The Independent (TI): Thanks for stopping by, Bernie. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Bernie Carr (BC): I became serious about preparedness after experiencing my first hurricane: Hurricane Ike. I found myself in long lines at the gas station the day before the hurricane and witnessed empty shelves at the grocery store. After the hurricane, we had an extended power outage, and trucks were unable to make their grocery deliveries. We stood in lines just to get into the grocery store, only to find half the shelves were still empty. I decided to learn about being prepared for any other emergency that may come along. I started reading preparedness blogs but found many of them to be suited for homeowners who have lots of space for supplies.
I started writing Apartment Prepper in my spare time to help other apartment dwellers who are getting started with prepping.
TI: Your site focuses on preparedness in an apartment setting, specifically; do you take different approach than other sites to accomplish this?
BC: I recommend that new preppers start slow and assess what they have before jumping in. There is a lot of emphasis on going out and buying a lot of emergency supplies and that can be overwhelming to many people.
I recognize that preparing in an apartment has a lot of challenges in terms of space and what you can do within the lease. For example, I was initially discouraged when I began prepping that I can never find enough room in our apartment to accommodate emergency supplies. I also felt there were limitations as far as what the lease allows: Most apartments do not allow tenants to make changes such as extra locks on doors, generators or even barbecues on the patio. These obstacles can be overcome by using creativity
Anyone can start their preparedness efforts with a small budget, even $5 per week will do, and building from there. When I do product and book reviews, I evaluate them from the standpoint of someone who does not have a lot of space, time or money to allocate to preparedness.
TI: Tell us about your book, the Prepper's Pocket Guide, and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget.
BC: Prepper's Pocket Guide is written for beginning preppers. The book discusses simple ways to prepare, with doable projects that anyone can do, taking small steps at a time.
How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget is an e-book I wrote for the budget conscious prepper. I receive many emails from readers who are concerned about finances and feel overwhelmed about expenses. So I decided to write a low-priced e-book ($2.99) that shows ways to become prepared in easy, affordable steps.
TI: What are the three most important things people can do to improve their chances of surviving a disaster, man-made or otherwise?
1. Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of everything that is going on around you. All too often, people are wrapped up in their cell phone conversation, texting or multi-tasking in their head that they fail to sense danger.
2. When starting to prepare, make sure your basic needs are covered: water, food, shelter, light/heat, sanitation, first aid, defense, etc.
3. Acquiring skills is just as important as supplies: Learn first aid, fire safety, cooking, gardening, self defense etc. You can have all the latest gadgets, but if you get stranded somewhere far from your stuff, knowledge about survival will help you get through a difficult situation.
TI: Are there any scenarios that people should be preparing specifically for?
BC: I recommend preparing specifically for the most likely disasters in your area. If your area is prone to hurricanes, then you definitely need to prepare for hurricanes and the resulting power outages.
I also recommend preparing yourself financially, not just because of our ailing economy but because anyone can suffer a job loss, which is a personal economic disaster in itself.
TI: Anything you’d like to add before we go?
BC: I would encourage everyone to become prepared. Focus on what you can do, instead of things you can't. Take small steps but do it consistently.