Emergency Power

5 Ways to Help Your Family Be Better Prepared

Fives Ways to Better Prepare your family for a Crisis


Families today are accustomed to power outages and a few hours of the power being out is generally not a problem it is simply an inconvenience and any tasks needed to be done can wait. However, once services such as electricity, water and gas have been disrupted for several days it becomes not an inconvenience but a problem.

Families in some cases tend to overlook the fact that tasks and responsibility do not cease because their municipal services have been disrupted. Meals still have to be prepared, baths given to children, laundry needs to be done, your home needs to be kept clean, and your family protected all without the benefit of electricity, gas or running water.

1.) Survival Without Electricity

The problem is the world’s dependency on electricity. The simplest task like toasting bread without electricity requires planning and resources you might not have. How do you toast bread without a toaster or an oven? Some might say this is not a problem but combine this with the fact you may not be able to brew coffee, squeeze orange juice or poach an egg, and you start to see how difficult life can be during a disaster if you have not properly prepared.

  • Become aware of the threats, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wild fires and terrorists attacks. Typically, you would know if you live in an area prone to seasonal natural disasters, earthquakes and wild fires. However, disasters such as tornadoes have been reported in every area of the world except the Antarctica. Tornadoes can occur anytime there is a thunderstorm and can happen anytime of the year, so regardless of where you live they are a possibility albeit a remote possibility in certain areas.
  • Generally, emergency supplies are not disaster specific, in other words you will always need certain essentials regardless of the calamity. In some cases however, special precautions, may be needed such as in the event of a terrorist attack if they unleash chemical or biological weapons. If this is the case, evacuation is probably the only course of action you can take to save your family’s life along with certain protective gear for short periods of exposure. Part of preparing your home and family for any situation includes preparing for evacuation and knowing when to evacuate and where to find a safer location.
  • Additional threats could include a collapse of the monetary system that would result in hyperinflation and cause civil unrest such as rioting and violent demonstrations. Destruction of the power grid by hackers is a real threat and attempts are made daily against the security systems in place. Water treatment plants would also be affected by hackers, computers viruses and sabotage at the plant level.

2.) Create a “To Do” List

List all of the tasks you have to accomplish during the course of a typical day and decide what tasks will still need to be accomplished during a crisis. The only way you can settle on a solution is to determine the problem. If you have children, they will need to be entertained, bathed, fed regular meals, have their clothes washed, given medications and comforted. Establishing a sense of normalcy by doing, the things that you normally do will help control stress and panic in children as well as adults.

  • It is important that you approach every problem by assuming the worst. You cannot use history as a template. What happened last time the power went out cannot be used to determine what might happen the next time. Super storm sandy along the Eastern Seaboard is an example of families and local authorities using history to dictate their actions today. It was not even classified as hurricane strength and yet the levels of destruction far exceeded that of even more severe storms in the past and most people prepared based on what had happened in the past.
  • Areas are more built up, infrastructure is in places it never had been before and much of it has been weakened by past events and ad hoc repairs because of financial problems over the years only adds to the problem. There are more people and structures in the path of storms today now more than at any time in history. The storms simply have more to destroy.
  • Once you have identified what needs to be done you have to set about gathering what is needed. Water is important and practically speaking you cannot have too much stockpiled. You will need a storage system in place however, gallon jugs on the shelf is not adequate for extended periods. You will need water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and general sanitation around the home and for laundry.
  • You will need a system in place to do laundry and give baths, so this means you need a way to heat water in large volumes. Your ancestors washed cloths in a tub using a scrub board and sticks, the water was drawn from a well or river and heated over an open fire outside the backdoor.
  • You are preparing to live without the benefit of electricity and you must have the tools and systems in place that allow you to accomplish your tasks without public utilities. You will have to learn to do many things during the day to conserve on candles, oil and propane used for lanterns. You will literally begin to adapt as humans did years ago to the natural cycles of nature. You will get up with the sun and go to bed when it goes down.

3.) Plan For Proper Sanitation

Proper sanitation procedures are important and possibly even more so during a disaster to prevent the spread of illnesses and bacteria. Some people fail to realize that once the power is out for an extended period the sewage system in place in your community will not work. The system will certainly not work if there is not any running water for an extended period.

  • Waste treatment plants need electricity to process the waste. When the plant shuts down, they will close off the system at various control points to prevent waste from building up at the plant. This means the waste from your home cannot enter the sewer system and will backup in to your home if you flush toilets or run water down the drains.
  • This is critical and not having a means to control and remove waste can cause severe illnesses and create insects and rodent infestations. This is a serious safety issue for families that is not given enough attention when it comes to disaster preparedness. For years, in centuries past, citizens living in European countries simply dumped their waste in the streets. Rains washed the waste into the local water systems where the people drew their water causing untold numbers of death from cholera, typhoid fever and other diseases.
  • According to UNICIF over 1.8 million people worldwide, mostly children, die each year from unsanitary living conditions. Four thousand children die everyday world wide from unsanitary conditions that caused their drinking water supply to become contaminated (UNICEF, n.d.).
  • Have a plan in place such as portable chemical toilets and/or waste disposable bags designed for human waste. Another option is a latrine outside. Dig a small trench, screen with tarps, and provide illumination for nighttime use. Have a bag of agricultural lime on hand to control bacteria and odor. Dig the trench at least two feet deep by two feet wide and pile the excavated soil nearby to toss in along with some lime after each use. Do not allow small children to handle the lime or to use the latrine unsupervised. Do not use the latrine to dispose of spoiled foods or other household waste, dig a separate pit for other garbage generated.

4.) Defend The Home

Home defense is important and it must be a consideration when planning. Looters and other criminals will take advantage of any crisis. Law enforcement will be stretched to their limits and you may find in some cases they will not respond at all unless it is a life or death situation. It will be up to you to see that your home and family is protected. Have enough plywood sheets on hand to cover all glass openings so if the crisis causes riots or demonstrations you can cover your openings to deter criminals and to help prevent extensive damage. Once they see you have taken precautions, they may move on to an easier target. Criminals in many cases during a crisis are opportunist, if they find open doors and windows, they may decide to slip in and grab and go or even confront you.

  • Home defense weapons are an option but they must be with you at all times during a disaster. This prevents children from gaining access to them and they are with you when they are needed. Experts always recommend that you keep weapons locked up but during a crisis, they must be visible to act as a deterrent when others come around and they need to be in a position for use if something happens.

5.) Food & Water

Food stockpiles must be carefully planned and knowing how to store your foods properly is critical to ensure your family eats well and receives the proper nutrition during a disaster.

  • You will likely need more calories daily during a crisis because your physical activity level will increase if the disaster extends for any period. Remember you will be doing many tasks and chores during the crisis without the benefit of appliances and tools powered by electricity.
  • Only purchase foods everyone will eat. A pallet of canned spinach may be a bargain but it will not look that way when the lights are out and everyone is looking for a hot meal. Ensure you know how to prepare the foods you have purchased. If you do not have the means or knowledge to cook rice then learn how to cook it and gather the cookware or do not use it. During a crisis is not the time to experiment.
  • Eating food from a can or package is acceptable for a few days but soon everyone will want a hot meal. The process of preparing a meal and getting everyone involved can reduce stress. Give everyone a task to perform so everyone has a role and are contributing to everyone’s well being. This means you must have what is needed to heat and prepare foods such as propane camp stoves or outdoor charcoal/gas grills.
  • Ensure you know the expiration dates of all foods and do an inspection every 30 or 60 days so foods can be removed and put into use before the expiration date. Replace any foods pulled from the stockpile. Families tend to use emergency foods and not replace them because of complacency. Nothing happens for months or even years so soon everyone begins to believe nothing will ever happen.

Ensuring the safety of your family is your number one priority in any situation. Everyone must have a clean and safe environment in which to live. A disaster is no reason to forego common sense practices such as personal hygiene and house cleaning. Dirty clothes and bodies will harbor bacteria. You will have closer physical contact during a crisis, diseases can spread easily, and until the cycle is broken, they will remain a threat.

Contaminated drinking water kills people and it does not just happen in other countries. Out of the dozens of drinking water, associated outbreaks every year that sicken thousands and cause deaths the majority of illnesses are caused by bacteria in the water. A lower percentage 13.9 percent is caused by viruses while slightly over eight percent are caused by parasites in the water. Close to three percent of the outbreaks reported both bacteria and parasites present in the drinking water. Other contaminates found in drinking water include chemicals/toxins such as pesticides and herbicides. (CDC, n.d.).

In the United States alone there are close to 30,000 cases of waterborne dysentery each year, while worldwide there are 140 million cases reported with 600,000 deaths cause by dysentery worldwide.

When people think of safety for their families during a crisis, many times the focus is on the crisis itself. The fact is the days after can be if not more devastating that the crisis. Clean drinking water, proper nutrition and protection from physical hazards is what will keep your family safe.

Begin now preparing yourself and your family to survive without electricity because at some point maybe even in your lifetime electricity will be a luxury that few will be able to afford if it is available at all.

CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6012a4.htm

UNICEF. (n.d.). Water Sanitation and Hygiene. Retrieved 2013, from http://www.unicef.org/wash/index_23606.html

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Emergency Power, Food, Home Defense, Planning Comments Off

What Every Prepper Ought To Know Part 3: Food and Food Storage

Food and Food Storage

Food is essential during a survival situation, and the right kind of food is critical. Food is comfort, and provides much needed energy and nutrition to help ward off illnesses. Your activity level may very well increase so a crisis is not the time to reduce your caloric intake.

During a crisis, supply chains will be disrupted and your only source of food will be your stockpile and you may lack refrigeration and the means to prepare food. You have to plan carefully and when calculating amounts you must consider, spoilage, waste, damage and friends and neighbors in need.

Types of Food

Families typically turn to canned foods for emergencies because they are relatively inexpensive, can be eaten from the can and are readily available everywhere. To achieve variety and the proper nutrition a family of four would need at least 12 cans daily. Each person needs one can of protein such as tuna or any meat-based soups, one can of vegetables and one of fruit daily. To supplement have peanut butter and crackers along with dried meats for protein.

For suburban preppers having enough storage space for extended periods may be a problem. You can also can your own foods but unless you can produce your own foods at home, there would not be much point in buying the foods to process at home. Expect a one-year shelf life from date of purchase. Read more

Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Food 4 Comments

How Safe is Your Family? 9 Rules for Suburban Preppers

How Safe is Your Family

Photo by Eric Ward via Wikimedia Commons

Some families and individuals living in a suburban area may feel they cannot properly prepare for a disaster because they do not have acres of land, or even a safe haven some miles from the city. Some may even feel trapped. Although there are, certain disadvantages to living in an urban environment if disaster strikes the disadvantages would not be considered life threatening. There are however, rules for prepping if you live in suburbia, rules that will ensure you can survive a disaster. The rules generally speaking, are not disaster specific but it will be noted when one is specifically for a certain crisis, otherwise assume you would follow the general guidelines regardless of the catastrophe.

Rule Number 1

From a security standpoint do not divulge how well prepared you are to anyone but your immediate family

This rule will cause some debate because people generally want to include others in their lives for various reasons but there are certain things you must keep to yourself. Some preppers have meetings where everyone lays out their plans and discusses techniques, what they have stockpiled and what they need. This is a learning process for many of those new to prepping and frankly many people new to prepping do not have their heart in it. They may feel it is a fad, or the thing to do because their friends pressured them and so on. In other words, they are not really preparing, but just going through the motions. People just naturally assume that bad things happen to other people. They will not get the message until it is too late. It is very difficult for some people to understand that the biggest enemy during a crisis is other human beings. A young couple with small children will do whatever it takes to provide for their children, and this includes taking from you. Never underestimate desperate parents.

It is not this article’s intent to discourage networking with other preppers but to emphasis the need for security. Trusted friends and allies are essential to survival but it is important for you to realize that when disaster does strike you may only have yourself and family to rely on. Just be careful about advertising how well prepared you really are. Telling everyone, you have silver and gold buried for bartering is only inviting trouble. Your friends may not pose any risks, but they will drop a comment here and there or their children will and soon everyone knows where to find resources during a crisis.

Rule Number 2

Prepare for the threats that are most likely to happen

Nuclear, chemical or biological attacks are a very real possibility in large metropolitan areas. If you cannot flee the area you will need duct tape and plastic to seal your home from the outside air, but not to the point where you suffocate yourself. Having a basement is ideal where you can get below ground level. You want to put as many obstacles between you and the blast or dispersal area as possible. Attacks of this type may very well come without warning, so make sure you have ample tape and plastic and even protective suits if that is economically feasible.

Rule Number 3

Do not stockpile your supplies in one place

Cache supplies in various underground locations in your yard or even in some outbuildings. If you are robbed or your home is damaged you can lose all of your supplies. You will need backup resources. Do not cache supplies in commercial storage facilities. You may not be able to retrieve your supplies during a crisis and commercial buildings are prime targets for looters especially self-storage buildings.

Rule Number 4

Prepare an evacuation plan

Do not convince yourself that you will never have to evacuate because you will not be able to if you have not prepared. Evacuation is a very real possibility. There may be extensive damage to your home or there are air borne contaminates or nuclear fallout in the area, which means you, must leave. Make sure you have the means to transport your supplies even it if it is just backpacks. You cannot leave empty handed.

Rule Number 5

Stayed informed

Information is crucial before, during and after disaster strikes. So make sure you have the equipment to stay informed such as ham radios, Citizen band Radios (CB) and even two-way radios. You want to be able to monitor traffic from emergency responders and ham radio operators. Ham radios are used during disasters to rely information nation and even worldwide in some cases. Ham radios have extended ranges. Be careful about using the radios for other than monitoring because if you are transmitting, your location can be determined by triangulation of the radio signal. If you are in a situation where you have to evade others do not transmit but simply monitor your communication devices.

Rule Number 6

Do not wait for your local government to help you

Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, your local and even the federal government will go into self-preservation mode and it can be weeks or even longer before they will be of any help.

Rule Number 7

Avoid getting caught up in protest or demonstrations

Society in the short term will go through some changes during a crisis and yet overall it will remain the same. You will find that after just a few days some people will be demanding changes from their leaders and some may even begin marching and protesting. This is counterproductive; your time needs to be spent surviving and planning for long-term sustainability in the event the crisis is for an extended period. There will be plenty of time for complaining and affixing blame later.

Rule Number 8

Plan for home defense

Every occupied home will be a target as well as unoccupied ones during a disaster. Most serious preppers would probably consider home security a number one priority and it is a priority, but getting a bunker or siege mentality is not beneficial. You cannot barricade yourself in your home to the point you have created a death trap if there is a fire or someone does break in and the intruder is between you and the exit. You do need to have a plan, a common sense approach to home defense that includes an escape plan. Consider firearms, and having the tools and materials such as plywood sheets on hand to secure windows and any glass openings.

Remember your biggest threat is other humans in the community and not the government. If you believe an army will show up to take over your home and confiscate your possessions there is simply not enough firepower you can amass that would stop them, so planning for that type of invasion is futile.

You are protecting your home from looters and others living in your city and not from some shadow government waiting on a crisis so they can march into your town. You will also be defending your family and possessions from neighbors that have turned to violence in the name of providing for their families.

Rule Number 9

It is never been a matter of if but simply a matter of when

A crisis will strike and in all likelihood, it will be the one you least expected. However, as stated earlier supplies, tools and materials are not necessarily disaster specific. Always prepare with shelter, water, fire/energy and food as your priorities because you cannot survive any crisis without them. Once the priorities are met then you can get more specific in your planning.

Considerations and Obstacles Facing Preppers Living in Suburbia

Living in a suburban area means you probably do not have space for a sizable garden so developing a sustainable food source would be difficult. However, you can grow virtually any vegetable using hydroponics, which is growing foods without using soil as a growing medium.

Because you cannot rely on your environment to provide you with a food or water source in the early stages you will need a substantial amount of food and water. If you lived in a rural area you would have rivers, streams and lakes and land for growing foods and you could hunt and fish to supplement your food supplies.

Proximity to other people is a disadvantage in urban areas. Friends’, neighbors and strangers can pose a risk to you and your family. The risks increase the longer the crisis goes on.

Having to commute to work and schools may mean you are more exposed to the crisis. You may be at work when disaster strikes so additional planning is required. You will need to have rendezvous points for family members if an attack happens during the school and workday. Ensure you know what the emergency plans are at your children’s schools. Are there areas where the children would be at other than at the school during a crisis, emergency shelters and so forth?

Carry an emergency survival bag in all of your vehicles with several days’ worth of food and water for you and your children. If an attack comes while you are at work and you rush to pick up your children at school you may be delayed because of the crisis and you have to be prepared to shelter in your vehicle until you can make it home. Make sure everyone is aware of this contingency plan.



Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Food, Planning, SHTF 16 Comments

Opportunity – Get Your Supply Before the Demand Does


Empty supermarket shelves before Hurricane Sandy.
Photo By Daniel Case (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

As many of you may have noticed, we have been having some professional posts put up. Although we are all avid preppers, when it comes to some of the technical stuff, pros are just better at writing it.

I wanted to take a moment to talk about supply and demand. The recent tsunami that has hit firearms availability was a real eye opener. Not only are ARs and other semi-automatic rifles as well as 30-round mags gone – and basically gone overnight but also the AMMO, 10-Round Mags, Optics, Parts Kits, and Repair/Maintenance Kits… I mean, MY GOD! The hoarding mentality swept through the stores and cleaned them out. If you didn’t have it – you weren’t getting it!

I must admit to you it was a very scary feeling to visit all the shops, both brick n’ mortar and online and see inventory GONE… just PLAIN OLE GONE! This was nothing like the scarcity we saw when Obama was first elected. This was swift and instant. I started to look to the secondary market and what I found was a limited quantity and INSANE…. I repeat, INSANE prices.

Now, when I saw this I started to think about other vital items that IF, somehow, the general public thought was going to be limited or in short demand, they would start hoarding. This made me think of food.

If I felt helpless not being able to purchase ammo, magazines or firearms, how would I feel when the food was gone? Believe me when I say that given the time it took to clean out gun stores is NOTHING compared to the time it will take to wipe out grocery stores, warehouse stores and mom n’ pop shops clean. The firearm buying public is only but a fraction of the population – last time I checked… EVERYONE NEEDS TO EAT. Food prices will SKYROCKET like we’ve never seen and likely cannot comprehend.

Warren Buffet and other successful investors know that you should never be doing what the general public is doing… if everyone is buying – sell. If everyone is selling – buy. The same is true for prepping. While everyone is scrambling for guns, get food. When people are scrambling for food, get guns.

If you are sitting pretty foodwise, when a massive event occurs, you won’t be going to Walmart to get food like the masses, you will hit homedepot or some other shop to get more obscure preps because your bases are covered. You can afford to put some icing on your cake since it is already baked!

This little exercise in supply and demand was an eye opener. If you want something when the shit hits the fan, get it now or don’t expect to get it at all. You never know when we are going to wake up to a North Korean Nuke attack on the US. Also, don’t forget the socialist in charge has the power to exercise executive power over the nation’s food…. scary? F-yes!



Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Food 3 Comments

Long Term Sustainable Prepping Part 3

Green House

High-end Victorian glass greenhouse

Food Source

Perhaps the most critical preparation for long term sustainable prepping is food. Your food source must be renewable and sustainable. A garden and raising livestock is the obvious answer. Hunting and trapping would not be considered a sustainable food source particularly once everyone begins hunting to survive. The animal population in the surrounding area would soon be depleted unless the crisis reduced human populations by a considerable number.

Have a one-year supply of food stockpiled to allow you time to develop your food sources. Stockpile heirloom seeds now. Heirloom seeds will reproduce an identical plant while hybrid seeds will produce a plant, that plant will have sterile seeds. This means hybrid plants are not a sustainable food supply. To sustain your food source you must have the means to harvest seeds from all your crops to keep the cycle of life going every season. Once you begin producing, you must have the means to preserve your crops by canning, pickling and drying.

Compost all vegetation and spoiled vegetables and fruit for fertilizer and mulch, but do not compost animal or human waste, bones or meat.

Greenhouses can be constructed rather easily for year around growing. To heat the greenhouse you can place black barrels of water (roughly five gallons per square foot of space) in the structure. Radiant heat will warm the water during the day and then the water will disperse that heat at night keeping your greenhouse above freezing. Place the greenhouse where it will receive ample sun in the winter months.

To produce enough vegetables you will need at least a 25 long by 30-foot wide section for row crops. Row gardens are simply tilled up areas where the plants are planted in the traditional rows. This means you would have a 25-foot row of corn, tomatoes and so forth. This would normally feed a family of four for the summer with surplus for preserving. Vine plants such as cucumbers, squash and melon can be planted in smaller rows and allowed to expand their vines along the additional space. Herbs, and smaller yield plants can be planted in pots around the garden or even on the patio.

If you have the space expand your garden, so you can use some of the surplus for bartering

Raised Garden Bed

Raised Garden Bed

If you have poor soil or for those of us living in the suburbs and cannot use the ground, you can build raised garden beds. Use landscaping timbers and build as high as you needed to accommodate the root systems. Landscape timbers are about three inches high so three to four stacked would likely be sufficient. Fill with quality topsoil/growing soil and mix in compost.

Start planting berries such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. It may take a season or longer to begin producing significant amounts so start now. It will require a sizable area to produce enough berries to have fresh ones daily during the growing season and enough to preserve as jams or jellies. Blueberries grow on bushes while black and red raspberries grow canes that must be trimmed every year, and they are thorny. Strawberries grow close to the ground and will spread and develop more plants every season. Blackberries and raspberries can reproduce another plant from cuttings, as well as several varieties of fruit trees.

If enclosing the plants (in a greenhouse) where bees do not have access you will have to pollinate some of the crops yourself. Tomatoes are self-pollinating so they are ideal for greenhouses, patios or even inside the home. To pollinate you can remove the male flowers with the antler like antennas covered with pollen and rub it on the female flower. You can also use a small camel haired brush to transfer the pollen. The female flower will have miniature fruit behind the flower.



Posted on by Suburban Prepper in Food, Long Term Prepping, Sustainable 2 Comments