1. Please introduce yourself.
I am Bernie Carr, and I write Apartment Prepper, a blog about family preparedness in an apartment setting.
I’ve also written a few books, The Prepper’s Pocket Guide, 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, and an e-book, How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget.
2. What’s the story behind your site?
Apartment Prepper started out as a blog to chronicle my journey to prepare to a disaster.
In September, 2008, I experienced my first hurricane, when Hurricane Ike swept across Houston and cause a lot of damage and flooding.
The day before the hurricane was predicted to reach land, I left work early to get a few supplies.
When I arrived at the supermarket, I discovered everyone had the same idea, with wall to wall shopping carts bumping against each other, and the shelves were nearly empty.
I grabbed the last 12-pack of toilet paper. There were long lines at the checkout. The line to get gas snaked around the block. I thought to myself, “I have got to make sure I am well stocked so I would never have to do this again.
“When the hurricane hit, we lost power for a few days.
Due to flooding, the trucks were unable to make deliveries to the markets. When it was safe to venture out, we went to the grocery store and there was a line just to enter.
The shelves were emptied out; there was no dairy or fresh foods anywhere. I asked the store manager whether they had any stocks in “the backroom” and he explained they only stock two to three days worth of items, as this is how long it takes between truck deliveries, called “just in time” shipping.
Learning about this strengthened my resolve to not have to go through this again.
I worried what the next disaster would bring. I started researching online and found most of the websites at the time described having a retreat in woods, with tons of space. I felt ill-equipped living in a small apartment but decided to prepare anyway.
I thought there must be a few people out there living in small spaces that may be interested in preparing for an emergency, so I started the Apartment Prepper blog. After a few weeks of writing, I felt encouraged by the positive response from readers.
3. What are the most important things when preparing your home for a natural hazard?
For a natural disaster, focus on supplies to get you through 4-7 days of loss of utilities:
- Water: Fill up the bathtub before the anticipated emergency. Have 1 gallon per person per day to cover 7 days, and a backup water filter
- Food: Easy to prepare foods such as canned food and can opener, crackers, cereal, snacks – foods that the family eats on a regular basis
- Backup ways to cook food: camp stove
- Emergency lighting: flashlights, lanterns, candles, matches or lighter etc
- Communication: charged up cell phone, weather radio, solar charger
I also recommend a well stocked first aid kit including prescription medicines, extra glasses, contact lenses, and entertainment options such as board games, playing cards and books.
Keep extra supplies for infants such as formula, disposable diapers, wipes. If you have pets, they would need extra pet food and any pet medications.
4. What are the most important tools to have in your garage?
Due to space issues, many apartment dwellers do not keep a lot of tools, but I recommend having a few tools to make repairs around the house: multi-tool that combines a screwdriver, pliers, knives can be essential for doing emergency fixes around the unit, tarp, duct tape, paracord.
5. What is your favorite multi tool and why?
I still like my Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker Knife. I’ve had it for years, and has never failed me.
6. What should a survival backpack contain?
- Water, Water Purifier
- Extra Clothes
- Comfortable Shoes
- Map and compass
- First Aid kit
- Sleeping Bag
- Cooking and Eating Utensils
- Stove and Firestarting materials
- Toilet Paper
- Pocketknife and Other Tools
- Communication: cell phone/ solar charger, crank radio will help you stay connected.
Other useful items Sunglasses, sunscreen, and wide-brimmed hat are all useful sun protection, insect repellant, soap, toothbrush, rain gear, paracord, duct tape, plastic bags, deck of cards.
7. Give us 5 main tips on preparing our homes for a hurricane.
This recent article outlines tips to prepare for a hurricane.
8. Please tell us a little more about your book “The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster”.
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide is about easy, basic steps anyone can take to prepare for an emergency.
It is written for beginners who have realized the need to prepare and would like to take the first steps but also may also feel they are short on time and money.
9. What is your favorite survival online community?
Of course I spend the most time on Apartment Prepper, we have a great group of readers.
I belong to The Prepared Bloggers group on Facebook.
It’s a group of preparedness/survival/homesteading bloggers who have joined together and share ideas and expertise.
I also participate in Twitter discussions – #preppertalk.
10. A message for your readers and fans.
Please check out my latest book, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure. It’s a children’s book: Jake and his dog Miller get ready for a grand adventure but Miller is scared of a few things.
Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure shows kids it’s fun to be prepared. It is geared toward very small children who may not understand all the reasons to be prepared but have fears of their own.
Please visit Jake and Miller’s Facebook.
I also wrote How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget for people who want to get started preparing but have limited funds.
If you are just starting out, don’t let lack of space or lack of money keep you from being prepared.
Do just a little bit at a time: a few dollars a week, choose to learn one skill a month – in no time, you will a lot farther along than you thought.
Just keep preparing and do it consistently.