October brings an end to Emergency Preparedness month. This is a good time to think about what you have accomplished, and what you can focus on between now and this time next year. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the federal or state governments, or your church, or even your community do. It is YOU. If YOU don’t do it, it won’t get done. Every step we take in the right direction is another moment of “peace of mind” when things get tough, and we all know that life isn’t all mountaintops, is it?
First, let’s talk about the things you can do that don’t cost a dime. I have heard so many talk about not being able to afford to “prep” for hard times. Well, I am going to debunk that theory in a few sentences. Free. Available. And helpful. Do these things. See where they lead you.
Get your phone out, turn on the video, and walk through your house. In each room, scan slowly. If you have something of specific interest, take a moment and talk about it. When you are done with the house, go to the garage, barn, shed, and property. After you finish this process, copy it. Put it on the cloud. Put one thumb drive in the lockbox, one in the glovebox, and one in your desk at work, or on a keychain. You can encrypt them if you prefer. Put the date on them, so you know when it was taken.
While you have these thumb drives out, copy your important papers. You should have your titles, birth certificates, deeds, marriage licenses (and divorces with all associated information), insurance info, and any other papers that you might struggle to produce if you had to leave in a hurry.
Another free thing you can get started on is water. Whether you live in the city or the country, there are times when the water won’t be drinkable, or maybe available. Save your soda, juice and tea bottles. Rinse well, add water, and date the bottle. You can add bleach before you store, or when you open. Eighteen drops per gallon will make it safe to drink. Let it stand for 24 hours, and the bleach smell will evaporate, giving you a city-water-ish drink. Shake or pour between two glasses to aerate. Many people think stored water is stale, simply because it isn’t aerated. You can live many days without food, but only a few without water. If you own a Harvest Right, you will definitely want water to help reconstitute that amazing food you have begun to store away.
You have now started with the most basic things. Becoming prepared doesn’t have to undermine your resources. In the next few blogs, we will be looking at more basic steps which will lighten the stress load when times are tough.
Donna Hoaks lives in Indiana and is a master food preserver, teaching workshops and seminars on self-reliance and preparedness.