July 22, 2014
By Gaye Levy
One of the challenges we face is finding time to do it all. Not only do we have families and jobs to attend to, but also the never ending list of household chores. There is always something that needs to be done, right?
When faced with too much to do in too little time, it is easy to turn our thoughts away from preparedness and instead to take whatever smidgen of time is left to enjoy our hobbies or even to catch a bit of extra sleep. The need for sleep notwithstanding, I want to remind you that many hobbies can be part of your preparedness journey.
Hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, camping, sport shooting, and gardening are just a few examples of hobbies that play a role in preparedness. Becoming proficient at these hobbies develops all sorts of skills that will be handy if the power grid go down for an extended period or, heaven forbid, there is a major disruption in the food chain. It could happen, you know.
But there is more to it then that. Pursuing recreational hobbies will get you outdoors and away from the lure of electronic gizmos, the internet, television, and other distractions. They will get you moving and will elevate your overall level of fitness. I don’t need to tell you this because you should already know it: a healthy and fit body will help you sustain the physical and emotional toll of a crisis.
One more thing. This might also be a good time to learn about gardening so that you can teach yourself the basics of working the soil, and planting seeds. Do this even if all you can manage is a single pot of lettuce or salad greens.
No space? No problem. Do what you can and if the time comes when gardening is important, you can lend a helping hand to others in your community who will likely barter your labor for some of the bounty. Just remember to start small and expect some mistakes and failures along the way. The results with be worth it.
With that introduction, let us get started on Month Six of 12 Months of Prepping.
MONTH 6 SUPPLIES & GEAR
- Energy or protein bars – 1 per person
- 6 rolls of paper towels
- N95 or N100 face masks – 1 per person
There are two things we all need when our personal lives go upside down and that is instant gratification and instant energy. Whereas a candy bar may be the old-school treat of choice, you are far better served by consuming a high quality, high fiber, protein or energy bar. My personal favorites are Kashi bars but there are lots of other great choices available.
Whatever you choose, avoid bars with partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and an ingredient list that looks like a chemical factory. Things to look for are real fruits and nuts and sweeteners such a honey. Shoot for 6 to 8 grams of protein and at least 4 grams of fiber and you will know you have a quality bar that can substitute for a portable and transportable meal or snack. Pick up at least one per person – more if you can afford it.
A few months back we added personal items to our kit (such as TP). This month we add some paper towels as well. Now normally I am not a big fan of paper towels since they are wasteful and can be expensive when used constantly. I actually know some people that go through a roll of paper towels every other day. Craziness!
Instead of paper towels, I use cloth and more specifically, my beloved microfiber cloths that I call “magic rags”. But in an emergency situation, the luxury of washing facilities may not be available and paper towels can serve many useful purposes. In addition to general cleanup, they can be used as paper napkins or placemats while eating in less than sanitary conditions, as a filter to remove sediment before purifying water, as a coffee filter, as a make-shift gauze bandage and more.
As much as I hate the wastefulness, this month add a half dozen rolls of paper towels to your kit.
Face Masks – An Important Part of Your Preps
The last item to be added to your kit this month 6 are face masks. These are also called “respirators”.
You will find that most preparedness pros will recommend N95 masks. These masks are readily available at a reasonable cost and can be used in a variety of situations. They are good to have because they will protect you from spreading your own germs (and disease) as well as from inhaling contaminated and harmful air, vapors, dusts, fumes and gases.
Note: The ‘N95’ designation means the mask/respirator blocks at least 95% of very small test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death
N95 masks are relatively inexpensive but for much greater protection, N100 masks are better. The N100s filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles versus 95% for the N95s. Furthermore, most are far more adjustable for a good fit and come in a variety of sizes.
The entire matter of using masks for protection from foul, dirty or contaminated air is beyond the scope of this article and while this is not medical advice, it only makes good sense to provide a layer of protection between your lungs and harmful or disease ridden air particles. If you are interested in learning more, read Surgical Masks for the Survival Kit.