4 Ways to Storm-proof Your Home

Throughout the year, especially in the spring and summer, you might experience severe storms at your home. Protect your home before severe weather arrives by walking around the home and making a list of what needs to be done. When you know what you need to fix, then you can begin to get the materials that are needed so that your family is protected.

Roofing

Check the shingles of the roof to make sure there aren’t any that are loose. If there are strong winds in the storm, then the shingles could get blown away. At times, the roof could receive damage to the point that there are small holes, which would allow water to get inside the home. When you’re checking the roof, it’s best to check the gutters as well to make sure they are clear of debris, allowing water to drain. If your roof needs repairs, be sure to consult a roofing and construction professional.

Trees

Keep limbs of trees and hedges cleared away from the sides of the home, windows and the roof. You should also check with the electrical company to see if limbs can be cut away from power lines. If a tree limb, or tree, were to fall in the direction of the home or near a line, then it could prove disastrous as windows could be broken, and power could be lost. Any dead trees should be cut down as they are the weakest in the yard and the easiest to blow over.

Shutters and Doors

Make sure the windows and doors are supported. Qualified construction companies can install shutters on the windows to help decrease the possibilities of debris flying into the home during a severe storm. Ordinary glass windows usually don’t withstand against harsh winds the way storm-proof windows can. Doors can also be reinforced with a second storm door to provide a bit of protection if hail, rain, or debris does get blown into the front of the home.

The Extras

One of the things that you might not think about right before a storm is that there are toys and other items outside that can get tossed in the air. Keep all of the loose items, such as water hoses, toys and gardening tools, in a secure area. This could be a storage shed or a small plastic container that is secured to the ground.

Before storm season arrives is the time to make sure the home is protected. Examine the windows to see that they are reinforced. Check the roof as well as the limbs on the trees to minimize damage. Keep the little things put away so that they aren’t blown into the side of the home. These tips can help keep your home and family safe.

Survival Bunkers

Recently I saw a show called Extreme Survival Bunkers on TV that got me to thinking. The show detailed several different people and their plans for building bunkers to ride out any mass casualty or TEOTWAWKI events.  If you’re looking for an hour of fairly entertaining television then I would highly recommend it.  If you’re looking for advice on how to Prudently and Reasonable Prepare then I would probably not recommend bothering to take notes…

Recently I saw a show called Extreme Survival Bunkers on TV that got me tothinking. The show detailed several different people and their plans for building bunkers to ride out any mass casualty or TEOTWAWKI events.  If you’re looking for an hour of fairly entertaining television then I would highly recommend it.  If you’re looking for advice on how to Prudently and Reasonable Prepare then I would probably not recommend bothering to take notes…

The concept behind large underground bunkers like the ones detailed in the show is to securely house and provide for multiple people or even multiple families for a period of months or years.  The bunkers highlighted cost between a couple hundred thousand dollars up into the millions.  Two of the manufacturers are Vivos and Rising S Company.  Check out their websites, the bunkers they build are definitely cool.

But what exactly are you preparing for with this type of shelter?  I’m perfectly fine with building a storm shelter if you live in an area of the country that is prone to hurricanes or tornadoes.  I believe that to be a Prudent and Reasonable way to Prepare for a likely event.  But a long term survival bunker is something you would build if you were preparing for mass extinction events like nuclear war, EMP, global pandemic, catastrophic meteor strikes, or super-volcanic eruption.  And, while I did just list five events right off the top of my head that would leave anyone wishing for access to a bunker, they are still five very very unlikely events.

I prefer to prepare for more likely events that may affect a region of the country and could require a person to be self sufficient for a period of time, but which will pass.  Disasters like this happen every year multiple times in this country alone.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, power outages, tornadoes, etc…  We see these disasters strike every year and they are what I choose to spend my money and time preparing for and defending against.  Not an end of the world scenario that is a) extremely unlikely and b) even if it were to happen unlikely to leave me able to reach my bunker anyhow.

Some of the bunkers featured looked to be on their owners immediate property.  A small underground shelter like this that could be accessed quickly in the event of emergency would actually be pretty cool.  Especially if you live in an area often hit with tornadoes or hurricanes.

Some of the other bunkers appeared to be in remote locations (one of them in an old missile silo) and was set up more like a giant apartment complex.  How would one even expect to get to this bunker in an emergency?  And who are your new neighbors if you do all make it?  I don’t even like sharing a table at Beni Hana’s, I can’t imagine living underground with a few hundred strangers for a year or two.

I guess you could build your own large underground bunker and live there full-time, they certainly make them big enough.  But seriously, that’s the life you want?  I’m not too interested in living underground when I could be up enjoying the sunshine.  I’m even less interested in finding out what life looks like a year or two after a mass extinction event.  Every scenario I can think of looks pretty grim.

So, while I would probably have a small shelter set up if I had unlimited cash I doubt I would go for the bigtime “stay underground for years” type bunker.  I’m just too claustrophobic.  I’ll take my chances with the zombies, thank you very much…

Could Leaving The U.S Be The Ultimate Prep — And Do You Have What It Takes?

I have to admit, this is a difficult topic to bring up because, to many people, it veers way too close to betraying the country of our birth. However, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. If I truly believe that utter chaos is coming to America in the form of an economic collapse, EMP, or some other horrific event, then why stay here? Why not find a small, obscure country and hole up for a while, thus protecting my family and myself?

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I have to admit, this is a difficult topic to bring up because, to many people, it veers way too close to betraying the country of our birth. However, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. If I truly believe that utter chaos is coming to America in the form of an economic collapse, EMP, or some other horrific event, then why stay here? Why not find a small, obscure country and hole up for a while, thus protecting my family and myself?

I began researching this subject a few years ago when a reader contacted me and told me about her move to Chile. She and her husband had decided to make the move after much research. They were loving the clean air, pure food, friendly people, and a change in their lifestyle.

I was intrigued. Hmmm…could leaving the U.S. entirely trump food storage, a bug out location, and all the other traditional preps? I began to research residency requirements of various countries.

My first discovery was a shocker. Very few countries want me! They don’t want me, my husband, my family, my parents. Rules for residency can be quite strict, sometimes even requiring the deposit of a large sum of money into one of the nation’s banks. Some countries are quite frank about preventing people like me from coming into their country. To do so, I need to provide:

  1. Proof of health insurance
  2. Proof of regular income
  3. Background check
  4. Health report from a doctor for each family member
  5. Financial information
  6. Birth and marriage certificates
  7. Possibly proof you can speak the language of this country

Additionally, there are strict rules regarding time in country and visa requirements.

This is a stark and startling contrast to the mass human migration we’ve seen in the past couple of years. If citizens of Central America, Mexico, and nearly every other country can walk past our southern border without any of the above, including personal identification, then why do other countries make it so difficult, and, more importantly, where can a law-abiding, hard working American citizen go when they decide to relocate?

(To be fair, the U.S. does have a lengthy process for legal immigration, and it’s quite a difficult path, thus the popularity of illegal immigration.)

Plenty of questions, no easy answers

At one time I thought my family could just pick a country and move there. The entire world was our oyster! Where should we go? Australia? New Zealand? England? Somewhere in Europe? Obviously, we would want to go where English was spoken and where we could quickly blend in.

Well, it didn’t take long to find out that if I’m over 35, Australia doesn’t want me. Other countries may let us visit for a time, but do not allow long-term or permanent residency. The countries that are left are an odd mix:

  1. Chile
  2. Panama
  3. Costa Rica
  4. Hungary
  5. Ireland (ancestry)
  6. Israel (If you’re Jewish or have Jewish heritage.)
  7. Belgium

There are a few more, but the pickin’s are slim when it comes to finding a country that has less restrictive residency requirements.

It boils down to having money, ancestry, time, and/or flexibility. $100,000 will buy a passport and citizenship in Dominica. Ancestors from Hungary, going back 4 generations, can smooth the way for residency in Hungary and Hungarian citizenship. Convert to Judaism and you may become an Israeli citizen, complete with mandatory military service.

If you’re about to have a baby, or are planning one, Brazil is one of only a handful of countries that provides citizenship to every baby born within its borders. Permanent residency can be obtained in Chile, after living there continuously for five years.

As you can see, there is no simple path to residency or, if you choose, citizenship. And then there’s the nightmare of dealing with bureaucrats, long distance phone calls, websites and applications in a foreign language, and, in many cases, visits to a consulate or embassy that could be hundreds of miles away.

Gaining residency in another country is possible. Just not as easy as one would think.

More complications and considerations

If you are able to find a country that will allow temporary residence, and possible permanent residency, then there are tax considerations. The United States is one of only two countries that taxes its citizens no matter where they live and regardless of how long the have been out of the country. I’ve read horror stories of people whose families left the United States when they were very young children, grew up elsewhere, and the were taxed by the U.S. on the income they had earned in that country. Yep, the U.S. and Eritrea share this same tax policy. The only 2 countries in the world.

Something to consider, when researching an expat destination and residency, is what the taxation policy is of your country of choice. Some countries, such as Hungary, has a double taxation policy, which allows them to collect taxes from non-resident citizens — but then there are loopholes and exceptions!

The U.S. is dead serious about collecting taxes from expats. Not sure if it’s out of greed, entertainment for the I.R.S., or stems from a desire to punish anyone leaving the country, but stories like this one are far more common than you might think:

I just found out that despite my income earned and taxed abroad being a) below the foreign income exclusion limit, and b) covered by a bilateral tax treaty between the country where I have lived for the past 49 years, the IRS wants to tax it fully, leaving me with an effective tax rate of 61% from now on.

One of the reasons is that many of the required subforms, e.g. W-2, do not exist in this country (Finland). I sent them my Finnish tax decision along with a translation. They accepted the amount of my earnings, but gave me no credit for the local national tax paid. They have given me three weeks to refile, but the information that they want, such as Social Security and Obamacare payments, doesn’t exist here or is irrelevant to my situation. I am a pensioner whose sole source of income is a Finnish state pension, and I am fully covered by the Finnish health care system. Having worked only in Finland, I never paid into and am ineligible for Social Security and cannot, of course, sign up for Obamacare. They are threatening with draconian fines and seizure of assets so as to leave me destitute for the rest of my life.

So, you may find the ideal country that welcomes you with open arms. You can learn the language and start a new life, but no matter how far you go, the I.R.S. will track you down and demand their pound of flesh.

Oh, and there’s a sweet little federal law, FATCA (Federal Account Tax Compliance Act) that requires foreign banks to reveal the identity of Americans with accounts over $50,000. They have to hand over names, addresses, account balance, account numbers and Social Security or other U.S. identification numbers. Banks who do not comply are punished, by the United States, with a withholding tax of 30% on payments from U.S. banks. Naturally, this has caused many foreign banks to refuse Americans wishing to open accounts, and who can blame them?

The Treasury Department has been unable to cite any constitutional, statutory, or regulatory authority which allows it to compel foreign institutions to collect and share the financial information of U.S. citizens.

Americans living abroad must file an annual report, the FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report), by June 30, of each year, if they have a foreign account holding more than $10,000. Failure to file that report, and ignorance of the law is no excuse, can result in fines up to $500,000 and up to 10 years in prison!! Spreading that money between multiple banks may help you disguise the sum total for a while, but not forever. And, $10,000 is a pathetically small amount of money, considering the fact that the I.R.S. collected over $1 trillion in the most recent fiscal quarter — October, 2014 through January, 2015.

It looks like FATCA, FBAR, and these draconian policies are here to stay, forever, so it’s just one more consideration if you’re planning on leaving the U.S.

By the way, a little civics lesson here. FATCA was included in a quietly passed jobs bill. If a Senator or Representative would have voted against this bill, they would have been excoriated by the opposing party for voting against a “jobs bill”. The next time a politician you favor is accused for voting against a bill that seems altruistic, dig a little deeper to find out what else, exactly, was in that bill.

Loopholes & confusion

Countries that have lenient ancestry requirements still don’t make it easy for applicants. Take Ireland, for example. You may be granted permanent residency and citizenship:

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A couple of years ago I was on New Zealand’s website, looking for information about residency and came away with a massive headache. A few forms on the Switzerland website were in German only.

To complicate matters (is that even possible?), these laws can change quickly and without notice. A country friendly to American expats could become hostile with just the election of a new president.

Lessons learned?

  1. Research, research, research!
  2. Simplify your lifestyle now and prepare to live on less money and with fewer belongings.
  3. Have your vital documents at the ready.
  4. Read the fine print.
  5. Take your time.
  6. Be patient.

Oh, be wary of professional expat advisers. I’ve come across a few that paint an alluring picture of the country and people but after more research, I discovered they were more interested in selling their services than in providing accurate info.

Why leave?

I answer that question and provide several historical examples of relocating — in fact, it’s highly likely your own ancestors relocated and that’s how you ended up an American citizen!

Are you ready to relocate?

After researching, studying, praying, and discussing a relocation, you’ve decided to take the plunge. But! Have you considered whether or not you are a good candidate for this major step?

One of the most critical factors in transitioning to a new location, whether foreign or domestic, is your ability to adapt to new situations. Is your basic temperament and personality one that is flexible? Do you enjoy new experiences and meeting  new people? When faced with an abrupt change in your life, do you adapt easily or do you resist the change? I know one woman who, after several years following a divorce, insists that she’s still married in spite of the fact that her husband is remarried to someone else!

A move to another country is going to plunge you and your family into a world in which most everything is different and new:

  • Language
  • Customs
  • Food
  • Holidays
  • Housing
  • Attitudes
  • Entertainment
  • Technology accessibility
  • Laws
  • Climate

Some personality types adjust to these changes more easily. Others will require more time.

Along with adaptability are expectations. How realistic are your expectations for this move? Are you expecting a smooth and seamless transition? Thorough research, talking with other expats, and then actually visiting and spending time in the country or area of your choice will help keep your expectations well grounded.

Then there are the practical issues of age, health, time, and money. There’s no perfect age for moving out of the country. Younger people are likely in better health but with fewer career skills and less saved money. Young couples have each other to depend on but having younger children will make this quite difficult.

Imagine, or remember, taking all the kids to Target or the grocery store. That’s no easy task! Now, imagine taking them to a foreign country where English isn’t spoken and trying to find a place to live, decipher even the most basic written information, stand in line in various bureaucratic offices to get one license or document or another, and adapt to a completely different lifestyle. No matter how young and fit you are, this just might push you over the edge into insanity!

The process will be easier if your kids are older but then, at the high school age, they often don’t want to leave their friends, sports, and other activities. How easy will it be for them to develop new friendships in this new location and how will they go to college, in particular, if they aren’t fluent in the language?

Growing up in this new country, the kids will probably meet their future spouse, who may very well be a local. Now, with grandkids in a country that is not the U.S., will you ever want to leave them? Those with grown kids and grandkids now, face the challenge of moving away and, possibly, never again being a part of their lives. As we age, health issues ultimately become a fact of life.

The health of each family member may impact whether or not a country allows residency. For example, Australia has been known to prevent families with autistic kids from coming into their country, even when the parents have viable, well-paying jobs waiting for them. And, if there are health issues of any kind, will you be able to find the doctors and care necessary in this new location and how will you pay for those services? Some countries, upon granting residency, require a fee for their national health insurance. Fair enough.

Now, the issue of money. Bottom line: the more you have, the easier it will be to find a country willing to grant residency quickly and the easier it will be to settle into a comfortable lifestyle. No surprises there.

But expenses add up even for the non-millionaires among us. It’s highly recommended that you visit the country, or area of the U.S., first before taking the plunge. That’s going to require travel expenses and time off from work. One family I know had their hearts settled on Belize. They did the research, had contacts in the country, visited once, and on the second visit, realized the country was not for them at all, but by then, they had sunk a few thousand dollars into the venture.

The moving process can be quite expensive. What do you take with you? If it’s just the clothes on your back and whatever a suitcase or two can hold, that’s no problem. Most of us, though, will want to take other possessions. Yes, you can sell it all, but how expensive will it be to replace those items once you relocate and will the quality be what you want? A shipping container costs money and may take several weeks to arrive at the dock of your new country. In the meantime, you may have to live in a hotel or a furnished apartment.

In addition to the expenses of checking out different locations and the moving process is the financial requirements of just about every country I know of. Examples:

  • Costa Rica requires a deposit of $60,000 in a Costa Rican bank for those in the “rentista” category. You are paid $2500 per month out of that balance for 24 months and this becomes your monthly income, at least in part.
  • Antigua has an “economic citizenship” program that requires a government donation of $250,000, plus another $50,000 per family member.
  • Belgium requires that you have a salary of at least € 50,000 per year.
  • Hungary has a residency bond program. Deposit a little over $300,000 in one of their banks and you’ll have to pay another $60,000 as a processing and administration fee.

All countries will have fees for visas and whatever other bureaucratic fees they choose to apply. If the paperwork is not in English, that’s a hurdle to overcome and many countries require a face-to-face interview. In their language.

So what if you have little to no money? Is becoming an ex-pat out of the question? Not at all. In fact, if you’re adventurous, you may even prefer the much simpler lifestyle it brings. Rather than being barricaded in a luxurious neighborhood behind guarded gates, you can live among the locals, shop where they shop, hang out where they hang out, and learn the language and customs very quickly. This is pretty much how I lived when I traveled for months at a time and ended up living in both Germany and Israel.

In this video, I explain a few more considerations before you jump into the decision to leave the U.S.

Emotional ties

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the issue of deep, emotional ties to your home country and the loved ones you’ll leave behind. It’s interesting to see who can do this easily, without looking back, and who can’t. It’s not a matter of being callous and without emotional attachments, as these people wholeheartedly love the family members they leave behind. In some cases, they plan to help move them to their new location as soon as possible.

Deeply felt ties to America aren’t quite as easily cut as many think. “America” isn’t just a land mass but a way of thinking and how you view the rest of the world. And, it works the other way, too. Locals in other countries will have a different worldview and cultural norms. One article asks, ” Does everyone in Chile lie?” You’ll miss living in a country where everyone pretty much has the same social norms.

You’re going to miss favorite foods and restaurants and ease of living. You’ll miss your favorite brands of clothing, your church, holidays spent with friends and family, and Amazon Prime! Depending on where you move, you will probably have to leave pets behind.

On their own, these may not seem like much, but together, combined with the foreign-ness of a different country may make assimilation far more difficult than you’d ever imagined, which circles back to my original question: How adaptable are you?

Is it even worth the bother?

Based on the huge number of hurdles and hassles, is it even worth considering leaving the U.S.? Well, that depends on your reasons for leaving. One family who chose to relocate to Chile did so because they believe a nuclear war is coming, it will mostly affect the northern hemisphere and they don’t care to suffer the long-term consequences. (Both have backgrounds as scientists in the nuclear energy field.) Based on their last email, they are still very happy with their choice.

If you’re convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that war is coming to the U.S., or an EMP, then why would you stay here and subject your family to the aftermath? Some believe that God’s judgment is coming on America — why not escape that, if possible?

My point is that the hassles and hard work of leaving will be worth the effort, or not, depending on your motivation. Once you make the move, remember that it’s not necessarily forever — if that thought helps get you through the rough patches.

A reader on Facebook wrote, “We tried it out in Panama for 2 years. I did not like it at all. I wanted to kiss the ground when we arrived back in the US a year ago. We made a ton of expat friends (and some local friends). But it wasn’t for me. You have to adjust to a very different way of life. I was unable to adjust. For those who are interested in learning more about Panama, there is a group, ExPats in Panama, that my friend admins. There are tons of people who’d love to talk to you about it.

We saved a ton of money by living there. We work remotely for a company (get a paycheck, even though the company was our own company), and so we were able to claim the foreign earned income tax credit for 2 years. It is fairly easy to become a resident of Panama, but I don’t know why you’d want to become a citizen.  If you lived like the locals live, you could easily live on $1,000/mo. If you want to live the same lifestyle in the US, then it would be more toward $3,000/mo as reasonable.”

Could you ever leave the U.S. for good? What is your motivation to leave, or stay?

TEOTWAWKI Survival: You’re Guide to Making It through Dangerous Survival Situations

TEOTWAWKI: it’s an acronym for “The End of the World as We Know It,” and it is a phrase most commonly used in survivalist circles. TEOTWAWKI survival means two things: preparing for bad situations so you are in a better position when something terrible occurs, and knowing what to do when a survival situation arises in order to increase the likelihood of survival.

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TEOTWAWKI: it’s an acronym for “The End of the World as We Know It,” and it is a phrase most commonly used in survivalist circles. TEOTWAWKI survival means two things: preparing for bad situations so you are in a better position when something terrible occurs, and knowing what to do when a survival situation arises in order to increase the likelihood of survival.

There are many ways the end of the world as we know it can occur, whether it is nuclear war, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), weather disasters, natural disasters, financial collapse, a downed electrical grid, or even a pandemic of some kind. In such events, you’ll need to be ready to act accordingly to ensure your survival. Part of being prepared is being able to answer some very simple, direct questions: What will you need? Where will you stay or go? Who will be with you? How will you travel?

Plan A for TEOTWAWKI survival

You will want to establish two solid plans of action if you want to survive TEOTWAWKI. Consider the different situations that can occur and make a clear plan of action to increase the chances of your survival. You need to begin to think about what you are going to do in a given situation and the steps you will take in order to implement plan A.

Some of the basic preparatory steps you take will, of course, be the same in any situation. For example, you’ll want to stock up on food, water, and other supplies. Nevertheless, you make have to take different survival steps if there is a pandemic verses if a nuclear war.

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You want to have a plan where you have somewhere to go, and all of your family members need to be on the plan. You’ll want to establish a location that is outside of the city area as it can prove dangerous where the population is the highest. Consider the fact that in a situation that aligns with TEOTWAWKI, chances are the thin veneer that law and civilized behavior that keeps a civilization intact will be wiped away.

What will be left in its wake are frightened, unprepared people by the thousands. There’s liable to be fighting, crimes, looting, and an increase in violent situations. Thus, finding a place that is away from the city area can improve the likelihood of your safety as well as the safety of your family members.

Choosing a safe location

The city is definitely out when you are devising plan A and choosing a safe place to take your family. Cities will be areas where the resources will be limited, including power, water, and food, and therefore it will be impossible to sustain everyone. The place you choose to bring your family should be remote, perhaps even hidden from the main roads, and not easy to find. Once you choose a location, you’ll have to plot out how you will get your family there quickly and without being detected.

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You may want to establish a survival team for when things go badly. The team can include your family and close friends. Each person in the team can have a role to play, not only in preparation, but also in implementing the steps necessary to get everyone to safety when the time calls for it. If you choose people to be on your survival team, you should have regular meetings to discuss the following:

  • Where everyone will stay
  • Food stock pile
  • Medicines
  • Weaponry and weapon usage
  • Training in survival skills
  • Strategies for survival

For more information on choosing a safe place for you and your family, view the following video here:

It will teach you about the safe routes to take, the places you will need to avoid, and why such places should be avoided if and when TEOTWAWKI survival situation occurs.

Stockpiling your needs

There are several things should stockpile when you are preparing for TEOTWAWKI survival. The first thing you’ll probably think of is food products. There are many food products you can stock up on and store for years. You can put them in storage in your safe place. You’ll also want to have some food stored in a bug out bag that you can take with you as your travel to your safe place. Here is a list of some of the foods you will want to keep in storage.

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Beans
    nuts
  • Bouillon
  • Canned foods
  • Canned meats
  • Cereals
  • Cheeses covered in wax
  • Chocolate
  • Condiments
  • Dehydrated foods like eggs, whey, and milk.
  • Dehydrated meats
  • Flour
  • Grains
  • Herbs
  • Honey
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Liquid stored in cans
  • Oils
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Protein bars
  • Protein drinks
  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Water

Additional foods you may want to consider adding to your TEOTWAWKI survival stockpile include things that have a long shelf life. You can get dehydrated meals and foods from specialty retailers. You can also add sunflower seeds, other seeds, figs, dates, and a variety of natural foods to your stockpile.

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For a really good idea about some of the foods that are most ideal for survival situations, check out the inventory that specialty shops have available. You can get freeze-dried meats, veggies, fruits, and eggs, and you can buy them in bulk in airtight packaging. Make use of a food storage calculator online to determine your food storage needs.

Stocking up on medical supplies

Just as food supplies will be important, TEOWAWKI survival will call for a stockpiling of medical supplies. Remember, the hospitals will be located in cities and they are liable to be overloaded with people seeking medical attention during an emergency situation. Having the basic medical necessities stored in a safe place will ensure the greater likelihood of one being able to deal with simple medical situations. It can also end up saving a life. Here is a list of some of the most common things people stockpile for TEOTWAWKI survival situations.

  • Antibacterial soap
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandages
  • Band-Aids
  • Blankets
  • Cold medicine
  • Cold packs
  • Gauze
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Herbal remedies like eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil, cayenne, honey, garlic oil for their natural antiviral, antibacterial properties.
  • Hot packs
  • Lighter (for needle sterilization)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Medical tape
  • Medications
  • N-95 masks
  • Needle holder
  • Needles
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Oral Airway (OPAS)
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Pain relief
  • Peroxide
  • Q-Tips/Cotton Balls
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Safety pins
  • Scalpels
  • Scissors
  • Sheets
  • Spider wire for emergency stitches
  • Splints
  • Super glue for the treatment of superficial wounds
  • Surgical masks
  • Sutures
  • Tongue depressor (Popsicle sticks)
  • Tweezers
  • Wound dressing

Additional items to store

In a survival situation, the best thing you can have stocked up and ready for use is water. The more water the better. Remember, you’ll need water for drinking, washing, and cooking. In fact, water should be your foremost concern as you can die without access to some drinkable water. To that end, consider having some water purification tablets and filters on hand so you can filter out impurities in the water sources you do find.

You may want to stash a few things a way to serve as entertainment, especially if you are in a situation that will last several weeks or more. Books, magazines, games, and other things to entertain you will help pass the time as you wait for negative conditions to settle down. You might also want to bring a radio and some electronics that you can power with chargers and order batteries.

Bear in mind that when a TEOTWAWKI situation arises, cash will be rendered useless. In order to survive, you’ll want a few extra things on hand that you can barter with if necessary. Consider what is most important during a survival situation and that is what you will have to barter with that is the most valuable, including food, water, and weaponry. In regard to weapons, you’ll need to decide what you want to have on hand. If you have a gun or rifle, you’ll need to stock up on ammunition. You’ll want at least a few knives as well.

Plan B and TEOWAWKI

If you are going to survive TEOTWAWKI, you’ll need to have a plan B. Survival, to a great degree, is based on one’s willingness and ability to adapt to abrupt and uncertain change. To that end, you’ll want to have a bug out bag at the ready that you can grab and run with. You can use the bag to sustain you until you get to your safe place.

At minimum, if you never make it to your safe place, you’ll at least have some food, water, and materials to sustain you. Either you can create your own bug out bag or you can buy one ready-made with many of the supplies you’ll need already in the bag you buy.

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Of course, no plan is going to work if you don’t give it a trial run. It’s imperative that you and your family/friends rehearse what it is you will do when an emergency situation arises. There are several ways you can put your readiness skills to the test.

First, give your family about 15 minutes to pack up everything they will need in a survival situation and stage a mock evacuation where you have to get your family away from the location. After you get to where you planned to go, assess how well everyone did, what may or may not have been forgotten, and make a list of the things you’ll have to change. Attempt to incorporate such changes when you make your next survival plan rehearsal.

Additional preparatory measures

In addition to acting out an evacuation, you can also take a weekend to see how you can handle what it would be like to be in a TEOTWAWKI survival situation. For example, try eating nothing but the survival food you have for the weekend. Alternatively, have the family spend an entire weekend without the electricity to use. You’ll be better prepared for the moment when TEOTWAWKI survival techniques become necessary. You may also gain a greater appreciation for the privileges you presently do have.

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Survival is also about education and training. You’ll want to read everything you can about survival, hunting, wilderness survival, survival medicine, and on subjects that teach you innovative, conservative means of living. Meanwhile, you’ll want to assess your physical fitness and train yourself to be as fit as possible.

Learn how to grow your own food and can it. It will also help you greatly in survival situations if you know how to preserve foods. If you don’t know how to hunt, it may be time you learn. Being able to hunt will give you a chance to hunt for additional all natural food sources. Hunting is just another survival skill.

If you don’t know how to hunt and you don’t want to learn, at minimum, you should learn how to fire a firearm for your own protection. Remember, civilization will not be what it used to be and you will be responsible for your own safety and the safety of those you love.

Affording all your preparations

It may seem as if getting ready for TEOTWAWKI is an expensive endeavor, and indeed it can be. However, there are ways you can save money as you prepare for a survival situation. Here are a few things you can do to save a few dollars now while you are preparing for a survival issue in the future:

Start now – start early: If you start stockpiling just a few things a week and you start right now, you’d be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate everything you need to remain comfortable in a survival situation.

Shop sales: Look for food sales and make sure you keep an eye on your food stock. You will have to regularly rotate your inventory. Eat up foods that are nearing the expiration date and replace them with new inventory.

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Grow goods and can them:  Initially, there is a small investment in growing your own food and canning goods, but you’ll find the expense is reasonable when compared to how much food product you can stockpile. You can grow a garden and can goods like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, and other vegetables for long-term storage. If you grow fruits or you have some nearby berry bushes, for a few dollars, you can make your own homemade jams and jellies.

Coupons & other savings methods: Become an extreme couponer, and if you don’t know how, then learn. You can save a lot of money on your stockpile by using coupons.

More methods for saving money

As you prep for a survival situation, you make want to consider becoming the member of a warehouse club. Doing so will allow you to buy foods and water products in bulk while saving a considerable amount of money. You can shop at places like Costco or Sam’s Club and fine a variety of items, and not just food related either.

If you shop at discount grocery stores, you can get canned vegetables and foods for cheap too. You can buy veggies by the case and stock up the food pile quickly. Discount grocers sometimes also sell other things you’ll need to store including hand soaps, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, cleaners, and personal hygiene items.

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Online sales: Shopping online for the items you need for a survival situation lets you find items and compare prices with greater ease. Shop with websites that offer reduced shipping and/or free shipping solutions.

Go organic: While organic foods are a bit more costly, in the long run you are contributing to your overall health, which is important in any survival situation. Shop at food markets where you can buy fresh foods to can that are free of GMOs, dyes, gluten, herbicides, pesticides, additives or preservatives.

Just a few dollars a week:  Using just a bit of money each week can afford you the things you’ll need for TEOTWAWKI survival. Return bottles or save pocket change and use the funds to get the items you need for the moment that emergency situation does arise.

In conclusion

TEOTWAWKI survival will take some considerable planning on your part. Nevertheless, getting ready for an event where the entire world as we know it will be forever changed will ensure your safety and the safety of those you love. With a few strategic measures and a bit of planning and forethought, you can remain as comfortable as possible in an emergency situation.

You and your family will have a safe place already established with everything you need to survive at the ready. With your day-to-day and medical needs meet, you can ensure the long-term survival of yourself and those you love.

What Is Geothermal Cooling & Heating?

More and more individuals have become aware of the environmental impacts and the extreme amounts of energy they use to heat and cool their homes. As a result, many families are actively working to shrink their carbon footprints. They are moving away from coal, oil, and gas heaters and many have converted to alternative sources of green energy. One great and relatively inexpensive way to do this is to convert a home’s heating a cooling system to geothermal energy.

More and more individuals have become aware of the environmental impacts and the extreme amounts of energy they use to heat and cool their homes. As a result, many families are actively working to shrink their carbon footprints. They are moving away from coal, oil, and gas heaters and many have converted to alternative sources of green energy. One great and relatively inexpensive way to do this is to convert a home’s heating a cooling system to geothermal energy.

How It Works

Traditional HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems take the air from the home, subject it to refrigerants, and pump the now cooled or heated air back into the home. All of this takes an incredible amount of energy. Geothermal cooling and heating systems save energy by directly harnessing the energy and temperature that naturally occurs in the earth. At certain levels beneath the surface, the temperature of the earth is kept constant. When the weather grows colder, a closed loop system of pipes takes the existing heat from deep inside the earth and draws it up into the home. Then, when the weather is warmer, the heat exchanger draws the heat from the air in the home and pushes it back down deep into the earth where it is dispersed.

Closed System

What’s more is that the geothermal systems works in tandem with the hot water heater to create a closed system of water pumps, heat exchangers, and fans. The very heat that is pulled from the home in the summer can be pumped into the water heater to provide almost unlimited hot water. It essentially turns unwanted heat into desired heat. This closed system helps produce some of the most energy efficient temperature control available, making sure nothing goes to waste, and everything has a use.

Installation Issues

If a family chooses to convert to a geothermal cooling system, they must bring in an expert company to do the installation. The company will determine the most efficient and economical installation possible. Because most system’s pipes must reach a significant depth in order to access the trapped heat of the earth, the installers must drill deeply, avoiding any major water, sewer, or electrical lines buried in the area. Newer technologies, however, allow geothermal installation companies to install the heat exchange loops in horizontal trenches, beneath local water sources, or in specially dug pits depending on the homes unique topographical and environmental surroundings.

Costs Associated

The average cost of such installations can vary greatly depending on the home’s location, the amount of land available, the type of geothermal system, and the existing heating system in the home. The most expensive components of the system are the integrated water and air heat exchanger and the pipe installation. This can run several thousand dollars at the cheapest. However, some of those costs can be offset with various green energy tax credits offered by the government. Homeowners can actually offset up to 50% of their installation costs in the first year thanks to state and federal tax credits. That amount can increase over the lifetime of the home, as additional yearly credits are offered.

Making the switch from traditional forced air or baseboard heat to geothermal cooling and heating systems can end up saving homeowners thousands of dollars over the life of the home. Add to that the significant environmental benefits and it’s no wonder that more homeowners are converting to geothermal energy for their home’s comfort.

Geothermal Cooling & Heating: Advantages and Disadvantages

While geothermal energy has a number of advantages, there are also several disadvantages to the system. Here is a deeper look at some of the bigger advantages to converting to geothermal cooling and heating, balanced by some of the more notable disadvantages.

Reduced Use of Fossil Fuels

A great advantage to geothermal energy is the reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Traditional energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas are finite resources. Their continued use causes a decrease in their availability, driving prices upwards and increasing the nation’s reliance on foreign sources of these fuels. By deriving heat directly from the earth, geothermal energy relies on a continually replenished resource. This decreases our reliance on fossil fuels and reduces the amount of impact we inflict on the environment. Plus, over time, the costs are much lower as the earth’s temperature does not fluctuate in response to demand.

Tax Write Offs

Homeowners who make the switch to geothermal energy can also enjoy a number of tax benefits. In addition to the initial cost matching benefits offered by the federal government in the installation process, state and local governments offer a number of write offs over the life of the home. Homes that use geothermal energy draw significantly less electricity from public grids, freeing up energy for others in the community and decreasing the maintenance costs to the local government. To encourage this, state tax departments are willing to pass some of these savings on to the homeowners.

Installation Costs

One of the worst disadvantages of geothermal energy is the overall cost of the installation. Not only is there the often expensive geothermal unit that is installed near the water heater in the house, but there is also the copper pipe loop. These pipes must be drilled deep into the earth where the temperature is held constant regardless of the air temperature. That can mean up to a depth of 10-20 feet, though some systems require much deeper. The drilling alone can cost thousands of dollars, with an overall installation cost of tens of thousands of dollars. It helps if the home has existing ductwork that the system can use to distribute the cooled air, but if it doesn’t, that also must be installed.

Lack of Availability

The unfortunate thing is that geothermal energy is not available for all homeowners. Those who live in areas of very high infrastructure including sewer lines, gas mains, or underground installations do not have the option of converting to geothermal energy. Only those with sufficient land have enough space to contain the intricate pipe systems, but if the home is too remote, they may not have access to the specialized crews and equipment needed to install the unit in the first place. This combination of conditions can severely limit the numbers of types of people who can actually convert their homes to geothermal energy.

Geothermal cooling & heating is a great option if families can get it. Between the high costs and the lack of availability, however, it may be a while before everyone can enjoy this revolution in home climate control.

Top Benefits of a Geothermal Cooling & Heating System

Geothermal heating and cooling systems offer a wide range of benefits for home and business owners. From reducing a building’s carbon footprint to accumulated savings, switching to geothermal energy is a smart move for anyone looking for alternatives to traditional forced air heating and cooling systems.

Environmentally Sound

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal cooling systems may be one of the most environmentally sound ways to control the temperature of the home. No fossil fuels are burned, and it uses only a small bit of electricity to power the fan, water pumps, and heat exchanger. The system is incredibly efficient with very little wasted energy. While typical forced air systems waste a great deal of energy with heat loss, geothermal systems reduce the total energy used by up to 50% over electric systems. The systems are often used to heat water as well, making even more efficient use of the home’s energy.

Significant Savings

All of this saved energy translates to equally beneficial cost savings. Half of a family’s electricity use goes towards the home’s heating and cooling. To save money in the hottest and coolest months, most families will forgo the comfortable temperatures they truly want. With geothermal energy, families can set the thermostat to their true desired temperatures without worrying about wasting money. On average, families who replace propane or natural gas heating with geothermal energy will cut costs by two thirds, while those with high efficiency air conditioning units will see their cooling costs cut by a full half. That can mean thousands off electricity bills in the first year.

Efficient Comfort

Forced air heating relies on a single heat exchanger to pump out heat in the coldest weather. In the summer months, it uses toxic refrigerant chemicals to cool that same air and fan it out to the various rooms in the house. These methods require a great deal of energy to work against the natural temperatures outside. Because geothermal energy uses the consistent natural heat trapped inside the ground, it is much easier to cool and heat the home. Emergency heat is never needed to fight against freezing temperatures, and the heat of the home in the summer is easily trapped and used in the home’s hot water system or dispersed in the ground.

Noise and Appearance

The unsightly air conditioning units and noisy outdoor fans are also a thing of the past. Geothermal units do not need bulky and unsightly fans to take in air from outside to pump back indoors; they work with the already climate controlled air indoors. Plus, the majority of the work is done underground in the copper pipes of the unit’s heat exchangers. That means that homeowners can enjoy comfortable temperatures without having to tolerate noisy blowers and fans.

Geothermal energy is quiet, convenient, efficient, and becoming more affordable every day. Families who are interested in converting to geothermal energy should contact a local technician for an evaluation and price estimate on installation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Geothermal Cooling & Heating

Geothermal cooling and heating systems are relatively new alternatives to traditional home temperature control. There are many applications that have yet to be tested, but the technology is safe, secure, and incredibly efficient. Still, most people have questions regarding the use of geothermal energy in the home. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about geothermal cooling.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Geothermal Energy?

Unlike propane and natural gas tanks, geothermal heat exchangers do not use any fossil fuels for energy generation. They tap into the existing electrical grid and use the heat stored naturally in the earth’s crust. There are some risks, however, associated with the installation of geothermal pipes. Installers must drill deep into the earth’s surface, and often must create various trenches under the ground’s surface. If the topography of the land is uneven or there are a number of gas or sewer lines, or high pressure ground water in the area, it can be dangerous to drill. Drilling companies must take a number of precautions to properly install the geothermal unit and avoid damages to surrounding properties.

How Much Maintenance do Geothermal Cooling Systems Require?

Like all heating and cooling systems, geothermal systems require regular maintenance. Because the system uses existing ductwork and vents to transfer the heat through the house, most of the maintenance involves this complex network. Air filters must be replaced at least twice a year, and preferably every month, especially before the heating unit is switched on. Homeowners should do their best to keep vents clear of debris, and they should have the ductwork professionally cleaned at least once every three years. This keeps the air clean and free of dust, pet dander, mold, or other allergens. The heat exchange unit should run without maintenance for an average of 25-30 years.

What is the Environmental Impact?

One of the main reasons homeowners switch to geothermal is to lessen their environmental impact and shrink their carbon footprint. They choose geothermal energy because the system is far more efficient and uses much less energy than traditional heating and cooling methods. For every hour of use, geothermal produces one fewer pound of carbon emissions than forced air does. That can add up to thousands of pounds of CO2 kept out of the air each year, or the equivalent of planting 6000 acres of trees.

How Much Room do I Need for Installation?

Previous generations of geothermal HVAC units took up a great deal of space. Homeowners needed to set aside almost an entire room and drill almost as deep as most freshwater wells. Today, though, a geothermal unit can fit right alongside the home’s water heater, while pipes can run in a much shallower trench alongside the home. Depending on the needs of the home and the space available, geothermal units can be designed to fit any home.

Installers and technicians with geothermal energy systems have spent years finding new ways to install and operate efficient and environmentally sound cooling solutions. They can work with almost any existing home or help builders construct an entirely new unit with the most effective temperature control systems available. In time, they should be able to reduce emissions even further and bring down the price tag, so that all homes can enjoy.

Keep your home safe from bugs after a hurricane

Floods and high winds are normally associated with hurricanes. People board up their homes and seal their basements in order to stay safe from these threats. They emerge after the storm hoping the worst is over. But there is another threat most people don’t consider. This threat comes after the hurricane has come and gone. The standing bodies of water left by the hurricane are prime breeding grounds for pests.

Floods and high winds are normally associated with hurricanes. People board up their homes and seal their basements in order to stay safe from these threats. They emerge after the storm hoping the worst is over. But there is another threat most people don’t consider. This threat comes after the hurricane has come and gone. The standing bodies of water left by the hurricane are prime breeding grounds for pests.

Some of the most common bugs that become a problem after a hurricane include mosquitos, cockroaches, and carpenter ants. Each of these bugs presents their own set of problems. They also require separate strategies to prevent and reduce the amount of damage they cause.

Mosquitos

There are a lot of mosquitos after a hurricane. There is plenty of water for them to lay their eggs and multiply. Mosquitos can be annoying. They cause small, itchy bumps on our skin. But they can also be dangerous. Mosquitos can carry a broad range of diseases. This is why is important to know how to keep them away from your home after a hurricane. If you don’t take proper measures to keep mosquitos away, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. There are several simple methods you can use to keep these pests away.

The first one is kind of cool, and most people don’t know about it. You can use coffee grounds to keep mosquitos away. This is your first line of defense. Sprinkle coffee grounds in any standing water around your house. The coffee grounds will force the eggs to the surface of the water, and they will not be able to survive.

You can also make traps. Cut a water bottle in half. Fill the bottom half with water and brown sugar. Turn the top half upside down and use it as a funnel. Place these around your house. They will attract and trap the mosquitoes inside.

Cockroaches

The risk of a cockroach infestation is worse after a hurricane. It’s important to protect yourself from them because they can carry diseases. There are some things you can do to prevent these bugs from invading your home. Keep all food in sealed containers. Keeping your windows and doors sealed and well-maintained will go a long way in preventing cockroaches from gaining access to your house. But these seals could be damaged during the hurricane. Keeping your home as clean as possible will greatly reduce the odds of your home being infested.

But what do you do if you already have cockroaches? You can start by fixing all water leaks in your house. Cockroaches can only live up to seven days without water. Cockroaches lay eggs all over your house, including your carpet so make sure to use carpet cleaners often. Make sure to ask if they have experience dealing with cockroaches. This is important because you if you don’t remove all the eggs, your home will be infested again.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a serious concern after a hurricane. They infest your home, and they are hard to get rid of. They burrow their way into your walls and destroy your wood furniture. Poisonous bait is a great way to get rid of carpenter ants. They will pick up the bait and share it with their nest.

But what if the damage has already been done? You will need to find and remove any damaged wood. Your walls might need to be repaired. Cabinets are also a prime target. Make sure to use cabinet refinishers to avoid any infestation problems. They will be able to repair the damage caused by the carpenter ants and leave your cabinets looking good as new.

Final Thoughts

The best way to protect yourself from bugs after a hurricane is to take preventive measures ahead of time. Unfortunately, all the planning in the world cannot prevent infestations 100% of the time. When you notice mosquitos, ants, or cockroaches, you need to act before they spread.

If you know a hurricane is coming, stock up on supplies. Be ready with coffee grounds and containers to seal your food. These steps will help you stay safe from bugs after a hurricane.

20 Ways to Winterize Your Home

Do you think your home is ready for the cold winter weather? Are you ready? It can get really cold and you must be prepared if you want to stay warm. We have compiled a list of cost-effective ways that you can easily winterize your home to keep the heat in and the cold out.

20 Ways to Winterize Your Home

Do you think your home is ready for the cold winter weather? Are you ready? It can get really cold and you must be prepared if you want to stay warm. We have compiled a list of cost-effective ways that you can easily winterize your home to keep the heat in and the cold out. 

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Animals

Getting Rabbits Ready for Winter

Worried about your pet freezing over? Here are the things that you should do to keep your rabbits warm and try during winter season.

Winter Chicken Care

Winter can be harsh and your poultry pets may not survive if not taken cake of properly. Here are chicken care tips to make them comfortable during cold season.

Quick Winter Tips for Poultry and Livestock

Make sure your poultry and livestock running smoothly with these winter tips to help you better prepared when the weather turns harsh.

Caring for Geese in Winter

Just like chickens, geese need a lot of food and water to make it thru the winter. Learn what other things that you need to do for your geese to survive the winter temperature.

Winterizing The Barn & Chicken House

Worried about your flocks surviving thru the chilly winter? Read these great tips to get started on winterizing the chicken house and barn.

Food Storage

Winter Vegetable Storage

Have you started to store food this winter? If you are not sure how to do this, here’s a quick guide to help you out.

How to Store Potatoes for Winter

Are you prepared for the long and cold winter? For storing your homegrown or store-bought potatoes, you can check these steps to keep them fresh.

Harvesting, Storing, & Using Winter Squash

Are your squash ready for harvest? Check out these steps on how to harvest, store, and use them for later use.

Long Term Winter Vegetable Storage

Did your vegetable crops suffer when winter started? You can prevent it from happening again with these helpful ideas for storing your vegetables.

Storing Fresh Produce for Long Winter

How do your store fresh product to let it stay fresh for a long winter? Here are the best ways to do so.

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Gardening

Winter Garden Preperation: Seeds

Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do anything for your garden. There are winter preparations that you can do so you can welcome a successful spring and summer gardening.

How to Plant Your Fall/Winter Garden

If your vegetable are not yet ready for harvesting and winter is already here, there are things that you can do to protect your garden from the cold climate.

Winterizing the Farm-with Printable checklist

If the past year had been your first time gardening, then you’ve experienced what winter can do to your garden. To avoid this in the future, winterize your garden and this can be made easy with this printable checklist.

9 keeper Crops to Grow for Winter Food Storage

You can preserve seasonal crops that you can use for winter food. Here are some of the crops you can grow easily and how to store them.

Starting A Winter Vegetable Garden

Want to start a winter garden? It can be done with proper preparation and care. Here’s what you need to know.

Home

Use Shredded Paper to Make Bricks for Fuel

Shredded paper is something that you would usually throw away. You can repurpose them to easily start fire for winter.

Make Your Woodburner Work Harder

Heating your home during the winter can get very expensive. You can make the most from your wood burning stove with these very helpful tips.

Winter Maintenence: Cleaning The Chimney

Every year, your chimney should be clean of flammable creosote. It is important to clean your fireplace chimney to avoid any dangerous incidents.

Line Drying Clothes in Winter

Do you think drying your clothes outside during winter is impossible? It can be done. Here’s how you can do it and save money at the same time.

WInter Water Catchment Solutions

Storing water is a must for winter. But collecting and storing it during winter can be a bit of challenge because of the frozen pipes. Here’s an idea on how to solve this problem.

Winter Checklist for the Home

It seems like the summers are getting shorter and the winters longer, but then again, we say this every year, and it may just seem that way as we get older. Nonetheless, winter is just around the corner, so it is time to start thinking about winterizing your home. Some things can wait, while others cannot.

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It seems like the summers are getting shorter and the winters longer, but then again, we say this every year, and it may just seem that way as we get older. Nonetheless, winter is just around the corner, so it is time to start thinking about winterizing your home. Some things can wait, while others cannot.

1.) Garden hoses can be damaged if left exposed to the cold, so start thinking about storage places. In addition, if you have freeze proof spigots, hoses have to be uncoupled to allow the water to properly drain from the spigot to prevent freezing and bursting the line.

2.) Cover outdoor spigots with insulated covers  as an added measure to prevent freezing.

3.) Lawn sprinkler/irrigation systems must be drained to prevent damage to the system.

4.) Crawl space vents will have to be closed or covered  to keep cold air out of the crawl space. In warm weather, of course, the vents are opened to reduce moisture buildup which can lead to mold and mildew problems, not to mention moisture attracts insects in particular certain termites.

5.) Have your heating system checked before you need it. Heating and air conditioning service companies experience high demand for services during the first cold snap of the season, so get ahead of the rush.

6.) Make sure your gutters are cleaned out. Stopped up drain spouts will allow water to build up and if it freezes it can damage the roof line, soffits, and the guttering system itself.

7.) Prune back any branches that overhang the roof line. Snow and ice can weigh down even healthy limbs that right now do not seem to be a hazard, but once under strain from the weight of snow and ice could snap and damage the roof or walls of the home.

8.) Stock up on ice melt now, because as you know, the minute the first snow or ice is predicted people rush to the stores and clean out the supply. Retail stores never seem to have their act together when it comes to inventorying certain items, because if they order too much then they have to inventory a product that has only one use for a short period.

9.) Service your generators and stabilize the fuel . Make sure they work properly and that you have fresh fuel going into the colder months. Inspect your electrical cords for serviceability and if you had purchased appliances over the summer months, make sure you have electrical cords rated for the appliance and ensure your generator can handle the additional load.

10.) Check your water pipes insulation, and if you use heat tape make sure it is working by testing it before it gets cold.

11.) Inspect your hot water tank blanket, and if you do not have one it is recommended you do get one if your tank is located in a non-heated part of the home such as in the garage, basement, or crawlspace.

This may also be a good time to drain your tank to clear out the sediment. Too much build up in the bottom of the tank can have an effect on the efficiency, and may even cause damage, and in some cases the sediment may build up to the point you cannot drain the tank, because of a clogged spigot. In addition, if you need to use your hot water tank as an emergency water supply, you want it as sediment free as possible and of course you want the drain to work.

12.) If you have a wood burning fireplace or wood stove have your chimney cleaned and inspected for damage before your first fire. Creosote buildup as you know is dangerous and over time it will build up even if you only burned well seasoned wood. Seasoned wood will still have up to 20 percent moisture content which will cause a buildup.

Home Invasion 101

Home invasions are an increasingly dangerous crime, nowadays. If you compare home invasions to a plain burglary they are two completely different crimes, however both have a violent perpetrators involved. So the question is do you have a safe room in case one of these two crimes happen to involve you and your family? Having a safe room could be one of the many rooms you decide to put and design for your new home.

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Home invasions are an increasingly dangerous crime, nowadays. If you compare home invasions to a plain burglary they are two completely different crimes, however both have a violent perpetrators involved. So the question is do you have a safe room in case one of these two crimes happen to involve you and your family? Having a safe room could be one of the many rooms you decide to put and design for your new home.

Protecting Your Home

 There are many things you can do to reduce the likelihood of your house or apartment being broken into or invaded, however protecting your home can only go so far. There are certain things that can protect you from the common criminal, but in long term SHTF situations, you and your family have to decide whether to bug in or bug out. So with that being said, your home needs an Extreme Home Makeover.

 Let’s start with lighting.

 If you plan to build your own house or already have a house these are things that you should make sure to add to your new or existing home. Yes, some of these are common sense things but not everyone remembers things like you. So for starters make sure all your entryways have lighting by using either timers or motion sensors. These are low cost purchases to your new home and easy to install. The exterior lighting you install should be able to be seen about 100 feet. Just do not leave them on all the time or your electric bill is going to get pretty high.

 Now every new home or existing home needs that green stuff called shrubs or bushes to add some spice to the new house!

 When planting these beautiful shrubs, bushes, and plants of any kind that are about 4 feet of a sidewalk and about 2 feet from driveway or door trim. Make sure to keep up on trimming these so that the branches are 6 feet above ground and limbs cannot be used to gain access to upper windows. A planting tip: Plant thorny bushes or flowers along fences and under windows to deject burglars from approaching through them.

 Every house needs a garage to store that expense Tesla in and another garage or two to store that ATV or Jet Ski as well.

 Garages are the prime entry way for perpetrators. The garage is where the goodies are at and many fail to secure the door to the house. If you happen to have an overhead rolling door, drill a hole in the runner and padlock it with a high quality padlock. The connecting door to the house should be solid wood or metal with a deadbolt. Make sure you remove your keys from vehicles overnight. Also remove your garage door opener from your vehicle and change the factory setting. If you have a newer opener they have “rolling” codes. Also do not, I repeat do not store your keys in the garage. Another tip is to not store ladders, pry bars, or other tools in garage or outdoor shed that would enable a perpetrator to aid them into your house.

 Every home needs those picture perfect windows to allow that beautiful sunlight to flow in.

 When building a home keep in mind when you add basement windows make sure to either have bars or grills covering them. You may also want to consider bars or grills on other ground floor windows. Windows should be locked and shouldn’t be open more than 6 inches even when someone is home. Windows should have secondary locks, and easily removable from inside in the event of fire.

Doors are the biggest entry to any home, garage, or shed. So having secure doors are the number one priority.

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 All doors on the exterior of house should be solid wood or metal. You should also install wide angle viewers on the exterior entrance doors about 160 degrees. Make sure you use deadbolts with at least 1 inch throw and consider installing an intercom on the front door for precaution. You should also install a latch chain. If you have a pet of any kind do not install a pet door.

 Additional Considerations

  •  Insure all external power and utility boxes locked.
  • All property fences should have locked gates.
  • Insure all skylights locked in place and reinforced with plastic glazing.
  • Do NOT hide spare key outside under the door mat, etc.
  • If you are a new occupant, re-key the property.
  • If you lose your keys, re-key the property.

The best way to secure your home is to make sure the doors, windows, locks, and other exterior home care is up to date.

However, if your outer defenses are broken, having a safe room to retreat to could be a life saver.

A safe room is a room in a house or other building that is invulnerable to attack or intrusion, and from which security operations can be directed. There are various types of safe room designs. If your pocket can spare the funds, you can have a safe room built that will protect you in the event of a tornado or other natural disaster.  According to FEMA, they have a number of documents on that topic. However, most of us don’t have the extra cash lying around to construct such a room. In this article we are strictly talking about home invasions.

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When creating a safe room you will have to figure out where and how big you want it. So you will need to make a plan and then build. You will then need to prepare you and your family for what to do and when to use the safe room. Lastly, you will have the protection to you and your family for creating the safe room if ever there was a need for it.

Many of you may have questions about safe rooms so I will cover a few of those.

Who needs a safe room if I have a gun?

 Okay, Chuck Norris, how about we think this through before we start firing away! I personally think that most people know how to use them. I personally go to the gun range with my family a couple months in the year to practice. I own a gun as well. Yes, guns do make you feel safe but just think if you had your loot of weapons along with a safe room, you would be more than Chuck Norris ready.

Why do I need a safe room?

Well, honestly you don’t need one, but I bet half of the people who build a home consider it but can’t afford it. This is why you have to consider other options other than a larger home such as apartments or flats. You could have a spare room as a safe room if you include the right things in it.

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Selecting and Constructing Your Safe Room

 Every family and housing situation is different, but the idea is to select a room that you can get all members of the household to as quickly as possible. (Remember your family safety plan). It might be the basement, or bedroom or even a large bathroom. Try to select a room with no windows or skylight. Most indoor doors are hollow wood. You need to replace the door with a solid type, wood or steel. Hang it so it opens outwardly. Use deadbolts with at least a 1 inch throw, and consider using two of them. Strike plates should be 4 screw designs with screws at least three inches long. If hinges on exterior, flange, weld, or pin the hinge pins to prevent removal and ensure they have 3 inch screws on the hinge plates. A door is really only as solid at the frame it is attached to. Try to reinforce the wooden frame with angle iron, or replace it with a steel frame. The whole idea is to ensure the door remains intact after repeated hits by a 180lb. man. If you must use a room with a window, shatterproof glass would be essential as well as an iron grate over it. Insure your safe room has an electrical outlet to charge your cell phone if necessary.

 Safe Room Supplies

You safe room is going to need certain supplies. Many people keep these items in the safe room pre stocked and some use a sort of mini-bug out bag to grab and go to the safe room. Personally, I recommend stocking the safe room ahead of time. It would be too easy to forget to grab the bag under stress or you might be in an area of the house that you couldn’t get to it in time. You need to be able to survive, communicate, and if necessary defend yourself. Here is a small recommended list that you can add to depending on your situation:

1.      A firearm for defense. If you can, try to dedicate at least one firearm that will be stored in the safe room. Insure you have the training to properly and legally defend yourself if necessary.

2.      A cell phone. This is essential. The idea is to stay safe long enough to call 911 for help and to remain safe until the police arrive. Make sure you have a charger with it. Dead battery can equal dead you. Test your cell phone from the safe room to insure you have coverage from it! If you have to call 911, stay on the line! This will be critical for communication when the police arrive.

3.      A good first aid kit. Don’t forget any medication you might need.

4.     Water and munchies. If you are using a bathroom the water problem is solved.

5.      A good flash light or security light.

6.      A small HAM radio if the cell phone fails

7.      Sanitation concerns. If you are not using the bathroom, you need a way to relieve yourself if you have a long wait.

 Deciding on how to set up a safe room takes a lot of serious thought. This is just an overview to get you started.