September is National Preparedness Month and the perfect time to look at a few ways you can be prepared.
Autumn is a lovely time to go for a drive. This year, why not explore some possible Get out of Dodge (GOOD) evacuation routes for your family? You can give the kids maps to hone their map-reading skills at the same time, maybe even try using some topographical maps. When you get home, update your plans based on your drive.
Make sure your kids know what to do in an emergency: where to go, with whom they can go home, how to contact you. Put a map in their backpack and highlight the route home (or almost home – for security if the backpack is lost, you might want to stop before your street since your kid will know the last bit anyhow), and mark some of their friends’ homes that they can go to. Just make sure to OK it with the other parents.
Camping and food preservation
How about preparing for and scheduling one or two cold weather camping trips. Wilderness survival during the cold months is a whole different ballgame! Check Craigslist, eBay, and Freecycle for any camping equipment you’re missing. As the mom, this will be a great time to learn new Dutch Oven cooking techniques and recipes.
A lot of us are doing new things, so learning and researching are part of being a prepper. One of the things we need to know is how to preserve foods by canning, drying (herbs, primarily), pickling, preserving, and dehydrating. Of course, there are also fall crops to plant, such as fruit trees, garlic, and cover crops including winter wheat. Bring inside any plants that won’t survive the winter.
Home and garden
Clean and store your gardening tools and equipment to be ready for next spring. Scrub off any dirt and mud, then lightly oil the metal portion and wipe down the wooden handles with linseed oil. Sharpen any cutting tools at this time as well. Check out this article about caring for your tools. Inventory your winter tool needs – shovels, ice melt for sidewalks, and repairs or parts needed for equipment like snow or leaf blowers. If you burn wood, stock up! Do you have the means to chop and split the wood yourself if you need to? If not, then you know what you need to do.
Walk around your home and check to see if the sun and hot weather of summer have damaged anything on the exterior of your house or property. Fences, gates, wood trim are all susceptible.
Medicine and herbs
If you have an herb garden, start learning how to use those herbs during the winter months. Read here to learn about herbalism as a readiness skill to better help yourself and loved ones during an emergency. Don’t forget to buy gelatin capsules! Speaking of medicinal, empty out your medicine chest, check ALL the expiration dates, toss the old stuff, make a list of what you need, then restock – particularly cough & cold, flu and other winter-time medicines. While you’re at it, expand what you keep on hand. Much like your stores of food, if you toss in a box or two for your First Aid kit every time you are at the pharmacy, you’ll build up a nice supply reasonably quickly. Although many OTC medicines are $5-$15 or even more, you can get rolls of gauze bandages, tape, slings, and a variety of other First Aid supplies for only a few dollars each.
An impending cough, cold, and flu season make this a good time to stock up on “sick people food” – crackers, ginger ale, chicken noodle soup (canned and instant), popsicles, Pedialyte, etc. You should also find an activity for your family to do as it gets colder in order to stay physically active on super-cold days. Indoor activities could include jump-rope, a treadmill, or working out to exercise videos.
TIPS- Antibiotics are often a popular topic in preparedness circles. Some people want to incorporate herbal antibiotics as alternatives to prescriptions. Read more here to see if herbal remedies benefit your family?
Finally, prepare for the holidays. Shop back-to-school sales for gifts. Many department stores discount kids clothing as part of their sales, and now is a great time to grab some bargains that will find their way under the Christmas tree or presented on Hanukkah.
Holiday feasts and entertainment are just around the corner as well. Canned ham is more readily available than canned turkey. Mashed potato flakes are totally easy to find and so is a canned yam. You can change your holiday menu slightly to include items from your preps so that if you have to have a holiday meal entirely from your stored food, it is still fairly “normal” for your family. Take advantage of this wonderful season.
Every fall, Americans across the country gain an extra hour each day when they “fall back” and reset their clocks one hour later with the end of Daylight Savings Time.
This year, don’t just fall back. Read here to take a few steps ahead to make sure you’re also prepared for what the fall and winter bring.