prepare http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1313/all en-US Emergency Preparedness For Your Freezer http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-preparedness-for-your-freezer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/emergency-preparedness-for-your-freezer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/freezer_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don’t have a traumatic, gripping, or even interesting story to tell you regarding my recent freezer debacle.<span> </span>It happened just recently, when my curious 9-year-old filled a balloon with water and placed it inside my deep freeze door to see if it would expand (as detailed in her science lessons.)<span> </span>Her science project was successful, the balloon grew to twice its size, and my freezer door popped open and sat unattended for almost 30 hours.<span> </span>When I found it, most of my meat had thawed considerably, and some funky fruit had made its way to my garage floor.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I wasn’t prepared for how to handle this.<span> </span>What meat could I keep?<span> </span>Would I have to cook it all before refreezing?<span> </span>I thank my lucky stars that I stumbled upon a freezer disaster guide from the <a href="http://web1.msue.msu.edu/imp/mod02/01500602.html">Michigan State University Extension</a>.<span> </span>I’ve highlighted the best parts for you below:</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Plan for the worst.</strong><span> </span>If you know you’ll lose power to your freezer ahead of time, don’t just sit there!<span> </span>Keep the door closed and cover the entire freezer with blankets (keeping the air vent unobstructed.)<span> </span>If it happens to be more than a day or two without electricity, go ahead and add dry ice to your freezer.<span> </span><a href="http://www.msue.msu.edu/">The University</a> recommends 25 pounds per 10 cubic feet of freezer space.<span> </span>(Be sure the area your freezer is stored in will be well-ventilated, as the ice will melt to form Carbon Dioxide gas.) </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Increase your odds.</strong><span> </span>Certain factors will help to keep your food frozen longer in an emergency.<span> </span>A freezer will stay coldest when it is: </p> <ul> <li>Full</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Filled mostly with meats (as opposed to fruits and breads)</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Running at a colder temperature</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Better insulated </li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Know how to handle thawed foods.</strong><span> </span>Even with the best preparation, things may thaw out.<span> </span>It is best to toss anything that looks thawed and is at room temperature, smells funny, had a significant color change, and has any apparent mold or bacteria growth. <span> </span>It is generally OK to refreeze food that is safe to eat (although the quality may be affected.)<span> </span>For the best possible quality, follow the guidelines for each type of frozen food, which include: </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Meat (whole cuts of red meat, pork, and cured meats)</strong> – Refreeze only those packages that are cool to the touch or contain some ice crystals.<span> </span>Ground meat must be handled more carefully, and shouldn’t be refrozen if it has completely thawed.<span> </span>(Use it right away, or cook and refreeze.)</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Poultry</strong> – Only refreeze poultry that it still partially frozen.<span> </span>Completely thawed poultry should be cooked immediately and can then be refrozen if desired.<span> </span>(Be sure to keep poultry drippings away from other foods, and repackage it, if needed.) </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Fish</strong> – Only refreeze fish that is solidly frozen.<span> </span>Partially thawed or completely thawed fish should only be used it if is still very cold.<span> </span>Cook it and use it immediately! </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Fruit</strong> – Refreeze anything that still looks good or consider using it in a nice pie or homemade jam.<strong> </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Vegetables</strong> – If there are still ice crystals, it can be refrozen.<span> </span>If not, it must be cooked and used right away or refrozen.<strong> </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Baked goods</strong> – If your frozen bread or hard rolls have thawed, do not refreeze them.<span> </span>Store them in the fridge and bake them within a day or two. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Miscellaneous</strong> – Do not refreeze ice cream, thawed cheese, thawed juices, or prepared foods (TV dinners).<span> </span>Use them up right away and discard anything you can’t. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">This handy list helped me to avoid panic and let me safely use only those foods I needed to.<span> </span>I also learned a lot about what to do the next time this happens.<span> </span>(Although I may consider adding a safety device to my freezer <a href="/save-your-lunchmeat-insurance-for-your-fridge">like I did with my refrigerator</a> .)<span> </span>All in all, I only had to use up a few tortellini’s and a bag of peas.<span> </span>Not bad! </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-preparedness-for-your-freezer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-food-supplies-for-the-lazy-skinflint">Emergency food supplies for the lazy skinflint</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guaranteed-easiest-way-to-make-your-own-pickles">The Guaranteed Easiest Way to Make Your Own Pickles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks">Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-spectacular-uses-for-that-lone-can-of-fruit">8 Spectacular Uses for that Lone Can of Fruit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks Food and Drink emergency freezer prepare Tue, 24 Jun 2008 04:26:07 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2193 at http://www.wisebread.com Preparing for a Recession http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/preparing-for-a-recession" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-5306352-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know if a recession is coming. Nobody does. We may dodge the bullet for a while. On the other hand, the economy may already be in recession. You don't need to know the future, though, to make some wise moves.</p> <p>Recessions hit everybody differently, so we'll take a look at how things tend to play out for people in different situations. First, though, it helps to understand what a recession is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-recession-glossary-1">The Recession Glossary</a>)</p> <h2>What Happens in a Recession</h2> <p>A recession is a reduction in the total amount of business done in the economy.</p> <p>When conditions are right for a recession almost anything can set one off &mdash; anything that prompts businesses to decide to produce less, or prompts consumers to decide to buy less. High oil prices, for example, may lead consumers to cut back on food and clothing purchases so they can afford enough gasoline to get to their job. A credit squeeze may force businesses to scale back, because they can't borrow enough to buy all the raw materials they need to keep their factories running at full capacity.</p> <p>Once a recession gets started, it tends to spread. Every business that sells less also buys less &mdash; meaning their suppliers are doing less business. Pretty soon, all those businesses are laying off employees &mdash; meaning a bunch of would-be consumers no longer have any income, so they're buying less as well.</p> <h2>How It Affects You</h2> <p>A slowdown in business hits you directly if you own a business. It hits you one step removed if you work for a business (or want to) &mdash; jobs will be harder to find, raises will be smaller, layoffs will be more common.</p> <p>A lot of people don't work for a business. Some work for governments (federal, state, local). Others work for institutions, large and small: colleges, universities, hospitals, orchestras, art centers, food pantries, land trusts (any of which may be purely independent or government-sponsored to some extent). People who work for governments or institutions are a second step removed from the impact of a recession, but that doesn't make them immune. The decline in business activity always reduces tax receipts to governments, leading to cutbacks especially at the state and local level. A general decline in prosperity often reduces charitable donations, leading to cutbacks at private institutions. Again: fewer jobs, less secure jobs, smaller raises.</p> <p>There are also, of course, people who don't work in the money economy. Putting aside children and non-working spouses (who face the same circumstance as their family breadwinner), I divide these people into two groups &mdash; the ones who are actually out of the money economy (subsistence farmers, freegans, prisoners), and the ones who are are in the money economy but their income doesn't depend on the work they do (the wealthy, retirees, people on welfare).</p> <p>It's an important distinction, because people in the second category are depending on promises &mdash; the income from investments, pensions, social security, welfare, and the like &mdash; which are at best only as sound as the finances of whoever is paying the money. In a recession, that soundness is threatened.</p> <p>If you live on promises, remember that promises get broken &mdash; especially in a recession.</p> <h2>What to Do</h2> <p>So, what can you do to soften the blow if a recession hits?</p> <p><strong>Reduce Your Expenses</strong></p> <p>The first key, whether your income is tied to a business or not, is to <a href="/start-with-recurring-monthly-expenses">reduce fixed expenses</a>. High variable expenses can be tolerated, as long as there's an income stream to pay them. But high fixed expenses will wreck your finances very quickly if the income stream dries up. This means reducing debt and avoid new obligations (fitness center memberships, burglar alarm contracts, etc.). For businesses, it means postponing hiring (hire temps instead) and postponing raises (instead, offer bonuses conditioned on profits).</p> <p><strong>Increase Your Emergency Fund</strong></p> <p>The second key is to <a href="/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">boost your emergency fund</a>. A temporary income shortfall doesn't need to become a financial catastrophe, as long as you have enough cash on hand to tide yourself over. Resist the temptation to rely on credit as your emergency fund. It can be tempting to figure that paying down revolving debt frees up part of your credit line for use in a future emergency, but that's not the same as an emergency fund. At any time, but <em>especially during a recession</em>, lenders can cut credit limits, refuse to extend further credit, or simply get out of the business entirely. Have an emergency fund that doesn't depend on someone making you a loan. (After all, the classic reason to tap an emergency fund is when you've just lost your job &mdash; which is exactly the time that a creditor would be especially likely to cut off your credit.)</p> <p><strong>Diversify Your Income</strong></p> <p>The third key is to <a href="/best-investment-yourself">diversify your income sources</a>. If your goal were maximum total income, diversity would probably be the wrong choice. There's almost certainly one income stream that would give you the highest total income if you put all your effort there. The problem is, that's not a stable strategy. A better choice, especially if a recession is in the offing, is to try to arrange several income streams, some of which don't depend too much on a thriving economy.</p> <p><strong>Reduce Your Dependence on Money</strong></p> <p>The fourth key is to <a href="/opting-out-of-the-money-economy">reduce your dependence on money economy</a>. This is the one sure way to protect your family from recession &mdash; provide for their needs without having to spend money. It seems unnatural in today's world for people to grow their own food and make their own clothes, but, to the extent that you can do so, you're in a position to just ignore the ups and downs in the economy. All the other options are just stop-gaps &mdash; they help you keep things together until the economy picks up again. This one actually solves the problem.</p> <h2>Same Strategies, Different Balance</h2> <p>Wise Bread readers will recognize these four strategies as the same core principles that we talk about all the time, so I'm not telling you to do something new. Rather, I'm suggesting that you <em>alter the balance</em>. The downside of all these strategies is that in good economic times they result in a lower standard of living than you could achieve if you followed more mainstream personal finance strategies. In bad economic times, though, these are the winning strategies.</p> <p>In good economic times, a business that refuses to use debt to grow will inevitably fall behind its more aggressive competitors. In bad economic times, the business that avoids debt will survive while the others will fail. For individuals, the calculation leans even more away from debt.</p> <p>On top of that, a recession provides many opportunities for someone with ready cash. When no one else is buying, someone with cash in hand can get some terrific bargains &mdash; enough to catch up with years' worth of &quot;lost opportunities&quot; for growth.</p> <p>We don't know for sure that bad economic times are coming, but the threats to the economy (housing collapse, credit crunch, spiking prices for oil and food) are as great as they've been in a long time, and the potential missed opportunities from an excess of caution are smaller than during a boom.</p> <p>Now is the time to go with these strategies &mdash; accepting the slower growth and lower standards of living that go along with them as a small price to pay for security and a reasonable shot at some big opportunities ahead.</p> <p>Remember, a recession is a time when promises get broken. Business fail, leaving both their debts and their employees unpaid. Tenants don't pay their rent. People who have always paid their bills on time suddenly can't. Sales fall through. Wherever your income comes from, it is at some risk. Arrange things so that you can face that risk.</p> <p><em>Update: The National Bureau of Economic Research, the group that makes the &quot;official&quot; call on the beginnings and ends of recessions, announced on </em><em>December 1st, 2008</em><em> that a recession began in the US in December 2007, the month this post was written.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-last-person-to-leave-america-please-turn-out-the-light">Could the last person to leave America please turn out the light.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty">Living within your means isn&#039;t nasty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stag-hyperinflation">Stag-hyperinflation?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-back-4-economic-predictions-for-2015">America Is Back: 4 Economic Predictions for 2015</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-with-inflation">How to live with inflation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance depression Economy emergency account how to prepare recession reduce Fri, 28 Dec 2007 17:14:06 +0000 Philip Brewer 1549 at http://www.wisebread.com Recession Depression http://www.wisebread.com/recession-depression <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/crash_small.jpg" alt=" " width="150" height="200" /></p> <p>Yesterday&#39;s market &quot;correction&quot; had a lot of investors experiencing acute arm pain as they clutched their chests, watching the Dow Jones average plummet over 200 points in the course of about 2 seconds. The swiftness of the drop was <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/sns-ap-wall-street-what-happened,1,4784591.story?coll=chi-bizfront-hed">attributed to a computer glitch</a>, which isn&#39;t exactly reassuring, either from a technological standpoint (how did that happen???!?!) or a practical one (it <strong>still</strong> dropped over 500 points, right?). The <a href="http://www.sse.com.cn/sseportal/en_us/ps/home.shtml">Shanghai index</a> correction was the obvious impetus for the drop, and that makes me feel even worse.</p> <p>I don&#39;t have much dough invested in the stock markets, save for a paltry sum that fluctuates in my IRA, so I wasn&#39;t as concerned about the drop as say, my dad, whose entire 401k is directly affected by market swings.</p> <p>Despite this, I was definitely clutching my chest when I heard that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.greenspan28feb28,0,6642246.story?coll=bal-business-headlines">predicted a recession</a> for the US economy. <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,178699,00.html">Some economists</a> have been <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/bc55913a-27cd-11db-b25c-0000779e2340.html">predicting a recession for a while</a>, based on the <a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/11/13/8393160/index.htm">housing slowdown/slump</a> or other indicators that most of us don&#39;t think about much. <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-economy28feb28,1,964658.story?coll=la-headlines-business">Other economists with actual jobs</a> have predicted that a full-blown recession is not, in fact, likely, but it certainly got me thinking: how does one prepare for the possibility of a recession?</p> <p>There&#39;s lots of info out there on how to survive a <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/bc55913a-27cd-11db-b25c-0000779e2340.html">recession as an investor</a>, but what about us regular Joes who are simply worried that we won&#39;t have a job should the economy turn southward?</p> <p>Well, there are some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Conserve-survive-recession-experts-say/dp/B0008INZYC/sr=1-8/qid=1172699867/ref=sr_1_8/102-1803238-5069756?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books">articles</a> and <a href="http://www.insomniacpress.com/title.php?id=1-894663-24-1">books on the subject</a>. Some <a href="http://mark-watson.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-to-do-to-survive-recession-build.html">bloggers</a> are giving it some serious thought and have their own ideas on the subject. <a href="http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=62383">Forums</a> are filled with helpful (and not-so-helpful) tidbits. Paul Kirvan penned <a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CMN/is_n12_v28/ai_11943308">some advice back in 1991</a> regarding this exact topic, when it may have been even more relevant than today.</p> <p>Here are some ideas that I am exploring:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.queercents.com/2007/02/22/build-a-business-while-keeping-your-day-job/">Start your own business</a>. Be prepared to start working on a consultant or freelance basis if you lose your permanent job, and get some great tax write-offs in the meantime.</li> <li>Look around your workplace and find ways to make yourself more useful. Job security is when no one else can do everything that you are doing.</li> <li>Know ahead of time if you qualify for unemployment. If you don&#39;t, look into that emergency savings account that you&#39;ve been meaning to get started for the past 6 years.</li> <li>Take the classes that you need to take now. Make sure to include the costs of continuing education when you file taxes. You can probably make a shift in your career with relative ease if you pick up a few new skills or take a risk and try out a new field altogether.</li> <li>Develop a love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.</li> <li>Get a roommate (shudder).</li> <li>Join the <a href="http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/">Compact</a>. Not sure if I WANT to do this, but I might have to at this rate.</li> <li><a href="/balancing-act-the-perils-of-budgeting">Budget</a>. Budget. Budget.</li> <li>Chose a hobby that will actually promote your career. Volunteer for a professional society or nonprofit organization that corresponds to your work. Life shouldn&#39;t be all about work, but these are great networking opportunities, should you ever need them.</li> </ul> <p>How about you guys? Are eBay careers the way to go? Do you have any ideas for recession prep besides what we normally tout to our readers (Save, Budget, Buy Used, Library Card, etc.)?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/recession-depression">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/understand-capital-costs">Understand Capital Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-little-inflation-be-good">Can a Little Inflation Be Good?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Financial News bull session China Dow Jones economics global trade job market markets NASDAQ prepare recession savings Shanghai stock market US economy Wed, 28 Feb 2007 22:26:37 +0000 Andrea Karim 307 at http://www.wisebread.com Do You Need a Disaster Survival Kit? http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-disaster-survival-kit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-need-a-disaster-survival-kit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008339727Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've always thought of disaster preparedness as something for the highly paranoid or mildly insane. But something about today's news (coverage of a Mid East weapons bazaar, <a href="http://www.slate.com/id/2159935/nav/tap1/">heat beaming guns</a>, Iran not backing down from its nuclear program, and my general feeling about our federal government's competency in the face of major disasters) has made me a little spooked and slightly morbid. If nothing else, it has led me to believe that <strong>better safe than sorry</strong> is a mantra that I should be chanting all day.</p> <p>Let's just say that, should some disaster befall my fair city in the next 24 hours, I would probably not be ready to handle my own survival in the face of such an occurrence. But all of that is about to change, because tonight is my Disaster Preparedness Night, in which I assemble my very own survival kit, that will hopefully see me through any major emergency.</p> <p>A while back, Slate offered a series of articles on how to survive disasters. The one on <a href="http://www.slate.com/id/2148772/entry/2148774/">nuclear disaster</a> was actually almost comforting, but some of the others, like the one about avian flu, were more disturbing, and didn't really go much beyond &quot;See your doctor, get a flu shot, we are ALL GOING TO DIE AAAAAAAUUUGH!&quot; However, it never hurts (although it might frighten) to read about what we need to do to be safe and sound should we ever find ourselves facing something like Hurricane Katrina.</p> <h2>Earthquakes</h2> <p>Earthquakes, like all disasters, require preparedness and resilience. In terms of preventing disaster, there's not much you can do beyond getting a fair warning. David Shenk (the author of the Slate.com series) offers the possibility of installing an <a href="http://www.quakealarm.com/">Earthquake alarm</a>. It will apparently only give you a few seconds warning (and false alarms might be annoying), but it's better than nothing.</p> <h3>Nuclear Disaster/Dirty Bombs</h3> <p>From the Slate.com article:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;This would <strong>not</strong> be the end of the world,&quot; nuclear expert Charles Ferguson emphasized to me as we talked through the sequence of post-atomic events. &quot;We can deal with this kind of horrific attack, and a little preparation can go a long way to increasing your chances of survival.&quot; It's a shocking, unnerving reality that one can rationally prepare for a nuclear blast. But all it really takes is a trip to the grocery store, a few clicks on the Internet, and short conversations with your boss and your wife.</p> </blockquote> <p>In terms of getting a fair warning, Shenk recommends the pricey <a href="http://www.nukepills.com/radiation-detector.htm#5">keychain radiation detector</a>, whose makers claim can warn you about radioactive isotopes before you are exposed to dangerous levels. In terms of surviving the disaster itself, it turns out that if you aren't incinerated straight away, your chances are pretty good as long as you can make it down to your basement and hole up for a few days until the radiation settles.</p> <h2>General Readiness</h2> <p>Anyway, a common theme to be found in most articles of this nature are: be ready. Have supplies. Stay calm. Make sure that rescuers can find you (hang something outside that indicates that you are present inside, assuming that you ARE inside).</p> <p>I've looked around the web in search of some <a href="http://www.moreprepared.com/backpack-emergency-survival-p-274.html">good survival kits</a>, and there are some <a href="http://www.survivalsuppliers.com/products/earthquake_products/earthquake_kits.html">reasonably-priced</a> ones to be found, but honestly, you can put one together on your own. None of them include items that you can't find on your own, although you run the risk of never assembling such a kit on your own if you are as lazy as I am. Also, the kits obviously don't contain water, so you have to get that ready on your own.</p> <p>Here's what our federal government has to say about surviving disasters:</p> <blockquote><p>When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: <strong>fresh water, food, clean air and warmth</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>The following list of items is from the <a href="http://www.ready.gov/">Ready.gov</a> website &mdash; I've shortened some of the descriptions in the interest of space.</p> <ul> <li>Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation</li> <li>Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (Andrea's note: Power Bars/Cliff Bars and a jar of peanut butter &mdash; you're golden)</li> <li>Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both</li> <li>Flashlight and extra batteries</li> <li>First aid kit</li> <li>Whistle to signal for help</li> <li>Dust masks, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place</li> <li>Baby wipes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation</li> <li>Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities</li> <li>Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)</li> <li>Local maps</li> <li>Prescription medications and glasses</li> <li><a href="http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/pets.html">Pet food and extra water for your pet</a></li> <li>Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container</li> <li>Cash or traveler's checks and change</li> <li>First aid book</li> <li>Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.</li> <li>Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper (you can also buy water-sanitizing tablets).</li> <li>Fire extinguisher</li> <li>Matches, stored in a waterproof container</li> <li>Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items</li> <li>Paper towels</li> <li>Paper and pencil</li> <li>Infant formula and diapers</li> <li>Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children</li> </ul> <p>I would also add:</p> <ul> <li>Superglue (good for everything &mdash; remember, it was developed to seal flesh wounds)</li> <li>Ionic breeze or other odor-neutralizing device</li> <li>Banner or flag to alert rescuers to your whereabouts</li> <li>Ice chest or cooler for medications that require chilling</li> <li>If you can, a bottle of prescription antibiotics</li> <li>An extra bucket (for whatever)</li> <li>Long-range walkie talkies in case family members have to separate, extra batteries</li> </ul> <p>Most of this stuff you can probably find around your house, except for a hand-crank radio. I didn't know that those existed.</p> <p>A key to having a good survival kit is maintaining it &mdash; making sure that the spare batteries are changed out once a year, not taking the spare cash out and spending it, checking to see that the energy bars and peanut butter hasn't gone bad, etc.</p> <p>Also, make sure to have a <a href="http://www.ready.gov/america/makeaplan/index.html">coherent plan</a>. Where should family members convene, if possible, during an emergency? You can get a a href=&quot;http://www.areyouprepared.com/emergency_guidebook.html#&quot;&gt;free disaster preparedness guidebook.</p> <p>As with all the sad things in life (disaster, death, taxes) it's better to plan ahead of time, and to spend a little extra on being prepared, than to pay the price for not thinking about the future.</p> <h2>Location, Location, You Get the Idea</h2> <p>One difficult aspect of putting together an emergency survival kit is figuring out where to store everything. If you have an actual house, you might have luck figuring out where to put jugs of water, but I live in a townhouse, and I don't have a lot of storage space. I finally settled in storing a bit of water on my bottom level and a bit more on my main level in a cabinet that I barely use. I might disperse some of the other kit components as well.</p> <p>I'll post pictures, and prices, when I'm finished putting it all together. I've got a budget for it, too &mdash; I'm not going to spend over $50 for all of these items. I will either buy them second hand or pilfer what I have around the house. I'll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, I urge all of you to consider getting something similar, if you don't already have one.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-disaster-survival-kit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore">5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For (and 5 You Can Ignore)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-preparedness-for-your-freezer">Emergency Preparedness For Your Freezer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30">10 Life Hacks You Should Master by Age 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-food-supplies-for-the-lazy-skinflint">Emergency food supplies for the lazy skinflint</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-generators">The 5 Best Generators</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks attack dirty bomb disaster earthquake emergency flood hurricane medical supplies prepare ready government terrorist toilet paper water Tue, 20 Feb 2007 18:38:43 +0000 Andrea Karim 288 at http://www.wisebread.com