September 2023

Photo credit: Jim Cobb
Location: Paradise Springs Nature Trail, Palmyra, WI

Focus of the Month – Home Safety

Reading Recommendations:
Non-fiction book — The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley
Fiction book – The Pulse by Scott B Williams

A big part of preparedness is taking simple precautions to help avoid potential disasters. That being the case, our focus this month is on home safety. So, we’ll be doing things like testing our smoke and CO detectors, learning how to shut off water and gas to our homes, and making sure we know where all of our flashlights are located. We’re also going to take a week off, from September 24-30. Prepping is hard work and you’ve earned a break.

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The non-fiction book of the month is The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley. As far as I’m concerned, this book should be required reading for anyone wishing to be better prepared for emergencies. Ripley delves deep into the psychological and biological responses we have to stress and disasters and reveals how we’re hard-wired to handle a crisis. She also talks about how we can use that information to react better and more efficiently.

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Our fiction selection for this month is The Pulse by Scott B. Williams. This is the first in a series of novels that take place after an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) hits the United States. The story focuses on Casey Drager, who is a student at Tulane University when the disaster hits. She and a couple of her friends hightail it out of the city and hit the Mississippi backwaters in an attempt to get home. Meanwhile, her father’s sailing adventure in the Caribbean has taken a turn for the worst as he tries to get back to the mainland without the use of GPS or other computer systems.

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The emergencies for which we prepare aren’t always of the total societal collapse variety. Even if a disaster isn’t global, or even regional, it can still be the “end of the world as you know it.”

Imagine losing your entire home to a fire.

Or a member of your family dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Or the loss of your household’s income because the primary wage earner was severely injured in an accident at home.

These things might not even affect your next-door neighbor but would be no less of a disaster for you and your family.

It is important to take the steps necessary to protect your family from relatively common emergencies. For starters, each level of your home should be outfitted with smoke detectors. They should be in good working order and tested every six months. Place one near the bedrooms so you’ll be sure to hear it in the middle of the night.

While we’re on the subject of fires, have you devised and practiced an evacuation plan? Each member of your family should know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. How should they leave the home and where do they go?

Have a good quality fire extinguisher in the kitchen, as this is where many fires start. It is important to know how to use one properly, so get in touch with your local fire department for guidance. They may even offer to show you with a hands-on demonstration. Understand the different types of extinguishers, too. They are not all made to tackle the same types of fires.

Each bedroom should have at least one working flashlight. This can be difficult to accomplish when you have smaller children as they’ll look at it as a toy. Do the best you can to stress to them the importance of having a working flashlight in case of emergencies. I’ve found that a crank powered flashlight works well for kids as they won’t run down a battery while playing with it. Consider putting one of those small air horns in the bedrooms, too. The reason for that is if someone is trapped in the room, the sound of that horn will be much louder than just a shout. Obviously, it is important the child is old enough to understand that the air horn isn’t a toy and is only for emergencies.

Carbon monoxide detectors are critical. Various experts recommend having one on each level of the home, particularly near sources of CO, such as the furnace and water heater.

When working on projects, be sure to wear the proper safety gear. I’m one of those people who hates wearing things like ear plugs and safety glasses. But, I do recognize the need for them and do give in from time to time when my wife badgers me. Heavy-duty work gloves should be worn when dealing with brush and other debris to avoid splinters, punctures, and other not-so-fun things.

If you don’t have any, consider buying a pair of steel toed work boots for at least the adults in the family. You can sometimes find them used at thrift stores. I wear mine all the time when working in the garage or around the house.

Masks should be worn any time you’re dealing with dust and airborne debris or fumes.

When using ladders, be careful to not overextend your reach. Ensure the ladder is on a solid, level surface. If at all possible, have a spotter in case you do fall. Not that they’ll catch you but rather they can get help if needed.

Read all instructions for any power tools and be sure you completely and totally understand how they are properly used. At all times, use good common sense and think things through beforehand. Rushing a job is just asking for trouble.

We preppers and survivalists often tend to concentrate on the long-term stuff like EMP and overlook the more mundane, day-to-day sorts of threats. The reality is that you are far more likely to be injured working around the house than you are to end up facing some sort of apocalyptic event.

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September 23 — Getting Ready for Winter

It won’t be long before Old Man Winter shows up. Get ahead of the game by completing these simple preps before the ice and snow start to fly.