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Mitigation: How to reduce the cause, impact and severity of disasters around your home

I read through some FEMA information this morning about the four phases of the emergency management cycle.

The four phases are: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

I considered some of the projects that have been done around my home and property over the years that have mitigated disasters or the effects of one.

The trees on my property were in terrible shape when we moved in. Most of them were planted close to the house and planted too close to each other. Some of the trees were dying and partly rotted and others had huge branches over the top of the roof of the house.

We get can get high winds and tornadoes and I was very concerned about the potential for how my home and a neighbour’s home could be damaged by such an event.

Trees have a life cycle and it is important to know that when selecting them for your property, especially a town or city lot. Watch also for roots systems that can infiltrate sewer lines.

Tree branches over a roof or close to a roof are not good for a variety of reasons. Branches that actually touch the roof can destroy your shingles. The branches can become too close when they are heavy with ice, snow or moisture and then sag lower and touch the roof.

Squirrels and other critters are fun to watch from a distance, but give them a tree branch close enough to your home and they will scurry up that branch and find a way into your attic. Squirrels are amazing high wire acrobats and can jump 15 feet (some sources say more or less), so that needs to be considered when pruning back branches or planting.

Aside from damage to the home, squirrels can carry diseases. Some of the more common diseases they carry are tularaemia, typhus, plague and ringworm which can be transmitted through a bite or other forms of direct contact with infected squirrels. 

I called in a tree service and had all the trees removed.

High wind, tornado and potential for rodent damage mitigated.

Next, there was the issue of poorly graded property. We can get heavy rains, more so now in recent years with “once in a 100, (insert years – it keeps changing) events.”

During a heavy rain, I discovered water pouring into one of the basement windows.

I had both basement windows replaced with properly installed window wells around them. I then installed window well covers. 

I noticed after the heavy rain exactly where the water was pooling on the property. The next project to tackle was the issue of our poorly graded residential lot.

Residential lot grading is shaping and grading the land to direct surface runoff away from your home in a way that doesn’t affect neighbouring properties. .

Aside from standing water and flooding, improperly graded residential lots can cause foundation settlement or damage and basement dampness. Dampness is not good for prep storage.

Here is a link for an overview of lot grading. Each community will have their own rules. Where I live, no permit was necessary. However, some communities require a permit.

Residential drainage

After 5 truck loads of soil, and becoming very acquainted with my landscape rake, the lot was correctly sloped and graded. Swales and drainage channels were the final component to ensure that rain water and moisture from melting snow drained away from the house. The water now flows to the street and back lane via grade and drainage channels on each side of the lot.

I also had larger drainage pipe from the gutters installed to allow for better and more rapid flow of water during storms and heavy rains. No more overflowing gutters. Risk of flooding and water infiltration around the home and property now mitigated.

After the water table rose due to heavy rains, I had my plumber install a sump pit and pump to move water away from below the foundation and ease hydrostatic pressure. There are other methods, but this was recommended as a good first line of defence and it has worked very well over the years.

At the same time, I also had a sewer back flow valve installed on my sewer line. Our town has the storm drains tied into the sanitary sewer system. This is not the correct way to do it and not all communities may be built that way. It is wise to check especially in older rural towns with municipal sewer and water.

If however, your sewer lines back up for any reason, this valve is well worth having in place. One woman I knew with heavy rains in another town, had over four feet of sewage in her basement. Her massive, fully stocked chest freezer was floating.

During heavy rains, some homes in town had flooded basements. Many people were trying to hide the fact that their homes were being flooded. Instead of correctly pumping the water out of their basement and away from their property, they were pumping into their basement storm drains.

The problem is that when so many of them did that, they overloaded the sewer lines causing sewage to flow back into basements. My basement stayed clean and dry. Installing that sewer back flow valve on my home has paid for itself many times over.

We have had many heavy rain years and I don’t have to worry about sewage backing up into my basement. Preps safe and sound and potential for disaster mitigated.

Those are a few of the steps I have taken over the years to practice hazard mitigation. What kind of steps or projects have you done to mitigate disaster causes, impact or severity around your homes? Are there still projects you want to do to reduce the effects of a disaster?

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  • Comments (35)

    • 5

      With age does come some wisdom.  Our last house was beautiful and in the trees, but the leaves were a pain with gutters.  When we built on the farm, we picked a spot with no trees near the house.  We also located the house at the top of the hill, looking down on our bottom pastures.  We are around 75 feet above the lowest pasture, so flooding is not an issue.  Our dirt guy, who is a neighbor, did a masterful job of grading around the house so that there is no standing water after rains & even during a torrential thunderstorm, the water moves around & away from the house perfectly.

      Also when we had the house built, we had it wired where all critical components, such as refrigerator, freezer, well, one ac unit, some lights & some receptacles, were placed on a separate fuse box that is powered by a natural gas generator during a power outage.  When building a home, it doesn’t cost a lot extra to wire a house like that.  Very expensive to do so to an existing home.

      • 3

        Well thought out on the new build. That’s definitely the time to do those kinds of projects. Retrofitting is more money and headache.

        Location is one thing you can’t change and you were wise to select a good spot and have it properly graded. My husband was unable to do the work himself at the time, so he taught me. It was great because I got to learn a new skill.

        We still get neighours leaves blowing into the gutters. They planted a type of poplar tree normally used for windbreaks around farms. It has a 25 year life span. The shoots have to be destroyed or they can take out a foundation. We get rid of any that start up in the back yard.

        The leaves are large (almost as bad as a black walnut) and the tree doesn’t shed it’s leaves early or entirely. It can go through a big part of our winter with leaves still on it.

        I got tired of climbing a ladder throughout the fall to check my gutters on that side. So, I took a round make up mirror housed in a black plastic frame which has an attached stand. The mirror can be adjusted on the stand and there is a screw hole at the bottom of the stand for attaching it to something.

        I took a piece of scrap wood and screwed the stand to one end of it. Now, if I want to check the gutters, I put the mirror on the stick, tilt the mirror to the angle I need, and walk around the house with a clear view of the gutters. It really saves the knees and hips.

        For gutter cleaning, my husband took a gutter kit from a shop vac and turned it into an attachment for our leaf blower. He used rigid shop vac hose and sheet metal screws so they would hold in the plastic. It works like a charm. You can even put the nozzle right into where the gutter meets the downspout and blast any leaves or debris right through the downspout.

        Best of all, there is no need to climb a ladder anymore to do any of it. Just a walk around the house. 

    • 4

      Nice topic, I’ve been wanting to learn more about mitigation strategies that I can put in place. It’s good to be proactive rather than reactive.

      While doing my taxes this year, there was a section on there that I can write off fire mitigation expenses that I incurred this past year. I’ll definitely keep track of that this next year. 

      I didn’t know that you could install a sewer back flow valve, good to know. I’m paying extra each month for sewer back flow insurance, it isn’t something that is covered under your main homeowners insurance and if you do have damage due to sewer back flow and don’t have the back flow insurance then you have to pay for all that.

      This is all from my experience, might be different in your area.

      One last thought…. I live up in the mountains and don’t have a nice lush manicured green lawn. My yard is just the natural terrain and brush. While clearing a 10X10 area this past year for a small garden, I raked out a trash can’s worth of just dead grass and vegetation. It was incredible how much came out of that small area, and by just looking at the area you would think that it was pretty bare and there was nothing to be raked up. All of that would be great tinder for an emergency fire, but also a great fire risk that would spread if a wild fire came through. I should rake a bit each week and eventually clear my yard around my house.

      • 3

        Thanks for bringing up mitigation and insurance, Robert. I got a discount on my homeowners insurance for installing a sump pump and back flow valve.

        There have been some changes to how insurance works due to climate events and it is worthwhile to review those changes annually.

        Also, not really related, but it popped into my head and it is a tip worthwhile sharing. Re appliances in the home. 

        My fridge freezer developed a problem. I checked online to determine whether it was viable for repair or replacement. The fridge came with the house, but I really liked the large freezer compartment.

        While checking, I discovered manufacturer recalls on appliances. It can take a bit of determined digging, but I found the file and sure enough my fridge was on a recall to have that part replaced. It was repaired free of charge.

        You don’t have to be the original owner to have the appliance repaired.

        It was a good thing that the fridge freezer went the way it did, because other people had fires and smoke damage.

        Which brings me to why I began checking quarterly for recalls on all my major appliances. If you want to be extra careful, include a check on any electrical appliances or items in your home. 

        I didn’t start regular checks until a second event occurred in my home that alerted me to a problem with my oven.

        I had Pyrex for years and never had a problem. Then one day I heard a noise and a 9 x 13 Pyrex glass dish exploded in my oven. The explosion was so powerful that it imbedded shards of glass everywhere inside, rendering my oven no longer safe to be used.

        I got rid of every piece of pyrex I had after I did some digging on that one. They state officially that the formula wasn’t changed, but I was luckier than some people.

        Back to the oven. When I began to research a new oven, I was going to replace it with the oven that came with the house as I like it. That’s when I found problems with that oven. It wasn’t on recall yet, but should have been long before.

        I never use a self-clean option, but people reported the oven latch suddenly closing on it’s own and starting the self-clean option and being unable to stop it.

        I now run regular checks because of that incident.

        Your dethatching of your lawn is an excellent mitigation strategy. It is healthier for the lawn and safer. My husband does the same thing on our town lot. Even in town you can get some thoughtless person who flings a cigarette from a car or while passing by on foot.

      • 5

        That’s a smart idea to look for recalls on items regularly. I have a family member who works for a furniture store and they had a recall on a dresser because of a tipping risk. He said that the company is probably not going to be affected much because who is going to look up if their dresser has an issue if it is working fine for them. Only a very small percentage of items actually get returned during a recall.

        I’m glad that they at least track me with vehicle recalls and send me notices when there is one of those.

      • 3

        Exactly, Robert – that is why it’s important to check for ourself. Recalls are only issued after x amount of people and/or property has been damaged or destroyed. I was frankly, very shocked, at how long it can take for a recall to be declared.

        Just think of that disaster in England some years ago, over a particular siding that was used on a large apartment building. The building was quickly engulfed in fire and so many people died. Then I found out some building still exist that have that siding on them.

        There was another bad fire in Europe (I think England) from an appliance that should have been recalled sooner.

        Something to watch for is reissuing of questionable appliances under new product numbers.

        I had a 1 year old washing machine break. It would have cost more than the washer as worth to repair it. While searching for a new washer, I discovered that the manufacturer had recently reissued a new product number to my old washing machine. It was the same machine, but unsuspecting people would buy it, thinking it was a different model.

        I always check for vehicle recalls myself, even on an old van. It’s a bit of a control issue for me, but I don’t like to rely on a dealership to call me, especially on issues of vehicle safety.

    • 4

      “Mitigation” was the recent add-on to the emergency management cycle.

      We used to prepare as the first step. Then, all of a sudden, it was realized that of a city or county spent money on good preparations like drainage ditches, ensuring dwellings were screened against mosquitoes, etc …… and surrounding areas – did not – budget and work on drainage ditches, mosquito eradication, animal control, etc, the entire area was lost from the collective view.

      Thus: mitigation.

      The ” … in a ______years event” was created after the knowledgeable public coaught on to the WWII statistics used by the FDR administration. 

      Too frequently, small societies such as political subdivisions like towns, villages, counties are just too small to have the required economies of scale to prepare for perils and accompanying disasters. 

      • 3

        Hi Bob,

        I had no idea that “in a _______years event” phrase was from that era. There is much I missed in our history classes. Time for self learning. I mentioned in other post, American history is on my reading list. There is a lot to learn there.

        We have a lot of unecessarily repeated work out this way. Road improperly built and needing constant repair.

        Erratic drainage and the expectation of our town works that they can make water run uphill.

        People training others on heavy equipment – the wrong way and destroying lanes which are now a muddy mess. Except our section which my husband keeps fixing.

        My husband ran heavy equipment (he almost went to Indonesia for Joyce & Leonard, but is not a snake fan). He has gone to the town office, offered to teach their operator how to do it properly and they refuse to budge that: “they have always done it this way.”

        The phrase that is the death knell of progress and course correction. Right off the edge of a cliff.

      • 3

        Ubique, https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2021/03/11/604706.htm   This article clearly shows the need for mitigation. In this specific computer case, the area requirement is national plus overseas.  Otherwise the leaking dyke outside of the covered area still causes the damage.

        Closer to the basics; I live next to the bay at a few feet above water level in a hurricane zone.  If, for example, 5 counties west of here with their higher elevation allows for cutting down timber without replacement planting requirements, we experience more and larger flash floods.

        FDR’s administration used a different name for their statistics but it was the same as now. Tidal zone flood plains are easier to create by a CPA/chartered accountant than an engineer or cartographer.

        Speaking of American history, at another site I work, we were discussing this.  We, too, do not get much American history.

        “History: The agreed-upon lies.” NAPOLEON

        “Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”  Will Durant, American historian

          

      • 4

        Bob,

        Great article – Absolutely there is a huge need for national/international protocols.

        I worked in international finance with very heavy security and procedures – real ulcer producing conditions – much at stake. Because of my background, I can’t fathom how at this point in time those protocols aren’t in place.

        Your bay area area experience is similar to experience here with people destroying riparian areas, like cattails to make more room for their big docks and boats. Farmers letting their animal waste flow to the lake creating algae.

        It’s a nasty game of “tag – you’re it.”

        It shouldn’t be that complicated. Mitigation – get the right people in the right place doing the right task with the right training. Everybody wins.

        I Like the Napoleon quote, and very true. Will Durant’s quote rocketing to the top of my favourites.

        If you want a good read on finance “Towers of Gold, Feet of Clay” by Walter Stewart. He writes about the Canadian banking system (his wife also worked in it), but the methodologies used are well worth understanding and relevant still today. 

      • 2

        Ubique, We know Stewart down here in the international business community.  We learned about the Reichmanns and their Olympia and York.

        He wrote in style I like: reality fracturing the myth. Probably our only remaining counterpart Yank down here is Holman Jenkens of Wall Street Journal.

        One of Stewart’s books is here. Forgot which unless I look for it. One entire wall of my study is books.

      • 3

        Ubique, We know Stewart down here in the international business community.  We learned about the Reichmanns and their Olympia and York.

        He wrote in style I like: reality fracturing the myth. Probably our only remaining counterpart Yank down here is Holman Jenkens of Wall Street Journal.

        One of Stewart’s books is here. Forgot which unless I look for it. One entire wall of my study is books.

      • 2

        Ubique, all, Speaking of statistics and statistical reporting, in today’s 17 March 21 New York Times, is an article on thr new crime statistics. The article allows understanding as to the criteria. Titled “Murder Rate Remains Elevated as Cities Switch Crime Reporting Systems” by Jeff Asher. The article is paywalled so cannot link here but perhaps other sources available to see stats in preparation.

        There was a change several weeks ago, effective 1 Jan 21.

        I’m still on the lookout for disaster statistics.

      • 2

        Hi Bob, I found  the Jeff Asher article you referenced Jeff Asher NYT article on crime It appears to be fully visible/no paywall.

        In my search I also found this article on USA today which may be relevant

        Crime data reporting

        I dig around later for disaster statistics – any particular area or national?

      • 4

        Was browsing through Facebook today when I came across an article about seven websites that you can use to view the crime in your area or an area you are wanting to move to. Haven’t had the time yet to check out all of the sites it lists, but bookmarked it to look at later. https://defiel.com/how-safe-is-your-neighborhood/ 

        Check with your local PD if they have a crime reporting history system (not sure what it’s called). Pretty much it looked like Google maps but had pin points all over the city of different crimes. You could filter out the pins by date or crime. Want to see all the murders in your city in the past year? Want to see what was actually going on with your yelling neighbors last night that got the cops called out on? It was pretty neat, yet scary. I think many of us live in a sheltered world, and don’t know what all is going on around us. There were a surprising amount of murders, unexplained deaths, and violent crimes in my neighborhood that I actually felt incredibly safe walking around in. Maybe it’s best not to look… 

      • 3

        Jay, Thank you very much for the links. Awesome information for everyone.

        There was a really great website for crime that cover all the USA states. It had the crime data, but it also had the information/data on sexual and child predators including their photos, where they lived, and where they worked. I checked out the Alaska info. You would be surprised how many live within a short distance from family neighbourhoods.

        This link isn’t the same map, but it can help you protect yourself and family by being forewarned of how crime is in certain areas.

        LexisNexis Community Crime Map

        I will keep looking and see if I can the other map I used to use. It may not be around anymore, but the above map looks pretty good for info. If I find the other one, I will post it here later.

      • 3

        I haven’t heard of that one, thanks!

      • 4

        Ubique, Just glanced at the linked USA Today article. I’m basically interested in the big areas of the disaster stats such as the earthquake stats, the hurricane stats on Atlantic seaboard, on Gulf Coast. 

      • 4

        Bob, I found this first and will post it separately as it is a good website but lots of navigation to get to the info. The info looks good and deals with a variety of issues e.g. climate change.

        USGS

        They have earthquake maps on landing page and data is accessible through the “Science” drop down box at the top of the page. There, I selected “Natural Hazards”, then “Earthquake Occurrences”. I believe it is possible to access date parameters and statistics from there.

        Also from same site with some interesting links:

        USGS Hurricane info

        From what I can see there is a lot of data on this site, but I am going to dig around some more to see if I can some less layered data i.e. stats

        I’ll be back after I check some more info later.

      • 3

        Bob,

        I found some more Hurricane stats for Atlantic Seaboard and Gulf Coast. Earthquake data also included. It’s tricky getting data for earthquakes info for Atlantic/Gulf Coast. This is a start. If this doesn’t have what you are looking for, let me know. I like research and this was the first run at it.

        Atlantic Hurricane Data

        Insurance stats covers both areas plus more

        Historical list of Atlantic Hurricanes

        List of USA Hurricanes Gulf included

        Hurricanes in History (not exhaustive list)

        Atlantic Ocean Tsunami Risk Earthquake related

        Earthquake Data

      • 3

        Ubique,

        Appreciate efforts but don’t fatigue yourself.  Toward the end of this scribbling, will suggest something related that could benefit yourself.

        The US hurricane statistics are best subordinated because of the mentioned word “trcky”.  The US uses a hurricane scale relying on wind only … a couple of exceptions and the big companies like oil companies with the big boats use all sources ……. The best stats because of a different model is what’s used by the Europeans … not sure if only EU or beyond. 

        The US uses a model measuring only wind.  Yet 90% of deaths are from storm surge and  flooding. Forgot the European hurricane forecasting name “ZSCALE”/ZUKA ?

        Remember Hurricane Sandy here – until it reached New York City and then “only” a Super Storm ? No insurance payouts in re hurricane policies.  

        What I see on the horizon is not insurance in the formal sense. It’s the “CAT Bond”, the castrophe / castrophic event bond. It’s like a bet. Someone needs to protect $1,000,000 worth of instruments.  A bond company (typically the insurance co also working this risk management product) makes a premium proposal and if certain things happen, the bond holder gets some $$$.

        I believe the Cat Bond is the future.

        Still, I appreciate your efforts on the stats.  

         

      • 3

        Bob, I get it now and appreciate the heads up on Cat Bond. It sounds very specific.

        It’s disaster roulette, step up and place your bets ladies and gentemen. If the event lands in a certain spot, or the event is downgraded, the house takes it all.

        The new 007. What is your name sir? My name is Bond. Cat Bond. 

        No problem on helping out. Any time.

      • 3

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-volcano-insurance-bond-idUSKBN2BE00J

        An addendum; The Danish Red Cross just developed a Cat Bond for volcano eruptions. Of course, they are working with some companies to do this.  The profits are for disaster relief in volcano areas.

        I’m posting this here for educational purposes.  

      • 2

        An add-on; was interrupted.

        Article on Danish Cat Bonds above mentions “risk modeling”. 

        Carter, again a Thank You for introducing forum participants to modeling.

      • 1

        Thanks Bob, I read the article today and did a little checking of the backers. Interesting group.

    • 2

      After further consideration today, I want to explore how it is possible to take steps to mitigate disaster and support our preparedness by making minor changes inside the home, be it house, condo or apartment.

      My home is less than 800 sq. ft. spread between back landing, kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. I have an unfinished pit basement (it has a concrete foundation, and an inner block wall about four or so feet high). Between the foundation and inner block wall is rammed earth. The square footage of the basement is roughly 500 sq. ft.

      The change I made inside that afforded greater storage space and more flexible storage was to remove the built in closets from the living room entry and the master bedroom.

      The living room entry closet backed into the master bedroom. The master bedroom closet was poorly designed. It was easy to access and with much wasted space inside.

      I’m providing detailed measurements of the cabinets so you get an understanding of how much new prep space I carved out of a small home.

      After I demo’d the living room closet and master bedroom closet, I dry walled and re-floored the house. I’m not a finishing carpenter so I used Ikea pre fab tall cabinets. They fit the bill for size and while it would have been nice to build them myself, I needed the space for more prep storage done asap.

      It was possible to add 3 cabinets along one wall of the master bedroom measuring each 39 3/8″ x 23 5/8″ x 93 1/8″.

      I wanted to use as much vertical space as possible and these three cabinets fit the bill nicely. I consider our four-season clothing part of preps and we needed the storage for that plus other items related to prepping.

      In the living room I mounted a length of the same company’s box shaped units with drawers and doors under the wall mounted tv. These 3 units measured 23 5/8″ x 15 3/4″ x 15″ each plus 1 double unit 47 1/4″ x 15 3/4 x 15″ all mounted in a horizontal line across the wall and covered with a glass top.

      Prep items can be placed in easy reach but without attention to them. Doors and drawers keep items private.

      The storage I tackled next was in the kitchen. I installed a 19 5/8″ x 13 3/4″ x 92 7/8″ cabinet with a door in front of the dry walled chimney area next to the fridge. It was the same type of cabinet as used in the master bedroom. Very low key storage as it looks like cabinetry that is part of the kitchen.

      The partition wall in the kitchen is 80″ to keep the kitchen from feeling closed in, but the additional storage is positioned beside my deep freezer in the form of another cabinet with a door measuring 19 5/8″ x 22 7/8″ x 92 7/8″. The partition wall acts as a privacy buffer by the back door. I can talk to someone at the back door, without visibility into the kitchen. The tall cabinet is meant to visually match the height of the cabinet diagonal to it by the chimney area.

      I wanted to make the additional storage look like a part of each room and not glaringly out of place.

      The part basement contains 3 Husky steel shelf units and two banquet tables. The 4 steel shelves on each unit can support 2000 lbs each (note confirm weight capacity as I’ve noticed that they are putting lower weight capacity on some of the shelves that look identical to mine).

      The steel shelves can be configured however you wish. I used plastic lattice cut in sizes as needed to layer between my canned goods and increase vertical space used between the shelves. I also hope to prevent electrolysis (if that can be a problem for stacking canned goods for any length of time). Buckets of dried goods are on bottom shelves and slide in and out easily.

      Next highest shelf contains covered totes of pasta and other items. Odd items like condiments go into deep open pan type tote that fit 2 across the shelves. Top most open area is for stacking paper products. I have a storage barrel with tight ring lid to store flour, sugar and other items.

      The unfinished basement is nice and cool year round without fluctuations in temperature.

      I will be adding another steel shelving unit later, but for now the two banquet tables work. Totes are marked “Xmas” or “Christmas decorations” or “Outdoor Lights” and so on. They contain preps.

      There will be pegboards added to the side of the stairwell for vertical storage and to block anyone from looking down stairs. I have additional storage beside my washer and dryer using pine shelves for toiletries and some of my cleaning products.

      There is more I could build into the basement but for now, it’s working well.

      There is a pony wall in the kitchen that flanks the basement stairwell. I should be able to add cleats and even with my rudimentary skills, build in another deep cabinet over the stairwell. This cabinet will hold more preps.

      In my den/2nd bedroom there is a 39 3/8″ x 23 5/8″ x 93 1/8″ cabinet with doors as well.

      All of the above storage adds up to a lot of storage space for a small house. Vertical space is very often wasted.

      I also wanted anyone in rented space to know that these units can be used for apartments or rented premises.

      Sorry if this got a bit long, but I wanted to illustrate in detail how much extra prep storage space that it is possible to create with basic skills. I hope this helps anyone looking to expand their prep storage and mitigate the effects of small space living on prep storage.

      • 2

        Not long, Ubique.

        Ref:  “vertical space”;

        You provided the solution to all readers with space constraints.  The constraints are really lack of how others did this in earlier times and continue to do so today.

        A few weeks ago, had mentioned here at TP my award-winning method to repel photojournalists from SOUTHERN LIVING Magazine and Archetectual Digest Magazine from visiting here.  Buy 2 used or new 8 ft office tables and place one on top of other,  This constitutes shelf space for stockpiling canned goods on sale. The office tables can be perpendicular to a wall, library style, if appropriate for plans. 

        Two file cabinets, one on top of other, – properly anchored – mimics above 8 ft table example. File cabinets need not contain only file folders.

        My stairwell wall features my small shelving for emergency tools that must be immediately available.  To mention a few: a wrecking hammer, a hatchet, a large slip joint plyers, a pike pole, work gloves. This shelving on stairwell covered by draped US flag, POW-MIA flag, 2 hurricane flags.

        I’d recommend those new to preparedness lifestyle to visit a couple of big box stores planning NOT to make any purchases; just to walk around and browse. Look for the long, vertical axis heavy vinyl coated alum shelfing racks. Go to the plywood section. The stores will saw to a size for customers – of course there’s a charge per cut – at least here – REPEAT: “NOT to make any purchases”; … Next to the plywood saw is trash barrel for plywood scraps. A few kind words and good quality plywood available that would otherwise be enroute to store dumpster.  Must clearly ask and clearly get OK to take scrap(s).

        Most everything is about knowledge and thinking about it’s use.  

        =======

        Had worked in Indonesia; Pertamina contract. Batavia, the old Jakarta section founded by the Dutch was Southeast Asia’s first healthy city. This was well prior to the Brits in Singapore and Straits villages and well earlier than the Americans introducing public health to Manila.

        Indonesia moving capital from JKT to Borneo Island.

      • 3

        Thanks Bob, I type really fast most days and it’s a book before I know it (lol).

        The office table idea is great. You can get really good deals on used office furniture and much of it is well built and solid.

        We used to salvage bricks and boards make shelves out of that. I had bookshelves made that way.

        I like the file cabinet idea. Anything could go in there. That got me thinking of children’s furniture – dressers, small scale and easy to fit into hard potentially wasted space. Also not likely to be considered much in a break in.

        I was thinking about how to set up something like your stairwell wall feature for emergency tools. I have a tool box currently and other items on a ledge by the back door. 

        Really good method on big box store scrap(s). It will just go to the dumpster and can be used. It’s stopping waste.

        I know someone who used to dumpster dive at JYSK. There was so much wasted, returned items or slightly damaged, and solid wood. He hated the wastefulness and made furniture items to give away to people in need.

        Sometimes, (before covid) I would go to the city and wander around building materials or hardware stores just looking at various items and thinking about how it could be used to make something else.

        Pertamina is second largest after Chevron, were you there a long time? Indonesia brings back memories of getting money to people living on boats. Some Countries let people leave but bad news for family members left behind if money not sent home regularly. Most went to govt and a few cents to the family members. They were the smallest transactions we handled, but I always believed the most precious as the implications could be bad for the family if money didn’t land or on time. 

        Indonesia is apparently on hold with the move for JKT to Borneo Island. They have to do something because JKT is the world’s fasting sinking city (about 10 cm per year). 

        Draining an underground aquifer won’t end well – land above sinks, which I understand is what happened to JKT.

        Then there is this aquifer closer to home. That would be a tough one to prep for.

         Ogallala Aquifer

                   
        I believe it was Prof John Ikerd who warned about this one a long time ago.

      • 5

        Ubique, Speaking of children’s furniture; A bunk bed without the mattress setups, and with planks, is one of the best storage spaces for big stuff.

        Had worked in Indonesia for a couple of times, involving year durations, I preferred being based in Singapore.

        Indonesia’s national plans on hold with immediate focus to population vaccination program.  The vaccines provided by Canberra but am guessing funded from elsewhere near here. Vaccines product of Middle Kingdom. The JKT relocation hold due mostly to international relations concurrent with what will happen to long term Fort McMurray fracking operations. It’s realistic enough for Pertamina to become another Russia-America Company – gone with the wind. 

        JKT is just another too many people in too small an area. The economic capital of Indon is Singapore – and there’s “discussions” re a canal through the Kra Peninsula, Thailand.  This can change much. 

      • 2

        Not long, Ubique.

        Ref:  “vertical space”;

        You provided the solution to all readers with space constraints.  The constraints are really lack of how others did this in earlier times and continue to do so today.

        A few weeks ago, had mentioned here at TP my award-winning method to repel photojournalists from SOUTHERN LIVING Magazine and Archetectual Digest Magazine from visiting here.  Buy 2 used or new 8 ft office tables and place one on top of other,  This constitutes shelf space for stockpiling canned goods on sale. The office tables can be perpendicular to a wall, library style, if appropriate for plans. 

        Two file cabinets, one on top of other, – properly anchored – mimics above 8 ft table example. File cabinets need not contain only file folders.

        My stairwell wall features my small shelving for emergency tools that must be immediately available.  To mention a few: a wrecking hammer, a hatchet, a large slip joint plyers, a pike pole, work gloves. This shelving on stairwell covered by draped US flag, POW-MIA flag, 2 hurricane flags.

        I’d recommend those new to preparedness lifestyle to visit a couple of big box stores planning NOT to make any purchases; just to walk around and browse. Look for the long, vertical axis heavy vinyl coated alum shelfing racks. Go to the plywood section. The stores will saw to a size for customers – of course there’s a charge per cut – at least here – REPEAT: “NOT to make any purchases”; … Next to the plywood saw is trash barrel for plywood scraps. A few kind words and good quality plywood available that would otherwise be enroute to store dumpster.  Must clearly ask and clearly get OK to take scrap(s).

        Most everything is about knowledge and thinking about it’s use.  

        =======

        Had worked in Indonesia; Pertamina contract. Batavia, the old Jakarta section founded by the Dutch was Southeast Asia’s first healthy city. This was well prior to the Brits in Singapore and Straits villages and well earlier than the Americans introducing public health to Manila.

        Indonesia moving capital from JKT to Borneo Island.

    • 3

      https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/94787-canadian-government-launches-emergency-preparedness-awareness-campaign

      Speaking of being resilient ……..

      Canada’s going full blast on this.  Well worth checking out above link for matters to develop.

      • 1

        Bob, Big Whoop and High Five! Yes!! I wrote letters to PM and all party leaders re media campaign for covid and raising emergency preparedness awareness. It looks like one of them has gotten it across the finish line!!!

        Awesome – best news today Bob – Thank you very much for letting me know.

        We need this now more than ever. Yet another way to mitigate the effects of disasters: awareness and education.

      • 5

        Bob – forgot to add reference you may be interested in for free books, movies, music etc. I am predominately interested in access to free books. Still haven’t checked through it thoroughly, but looks interesting.

        Internet archive

      • 3

        Ubique, Appreciate  providing the Internet Archive link.

        I’ve got restrictions on web time due some ophthalmological and optical infirmities.

        Hearing also on list.   Currently have vital signs so am content.

        Still, an additioal  “Thank You”.

      • 3

        Bob, you are welcome. I enjoy our comm time and learn a lot from you.

        I am content if I wake up in the morning on the right side of the lawn 🙂