Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheap Emergency Preparedness Solutions!

You may think that you have to spend a lot of money on specialized emergency items to have a good emergency preparedness kit, but there are so many "everyday" items that you may already have that you can put into your readiness kit today without stepping foot into a store!  What we have done at our house is to put many of these items into a large plastic bin with a lid and we put it up on a shelf in our garage just in case for some reason our garage floods.  We had a huge wind storm last night here in Portland, and our little Oregon coastal towns only about 2 hours to the west had it the worst with a lot of damage.  It reminded me that I don't have to worry (as much!) about emergencies because I feel like we are pretty prepared.

Paper plates - you don't want to waste any precious water on washing dishes!  Plus, it makes a great fire-starter once you're finished with your meal!  There is a $1 coupon for Vanity Fair brand on redplum.com

Save chopsticks and un-used plastic forks from your take-out/drive thru meals - sometimes they throw too many in, and sometimes you don't use them at all!  Don't throw them out - start saving them in your emergency kit!

Tin foil - for cooking in: wrap the food with the opening at the top and put it directly on your camp stove or coals.  You can also use it to line a pan you are cooking in so you don't have to wash the pan. 

Toilet paper & paper towels - wouldn't want to be without TP!  Paper towels are so you don't have to wash as much laundry if you don't have a water source nearby.  Paper products can also be saved after use for fire-starter!  See my blog post HERE for a TP coupon, plus score some FREE TP!

Large plastic trash bags - can be quickly turned into a rain coat, tarp or other protection from the elements, can help collect rain water, can help you carry many items at once, and, it's original design purpose: can help keep your trash in one location.

Zip lock bags of various sizes - to keep things dry and separated.  You can also slip one over your hand to act like a glove to pick up something gross!  There are some coupons here, or find the cheap store-brand versions

First aid - at least get a small first aid kit that includes different size bandages as well as scissors, wrap-style bandage, tape, alcohol wipes and first aid tips/instructions for emergencies.  There is currently a coupon on www.smartsource.com for Nexcare bandages. You can even find many items for your first aid kit at the Dollar store!!

Distilled White Vinegar & Apple Cider Vinegar - for cleaning and for ailments.  Click HERE for my blog post about cleaning with white vinegar, and click HERE for my post about Apple Cider Vinegar as a cure-all!

Water - try to keep at least a couple gallons of water in storage just in case.  Also buy some sort of filtration kit so that if you have to use water run-off from your gutter, etc. you can filter it.  Another source for water you could tap in an emergency is from your hot water heater tank - it has a lot of water stored in there even after the water has been shut off!

Food - Stock up your pantry!  See  my blog post HERE on the subject. Plus, Lehman's CLICK HERE has every canning and food storage tool imaginable!  Don't forget a manual can opener for your bin!!

Source of heat and source of cooking - Fire is the easiest and cheapest solution, so put some matches in a zip-lock bag to keep them from getting wet.  A propane camp stove with a few extra tanks is a nice bonus if you have one, or even one of those little butane cookers and a few extra butane tins - available HERE

Candles - for light - don't forget matches!  You can get a lot of cheap candles at the dollar store, but I like to test them for quality first - not all candles burn the same way or for the same length of time.  I really like Jar candles because you can use the jar afterwards, and it helps keep the candle wax & the flame contained while it is burning.  They also seem to last longer - I think becaue the jar helps block wind from blowing the flame around and prematurely melting the wax.  HERE is a link to my blog post with a candle deal ending 11/29/09.

Some extras:
A cooler, Analog clock (not digital!), old dial phone (the kind you don't have to plug in to an outlet because these old ones work without a power source, just need a phone jack!), emergency weather radio, extra batteries of various sizes.  There are also a lot of really cool self-reliance tools and products at Lehman's (click HERE for their website) to make being more "prepared" easier.  My husband always says that I should work smarter, not harder!

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