What I Did This Week To Prep

The north side of the Olympic Peninsula near Sequim (pronounce: skwim) is the area where we hope to find our BOL. We’ve spent considerable time determining what we wanted in a BOL community before deciding on Sequim. Our goal was to find something in a rural area near a small town, with a temperate climate, that was less than three hours from our current home; a location that didn’t require us to drive through the mountains, a major metropolis, or cross a bridge to get there. We really like the resources and feeling of Sequim; now we just need to find that right piece of property.

That part is much easier said than done. We’ve been tracking available properties online for several months. We had even gone to look at a few, but hadn’t found anything that interested us. Recently I’ve been watching one online that looked promising. We researched it further and agreed it’d be worth looking at. Since Sarah had an extra couple days off we decided to head out to Sequim and look at BOL property. We spent time looking at it and walking around the acreage, and we both really liked it. The property itself is great; the structures will need some work – but it had location, location, location. I’ll keep you posted if anything comes of it.

On the way back from Sequim we stopped in Vashon Island to pick up the newest addition to our family: a seven week old female Border Collie, named Kate. We had been in contact with the breeder for several weeks and were just waiting for her to get old enough so that we could go get her and bring her home. She is a cute little thing; as Emily says, she’s “freaking adorable.” Is a dog a prepper topic? Of course it is! Not only does a dog add to the home security with it’s heightened senses and awareness, it also adds comfort and a sense of normalcy in a stressful situation. Remember, you dog needs to be included in planning your preps: storing extra dog food, and including it in your evacuation plan.

Since we needed dog food for Kate, we made our monthly trip to Costco early. (Early in the sense that their monthly coupons weren’t available for another week.) They had a good price on Duracell Daylite LED D cell flashlights, so we picked up a couple of those. We have several flashlights, but they are already distributed throughout the house; we wanted to get a couple of quality ones to put in a central location. We bough puppy food (including plenty of extra), the Kirkland brand has good ingredients at a good price. We got some extra peanut butter and plan to get more before peanut butter prices go up soon – ounce for ounce peanut butter is one of the cheapest sources of protein available. Also wool socks were on sale so we got a few extra to add to our BOBs.

What did you do?

(Monday: One Man’s Tool)

(10/16/11)

Location, Location, Location

five basic needs: 1) food, 2) water, 3) SHELTER, 4) security, and 5) energy

Shelter, Shelter, Shelter.

All locations are not created equal; big city, suburbs, small town, rural area. Where do you live? Your location will determine what type of disasters you are more likely to encounter, what services will be available in the aftermath, and the potential risks to your family and home during that emergency. A disaster that is catastrophic in one setting, may have very little effect in another.

Example: An apartment in a large city vs. a house in a rural community when an 8.5 earthquake strikes. City: gas, water, and electric lines break, fires start, water pressure drops, buildings partially collapse, debris falls, power is out, traffic gridlocks, the dense population panics. Rural: things fall off shelves, maybe the power goes out and you have to use your generator for a few days.

Some disasters, like the earthquake or a terrorist attack, give us no notice and all we can do is work to recover afterward. But others, like a hurricane, pandemic, or flooding give us time and the opportunity to make an informed decision.

<cue Should I Stay or Should I Go? by The Clash>

The decision: Bug in or bug out (stay or go)? If you bug in, what are your contingency plans to compensate for potential lost services: food, water, security, energy? If you choose to bug out (or have to), where are you going? What do you take if you leave? What do you leave if you, um, leave? What route are you going to take to get to your bug out location (BOL)? You also need to consider the ‘leave right now’ disaster where there are only minutes to evacuate, like a fire, or a gas leak.

With so many factors affecting this decision, how do you decide to stay or go? You analyze the situation, think about your plan, and ultimately decide: Am I most likely better off if I stay, or better off if I go?

If you choose to go, having a pre-determined plan is invaluable. Once the disaster starts, people may be scared, disoriented, separated, or hurt; it may be dark and/or cold (don’t ‘these things’ alway happen at night?), if we have a plan, we all at least know where to start. A written evacuation plan needs to include: 1) a ‘short list’ of what to grab quickly before you leave your home, 2) multiple routes to get out of your area and to your BOL(s), and 3) an extensive list of contact information for people and businesses in your life.

‘I don’t have anywhere to go,’ you say. If that’s truly the case, then you stay. But a temporary BOL may be as simple as a motel in a ‘safer’ area. Determine that area, one with several motels; make a list of their numbers in your evacuation plan. If you decide to leave, call early and get reservations. Motels frequently have generators and their own disaster plan in place.

Or, talk with a friend or family member; don’t just ask if you can go to their home, but agree to be each other’s BOL if necessary. Create a plan together. If you live in the city and they are rural consider pre-staging items in their home. But, if you’re city, why would they evacuate to you? A local emergency and they just need somewhere to stay a night or two.

We plan for the most likely disruptions first: personal injury, fire, local emergency, local weather. The catastrophic ones: major natural disaster, pandemics, terrorist attacks; if they come, will still require similar plans and preps. Developing an evacuation plan costs no money, only time – take that time now when things are calm (relatively speaking) so you can be ready when things aren’t.

(Wednesday: No, You Can’t Take It)