Saturday, September 10, 2011

What have I done to prepare this YEAR?

Yup, National Preparedness Month reminds us to get with or stay with a program that will allow us to be somewhat self-sufficient while waiting for FEMA or other assistance in the event of a natural or man-caused disaster.

If you are new to home or family preparedness, FEMA and your state or local preparedness websites provide the basic information for getting started. My pages also have a guide to identifying priorities, setting goals and starting your process without breaking the bank.

So what did I do? First, I learned from my mistakes. We had two small but meaningful emergencies in my part of the world. One was a record-breaking cold-snap. We live in a community whose natural-gas was shut off to keep other lines pressurized so that other commmunites could have gas. We are near of the 'ends of the lines' so probably would not have had ehough pressure to heat anyway. Temps were below freezing for more than 36 consecutive hours, which is very rare in the desert southwest. Oops. Not prepared to heat my house without gas. Oops, during the process I realized I needed the electric too -- which we had but it was a good realization that without both, no heat. With no woodstove or fireplace, we bought a Buddy indoor portable propane heater. Not the best solution as it will heat about 2 of our rooms, but it will help keep the pipes from bursting next time and it was under $100 including a few small canisters of propane.

Second emergency was a world-class forest fire. Unlike most of us locals ever imagined, it jumped the highway and burned down in-town homes. We were briefly under evacuation order, but the Feds got the fire under control before we finished packing the car. OK, needed a new plan for that contingency!

We also paid off all our credit card debt! There wasn't much left, but it still felt good. That leaves us with just the mortgage. Then we can start saving for a new or newer vehicle.

I rotated my supplies (oops, some peanut butter with over due 'best by' dates). I bought a telephone that works without being plugged in to the 110 outlet. I packed an emergency kit in my car trunk (during the fire!) -- especially a pair of walking shoes and water jug to get home from work if there is a problem on the roads. I also had my office pay for enough jugs of water for each employee to have 72 hours of drinking water. I also sent an e-mail suggesting that each of us keep several meals of non-perishable food (mouse-proof, of course) in our desks, just in case.

Those are my highlights.

How about you?

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