Obviously, since I sell (and buy) food storage and preparedness supplies, I think those supplies are worth the money it costs to get them. I simply see that cost as another type of “insurance” for my family. I pay for medical, dental, car, home, and life insurance without much of a second thought. I want to be able to provide food for my family if I couldn’t get (or afford) food from the grocery store. And since we stock Thrive foods, we are able to use them in our everyday cooking, so the cost isn’t as high as it seems since I spend less on groceries. But regardless, I want to be able to care for my family during and after an emergency situation. I see my food storage, survival kit, water storage, and other supplies as an insurance of sorts. I feel good about the portion of our budget that we commit to those resources.
However, that isn’t to say it isn’t expensive! Stocking up on food and supplies can often seem overwhelming in more ways than one. So much so, that I’m afraid many don’t even start. Today, I’d like to give you a list of 10 things you can do for FREE to help you start that “insurance” for your family:
10 Ways to Prepare for Free
1. Take a Video inventory of your home.
If you were to lose your home or items in your home for any reason, this type of inventory (in addition to a written one) will make the process of making an insurance claim much simpler. Make sure that you also keep a written inventory of any large ticket items (TVs, pianos, etc.) including brand, age, etc. Keep a copy of the inventory somewhere else (a relative’s or friend’s home).
2. Create (and practice) a family evacuation plan.
Would you know what to do if you were told you had 30 minutes to evacuate? 10 minutes? Moments? You can read our family plan here.
3. Create (and practice) a family emergency plan.
Sometimes you have warning of impending danger. Other times, such as with an earthquake, you don’t. Do you (and your children) know what to do in the immediate aftermath of such a situation? Where will you meet? How will you communicate? Do you know where everyone is at different times of the day? Where are each of your children and your spouse at 1 pm? 10 am? etc. Do you know what your children’s schools plan to do in the event of an emergency?
4. Store water in juice and soda bottles.
If you drink juice and soda, rinse them out when you are done with them and store water in them! Make sure they are the plastic (non-refrigerated type) juice bottles, not the milk jug-like ones. If you don’t drink juice and soda, ask a neighbor or friend to save theirs for you (and offer to share your water if the need arose!). I suggest storing a cool, dark place without any bleach or additives if you have a filter and plan to rotate regularly (every 6 months or so). If not, add a drop of bleach to each bottle.
5. Make a written list of all important phone numbers.
If you couldn’t access your cell phone to get the phone numbers, would you be able to reach your spouse? Parents? Doctor? Kid’s school? Etc.?
6. Print 10+ recipes that you can make with 100% shelf stable items.
I know I have a lot of my recipes stored online. If I couldn’t access my computer, I’d still want to be able to cook! (-: Pick a few recipes that you can make with items you regularly keep on hand, and print them out. You can find a whole list of 100% shelf stable recipes here.
7. Brush up your first aid skills.
Do you know how to appropriately give CPR? The Heimlich? Stop bleeding? Treat shock? Treat heat stroke? The American Red Cross offers classes. Some are even free online courses!
8. Learn a few other basic skills.
Can you use a fire extinguisher? Change a tire? Start a fire? Shut off the gas to your home?
8. Teach your children some basic skills.
Do your children know your phone number and address? My 4 yr olds are just getting old enough for this, but since they could speak I’ve worked with them to be able to know my full name, my husband’s full name and where Daddy works. Do they know and have they practiced your family emergency plan? Do they know what to do during and earthquake? Fire? etc.? Have they climbed out of their window onto your rope ladder? Can they call 911? Ready.gov has some fantastic information for kids, complete with fun and games.
9. Understand and plan for your specific risks.
Call your local government emergency management, and find out what things you should know about disasters specific to your area. What sort of warning systems are in place? Find out when you should stay where you are and when you should evacuate instead.
10. Organize your First Aid supplies.
Even if you don’t have an official “kit” it is likely you have some bandages, antibiotic cream, and meds floating around. Organize them so you can get to and use them quickly if needed.
#11. Bonus: Create an Emergency Binder of essential info for your family
There are many things you can do to become better prepared that don’t cost a cent! I’m sure many of you could add more to this list. If you do, I’d love to have you leave a comment and share your ideas with all of us!
Is time your concern?
For many time is just as big a concern as money. If you fall into that category, you may enjoy this list: Preparedness Projects you can do in 10 minutes or less.
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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.