain you while you save your other stored water. A lot of people think because they have a well, their water concerns are over. If your well requires a pump and you’re out of electricity, then soon you’ll be out of water too. Out where we are, electricity isn’t always easily restored. We had a freak ice storm one year and the company wasn’t able to get to us for two weeks due to the number of customers and the state of roads. That was also with us being fairly easily to reach. I know a lot of folks were out a lot longer. You can get by without a lot of things; water isn’t one of them.

Having good fundamental cooking skills is smart. I personally need to work more on cooking from memory on certain things. Of course this is also why I am putting together the cooking binder I have with recipes and cooking tips. It doesn’t require electricity to flip through.

Having the ability to grow your own garden is also a good idea. I’m very happy to be building our garden so I will be able to can our own food. Another reason is I want to raise heirloom plants so I can save some seeds and regrow them the next season or year. If you are interested, there are many places that offer heirloom seeds and, sometimes, plants. Seeds are usually easiest because they can be ordered online. If you decide to go this route you can not only sow seeds but reap them as well.

I know the writer didn’t go into this because it isn’t as simple or cheap as the tips he was giving, but it goes well with what we are discussing. There are many ways to create your own electricity, be it in an emergency or continually. Many people have a backup generator for emergency situations. It’s helpful, however, temporary. Its life depends on how much fuel you have to feed it since most generators run on gas. There are many other options that are more of a lifestyle. There are many alternative energy options you can explore. The two most popular are solar and wind energy. This would prevent you from relying on commercial power lines, but this is not the end of your worries. Making your own electricity doesn’t mean you’re immune to energy related disaster problems. You will need disaster preparedness specific to your method. Whether it’s having extra solar panels on hand or tools and supplies to repair your wind turbine, you still have to plan.

There’s a lot to do when planning to stay in your home, but in the end if you can manage, you and your family will be more comfortable in familiar surroundings. Disaster situations are stressful enough without having to pack up and leave unless absolutely necessary.