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Prepping victories: When has prepping paid off for you?

I had  prep victory this weekend.  What prep successes have you had?

A 18-wheeler truck that was driving next to me in a construction zone on a highway either lost a tire tread or kicked one up right in front of my car.  With traffic on my left and the truck on my right, I had no option but to hit it (with seconds to decide).  The cars behind me had a similar scenario except that the loose tire tread emerged from my car.  The construction had closed several exits so I had to drive for a few miles before I could inspect it all the while monitoring my tire pressure (the car has that option).  No tire damage.  The front bumper was disconnected and drooping on the right side with only the fog light wiring keeping it from being completely free, and a bottom aerodynamic plate was dragging on the ground on the right side.  Obviously I couldn’t drive it like this.  Because I had prepped for car emergencies and a GHB, I wasn’t stuck for too long.  Items that were put to use:

  • Cell phone and non-emergency number for Highway patrol:  I called to get the obstacle removed so others didn’t have this issue.  There were shoulders or side in the construction zone.  Bonus is that I now have a police report of the incident for insurance which wasn’t necessary.
  • Paracord to tie the bumper to the body of the car.  Paracord was strong enough and thin enough to not mess up the hood or panel when I closed it.  It was in a survival type bracelet.  A bit more to tie in more than one place would probably be better in future.
  • Knotting Skill:  how to tie that paracord so it didn’t slip.
  • Small sharpie:  used as plumb bob to get the twisty paracord down through the hood to the bumper on the inside the side clip held the cord.
  • Leatherman Wave+ multi-tool to remove the dragging bottom panel.  Flathead screwdriver to pop the plastic rivet connectors and the serrated knife blade to cut it free at the axle.
  • Headlamp – even in daylight, that panel was black and in shadow.  I would not have seen how to cut it and certainly not while I was cutting it.  I could barely reach it.
  • Alcohol wipes:  These are in the car for pandemic reasons and were used to clean my hands and the tool of all the black soot from that bottom panel.  I used about 6 of them.
  • Large Sheet – in the car by chance and wrapped that large panel before putting it inside the car.  It was coated in brake dust and exhaust fumes from nearly 5 years on the road.
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  • Comments (117)

    • 11

      All the time.

      Just last week I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting some baby geese that were laying in the road. My wife insisted that the baby geese needed to be moved to safety immediately, and I would be rather squeamish about touching wild birds that could carry disease…

      I pulled a pair of nitrile gloves from my EDC pouch and started carrying babies while my wife distracted and blocked the over-defensive parents. We both appreciated the situation as a nice mini-adventure.

      While my emergency gear is primarily for “real” emergencies, it ends up helping to smooth over little surprises often enough to justify the cost.

      • 4

        Sweet!!  Small wins are victories too. 

      • 3

        For those baby geese, that sure was a lot more than a small win. They owe their life to you Eric! 

        Kinda jealous you got to see those cute little guys.

    • 8

      Well done on getting yourself fixed up Alicia!

      Like Eric, I use them all the time.

      I’ve mentioned in another thread about being prepped with toilet paper and RATs prior to the spike we had locally after Christmas/New Year.

      More recently, one of my colleagues slopped some coffee over his very white work shirt. Thankfully, he didn’t burn himself. But I handed him the Tide pen I have in my ‘get home bag’ and like the magic little pen it is, it helped clear the stain.

      • 3

        Everyday heroism – way to go!

    • 9

      This week I had a moderate-severe allergic reaction to something and looked like I gained 30 pounds in a matter of hours. I was itchy and red all over  and my throat was swelling up to a scary level. I went to a nearby urgent care and they said that they couldn’t help me and I needed to get to an ER immediately. They offered to give me some benedryl to hopefully slow down the reaction somewhat and I knew that they would then get $20 out of my insurance company for that little pink pill. I told them I was okay and that I had some benedryl in my car emergency bag. 

      Keep small medicine baggies of various labelled medicines from your home stores in your car. You never know when you need benedryl, tylenol, or some cold medicine.

      • 5

        My main takeaway is that I need to familiarize myself with the limits of what an urgent care center can help with. I’m surprised/disappointed to learn that an urgent care center could only offer a benadryl to someone with a potentially life threatening allergic reaction. You could have stopped breathing while trying to drive from the urgent care to the ER.

      • 5

        I’ve had a rough medical year and unfortunately have gone to urgent care and the ER more than I would have liked to. I guess even one time though is more than anyone wants. 

        What I am learning the hard way is that they don’t usually “fix you” but just stabilize you if you’re in a really bad spot and then tell you to wait for your primary care doctor. 

        I’ve been in some of the most pain of my life lately and the ER just discharges me saying I’m no longer an emergency and to wait the month until my doctor can see me. I want to learn more about self medical care to be able to take care of myself more easily, comfortably, quickly, and cheaply than going to the ER.

      • 3

        That sounds like it was life-saving!  And I too am shocked that an urgent care would turn you away, even towards an ER, with such a life-threatening issue.  Another reason to increase our medical knowledge and skills.  So glad it turned out OK. 

        I hope it’s your last visit to urgent care or the ER.  

      • 6

        Just a caution about keeping medicines in your car: All over the counter medications are stability tested at controlled room temperature and humidity. So the expiration dates on medications are only valid under those conditions. (Basically the comfortable conditions you expect to find in your house.)

        Once you place the medications in your car, you’re usually exposing them to accelerated stability conditions (high temperatures). This means the medications degrade faster, sometimes significantly faster. The same applies to medications stored in the bathroom where the danger is usually high humidity.

        The degradation can be harmless (like a visual change) or it can be dangerous. (Some medications or their inactive ingredients break down into products that are toxic in high quantities).

        I’ll try not to be too technical, since I work in pharmaceutical quality control and I can blather on. The layperson’s take-away is avoid storing medication in your car if possible. It is better to keep small quantities in your everyday carry (EDC), where the medication is more likely to remain in comfortable environments. If not possible to avoid vehicle storage, rotate out any medications you keep in your car every 30-90 days, discarding anything that has been in your car.

      • 2

        Good point! We have a small first aid supply without medications that we keep in the back of our car, but our large first aid and trauma kit that does have medicines is kept in the house unless we go on a road trip. When we do that it comes in the house/hotel with us and isn’t left in a hot car if at all possible. 

      • 1

        Would storing the medical and medication stuff in a Styrofoam box from like seabear or an actual ice chest with bottled water be sufficient, at least for a couple months of heat?

      • 1

        Sorry for the delay underprepraccoon. The honest answer is I have no idea. The best way to figure out is to run an experiment. Test the temperature of the ice chest or Styrofoam box every 4 hours or so and see if the interior stays at the comfortable room temperature you expect from your house (or cooler). If it does, then you may be safe to store this way. If not, better to keep your medications with you.

    • 7

      It pays off every day of my life, by being a fun hobby 😀

      But in the way you clearly meant the question, one of the more major times it payed off was when an ice storm that wasn’t even forecasted unexpectedly knocked our power out for 17 days, and left our road impassable for the first six. That’s Michigan for you!  Fortunately we had everything we needed to basically carry on with life as normal, which was quite satisfying. 

      • 2

        Indeed – this forum has upped that for me.  And that is a definite victory.  But as we all know, the smaller ones are also satisfying.  

    • 9

      We’re subscribers to the theroy of multiple small fire extinguishers in the cars instead of one big one. Trying to be effective with a 50 pound fire bottle can get hard if you have an injury from being involved in a car accident. Having several smaller units paid off for us a few years back in stomping out a dry grass / vegetation fire that started as a result of an automobile accident we came up on right after the collision happened. The only reason the fire didn’t get large is because I could hand 4 small fire extinguishers off to people so we could form a “mass attack” on the fire from different positions. By the time we emptied the extinguishers, the first fire truck was on scene and unfurling “attack line” hoses to finish up the flames and start cooling the engines of the vehicles involved. Preparedness paid off! And no major injuries to anyone. What a deal!

      • 3

        Do you happen to recall the brand of small fire extinguisher you used in that situation? The fire fighters should have given you all a medal for being prepared, acting quickly, and making the situation much safer. 

      • 6

        Good Evening Jay. We use 2 1/2 pound (of powder) ABC extinguishers from Ansul. These are old critters that were purchased before Ansul associated with Sentry. At least they have no “Sentry” markings on them. I have done no research on Ansul / Sentry joining forces. But they did the job when the time came for us. Ansul extinguishers have not failed me yet in the 8 to 10 times I pulled the pin and squeezed the handles.

      • 3

        Well done!  I had some friends witness an accident triggered fire start when they were on their way to our house.  It got up the hillside in moments and we got to witness how it took a lower and hilltop crew with a helicopter water drop to stop it.  Now I’m considering I need to add at least another to each of our cars.   Thanks

    • 10

      Though pooping in a pail shall forever remain my claim to prepping fame, this weekend I had a small but satisfying prepping victory when a party guest fell and cut his arm. It turned out he was on blood thinners so the wound appeared much worse than it was.  The other guests panicked and asked for a first aid kit. I calmly replied, “Well what do you actually need? A tourniquet? Pressure dressings? Quikclot?”

      All that was really needed was antiseptic, sterile gauze, and coban roll, of which I had plenty.  After getting him cleaned up and bandaged I offered him acetaminophen from the kit to top it off, which he gratefully accepted, and then we partied on.  My evening was made when other guests started talking about their emergency kits in their cars etc. It was a great conversation starter.

      • 5

        Great job staying calm and acting well. That’s great it turned into a positive conversation starter. Maybe you helped to get some other people more interested in being prepared.

      • 4

        How many asked to see your pooping pail?  🙂  Great  to get folks talking about prepping and take care of your friend.  

      • 4

        Oh yes, we use those here quite a bit thanks to our town constantly losing its water supply. My house smells much better than others as we use the pail and my neighbors use their toilets. When the water is out for days, and in this desert heat, well, I DON’T want my home to smell like an old port–a–potty (and it doesn’t) by the time the water comes back on. It only took 1 time for the water to be off for days rather than just a few hours for me to learn that painful lesson (I had 3 kids at home when that episode happened. Yuck lol)

      • 2

        Your “pooping in a pail” post was the first entry I ever read when I joined this forum, and also what sold me on this being a reliable place to meet sensible people. Well done on both the post and the prep!

    • 2

      Excellent post! Kudos on being well prepared and being able to make it through.

      What knot did you use?

      I strongly agree with you – Small wins are victories too.

      • 4

        I put a bowline in one end.  I threaded the other end around the bumper and inside the hood  then into the bowline loop.  I then used a couple half hitches to lock it down (after some trial and error).  

    • 7

      For me, sometimes it’s the little things –

          Family: “Oh darn, we were going to cook food on the bbq, but the propane ran out.”
          Me: “Alright, I’ll go get the backup tank.”
          Family: “You have a backup!?!?”

      • 4

        Awesome.  I just added some more backups because not only is our emergency cooking, but heat are propane based. 

      • 4

        LOL to their reaction regarding your backup tanks. I’ve got a bunch too of varying sizes, bought last fall and filled up. Glad I did because of the bad freeze. Also glad I bought a propane heater because I like to have frozen in my all electric ancient house in this desert (minimal insulation!) due to that Winter Storm Uri that not only walloped Texas, but us here in SE New Mexico. Lost power for about 8 hours here, that was enough for me to tell my son I bought a propane heater plus 4 tanks. He flipped out until that second storm hit and we wound up using it all to heat the house and use his bbq pit to cook. No scrambling to locate propane because mom here already bought it!  🙂

      • 5

        My husband looks at me like I’m magic when I pull out the backup supplies 😂

      • 2

        Same.  I cannot tell you how many times we have had this conversation:

        Him: “Oh we can’t do X, because we’re out of Y.”

        Me: “No we’re not.”

        So worth it.

      • 2

        Lately I’ve been having the opposite problem, of my hubby saying, There’s nothing to eat.

        It is very hard for me to maintain my composure when we have over sixty different varieties of canned goods on hand not to mention what’s in the freezer. I mean we have guava. We have sardines. We have beef and chicken and pork and pasta and rice….

        But there’s nothing to eat!………!

      • 2

        I find myself saying that too, when I know it is so not true.  We apparently only see what we’re wanting or what is easy.  🙂 

    • 4

      We just had our power go out for maybe 2 hours due to high winds today. Luckily the Xtar power station came in handy and was able to keep my work laptop charging.

      My wife also tried using the power station to run a printer, but it didn’t have enough juice to do the bootup sequence to turn the printer on (surge watts). So we know now that no printing during emergencies and need to make sure we have important documents already printed off and ready to grab.

      • 2

        Excellent!  I have UPS’s that a friend just left me when he moved out of state since the movers won’t pack Lithium batteries, but haven’t actually connected them you’ve inspired me do that.  How long do you think you could have lasted on the Xtar?  

      • 2

        It actually has a very impressive 568Wh battery capacity and both of our laptops were drawing like 47W so at least 10 hours+.

        Definitely plug in, charge, and do some tests on your UPS so you understand how long it will help run things.

      • 3

        10 hours is pretty good especially at that load.  And I know to test, oh do I.  I have a battery backup on the gas tankless water heater controls.  The first one I tried didn’t work since the control panel was finicky and needed a cleaner sine wave AC output – test number 1.  The second one worked and I thought it would last for DAYS since it draws like 0.2W and not all the time, just when the water heater is running .  But apparently, either the controls or the battery system has some vampire internal load or leakage so it lasts only a few hours even when we don’t use the water heater – test number 2.  So we must manually manage it or take cold showers in a power outage (our municipal water and gas still work here without electricity).  

      • 1

        TIL that the gas tankless we have has a fan in it.  A motor would certainly draw down a battery quickly.  AndI also learned that my husband had forgotten this lesson – he would have been in for another cold shower – LOL!  

      • 1

        Are you still going to try and figure out a solution for how to make that tankless heater work during a power outage or just deal with cold water? If it does have a motor, then the UPS might not be enough for it for more than a shower.

        I’m researching UPS’s now and realize that they are meant to only power devices for a few minutes after an outage to give you enough time to save your work on your computer and shut things down properly rather than be a source of hours long usage. That’s what I’ve gathered so far… It’s still awesome that you have one and that is much better than most people have.

      • 2

        @Gideon, if the question is for me, I am not.  Having a clean sine wave battery backup that I manually turn on works for a shower’s duration as it’s only one on/off power cycle.  If i turn the battery backup off, it will last several showers.  Most other hot water use can be addressed by heating it on the stove.  

      • 1

        Thanks for the reply Alicia 🙂

      • 4

        Alicia,

        I have used older tech to take a warm/hot shower during a power outage.

        Boil a gallon of water on your grill or a small fire. Fill a 2 gallon sprayer with room temperature water and the boiling water.

        Take your shower – maybe with help from someone on the other side of the shower curtain.

        2 gallon sprayer

      • 1

        Do you get enough pressure and flow from a sprayer like that to actually wash off the soap? Like I’ve taken showers at friend’s houses where they had those low flow shower heads and it takes twice as long to get the soap off of you.

        Brilliant idea though, so simple and cheap. 

      • 2

        Rebecca,

        Yes, but…it depends.

        A sprayer is pressurized as you pump it up. Pressure is similar to a home shower but maybe not as much water as you’re used to using. If the pressure drops too low for your needs just pump it a few times.

        If you have very long hair or very thick hair you may need to fill it again.

        They can be awkward to use but they get the job done and sprayers cost less than $30.

        It’s worth it for a nice shower.

      • 4

        I bought this solar shower, the 3 gallon version (which is the heaviest I can comfortably lift) and it worked great in the one emergency during which I had to use it. Which did not include washing and rinsing my thick hair!  There are lots of different versions out there; this one was around $27.  If you don’t want to lay it in the sun you can just fill it with hot water from a pot. 

      • 2

        @Shaun, I have a garden sprayer and will keep this in my versatility file.  I would possibly try your method after a few days without gas/water service.  If I had to boil it to heat water, I wouldn’t want to lose any heat to the sprayer and likely would use a cloth and rinse method in the tub until I had to do my hair. 

    • 5

      We’ve had a few small ones recently. 

      • Anytime we travel more than 5 miles we have our go bags in the car for each family member on the trip. Last weekend, over an hour from home, boys found a mud hole to play in. 🙄 Thankfully each of their bags had a warm, dry set of clothes we could change them into. 
      • There’s been a series of spring storms blowing through that are playing havoc with the power flickering multiple times during the day. My UPS system has saved me from having to lose work on my computer or wait for the modem to reboot each time. Such a great investment!
      • Extra seeds on hand. A freak April freeze wiped out the early sprouts in our garden. We were able to re-start from our seed stash and thankfully haven’t moved any outside yet as we have had freak May frost warnings and temps in the 30’s every night this week. 😞
      • 4

        Great example for your kids to always pack your BOBs.  I admit that is something that I’ve not done for our road trips and something for me to change in the future.  So great to learn from each other here.  

    • 10

      I just had another small but satisfying victory. And isn’t victory, in preparedness, by definition when something turns out “small” that could have been huge?

      I put out a kitchen fire today with the fire blanket that I had strategically placed in the pantry based on instructions I learned from The Prepared

      My husband had been broiling steaks and after taking them out of the oven and putting them on our plates, he put the pan back but forgot to turn the broiler off. The remaining fat in the pan sparked a huge fire. He did what I guess a lot of people do in the shock of the moment – he opened the oven! Which is precisely the wrong thing to do since the oxygen feeds the fire. He thought he was going to carry the pan outside (the flames were HUGE); this likely would have caught his clothes, and the house, on fire.  And if HAD gotten it outside, he might have started a forest fire.

      I calmly told him to put the pan back in the oven and close the door and turn the oven off. It probably would have been fine to just leave it and let it extinguish itself, but he felt compelled to DO SOMETHING (oh the human element of prepping) so I got the fire blanket, let him open the door, and then smothered the fire.  It was all over in a few minutes – or would have been had he not gotten curious and lifted the blanket up again, reigniting the flames.  He had the good sense to put the blanket back down and wait after that. (You are supposed to leave a fire blanket on for at least 15 minutes)

      Lessons learned:

      • Preparedness is just that – being prepared for the unexpected. We have lived here for decades and this is the first real fire we’ve had. Normalcy bias could have gotten me to say, “Oh we’ve never had a fire so we don’t need any supplies!”  But I trusted The Prepared and was ready anyway, and this may have saved my house.
      • Clearly I need to talk to my husband about fire and other dangers a bit more. There are valid reasons why he is less familiar with these threats than I am, but having a few test sessions are probably warranted.
      • I need to repair or replace my fire extinguisher. I would have used the blanket anyway for this type of fire but I realized that the spray handle on my fire extinguisher was damaged and I probably could not have used it had a larger fire erupted.
      • Having the blanket stationed close to, but not next to, the stove was key. I could not have gotten to it if the fire had erupted and it had been close to the stove. 
      • I did get little fiberglass splinters in my fingers from the blanket, but it was no big deal. I might start putting a set of fireplace gloves or something similar next to the fire blankets. 
      • 6

        Way to go!  I’m ordering fire blankets now.   Thanks for the lessons on placement and use.  Our kitchen cabinet happens to mid-way between the stove and fireplace – a two for one!  And we have a bad fire extinguisher, too.  My CERT class reminded me to check the fire extinguishers as my husband didn’t know where all of them were located.  One of them is out of pressure.  A lesson for all of us.  

      • 4

        This overtook the Pooping in a Pail incident.  🙂   

    • 6

      A few weeks ago, I had fallen into a deep nap, as it happens when you’re not optimized on your food intake.

      My mom stomps up and tells me to get up! The power went out.

      Normally we’d just sit around and chat, wait till it comes back on, have a snack. But my mom, not a few minutes before had pulled out a good portion of ground beef. Our stove range is electric, so we couldn’t cook it. Not knowing how long it would last, we didn’t open the fridge either.

      So I go, oh I have exactly the right thing for this. Maybe last year? I picked up a Gas One camping stove, with all the BTUs. It was kinda silly how we were trying to dig out the 1 pound propane tanks in the dark, flicking the light switch before remembering oh yeah,, no power.

      I’m afraid of the dark, so verily my light came up and gave us what we needed. I picked up an aluminum camping table precisely for this specific use as well, and we pulled the stove, propane, table, wind shield out. Wiped down the door handles cuz they have store germs on them and we are making food, had a stock of clean wipes right there just for that.

      Good thing I sprung for the wind screen, it was very windy. Staying in the porch kept it manageable, but with the open grate on the table, it could’ve been too much.

      Out comes the pot we were making the meat in, and it’s the first time I’ve used the stove which is not ideal as a prepper, but it worked so that’s the test now.

      I hear a door slam close and the neighbor we don’t know is trotting down to his car. He leaves.

      I’ve never cooked ground beef so fast. Then in goes the seasoning,  beans and tomatoes. Turn down to a simmer and let it relax. This is maybe the fifth time I’ve ever cooked on gas, camp stove or house stove.

      It starts to bubble and it’s ready to go back inside.

      The stove is still very hot so I wait outside with it, as things often grow legs even in the porch.

      I see the neighbor come back. The has a fast food bag with him and he goes up and in. He probably had to use cash, the power outages always mess with the card things.

      I take the stove back in and bring all the other parts back in. It only took maybe 30 minutes to assess the situation, react and finish cooking dinner.

      The power turned back on, so we could have our Texas chili with cheese. We ate happily, and put the cheese away. The power went out again long enough for the food to cool so when it came back on later, we were able to put it in the fridge.

      It was very cool to have things work immediately and effectively. And we didn’t have to run out to buy food while groceries spoiled.

      I might need to catch up on my stress training cuz that was stressful, but we were pretty excited after the first bowl. I figure with the power supply issues coming in my area this summer, it’ll be a bit more of that with more fans

      • 5

        Nicely handled! And your mom knows how responsible and prepared you are as well.  With this experience, your confidence has increased and hopefully your stress will be less next time.  Another benefit of practicing.  I wonder what your neighbor learned if anything?  

      • 5

        That sounds like a good learning experience and I’m sure you were glad you were prepared.

      • 4

        I would like to add another I suppose victory to this.

        A bit back, we bought a pole saw for the 40V Ryobi kit we have, and with the issues of the current hospital being barely functional, I wanted to have a real, legit trauma kit on hand, at least sufficient for yard cleaning injuries, especially anything that could happen with the pole saw.

        The kit is inside a sewing tacklebox my mom had picked up for her own uses, before deciding it wasn’t for her. I was able to get a hold of it, disenfect it, and put in one fairly big order to a medical outfitter company and stocked it with most of the things I was sure would come in handy in anything larger than a cut. Bandages, tri folds, rolled gauze, compressed gauze cubes, wipes, dispostable tweezers to clean out wounds, a real CAT TQ.  Aspirin, as my cousin had recently caught the flu and had a stroke and heart attack, so just in case we were in the area and he had issues again.

        Anyways, the real victory came on the day of a family visit get together dining thing, I was getting dressed and went to go pull out my new fancy Kizer Harpoon knife out of the sheath to shave some fuzzies off a sock, and because of how the sheath is shaped and how I grabbed it, well. I put a big slice in my thumb. I spent 10 minutes over the sink with tissues, making sure it bled a bit to clean out just in case there was anything on my knife, which I’m glad to report has worked so far. Ended up getting it all over a lot of clean clothes, the sink of course, and went through a half box of tissue. Luckily didn’t hit anything important, can still move the thumb in all directions, no numbness.

        It was of course right before we were supposed to leave, so I’m running around, jamming more tissues on my thumb before I’m able to dig into the med kit and pull some butterfly closures. Used one set to pull it closed and it almost stopped the rest of the bleeding. Replaced those after a few minutes, then put on a fresh pair, wrapped it with some rolled gauze and paper tape and threw a nitrile over the whole thing because we had to go.

        It ended up only seeping a little bit at the party, but I kept forgetting about it and jammed it at least a dozen times.
        It was fully healed by the end of the next week, even while doing a lot of moving heavy stuff and using the pole saw to cut tree limbs down.

        No injuries happened while using the pole saw, except being literally attacked by dozens of flies, with one going up my nose, again.

        The cut was at least clean so it has healed really fast. It’s a little swollen, but in a “healing the hole” way and not “massive infection” way.

        I do not think it would’ve been easy to keep it closed and actually still somewhat useful at the party if I hadn’t built the kit, I used to just wrap stuff with paper towels and tape and this seemed much better. I think it could’ve used stitches, but it def saved a trip to get it fixed at a hot spot

      • 2

        I have some butterfly bandages, but never have used them. They sound like they saved the day for you, so that’s comforting to me that I have some. 

        Were you able to just sneeze out the fly or how did you get it out of your nose? YUCK!

      • 2

        I’m glad you’ve not needed the kit for the pole saw.  That could be tourniquet time.  Yikes.  The only time I’ve needed stitches or nearly needed stitches was when I was opening a swiss army knife or knocked a chef’s knife off the counter.   I feel your pain.  Having proper supplies makes all the difference.   With the swiss army knife, I thought it only pinched my finger and was shaking it saying Ow, ow, ow….  I slung blood all over the place so it looked like a horror movie to clean up.  With that and my husband’s consistent practice of cutting towards his non-dominant hand, we’ve used a fair amount of butterfly bandages.  Steri-strips are what is recommended in the FAK so they may be more versatile or easier to apply.  Glad you’re healing well.  

      • 3

        Another prep victory: my mom over paid some credit cards this month and since we only get money at the start of the month, we’re a bit short on money for the rest of the month.

        She had a bit of a melt down about being able to afford food, I went over and asked her what do we have in our stores? We started listing off the foods we have in the fridge, then the dried goods, like pasta, dried beans, noodles. Also just bought a large bag of rice.

        Then we go into the canned food, canned coconut milk, crushed tomatoes, more beans, veggies. Frozen meats, frozen veggies, the extra frozen ribs we have from the other month on sale. We have some basic vegetables like onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and an acorn squash.

        I have a fresh case of Soylent coming in to cycle through with the other two cases.

        After a few minutes of talking about it, it clicked that we had planned for this and actioned for it. It wouldn’t be the best food ever but it would be food.

        Plus dollar store food, plus we could always hit up the food pantry.

        She calmed down and understood that it’s fine. We’ll be fine.

        I was nonplussed about it because I knew we had food. I also make sure I keep my personal spare tire aired up for such issues.

        We also have some cash we’ve been keeping on hand, so that’s also a backup. We were very stressed out for a trip, and that kinda put things on edge, but then we were able to bring it back down with no issue

      • 3

        What a wonderful example of preps paying off! Glad you guys planned beforehand and have what you need. That most definitely is a prepping win!

    • 6

      I always keep spare cash in the car; a bag of mixed coins for parking and about £50 in notes for emergencies (this was the equivalent of filling the tank before fuel prices shot up). 

      One evening I stopped at the shop for a few items on the way home from work. I completely walked past the sign on the entry that said the electronic payment system was down and only found out when I got to the checkout! Luckily it wasn’t a full weekly shop and there weren’t many customers! I was able to run back to the car and grab my emergency cash to pay. 

      Also, just yesterday I had taken an elderly relative out for the day. At some point they caught their hand and started bleeding. Car FAK to the rescue! We weren’t near any useful shops so just as well we had everything on hand.

      • 6

        I leave $20 in my car too, but probably should up that with how much prices are going up. Thank you for the advice.

    • 8

      I have a mentally and physically disabled autistic adult daughter. She and I live in a rural desert community of about 2000 people. Nearest grocery store of a good size is about 50 miles one way. Our local store just carries the basics. Once I became aware of the pandemic ramping up, I started buying a bit extra of everyday items online, like paper towels, toilet paper, laundry soaps and bleach, wet wipes, canned foods, tetra pak milks, powdered eggs-fruit-butter-milk. I also bought extra supplies for my daughter, like pulls ups, bed pads, diaper rash meds, breathing machine masks, tubing and filters, nitrile gloves and paper masks. Because our town’s drinking water really sucks (heart of the Permian Basin oilfield country here) I also stocked up on jug water. Our water supply to the town does get turned off several times a year due to breakages in the lines, lightening strikes on equipment, etc. Cats and dog also got extra food socked away. ALL OF THE ABOVE I HAVE HAD TO USE due to shortages, lack of water here, shortages in my daughter’s medical supplies, grocery stores running out of needed items both in town and the surrounding towns. So in our case, prepping has now become routine as everything I gradually stockpiled (and continue to stockpile) has been dipped into just for daily living. If you had told me in late 2019 I would be living like I do now in 2022, I would have laughed at you. I am glad that I made the decision in early 2020 to start buying a bit extra on every shopping trip (then  I really began shopping hard online by summer 2020) because it has gotten us through rough patches when everyday basics just were not available in a several hundred mile radius of this town (and I have shared with my less fortunate neighbors, though I am about as broke as they are. Different priorities between our 2 families, I guess.)

      • 4

        That is certainly an on-going prepping victory.   It’s great that you’ve shared with neighbors.  Have any of them started using your prepping methods?

      • 5

        My neighbors I seem to “help” regularly (due to their children)–no. They don’t think there is any need to prepare for anything within a few days, much less the future or any “what–ifs”. I think i AM their backup plan lol.

        The lady who cuts my hair every few months : yes. She was fussing about always being short on items both food and non-food, so I showed her the various places both indoors and in my small outdoor shed where I squirrel away items and showed her what I buy and why. She went home, told her husband what she saw here, and they have begun creating a place to store their items they buy. Not just food but medical, blankets,  non-food goods. I told her it will take time but worth it in the end.

        My daughter’s other caretaker started copying me last year and said so much pressure of the shortages that others have been feeling and experiencing hasn’t happened much to her thanks to her planning ahead. She said that if she hadn’t watched me scour the internet, in places she hadn’t thought to look, she wouldn’t be as far ahead in her prepping as she is. Like me, living in this dinky town, she has faced ongoing shortages of daily living items, but now that she tries to plan ahead, it isn’t as bad as it could have been.

        Amazing what a little foresight can do to lift some of the stress and anxiety that is our new reality now.  

        And yes, this site has given ideas on which areas of prepping I may need to look at and other items I may need to consider adding to my stash (like fire blankets.)

      • 3

        Great that you have influenced others and started an informal prep support group.  I’m sure it helps you as well as them.  

      • 5

        And I’ve had friends admit their prepping plans are to come to my house.  I think they are only 90% joking.  

      • 3

        Lolol Yeah, I think that is my next door neighbor’s plan as well.

      • 3

        LOL! I get that from some of my co-workers too, that if anything goes sideways, they’re sticking with me. One of them has even seen what’s in my get home bag. Unfortunately for them, I can’t EDC everything we’d need as a group! 

      • 3

        It does. What one of us forgets or doesn’t consider, the others chime in. Others who know about what little bit of future cushioning  we are doing think we’re nuts 🙂 NUTS UNITE lol

      • 3

        Preaching tot the choir on this site.  We’re uniting here!  

    • 7

      Shortly before a guys’ trip to the countryside I splurged on a $75 first aid kit. To be honest I felt a little silly showing up prepared for armageddon. Two hours into the trip my buddy’s son gashes the bottom of his foot on a rock. He comes indoors leaving a trail of bloody footprints. I irrigate the wound, pick out the gravel, put on disinfectant and bandage him up. Next day he goes back in the water and reopens the wound. I fix him up again. I’m no medic, but the next best thing anyone else had brought was a box of bandaids. Since then I’ve read some first aid books and watched several videos on emergency first aid in the wilderness. Also beefed up my first aid kit with some extra pieces like the Israeli bandage (compression wound dressing). I feel good about not being entirely helpless should something happen.

      • 4

        You saved the day and the trip!  I think all of us who have been the only one prepared have had to face down that ‘feeling silly’ societal pressure of Normalcy Bias – “nothing will happen”.   These victories are the antidote! 🙂 I’m sure at least the Dad of that patient was grateful you were so ready.  Did you get any support or indication that they would include such preps in future?   Did anyone else learn the same lessons as you from the experience and doing the same thing you are?  

      • 1

        That is why we prep! And a $75 kit isn’t that expensive. I bet everyone thought you were a professional EMT with the way you handled things.

    • 5

      When the power went out for about 4 days here in Alaska I had a nice dual fuel generator NIB and lots of easy to make food and other essentials. We had a 3 day wind storm just after New Years that took roofs off of many houses and businesses. 100+ hour gusts at -40f° made repairing power lines virtually impossible. It was quite a show but I was glad to learn more about the some of stuff I had never used.

      #1 lesson learned is to keep fuel on hand/fuel ration because trying to drive in those conditions is truly terrifying.

      For what it is worth, I credit this site for its extensive knowledge for all to use.

      • 3

        Can’t even imagine losing your roof in the middle of -40 Alaska weather! 

        Do you have to do anything special to keep the generator working properly in those harsh conditions? I assume you have to go out every so often and make sure it’s clear of surrounding snow buildup.

      • 3

        12-photos-of-the-devastation-from-mat-sus-powerful-windstorm/ We are used to wind in the Matsu but the persistence and strength of this storm was remarkable!

        The generator worked well right outside my front door with extensions cords going under the door to run our garage heater and other things. My front porch has a bit of a wind break from a couple of angles so no snow build up thankfully. One side of the house got a massive berm though. The prevailing wind actually blew a lot of snow out to sea.

        I did learn that the valves of propane bottles seize up somewhere in the subzero range. I had to warm bring them inside and warm the propane bottles up to get the generator started. Also had to store the propane inside which is inconvenient/dangerous…

        In retrospect I learned a little bit about how events can and will happen at inopportune times when you may not feel up the task. My family was all aware that a winter storm was happening and that we would likely lose power. But with the festivities and libations of New Years Eve we essentially blew it off because we didn’t anticipate the duration. Then the power actually went out around 1-2am! Not a great time to try to react and think things thru. There were a few moves I could made a little earlier… all is well that ends well I suppose. But I learned that these kinds of events don’t follow a schedule.

      • 3

        Indeed, Matt in AK.  A key prepping skill is learning when to act and not be swayed by peer pressure or other circumstance.  Good lesson to learn.  

    • 1

      Update:  The body shop just got in the last part so they can start the repairs.  Supply chain delay of 3 months.  I’ve heard of worse…. 

      • 1

        That’s great that you finally can get your car together soon. Do you mind me asking what kind of car you have? Is it a common car like a Honda Accord or a Jeep Wrangler, or something more unique and uncommon? I wonder if the more common cars have more parts available and are quicker to fix.

      • 2

        It’s a 2017 Kia Niro hybrid – the first year of that model.   They changed the fog lights in the bumpers in 2020 or 21.   So not exotic, but also not the most common model out there.  

    • 4

      I got one!

      This weekend I participated in an iconic long-distance running relay. During the 36 hours we spent getting from the tree line of a large volcanic peak to a broad sandy beach, I:

      1. Provided the team with a 7 gallon aquatainer for our water needs.
      2. Had a battery bar and compatible charging cord available for everyone’s phone and GPS watch outages, whenever anyone needed a charge.
      3. Gave a tsunami evacuation safety briefing as we approached the finish, including which bridges in town were seismically hardened and would allow us to get across the two creeks between us and high ground, and handed out evacuation maps to my teammates. (Bonus: They all seemed to think this was funny and cute, as opposed to morbid and paranoid.)

      With respect to #3, the finish line party is surrounded by a giant fence, so basically we were about to be a bunch of sore, exhausted drunk people roasting in a cage on the beach. I really cannot overemphasize how difficult it is to get six people in this condition to do anything quickly or in a coordinated fashion, so I really felt like we needed a solid emergency plan. Fortunately, the subduction zone held, and we all made it home in one piece.

      Relay details withheld for satirical OpSec, since anyone who reads this will probably know exactly what I’m talking about. 😀 (Also: Hard endorse on this event.)

      • 2

        Well it sounds like if the subduction zone had NOT held, at least you all would have gone down happy! 🥳

      • 2

        Good point, M.E.! 😀

    • 2

      Thanks for sharing such a great scenario/example, especially more of an “everyday” one! Glad you’re okay.

    • 4

      I was able to jump our only car with a pocket jumper. So glad that I charge things when they come out of the box and keep on top of keeping things charged. It was handy, for sure, and saved a ton of time.

      • 1

        I’ve found a flat spare tire when I needed it.  Way to keep on top of your charging.  It was there when you needed it.  Congrats!

      • 1

        My friend was going to visit me last week and I hadn’t heard from him in a while so I checked in and found out that his truck battery had died from a job he was working and he was stranded. 

        He finally made it to me and I asked how he got going again. He first requested the help of a little compact car to jump start him but the small car’s battery and alternator just weren’t powerful enough to jump it. He ended up calling a tow company who came out and used one of these pocket jumpers in addition to connecting directly to the tow truck. He learned that day that he had two batteries in his truck that needed jumped. So maybe I’ll gift him two pocket jumpers for Christmas this year so this doesn’t happen again.

      • 2

        Great gift idea!  And I learned that even the dealer mechanics don’t always know the insides of a vehicle.  I ended up towing my car to the dealer because it is a hybrid without an obvious place to jump it and it was a total non-responsive brick.  The mechanics said it had a small battery in the back, but not this model.  They were stumped until they called in the one knowledgeable guy.   

      • 1

        What sort of pocket jumper do you have?  Do you recall where you got it?  Thanks

      • 2

        One of the people here at TP has The Zeus by Uncharted Supply Co. and says it saved the day for them when their car died in a very remote area.

      • 4
      • 2

        I got mine at Costco.  Can’t recall the make/model.  

      • 3

        For those in Oz, mine is a Kings Jump Start Pack. The battery was full when I received from the supplier, and was still full three months later during my March prep review. I’m due for another prep review this month, so we’ll see how it fares after six months (technically nine, I guess) of inactivity.

    • 5

      When I had small children I learned very quickly about the importance of prepping for barf incidents in the car or while out. So I put together a very basic but effective emergency barf kit. This is just a bag that contains 3-4 smaller plastic garbage bags, some pilfered airplane barf bags, a package of wet wipes, two bottles of water, a travel bottle of mouthwash, and a roll of paper towels. It sits in the back seat and I always replenish it.

      It has come in handy a couple of times when one of my kids or their friends have gotten sick. I’ve had no nasty messes to clean up, and at least one parent has expressed their awe at such a simple idea. I know this is hardly disaster-related, but it definitely reduces the gross factor and the significant cleanup time and money costs. More dignified for the kid too.

      • 2

        You sure know how to drum up old memories…

        The time when my sister puked all over the back seat of my uncle’s brand new car. … Barfing in a Walmart grocery sack that we were using as our trash bag on a road trip and barf leaking out of the small holes at the bottom … good… I mean bad times…

        That’s great that you include some small mouthwash and bottles of water. I used to throw up a lot as a kid until I read that the barf is stomach contents and the acid that is used to dissolve that contents. After that I developed an iron stomach because I was worried about the acid melting my teeth when I threw up. Being able to rinse that off your teeth not only feels better but probably does save your enamel.

      • 4

        Great thinking, Frozen22.  It’s this sort of prep that we tend to overlook or dismiss out of hand.  What a great help for both you and the patient.  And it is something that remains a good idea for adults in carsick inducing mountain drives or alcohol drinking binges.   Also, knowing there is a discreet or on-demand option may shorten the suffering. 

        The biffy bag in my glovebox could serve for this as well.  It comes with some paper, wet wipe and a sealing bag for the smelly result.  I can attest to personal experience that it does indeed seal out odors.  I’ll add some mouthwash strips or mints with it to keep it small, flat and stowable. Thanks for the shared lesson.  

    • 6

      I just had another tiny, tiny prepping victory but those tiny ones are so satisfying. The heating element in our oven broke, which resulted in a series of unfortunate events that made the entire stove and cooktop unusable.  The other members of my household were freaking out about how we were going to cook our already shopped-for planned meals for the next few days when I was able to offer them ample choices.  Solar oven? Solo Stove? Charcoal grill?  Alcohol stove? Thermal pot? 

      Ultimately they decided to just use our toaster oven and InstaPot (which worked remarkably well) but the sheer joy of having all those other choices was magical.  I do think having to consider them helped shake them out of the focus on “the usual way of doing things”, and I think it was comforting to them to know that we would indeed be fine without a conventional stove for an extensive period of time.  

      • 2

        Whoo Hooo!  Even if they don’t use them, they know now that you could handle a no-power situation or worse.  

      • 2

        Redundancies upon redundancies upon redun… You sure are prepared!

        Do you think you are able to replace the heating element or does the entire oven need to be replaced?

    • 4

      We may have a prepping payoff sometime today!  Winds could gust in the 65 mph range as a “jet streak” hits us during this “atmospheric river” event.  We tend to get 2X the amount of rain as PDX so that could put us in the 4-6″ category over the next 24 or so hours.  That all adds up to be a major weather event for our area!

      The worst is expected to hit later this afternoon, so I’ll be going out to bring in a few things from the outbuildings; jugs of water, some food out of the freezers so I don’t have to open doors after the power’s out.  I have a quantity of ice in one freezer in case we need it for refrigerated food.

      Batteries in the lanterns, fixed a colicky Aladdin lamp, wood box is full of firewood, lots of different cooking options and fuel, Carbon Monoxide sniffer on hand, horses are ready for whatever comes.  Husband fired up the generators yesterday, all good.

      We went from summer to winter without fall.  I kind of look forward to the odd “adventure” but I do truly hate wind.  Scared to death walking under the trees to get to the barn!

      • 2

        Be careful out there! It sounds like you are well-prepared.

        I’m a little jealous of your PNW winter. I will miss that— though perhaps not the wind. I agree that it’s scary!

      • 2

        How did it turn out for you?  I hope all the preps were unnecessary, but you were ready!

    • 3

      Here’s a few small ones from the last couple of weeks in my household, as we’ve been moving from the PNW back to the Bay:

      1. Learned the hard way that my dog (who had a small skin tag removed while he was under general anesthesia for a dental cleaning) doesn’t tolerate a cone very well. Fortunately I have large quantities of gauze and vet wrap and have been able to replace the dressings given to him at the vet hospital every day, even though this all happened mostly after the house (including most of our home medical supplies) was already packed. The supplies from his DFAK (which I keep in the trunk of my car) and mini-DFAK (which I keep in his BOB) have tided us over.

      2. Had chains in the car when forecast said snow on Siskiyou Pass (fortunately the road stayed clear and we did not need them, though it was snowing like crazy on the pass and through to about Weed).

      3. Definitely used my multitool to cut the last of our PNW backyard tomatoes yesterday, since the truck isn’t here yet.

      I feel like there have probably been some others, but these are the small victories I can remember at the moment!

      • 3

        I hope your dog is better now.  I can’t say I would like a cone either.  Good for you to a) check the forecast and b) have the chains when you’ve packed to move.  Both easy to miss.  

    • 5

      In case ya’ll didn’t notice, this specific thread was shown on tonight’s 60 Minutes episode! 

      • 2

        I was trying to see which one it was! Thanks for telling us!

      • 5

        60M forum

      • 3

        Wow!   I’ve not caught it yet on Paramount+.  I’ve heard the reviews though – so encouraging.  Congrats, John!

    • 6

      My very first post here! I’ve been a prepper since the 70s, and the covid 19 mess was my moment. I’m at extreme risk due to a medical condition….and I didn’t have to leave my home for 2 years for anything! My wife, who had a times questioned my prepping purpose, said one day to me…”thank God for that pantry full of stuff you put away, we never ran out of anything or did without”. Nuff Said!

      • 3

        I wasn’t nearly as prepared as you, but did have some stuff stockpiled that I was able to tap into during the pandemic. When shelves were bare and panic buying was rampant, it was also nice to know that I didn’t have to buy that box of cereal and could leave it for someone else. Welcome to the site by the way!

      • 3

        thank you!

      • 4

        Another good thing about the covid mess ( if there can BE a good thing) is that it allowed me to use up some things reaching the end of their useful shelf life and restock with fresh items. First in, first out!

      • 3

        The first in first out method is definitely a great way to keep your preps fresh and to make sure you aren’t eating that bulging can of spam that’s way past it’s expiration date. 

        Welcome to the site Steve! Looking forward to learning from you.

      • 3

        Welcome!  This is a double victory – that it worked out so well for you and got your wife fully on-board.  I can identify with that latter one.  My husband has always been supportive of my prepping purpose (I like your term), but now is a believer.  

    • 3

      I keep a bunch of supplies and tools in my trunk – pays off often! I’m always ready to help someone fix something!

      • 2

        And they learn of prepping too. 👍

    • 4

      Had a small victory yesterday.  High winds took out our power around 4am.  Headlamps in our night stands enabled easy mobility for our before dawn morning activites.  In our home, water and gas still works in a power outage. We had a gas stove to make tea and breakfast or could on the propane grill.  BUT, I learned that the battery backup that we have for the tankless water heater has failed.  It works only when connected to wall power.  Totally non-working when power is off.  So either a cold shower (husband’s option) or boil your own (mine).   Overall a lesson, because if the outage had lasted more than the 10 hours it did, we would need to address the freezers.  

      • 2

        Great job being prepared! Everyone should have a light source near their bed. 

        Is there something you can do to power the thankless water heater during an outage?

      • 2

        Yes, it’s gas so only needs a battery backup to run the igniter and internal fan.  The controller electronics require clean sine wave signal so it had to be one of the more expensive ones.  It would last for a few hours when powered on only for showers – which was a fair number of showers.  One lesson I learned from this outage is that it must be fully tested  – unplugged and verified it still powered a load.  It looks fully normal when powered.    The other lesson is that I think it got too dusty for it in our garage so I need to store plugged in somewhere inside until needed.