6 everyday things you can do to stay prepared
When it comes to being prepared, you will find so many great articles on things like bugging out, food and water storage, 72 hour kits, etc. All of it is very pertinent information. But often times, I see the little, everyday things that people can do to be more prepared get overlooked. While these things may not be as “sexy” as bug out bags and ammo storage, they can be just as crucial (if not more so).
So with that in mind, here are 6 things you can do every day to make you more prepared.
Always keep your phone charged.
In my 8 Lessons Learned from Disaster article, I mentioned an officer whose battery died while working in Moore, Oklahoma after a tornado, and was unable to communicate with anyone.
Imagine if you are caught in a quickly developing emergency, and your primary source of communication and up to the minute information is dying because your battery is not charged. Not smart!
Having knowledge about what is going on around you is vital to your ability to survive a disaster. Being able to communicate is equally important. With today’s technology, a smart phone allows you to do both.
When a tornado recently hit my area, I used my cell phone to live stream the weather, and to text my family to keep them apprised of the situation. During that storm, my phone battery had plenty of life in it should I have had to make a speedy exit. I stayed up to the minute with news and information during the entire storm.
Not only do I keep my cell phone charged, I have several ways of ensuring it stays charged. I keep a car charger in my truck and an extra wall charger in my EDC bag. I also have a Goal Zero solar panel charger and a hand crank emergency radio that will charge cell phones.
With today’s smart phones, a lot of the old myths about battery life no longer apply. You no longer need to let batteries drain all the way to zero before charging them. In fact, experts now say that if you let your lithium-ion batteries continually drain to 0%, they could become unstable.
In addition, with today’s smart phones, you can continue to use your phone while it is charging. And experts say that today’s batteries are smart enough that they will stop charging when full.
Just be sure to try and keep your phone battery at optimal temperatures. Extreme heat and cold can slowly kill you phone battery.
If you are short on time and want to get as much charge as possible, put your phone on “Airplane Mode” while charging. This will help your phone to charge faster. (I have been told that playing games in Airplane mode stops annoying ads. I have not tried it because I don’t play many games on my phone.)
Even if you have no cell coverage, your phone can still help you be located if you become lost or stranded. So keep it charged and ready to go at all times. For more information on using cell phones during an emergency, click the link.
It is a sinking, terrible feeling to be caught up in an emergency setting, and your gas tank needle is rapidly approaching E! Or imagine being caught in a terrible traffic accident on the highway, where you are stuck in traffic and barely moving. The nearest gas station might be 10 miles away, but you are creeping along and now almost out of gas.
When disaster strikes and you need to leave the area ASAP, the last thing you want to worry about is fuel. You may not be able to fill up. Electricity may be down and the gas pumps may not be working correctly. Or your planned evacuation route may not be accessible, and you may have to spend time and gas finding another route to your destination.
Having a full tank is really a backup plan should you find yourself in any of the aforementioned scenarios.
Personally, I always fill up at about half a tank, meaning I generally have a half tank reserve in all my vehicles. I cannot remember the last time one of my vehicles got to a quarter of a tank. It has just become second nature to me to fill up at half a tank.
As for the myth about only filling up early in the morning or at night, it is just not true. According to Joe Bruzek of Cars.com, the reason this myth is around is because
The reasoning is when the fuel is cooler, it’s denser. A denser fuel will pack more energy in the same amount of space, so you’ll get more bang for your buck. While density may change with temperature, underground storage tanks sit 15 to 20 feet below the surface so the fuel stays around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the only times that you’ll find a warmer, less-dense gas is if the fuel doesn’t have time to cool off after being pumped into the underground tanks. Fuel temperature stabilizes quickly, so the chances of this making any difference are slim.
So if you are on your way home from work and your gas needle drops below half a tank, you might consider pulling into a gas station and filling up.
Also keep in mind that you may not need to spend extra money on higher octane fuel. A new report from AAA says that drivers wasted over $2 billion (that’s BILLION) on premium gasoline over the past year. AAA has found that
premium gasoline doesn’t improve performance, fuel efficiency or emissions for vehicles that run on regular-grade fuel. Yet an estimated 16.5 million Americans have opted to pay for premium gasoline at least once in the last 12 months, believing it’s better for their car’s engine. Drivers “upgraded” to premium gasoline more than 270 million times, AAA said.
So save a little extra money and use regular gasoline unless your vehicle has an engine that specifically requires a higher octane fuel.
In addition to keeping your gas tank full, check your other fluids, and make sure they are topped off as well. I check my vehicle fluids each week. I do this on the first gas fill up of the week. This ensures that I won’t be short on things like oil, or transmission fluid.
Keep extra cash on you
As mentioned above, there will be times when electricity maybe down and credit card machines/ATMs will not function. There have even been times when I went into a store only to be told that their internet was down. This means they could not accept credit cards.
This cash reserve I keep isn’t just for the end of the world scenarios. I have dipped into my “emergency” cash on a few occasions. I have forgotten to stop by the ATM in the past. Of course I then need $10 or $20 to pay off or buy something I really needed. In those times, the spare cash has been very handy. Always remember to replenish it.
I made this a habit by deliberately setting $50 in smaller denominations. I hide them in a small compartment in my wallet. Since my wallet is a part of my EDC (Every Day Carry), that money is always on me. I don’t count that money with the regular currency I have, and sometimes I even forget it is there.
If money is tight, you might start with just a couple of $1 bills. When you get $6 or $7 dollars, trade 5 of them up for a $5 bill. Over time, you will have your reserve built. You could also throw your leftover change into a jar. When it reaches $5, trade it in and put that $5 in your emergency cash.
I would also carry smaller denominations, nothing over a $20. You never know when you might be in a situation where you need to buy something and the other party cannot make change.
I carry $50 with a single $20 and the rest in $5s and $1. Some may want to carry more, others less. I would be careful not to carry too much; I certainly wouldn’t carry half my life savings around with me. Just enough that I have some extra cash in an emergency!
Emergencies and disasters are never planned and usually strike with little to no warning. Having some equipment on you to help you get past the initial event could go a long way to helping you survive. EDC (Every Day Carry) are the things you keep on your person at all times.
But I have found that I use my EDC for more than just disasters. So many times I have found that having my EDC on me helped make my life a bit easier. Something as simple as having a small flashlight on me during a temporary power outage made finding the exit MUCH easier.
When it comes to EDC gear, you will need to decide what you want to carry on you. To help give you some ideas, here is a link where I talk about my EDC and why I do (or don’t) carry it on me.
Having the right gear and equipment is only half the battle. You need to actually CARRY IT on you everyday.
Here is a video I enjoyed on Adam Savage’s (Myth Busters) EDC. Enjoy!
Get/stay in Shape
As I have said before, all the gear, supplies, and skills are of little use to you in you are not healthy enough to use them. Especially in times of emergencies and/or disasters. Staying healthy and in decent shape will help your overall health and happiness when times are good.
I talk about preppers’ need for being healthy and in shape in my article What you need to know about prepper physical fitness. It lists some simple ways to help you drop weight and get yourself into better shape than you are now. These hints and tips are things that you can do everyday.
Being in shape will not only improve your odds in a true SHTF event, it will also improve your overall quality of life!
Continue to learn/develop new skills
Hopefully you understand that while having the right gear and equipment can be a life saver, having skills and training is even more important. Skills and knowledge weight nothing. They won’t break or get lost. As a result, I try to learn something new all the time. In addition to the training I receive at work, I try to spend AT LEAST 10 to 15 minutes a day (4 to 5 days a week) learning a new skill or gaining knowledge that could help me in a SHTF scenario.
I have found several great Prepper channels on YouTube. And the website prepperwebsite.com posts prepper related articles every single day.
I do not let prepping consume my life. I prep to live, not live to prep. But spending a little time each day learning something new, gathering more knowledge, and being aware of current news and events can go a long way in helping you prepare for an emergency or disaster.
These little hints and tips are not just for serious SHTF events. They will also make your life easier in your day to day situations.
If you have other prepper everyday preparedness tips, please leave them in the comments section below.
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