There are so many things you can do right now to prepare for future emergencies that are free or very low cost. By taking one on each day or each week you will be amazed how quickly you become better prepared to care for your family’s needs in a crisis.
#1 Collect scraps of lumber from construction sites to use as kindling. All builders have large piles of scrap lumber at their sites that will be loaded into a dumpster and hauled away. Designate a place in the yard or the corner of a shed and collect several large boxes of scraps. When you need to build a fire, this kindling will help you to be more efficient and also give you heat much more quickly.
#2 Become a detective. As you purchase products that are not depleted after one use such as dish detergent and shampoo, label each with a permanent marker with the date you first use it. When that item is then empty calculate how long it lasted. If for example, shampoo lasted 2 weeks you now know you will need 26 to have a year’s supply or 6 for three months. This should be done with everything from cotton swabs to cooking oil. It really helps to keep you on track and not purchase too much or too little of an item.
#3 Can some water. You know all the boxes of empty canning jars in the garage… Fill them with water. You can use clean used lids and simply fill to the top with water, place the lid upside down on the bottle, replace the ring, and place it in the original box. You now have another source of good drinking water and when you get ready to fill the jars with fruit you simply empty and go! Best of all…it doesn’t take up any more room!
#4 Collect 5-gallon buckets. That’s right. These can be used for your Grab and Go kits. They will seal well to keep out pests and they will float if you need to evacuate in flood waters. They are also great to store pet foods and other items that critters like to eat. You can get used ones from some grocery stores, delis, and bakeries. Ingredients are delivered in them, and they just need to be cleaned well. Don’t use any that have stored pickles, vinegar-based or oil-based products.
#5 Teach your family how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity, and then practice. Of course, you don’t really want to turn them off but just make sure all the older children remember 3 months from now how to do it if the need arises when you are away from home. Remember, never turn the gas back on without a professional from a utility company.