Hello out there! As some of you may recall, I’m working on a nonfiction book entitled Prepare Anywhere. Life, however, sometimes means that a part-time writer needs a bit more parts of time than originally expected. 😉 While this manuscript is in progress, I enjoy giving little snippets and sneak peeks to those who are interested – and with summer coming, I know a lot of you will be attending events and traveling all over the place. I thought I’d share a few things that will help you feel more prepared for any upcoming trips, or give you ideas of things to look for at touristy spots that you can check off as both fun and preparedness-related. As for the number I chose? Well, that’s just because it’s May 16th and I thought it would be a fun way to make a list. Remember – I’m all about preparing on a dime and in small spaces, so don’t feel like you have to spend big bucks and please, please, please don’t whip out the credit cards to do any of this! Do what you can with what you have, mmkay?
So let’s get going, shall we?
- Learn how to change a tire (and if you own more than one vehicle, learn how to change the tires on each – they may be different!)
- Invest in reusable water bottles for each family member, pets included, and keep them filled and ready to go with you on all your adventures.
- Have a smart phone? Download the free Red Cross First Aid app and peruse it. There’s a Pet First Aid version (also free) for you pet parents as well!
- Make sure all children who are able to memorize your name (you mean your name isn’t “Mommy”?), address, and phone number have done so, or are working on it. Be sure to discuss that for safety reasons, we don’t share this info with everyone we meet – we provide it to community helpers like police officers or store clerks on an as-needed basis.
- Start a savings account if you don’t already have one. If your budget is tight, shop around for a bank or credit union in your area that has no minimum balance to open an account and no fees for smaller balances. There’s no shame in starting an account with $5 – you’re ahead of a lot of folks by having ANYTHING in savings!
- If you haven’t had a physical, eye exam, and/or dental cleaning and exam for a while, schedule it/them. If you have school-aged children, the summer break is the perfect time for these appointments; no missing classes and you can get sports physicals for the coming school year knocked out as well.
- Heading out on vacay and looking for a beach read or something for a long flight? Consider reading something in the preparedness genre, whether fiction or nonfiction. Click over to my book list page if you’d like some ideas of titles that will get you thinking. My current favorite fiction authors are Bobby Akart, P.A. Glaspy, and Chris Pike. For nonfiction, look up suburban homesteader Wendy Brown, herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, or outdoor survival instructor Cody Lundin.
- Learn how to read a map – yes, an old school paper map! – and make sure you have one for your area and for any places you’re venturing on vacation.
- Why not go for gold and learn how to use a compass while you’re at it? 😀
- Checking into a hotel? Once you’ve gotten to your room, learn where the fire exits are and agree on an evacuation meeting point if traveling with others. When you go to bed, put shoes and a jacket near your bed or the exit, and keep glasses where you can find them easily. This served my own family well when we had to evacuate a hotel for a fire alarm a few years back!
- Do you have a first aid kit for your home? If not, look into purchasing one or putting one together from the contents of your medicine chest. I really like this checklist from the Mayo Clinic for a home first aid kit. Be sure to add special medications and things like an Epi-pen as applicable for your family.
- While we’re making kits, do you have an emergency kit for each of your vehicles? If not, I bet you can put one together with what you have floating around your house and garage; you can also purchase basic kits online or at auto parts stores. (You’ll still need to add things like cash, non-perishable snacks, and water yourself.) This article at Bankrate.com is a good starting point if you’re going to DIY the car kit. Don’t forget to account for the needs of family members when creating your kit: you might need diapers, wipes, and formula or baby food if you’ve got a wee one; pet food, poo bags, a spare leash, and water bowl if you’ve got pets; or extra hearing aid batteries, a folding walker/wheelchair or spare cane for elderly family members. Don’t forget a comfort item for anyone who experiences anxiety when away from home and familiar locales!
- Want to make this a summer of learning and community service? Check with your local fire department, community college, or emergency services coordinator about upcoming classes in first aid/CPR/AED and Stop the Bleed! trainings – and make the time to get certified. You never know who you might help having these skills! Costs may vary; you might be able to get free training through the fire department or pay a nominal fee through a college or Red Cross presenter.
- Already have basic first aid skills? Congratulations, and thank you! Now – bump those skills up a notch by checking for wilderness first aid classes in your area. REI and some zoos and wilderness parks host these sort of classes, if you don’t have a wilderness school nearby.
- Approved for some vacation time but not sure what you want to do with it? Consider attending events at historical sites in your area. Many colonial and frontier museums, and military museums and forts, have wonderful historical reenactments and skills-focused camps and classes. These are a great way to learn how to harvest and spin wool, how to start a fire without matches, dye cloth, track game, and to see if blacksmithing, weaving, or basket making might be the hobby for you. If they are local, you may even be able to learn about foraging wild edibles native to your area and how to prepare them! Some events will be a day or a weekend long; others will be lengthy camps (for adults or kids) that will really make that vacation memorable, while giving you new skills and maybe some like-minded friends.
- Last, but most definitely not least, check the weather and prepare accordingly! This is one of the simplest steps out there for being better prepared no matter where you live. Hot and sunny? Make sure you have plenty of water and sunscreen; if you’ll be in and out of buildings, you may want to carry a sweater for the chill of AC. Possible thunderstorms or getting ready for monsoon season? Know what to do in case of lightning or flash flooding. In a hurricane prone area? Keep an eye on the weather and start prepping that hurricane kit – if you missed Hurricane Preparedness Week last week, don’t fret. You can still access the toolkit from FEMA online to help you get ready.
I hope this list has you thinking. What have you already accomplished? Feel free to share in the comments – you deserve kudos! If you’re just starting out on your preparedness journey, know that I’m pulling for you. Getting your family and community more prepared can be overwhelming; I promise that if you just pick one thing at a time, you’ll be further along before you know it. Each and every thing you do to become prepared puts you ahead of where you were yesterday!