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Basic Home Preparedness

Basic home preparations




The exact causes along with the actual how and why of these little emergencies will vary, but along with the variations some things will always be the same, for one thing you will be at home in the surrounding that you know, and for another, you will have no electricity. Whether the emergency is caused by storm, power grid troubles, or something else the things we do right now in order to prepare for them will all be basically the same.

Keep your home tidy.

Keep your home tidy.

There are many very helpful habits which, if cultivated now, will facilitate a smoother running household even in the midst of an emergency. Keeping the house clean is one such habit. With no electricity your home will be darker than usual, especially at night. It will not help the situation any if you nearly kill yourself tripping over things. Keeping necessary supplies on hand at all times so that you have them when you need them is another habit well worth the time and money it takes to cultivate.


Light - without electricity

Light - without electricity

Little or short term emergencies require supplies just like big ones. What do I mean by short term? Let me define. First, remember that we are discussing home preparedness; you are not out traveling nor have you been evacuated; you are at home. The length of these short term emergencies may last in duration from about one to four days. 

With no electricity what items will no longer work around your home?

Water - a basic need

Water - a basic need

While we can do without some of these without much trouble, doing without all of them requires some definite preparations. Water is by far the most important need followed by food and warmth. Below is a list of items which will help you as you begin to prepare. Every family is unique so your preparations must meet your needs not ours. Also take into account your climate which may be very different from ours. As you read through the list you will notice that under each heading the items are arranged from most basic and necessary to most advanced. Under each heading simply find where you are as a family and do the next one or two things that are most applicable or needful for you. Do not try to do it all at once.


Food - without electricity

Food - without electricity

      * This quantity of water does not begin to touch the need for drinking, never mind flushing of toilets, etc. One gallon of water per person per day is the bare minimum for drinking. In a hot climate 2 gallons of drinking water per person per day is not too much. Sanitation would require additional water.
      (Doug Ritter's website www.equipped.org has excellent information, and more complete lists of supplies.)
      NOTE: If you are campers, many of your camping supplies will serve you well in emergencies of every kind. (See evacuation preparedness.)

After you have worked through the list one time your preparation may look like this:

After your second trip through it may look like this:

Everyone's preparations will look different, the point is DO SOMETHING!

A grill is an easy stove substitute.

A grill is an easy stove substitute.

The last thing that we must consider before leaving this section is the skills needed to effectively use our preparations. We will need to learn how to keep our water so that it's good after six months of storage. How to light and properly use our equipment (kerosene lamp, heater, camp stove...) and how to cook on our camp or wood stove. We must know how to use each item of equipment that we have prepared before the emergency occurs. This is absolutely necessary. The middle of a stressful emergency is not the time or place to find out if your heater works or try to light it for the first time. Also, the more individuals in your family who know how to operate your equipment the better off you will be. For your fridge and freezer, they should hold their temperature for a few days if they are not opened.

Woodstove - for heat and cooking

Woodstove - for heat and cooking

We will never be prepared for everything but the preparations that we do accomplish can help to make things more tolerable and sometimes even pleasant. All in all a little preparation goes a long way. Start at the beginning and work up to the more advanced levels of preparedness. Each step is only a little one, adding just one more small thing to your habits, supplies or skills. Don't give up before you begin, it's well worth the effort. Preparedness is the convenient way of life.

Home repair


General maintenance - a necessary skill

General maintenance - a necessary skill

Before moving on I would like to touch on home repair. The ability to fix things when they break and do basic maintenance on your house is really quite useful. While we can live for a few days without fixing most things, this can vary from slight to extreme inconvenience or discomfort. Some things like a broken window really must be fixed to keep the weather out. I think the easiest way to learn would be to start doing your own maintenance. This would just require a few tools and some do-it-yourself home repair books or videos; there is a lot of information online now, too. Once you have some basic tools and supplies, you will be in a much better position if for some reason the repairman cannot come immediately. Certainly some construction skills and supplies will be valuable, regardless of where you live.

Hurricane ties can keep your house on your foundation.

Hurricane ties can keep your house on your foundation.

Depending on the weather you get in your area, you may want to check into making your home stronger. We have hurricane ties connecting our house to the foundation and our roof to the house. There may be other specific precautions you should take for the area in which you live. For example,  in tornado country, you should have a cellar you can all get into quickly. If you live in earthquake country, a good precaution would be to keep wrecking bar(s) by your bed(s), just so you can get out of your house, or get a family member out. While this is pretty basic stuff, it is extremely important. Equipped.com has some good lists of basic emergency supplies. Of course if you move, you should re-evaluate you preparations.

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