Thursday, September 3, 2009

Preparedness Progress Report

This September is the sixth annual National Preparedness Month. Since I asked the question, "Are You Prepared?" last year, it's time for a progress report.

How have you been doing with your own preparedness kits? Do you have a bug-out bag and a plan in case you have to evacuate? The Red Cross says that the disaster most Americans face is a home fire. It'll be good to have a grab & go bag ready for your escape because a fire is sure to destroy at least some of your belongings and put you out of your home for awhile.

Through Sept. 30, 2009, you may save 10% on a Red Cross radio by Eton at Radio Shack by presenting this coupon.

For my part, although I got bogged down and didn't finish writing my Essential Systems series by now as planned (please stay tuned), I did continue with my personal preparedness by getting:

- A new city street map for my home town and the closest large city.

- A pack of N95 masks in case my bandanna isn't enough.

- A new, packable, top SPF-rated, sun hat.

- A pair of Yaktrax Walker traction cleats.

- Katadyn Micropur water purification tablets.

- A new emergency blanket. I already had a Space Blanket and decided to augment it with another that's sturdier and has grommets.

- Fox 40 Mini and Micro whistles for my key rings and to replace the one that was on the lanyard of my compass in my hydration pack that was stolen when my car was broken into in 2007.

- An Eton Microlink FR150 solar/crank-powered AM/FM/NOAA weather radio and light that can recharge a cell phone if the card for the free plug is returned to Eton.

- Two boxes of can't-blow-out birthday candles and 3x jumbo cotton balls and petroleum jelly for fire starters and tinder.

- New LED flashlights and upgrading my incandescent Mini Maglites to LEDs.

- Solar charge flashlights to ensure having a light that's safe for magnetic media if my flashlights with batteries happen to die.

- A UCO Mini candle lantern to safely hold tea light candles and an oil insert for the original UCO candle lantern I've had for a few years because I've always wanted an oil lantern and in case I run out of the UCO candles.

- A Trangia alcohol burner and a Sterno collapsible stove to accommodate the Trangia burner, cans of Sterno, and Nuwick candles.

- A Freshette feminine urine director.

- 100 feet of 550 lb. Type III paracord with a seven-strand core.

- A crow bar to keep in my car trunk and 8-1/2" pry bar for my pack.

- ResQMe and LifeHammer car escape tools.

Last week, I went through my emergency food supply and pulled out everything that expires within the next six months. Moving them to be used for daily meals, except for my tea that I buy elsewhere so still need to do, I replaced them with fresh stock for my emergency stash along with new gallon jugs of water.

Two days ago, using wide adhesive Velcro strips because I didn't want holes drilled, I mounted a LifeHammer sans bracket onto the front slope of the center console of my car leading down to the hand brake so it's accessible by a passenger, too. The soft, loop side of the Velcro strips went on the LifeHammer for comfort and the harsher, hook side went on the car.

Unfortunately, I somehow managed to misplace my Freshette during the past few months which demonstrates the disadvantage of robbing Peter to pay Paulette since Paulette doesn't seem to have it any more. Oh, well. It will either turn up somewhere or I'll have to buy another because it's a great convenience that I don't want to have to do without now that I've used one.

Along with other miscellaneous items, I still need to build up a cash reserve because if the electricity goes out, credit and debit cards won't work.

Documentation is an entirely incomplete category for me. I can't scan my important papers because my scanner is broken and I can't photocopy (or scan) them because I put the key for my fireproof lock box in a place that's so safe, even I can't find it.

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