When things are free to do it makes us wonder why we didn't already do them! Hopefully there will be some ideas here that you can implement and they will add up to making you better prepared in many ways.
This is my list to get us started:
Make sure you know how to turn off the utilities in your house. If you don't know get someone to show you. This could save your house from all kinds of disasters i.e. if a water pipe bursts.
Take photos of all your valuables and each room and contents. If you have an insurance claim it is much easier when you have a bunch of photos. Plus they help you to remember things.
Have a printed list of all the phone numbers in your phone. People lose their phones and can't remember any of the numbers as we are all used to just pressing the persons name. Have back ups and keep in a couple of places.
Organise your pantry so there is room to build it up. Mine contained a lot of things that had nothing to do with food! A clean out created a lot of space I didn't know I had.
Consider your home. Vicky considered hers and realised she had a cellar virtually unused and last year worked and worked until it became another part of her pantry.
I also had a space I had never thought of using and just making the decision to clean it up and use this space made a big difference. Many of us have an unused or seldom used area. It might be a spare room that is used rarely, a cupboard that is full of junk, bookshelves full of books we don't read, a shed full of old golf clubs... they could become major assets to you and during this series and over the course of the year you will have built up emergency supplies for your family.
This is part of Teri's pantry.
Make a copy of your bank account numbers, drivers licence number, medical, passport and everything that has a number on it. If you lose your purse all these are usually lost. I find it easiest just to sit all my cards on a photo copier and copy the lot. Or take a photo on your camera. Although I would not do this on any kind of media or store it on any cloud!
Fill drink bottles and jars with water. They may as well contain emergency water as sit empty.
Fill any gap in your freezer with a container or bottle of water. If the power goes out your freezer will stay solid and cold much longer if full. It is more economical to run if full as well. If the power is out for days at least after a few days you have nice cold drinking water. In a heat wave this could be the only cool drink you get.
Get some free apps on your phone i.e. first aid, weather alerts. Learn how to use them so they are familiar to you.
Increase your home security. There are lots of ways to do this for free and that's another post.
All over the internet the theme is decluttering. If you don't love it toss it out they say. You might not love your winter coat, manual tools in the shed, wooden blankets and your old camping gear. But you might really really love them in an extended blackout. Hanging on to things that could be very useful is free. And the fact that other people throw out so much is also an opportunity to get many amazing things for your household preparation very cheaply or free.
Similarly advocates enthuse that you can go to the shops everyday and to keep supplies is clutter. Ignoring advice like this is free and could save your family from disaster. No you cannot go to the shops everyday. Even currently I know millions of people are in snow and ice storms and have to stay home. I hope they didn't listen to that advice as they will be regretting it about now.
Read up and learn skills. Revise your first aid training.
Consider your choices and expenses. I consider "swaps" a free way to be better prepared. In my first year I swapped my weekly coffee and cake for as many items I could get for that price to put in my pantry. It doesn't sound like much but boy did it add up over a year!
You could swap gym membership for gardening and grow food like Vicky does...
This is an interesting subject! Swaps can create time, money, space....
Put some useful things into your car. If you have a spare blanket, flash light, first aid items etc then set your car up well. Include flat shoes, a bottle of water, some cash...
Keep emergency cash in your purse. If the power is out how will you pay for anything if you don't have cash?
Do the same in your house. A power outage, computer glitch or natural disaster can mean no way to pay for anything unless you have actual cash.
Look up emergency numbers and put them into your phone and write them in the house. I keep these inside a pantry door. You do not want to be searching for these numbers in a crisis!
Learn how to cook outdoors on your BBQ, outdoor fire or on a gas burner. Plan back ups to cook and boil water.
Get to know neighbours. There are times that helping each other would be so important.
Make a habit to always keep the fuel tank at least half full.
Similarly keep things reasonably charged, do not get down to the last few prescription tablets if you can avoid it at all.
Organise. Know the location of things and put flashlights where you can lay your hand on them in the dark. Know exactly where things are. Frantic searches in the dark or in a crisis are not going to help.
Plan a list of easy meals you can make from your pantry. You can even group items together into emergency meal packs.
Have an evacuation plan.
If you have emergency back ups practice using them, getting them started etc. I found out in a blackout I didn't know how to use something and reading the directions then was a nightmare!
Sign up for alerts and extreme weather reports. There is a lot you can do with plenty of notice. You can plan ahead and not be on the roads for one. Being watchful is free. Sailing along in oblivion is nice until you get a nasty surprise. I think keep one ear to the ground and be watchful. This will give you the heads up to all sorts of things it would be wise to prepare for.
Write yourself an action plan. If you had warning that something massive is coming do you have a plan? A warning is a huge opportunity to get prepared. If we have already thought about what actions to take then we can do a lot in a short time. Grab the list and get going! Hopefully your plan has tasks for everyone to do. And that is what we are working on next week. Making your action plan. Mine is inside my pantry cupboard door.
We will also have a post on how to build up your pantry for free. I am doing some of that right now and I love it! Its called making hay while the sun shines!
What can you add to this list? What could you do for free at your place that would make you better prepared? If you can implement some of them this week then that is a good start.
Mine is to better organise the first aid supplies. I have built them up. I know where it is all located. But it is kind of a jumble. So I am getting it well and truly organised. This won't cost anything but will mean I can lay my hands on things faster and also see when any supplies get low or need replacing. Free but an improvement!
Have a wonderful week! xxx