Preparing for Heavy Rains and Flooding

Spring rains and melting mountain snow can spell catastrophe for those who live near rivers, streams or other bodies of water. It is hard to fully grasp the power of water until you see it up close and personal. Water is a force to be reckoned with and can tear away roads and the ground they sit on top of with very little effort. Washouts, sinkholes and flooding in general can be devastating. Even when you think you are prepared, you may not truly be ready for the aftermath of water running over riverbeds and creating it’s own path.

If you are traveling anywhere this spring, always be prepared. You could find yourself stuck for hours if a road has been washed out.

The following items should be a part of your spring emergency vehicle kit.

  • Ponchos—several
  • Extra pairs of socks
  • Rainboots or waterproof boots
  • Change of clothes (being wet will chill you and be miserable in general)
  • Food
  • Water
  • Wet wipes (you are going to get dirty if you are stuck in a hole or in the mud)
  • Folding shovel
  • Hand warmers
  • Toilet paper
  • Portable cell phone charger
  • Tow chain
  • Water repellent jacket

Make sure you have a full tank of gas, just in case you need to sit in your car with the engine running to stay warm.

If you find yourself stuck in the mud or the victim of a surprise washout or sinkhole, you may have to try and get yourself out. In many cases, it is a quick fix, but you will get wet and muddy. Be prepared and if you happen to find yourself on a road that has been closed temporarily or stranded alone on a deserted road, you will be able to deal with the consequences much easier.

Prepping for Everything, Hoping for Nothing

A lot of preppers will pick a disaster and go all out prepping for that one potential disaster. Some people will ask you what you are preparing to live through and you may feel obligated to come up with one answer. Here’s the deal. No one has a crystal ball. No one can predict the future. There are so many possible scenarios that could leave the world as we know it in dire shape, it is impossible to really pick just one.

While many disaster prepping scenarios have a lot of overlap, there may be things you miss if you concentrate solely on one potential apocalypse-causing event. Instead of being hyper-focused on one particular event, broaden your horizons and think of the bigger picture.

Some of the disasters that are often thought about and prepared for are as follows;

  • Massive natural disaster i.e. earthquake, tornadoes, hurricane
  • Flooding
  • Nuclear war—war in general
  • EMP
  • Economic collapse
  • Civil unrest
  • Power grid failure
  • Pandemic

Each of these disasters requires a little extra planning and some targeted supplies. For example; a pandemic prep will likely include a lot more medical supplies and protective covering for survivors. When you think about any large scale disaster, you have to assume sanitation is going to be heavy hit. That means more people are going to be sick. Without hospitals and medicines, a pandemic is likely to happen.

It would be wise to have the supplies used to live through a pandemic on hand regardless what you are preparing for. The same can be said of preparing for civil unrest. It isn’t going to be long before the power grid fails and an economic collapse ensues. When a power grid fails, it won’t be long before nuclear reactors meltdown.

Disasters are all linked in so many ways. One disaster triggers another. It is going to be a chain reaction. Your best bet is to prepare for everything and hope nothing happens. Cover all of your bases. That is the best motto for a true prepper.

Where to Start on Your Prepping Journey

If you are new to prepping and trying to figure out where to get started, you will find the answers you are looking for here. The trick is to take bite size pieces. You don’t have to go all out in the first week. As you can imagine, stockpiling food, water and other necessities can get very expensive. This is why you need to take it slow and easy and be ready to spring on a really great deal.

You will want to start by taking an inventory of your home. What do you have right now that you could count towards your prepping. Head to the attic, garage or wherever and start digging through the stuff you have stored in boxes. You likely have quite a bit to get you started. Things like;

Blankets that aren’t regularly used
Camping gear
Clothing you don’t wear, including old boots, gloves, coats and what not
Extra tools
Old dishes

These are items that will come in handy after a major collapse. Earmark these items to be included in your stockpile.

Next, you will want to find somewhere to keep your stockpile. If you have a basement, garage or attic, you can start there. If not, you will need to find a closet or designate an area in a room to stash your supplies. Ideally, you will want to do what you can to keep it as neat and organized as possible. This will allow you to find what you have easily as well as allow you to know what you have.

Once you have an area planned out, it is time to start thinking about food and water. Most people only really have the room inside their home to store a few cases or jugs of water. You can invest in an outdoor cistern or food grade rain barrels that can be filled up and stored against the house or in another shady area. You will need to purify this water before using.

Food can be purchased as you go. Buy a little extra each time you go to the grocery store. Try budgeting out $30 a week or so to buy extra food. Buy bulk dried foods when possible. You will save money this way.

Try to save a little money in a kitty jar that can be put towards a big purchase item, like a large water filter, solar panel or other item that will be helpful, but can be expensive. This kitty can also be used to buy when you come across a great deal.

Always scour Craigslist, the nickel ads and shop yard sales to pad your supplies. You will be amazed at what you can find. Take it slow and easy and you will see how quickly your stockpile builds up without spending a lot of money in one big shopping spree.

Prepping for the Kids

Prepping to survive a disaster is something many parents do in order to ensure their children have the best shot at surviving. Parents stockpile food, water, first aid supplies and whatever other necessity they think is needed to make sure their children will survive. It is a parent’s natural instinct to want to do anything they can to protect their children.

Unfortunately, prepping can be very cold and methodical. Your mind automatically goes to this place where you think of survival and not actual living. You stock everything you can that contributes to surviving after some apocalypse. What is often overlooked is entertainment or comfort items.

Children are not quite as hardened or jaded as adults. They are not comforted by the thought of having a roof over their head and food on the table. They want more. They want their favorite blanket or whatever else it is that brings them a little comfort and joy. As a parent, it is your job to make your child feel safe. You don’t want a child living in fear or bored out of their little minds.

You can help ease the suffering by taking the time to add a few more things to your stockpile that will ensure your kids have a healthy distraction from what is happening around them as well as a way to occupy their minds and little hands.

  • Board games
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Pencils and paper
  • Children’s books
  • Toys
  • Stuffed animal or other security type items
  • Pictures
  • Snacks/comfort foods
  • Dolls
  • Dress up costumes
  • Balls
  • Puzzles

These are just of the things that can provide your children with hours of entertainment as well as a way to get their mind off the devastation around them. These toys are also great ways to help them develop their coordination and allow their imaginations to run free. Don’t get too caught up in the serious side of prepping. Remember your brain will need a little break too.

Preparing Your Survival Garden for Spring

starting seedsAlthough winter is still holding on in many parts of the country, it won’t be long before the snow melts and the temperatures slowly come up. In a true survival situation, you would need to be growing all year round or at the very least, a good 8 months out of the years. The time to get started on your survival garden is now.

No matter where you live, you can get a jump start on the growing season by starting seeds indoors. Things like tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins and peppers have long growing seasons and need plenty of warmth. You can ensure your vegetables have the time they need to mature enough to harvest before the first cold snap comes by starting early.tomatoes

You never know what the weather has in store and this winter has proven Mother Nature is always in control. You have to be prepared for extreme weather that could negatively impact your growing season. Starting early also gives you the best shot at getting multiple crops throughout the season.

You don’t have to have anything fancy to start seeds indoors. You can use old yogurt or butter containers or even the bottom of a milk jug to start your seeds. A nice, sunny window will provide the warmth and sunlight needed for the seeds to germinate and sprout. If the weather is still chilly by the time the seeds are ready to be transplanted, move them into a larger container. The container can be put outside during the day and brought in at night.

By the time full spring has rolled around, you will have a garden full of mature plants that are ready to start producing. Your harvest will be much sooner than normal and you can start enjoying the fresh fruits and garden months ahead of schedule.

Winter Bug Out Tips

While we would all like to think a disaster can only strike when it is early in the day and a perfect 72 degrees, that is highly unlikely. Sadly, most bug out situations are going to happen when things are less than perfect for a picnic outdoors. You may have to bug out because of a horrible storm or in the middle of the night to avoid detection.

You may also have to bug out when it is cold or even freezing out. It is important you are ready to head for the hills all year round. Adding a few extra preps to your bug out supplies during the winter months can give you better odds of survival.

1. Don’t leave the house without proper footwear. You need boots. Tennis shoes are not going to work. Preferably a pair of lined boots that offer some waterproof action. You can add an additional layer of water protection to make it just a little better.
2. Wool socks are a must. Even if your boots are lined and dry, your feet will still get cold. Wool socks will keep your feet warm and they do not hold moisture like a pair of cotton socks would do.
3. Gloves are another must. Gloves allow you to use your fingers to hold a flashlight, chop wood or dig around in your bag. Make sure the gloves are cold weather gloves and not some flimsy knit gloves that will do nothing to protect your fingers from frostbite.
4. A warm, wool beanie is a must. Your body heat escapes through your head. You want to trap the heat by covering your head. A face mask is also a good option. Put a hat on over the mask. If temperatures are frigid, you have to protect your nose from the cold.
5. Chapstick may seem inconsequential, but it is an absolute must. The cold can crack your lips very fast. Cracked, dry lips will bleed and life will be miserable in general. Make sure you put on a good layer of chapstick before you head out the door and keep applying as needed.

Cold weather survival is a not for the faint of heart. Be prepared by adding these items to your stockpile. Don’t forget coats, thermal underwear, snow shoes and anything else that will give you an advantage.

What to Do if You Are Stranded in Snowstorm on Highway

Snowstorms are typically not a surprise, but their intensity can take weather forecasters by surprise, which means you are also going to be caught off-guard. When you are traveling across a state or even just trying to commute home from work and a snowstorm wreaks havoc, you could find yourself stuck. Not stuck in a snowbank, but stuck on the freeway. Highway closures are very common when the state patrol determines the roadways are just too unsafe for people to use. If there have been a number of wrecks, slide-offs or a single serious accident, the road can be shut down for hours or even overnight.

This is why you must always be prepared to hang out in your car for hours. You never know when the road may close in front of you. There is no turning around or finding another way. You are stuck along with hundreds of others. The freeway because a giant parking lot.

Before you ever leave the house this winter, you should always be prepared. Even if you are just going to work the next town over. Rural highways are often the least maintained, which means you are at an increased risk of finding yourself stranded.

*Pack along a gallon of water. Avoid using milk jugs and either buy a few water bottles to keep in the car or one of the heavy-duty plastic containers.

*Carry energy bars and other snacks like beef jerky, trailmix and so on. If you are traveling with kids, make sure you have their favorite snacks to keep them entertained.

*Toilet paper. Yep, you are going to be using the bathroom along the highway. A little toilet paper will go a long way to making it a little better.

*Books or other entertainment items will be helpful to pass the time. You don’t want to drain the battery on your phone.

*A car charger for your cell phone or tablet. A portable charger is even better so you don’t have to use the car battery.

*A couple of wool blankets will help keep you warm. You won’t be able to have the car idling for hours—you will run out of gas.

*A flashlight will be needed if you need to go to the bathroom or you want to read. Again, you don’t want to run the car battery down by relying on the interior lights.

Starting a Fire in the Snow

You are freezing and the thought of a fire isn’t just a good idea, it is an absolute necessity. You need a fire to get warm, dry out wet clothing and purify water. A fire is one of the top priorities in any survival situation. When you think about starting a fire, you probably envision a nice dry spot on the ground, with dry tinder and dry wood. If you are in the wilderness and there is snow all around, those things are going to be very hard to come by. You need to know how to start a fire in the snow.

Clear an area for your fire with a branch. Ideally, you will want to place the fire under some cover if possible. A tree canopy is perfect if you don’t have a tarp or blanket. Pick dry tinder that hasn’t been lying on the ground. Look under trees, close to the trunk where pine needles and grass will have the best chance at being dry.

If you can, put your fire on top of some twigs to help keep it off the wet ground. The twigs will burn eventually, but any extra help you can give your fire is a good thing. If your tinder is nice and dry, you won’t have a problem getting the spark to land and start a flame. If the tinder is wet or damp, it is going to take a lot more effort.

Use small twigs or kindling to coax the new fire along if your wood is damp. Smaller pieces of wood are much easier to ignite. Keep building the fire until it is nice and hot before you add a medium-sized piece of wood. Watch the fire closely. You may need to add more kindling to help dry out the damp wood and allow the fire to take off.

It is possible to get a fire going, even if there is snow on the ground. If you can’t clear a place in the snow, you can build your fire on top of ice or lay down some larger logs to act as a platform. Do yourself a favor and carry dry tinder in your bug out bag to make life a little easier.

4 Tips to Choosing the Right Pack for Your Bug Out Bag

We all have a bug out bag. If you don’t, you need to get one. Not all backpacks are created equal and not all backpacks will make good bug out bags. Buying the cheapest backpack at Wal-Mart is not a good use of your money. You can certainly buy used, but you need a quality pack that is going to hold up. Quality counts.

There are some key traits your bug out bag should have.

*Durable. You don’t want flimsy material that will shred with the first snag of a tree limb. While many backpacks are made with some kind of nylon material. Check reviews online to see what others have said about the pack—believe them and not the sales copy.

*Affordable—more expensive does not always mean better. Decide what you can afford and then start looking for packs that fit into your price range. You can buy a used pack for half the price and it will still have plenty of life left.

*Size matters. Decide what you will be carrying. Are you going to be carrying enough gear for the whole family or just yourself? Are you planning on using the bag to live out of for a day or a week? If you need to pack a lot of gear, consider getting an internal frame pack.

*Comfort—if possible, try the packs on before buying. You want it to sit comfortably on your hips and not rest in the small of your back. Spring for the hip belts and extra padding in the shoulders. A breathable material on the back side is another perk that can make warm weather bug outs a little more comfortable.

No matter what you decide, make sure the pack suits you and your needs. Everyone has their own idea about what they need to carry. If you are someone who wants lots of pockets, make sure that is a quality you keep in mind when shopping around. The pack is for you and it is all about what you like and what you don’t.

Winter Weather Tips by Those that Know

There are plenty of areas that are getting hit with snowstorms that are breaking records. Anytime you have records being broken when it comes to the weather, people are going to have a tough time adjusting. Sometimes, you can’t just ride it out. You have to be prepared to be stuck at home for days on end, with the kids stuck home from school.

Areas that are not used to or prepared for snow are going to suffer the worst. Learn from the folks who live in areas that get plenty of snow. Those are the people who know how to ride out a storm in relative comfort without any major damage to their home.

Here are some tips from those that have been there, done that.

Roof Rakes

If your home is in an area that isn’t accustom to heavy snowfall, you are going to need this. Snow is heavy. You need to pull it off the roof before it causes major structural damage or collapses altogether. If you missed the boat and didn’t get one before they all sold out (which they will) a metal leaf rake will work. Scrape the snow as soon as you can.

Snow Shovel

Again, these are going to go fast. Shovels that are metal are going to be a little more durable. If you are dealing with heavy, wet snow, a metal shovel is best. Keep your walkways clear—stay on top of this. Once things start to melt, the slush hits and then it freezes and then you have a big, dangerous mess.

Supplies

Keep supplies like flashlights, candles and portable cell phone chargers on hand. Heavy snow can knock down powerlines or cause tree limbs to fall, taking down a line. You will also need to keep some non-perishable food on hand. Don’t break into the non-perishables first. Eat the leftovers out of the fridge first.

Heat

If you don’t have a second source of heat, you need to get one. A space heater can keep one room warm should your furnace break down. You are not going to be the only one having furnace trouble. You could end up on a waiting list for days. During that time, you need to be able to stay warm. If you are dealing with a power outage, a space heater isn’t going to help. A woodstove is ideal, but if it isn’t possible, know how to keep warm without power.

Time

Give yourself plenty of time if you have to drive in the snow. You can’t expect to jump on the freeway and do the posted speed limit. Take it easy. Have supplies in your vehicle, just in case you get stranded or find yourself stuck in traffic because of an accident. Take along things like kitty litter and a snow shovel. If you do slide off the road, kitty litter thrown under the tires can give you some traction. If you have went into a snowbank, you will need the shovel.

Dress for the Weather

Even if you are just running to the store or dropping the kids off at school, dress like you will be walking through the snow. Wear boots and take along a coat, hat and gloves. If you do happen to get stranded, you don’t want to be walking for help wearing your tennis shoes and without a coat.

Snowy weather can be fun and it will provide plenty of entertainment for the kids. Be ready to hang out and enjoy the time together. It is only temporary.