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Emergency

Keep Your Home Warm During Winter When The Grid Goes Down

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We tend to take heating for granted. Sure, everyone grumbles about the increased cost of paying to heat their home during the winter… but we all expect heat to come out of the walls whenever we turn the thermostat. 

But what if the heat didn’t come out of the walls?

Millions realized just how this felt during the ice storm that left people without power – and in many cases without heat – for over two weeks in Texas in 2021. 

It’s easy to forget, but even if our homes are not heated with electricity, they require electricity to keep our heating systems going. What’s more, heating is reliant upon a supply chain that is increasingly as fragile as America’s power grid – who remembers toilet paper being about as valuable as gold during the dog days of COVID-19?

So it doesn’t take a world-ending event to have you and your family shivering in the dark or willing to trade your teeth for a tank of propane. 

With that said, what are some alternative ways for you to heat your home that don’t rely on an increasingly fragile grid or supply chain?

Modern Need's Emergency Sleeping Bag

Propane Space Heaters 

Propane space heaters are safe for indoor use (provided that you don’t fall asleep) and have come down significantly in cost. While you’re still reliant on the propane supply chain to keep it going, you can prepare for a supply chain disruption by keeping tanks of propane around just in case you need to use them. 

Even the smallest ones will keep a decent-sized room in your home so toasty that you’ll probably have to keep turning the heater on and off. 

Fireplaces

You don’t want to be running one of these in your home without proper ventilation. That can kill your entire family in a matter of minutes. However, if you own your own home and want to be more resilient in general, this might be the prime opportunity to upgrade your home by building a fireplace or even a fire pit in your backyard. 

Modern Need's Emergency Sleeping Bag

A nice open fire is very cozy and a source of passive visual entertainment far more conducive to quality family time than the television, your mobile phone or video game systems. This ones takes a little more capital to get going, but when you’re sitting in your warm living room watching the fire dance – emergency or not – you’ll be glad that you spent the money. 

Heating Stoves

Heating stoves aren’t quite as visually appealing as their open-faced cousins, the fireplace, but they’re far more efficient in terms of firewood-to-heating ratio. The exterior of a heating stove also becomes very hot, which makes it a good way to cook food and heat water when the gas isn’t coming through the pipes and there’s no electricity to do anything with it if it were. 

Another attractive quality of heating stoves is that, while they’re not super cheap, they’re much less expensive than the world involved in ripping open a wall and part of your ceiling to build a fireplace and the chimney it needs to be safe.

No matter what your prepper time table is – two weeks without power or getting ready for the end of the world as we know it – an alternative, off-grid source of heat is absolutely essential. You need at least one and frankly the more options you have the better. 

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Emergency

DIY Emergency Shelter Building: Family Projects for Preparedness

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When it comes to survival preparedness, having the skills to build emergency shelters can be invaluable. Whether you’re camping in the wilderness or facing unexpected situations at home, knowing how to construct a shelter using basic materials can provide protection and comfort for your family. In this article, we’ll explore DIY emergency shelter building as a family project for preparedness.

Understanding the Importance of Shelter

Shelter is essential in any survival situation. It provides protection from the elements such as rain, wind, and extreme temperatures, helping to maintain body temperature and prevent hypothermia or heat-related illnesses. In emergencies, having a shelter can also offer a sense of security and peace of mind for you and your family.

Choosing the Right Location

Before building a shelter, it’s essential to select a suitable location. Look for flat ground away from potential hazards such as falling branches, flooding areas, or insect nests. Take advantage of natural features such as rock formations or tree cover for added protection. Additionally, consider factors like sunlight exposure and wind direction when positioning your shelter.

Basic Shelter Designs

There are several simple shelter designs that you can build with minimal materials and tools. One common type is the lean-to shelter, which involves propping a sturdy branch or pole against a tree and laying smaller branches or foliage against it to create a sloped roof. Another option is the A-frame shelter, constructed by leaning two branches or poles together and covering them with foliage or a tarp.

Gathering Materials

For DIY emergency shelters, utilize readily available materials from your surroundings. Collect sturdy branches, sticks, and foliage such as leaves, grass, or pine needles for insulation. If you have a tarp or emergency blanket in your survival kit, it can serve as a waterproof cover for your shelter. Be resourceful and creative with your materials, making the most of what nature provides.

Building the Shelter

Once you’ve gathered your materials, it’s time to start building your shelter. Begin by securing the main support structure, whether it’s a tree branch or poles, firmly into the ground. Then, layer smaller branches or foliage across the frame, ensuring a tight and overlapping arrangement to provide insulation and protection from the elements. If using a tarp or emergency blanket, drape it over the frame and secure it with ropes or weights.

Testing and Improving

After completing your shelter, take some time to test its durability and comfort. Spend a night or simulate adverse weather conditions to see how well it holds up. Take note of any weaknesses or areas for improvement, such as reinforcing the structure or adding additional insulation. Use this experience as a learning opportunity to refine your shelter-building skills for future projects.

Safety Considerations

While building emergency shelters can be a fun and educational family activity, it’s essential to prioritize safety at all times. Watch out for sharp objects, unstable terrain, and wildlife in your surroundings. Ensure everyone participating in the project understands proper handling of tools and materials to prevent accidents or injuries.

DIY emergency shelter building offers an excellent opportunity for families to learn valuable survival skills while spending quality time together outdoors. By understanding the importance of shelter, choosing suitable locations, gathering materials, and building basic structures, you can enhance your preparedness for emergencies. Remember to prioritize safety and practice your shelter-building skills regularly to stay ready for whatever challenges may arise.

Does your family do shelter projects? What have you learned? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Emergency

Navigating Power Outages with Children: Practical Strategies for Families

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Power outages can be disruptive and challenging for families, especially when young children are involved. Whether caused by severe weather, infrastructure failures, or other unforeseen circumstances, power outages require families to adapt and find ways to stay safe, comfortable, and entertained until power is restored. Here are some family-friendly strategies for surviving power outages with kids.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

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Before a power outage occurs, assemble an emergency kit stocked with essential supplies to meet your family’s needs during an outage. Include items such as flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, non-perishable snacks, bottled water, blankets, and basic first aid supplies. Store your emergency kit in a designated location that is easily accessible to all family members and ensure that everyone knows where to find it in case of an emergency.

Create a Comfortable Environment

During a power outage, create a comfortable and safe environment for your family to weather the disruption. Close curtains or blinds to conserve warmth in the winter and keep rooms cool in the summer. Use blankets, sleeping bags, or layers of clothing to stay warm, and open windows for ventilation if needed. Keep doors closed to retain heat in occupied rooms and minimize drafts. Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights for lighting, and avoid using candles near flammable materials or unsupervised children.

Stay Entertained and Engaged

To keep children entertained and engaged during a power outage, plan ahead and have a variety of activities and games on hand. Consider board games, card games, puzzles, coloring books, and craft supplies to keep children entertained without relying on electronic devices. Tell stories, sing songs, or engage in imaginative play to pass the time and create lasting memories with your family. Encourage children to use their creativity and imagination to invent new games and activities to keep boredom at bay.

Maintain Communication

During a power outage, communication is essential for staying informed and connected with loved ones. Keep a charged mobile phone or battery-powered backup charger on hand to maintain communication with family members, neighbors, and emergency services. Use text messages, social media, or other communication apps to check in with friends and relatives and share updates on your situation. Establish a communication plan with family members to coordinate activities, share information, and ensure everyone’s safety during an outage.

Minimize Food Waste

To prevent food spoilage and minimize waste during a power outage, take steps to preserve perishable food items and plan meals wisely. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold temperatures and preserve food freshness. Use perishable items such as milk, eggs, and leftovers first, and rely on non-perishable foods such as canned goods, dry goods, and shelf-stable snacks for longer-term sustenance. Consider cooking meals on a gas or charcoal grill, camping stove, or portable propane burner if safe to do so, or opt for ready-to-eat foods that require minimal preparation.

Stay Informed and Safe

Throughout a power outage, stay informed about the status of the outage, weather conditions, and any emergency alerts or updates from local authorities. Listen to battery-powered or hand-crank radios for news and information, and follow instructions from emergency services regarding safety precautions, evacuation orders, or other necessary actions. Keep emergency contact numbers, utility company information, and other important resources readily accessible in case of emergencies.

While power outages can pose challenges for families, with careful planning and preparation, it is possible to navigate these disruptions with resilience and resourcefulness. By creating an emergency kit, creating a comfortable environment, staying entertained and engaged, maintaining communication, minimizing food waste, and staying informed and safe, families can effectively manage power outages and ensure the well-being of all family members. 

Remember that resilience is not just about enduring hardships but also about finding strength, support, and solidarity within your family and community during times of need.

How does your family prepare for power outages? Leave your tips in the comments below. 

 

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Emergency

How to Create a Family Emergency Plan That Works

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In times of crisis, having a well-thought-out family emergency plan can make all the difference between chaos and calm, confusion and clarity. By proactively preparing for potential emergencies, families can ensure the safety and well-being of their loved ones while navigating uncertain situations with confidence and resilience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the essential steps to creating a family emergency plan that works for your household.

Step 1: Assessing Potential Risks

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The first step in creating a family emergency plan is to assess the potential risks and hazards that may affect your household. Consider the geographical location, climate, and environmental factors specific to your area, such as natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires), as well as other potential emergencies (e.g., house fires, medical emergencies, power outages). By identifying and understanding these risks, you can tailor your emergency plan to address the most likely scenarios.

Step 2: Establishing Communication Channels

Effective communication is paramount during emergencies, ensuring that family members can stay connected and informed when it matters most. Establish multiple communication channels, including mobile phones, text messaging, social media, and emergency notification apps, to ensure redundancy and reliability. Designate an out-of-area contact person whom family members can call or message to check in and relay information if local communication lines are down.

Step 3: Creating a Family Emergency Kit

Assemble a comprehensive emergency kit stocked with essential supplies to sustain your family during and after an emergency. Include items such as non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, medications, flashlights, batteries, a multi-tool, blankets, clothing, important documents (e.g., identification, insurance policies), and cash in small denominations. Customize your emergency kit based on the needs and preferences of your family members, including any specific medical or dietary requirements.

Step 4: Developing an Evacuation Plan

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Plan and practice evacuation routes from your home and neighborhood in the event of different types of emergencies. Identify multiple evacuation routes and alternate destinations, such as designated shelters or the homes of friends or family members outside the affected area. Ensure that all family members know how to evacuate safely and where to meet up if separated. Practice evacuation drills regularly to familiarize everyone with the process and reduce anxiety during real emergencies.

Step 5: Assigning Roles and Responsibilities

Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each family member to ensure a coordinated and efficient response during emergencies. Designate tasks such as gathering emergency supplies, caring for pets, shutting off utilities, administering first aid, and communicating with authorities. Tailor assignments based on individual strengths, skills, and capabilities, ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities.

Step 6: Reviewing and Revising Regularly

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Regularly review and revise your family emergency plan to ensure that it remains relevant and effective. Update contact information, evacuation routes, and emergency kit contents as needed, taking into account any changes in family dynamics or living arrangements. Conduct practice drills and scenario-based exercises to reinforce emergency procedures and identify areas for improvement. Encourage open feedback and communication among family members to continuously refine your emergency plan and enhance preparedness.

Creating a family emergency plan is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires diligence, communication, and collaboration. By following these essential steps and proactively preparing for potential emergencies, you can empower your family to navigate crises with confidence, resilience, and unity. Remember, the time and effort invested in creating a comprehensive emergency plan can make all the difference when seconds count and lives are at stake. Start today, and take the first step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of your loved ones in the face of adversity.

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