A Story of a Prepper

When we’re young and living with our parents, we’re used to so many things being done for us. Many things come automatic – kitchen shelves go replenished once empty, food is served on the table come meal time, and generally most of our needs are met without us even speaking a word.

Whether we admit it or not, we only begin to see the need to think for ourselves when we finally leave the nest. Once we manage our own homes, we begin to appreciate more deeply the thinking and preparation done for us.

I started to become a prepper, aka a grownup girl scout, when my husband and I lived in a condo. When no one else will think and do things for me, I had to step up and be a co-homemaker with my husband. 

As a full-time mom and housewife in Hong Kong, expect me to join the scheduled fire drills in our condo. Our unit wasn’t on the first floor, so I always thought about how we are going to escape the building once fire breaks out in the lower floors. As a mom, I played out different scenarios in my head and tried to think of ways to save my son should an emergency happen.

Fast forward to when we were finally building our home here in the Philippines: I was surprised to know that we will not be granted our homeowner’s permit without having a fire extinguisher at home. I was surprised to know it was even a requirement! I thought, if it was a requirement for a permit, then why is a fire extinguisher not a must in every Filipino home? I don’t remember having a fire extinguisher at home when I was young. All I know was that we could always call for our firefighters’ help.

Sadly, when huge fires break out here in the Philippines, most of the time we put the blame on the firefighters’ response to the situation. We calculate how long it took them to get to the place. We repeatedly say that had they arrived earlier, the situation could have been easily solved.

But in any of those cases, we never talked about not having a fire extinguisher at home. If our homes were only equipped with one (or more), then we could have at least helped in our power. 

It’s very much like having a first aid kit in your bag or at home. The first aid kit was never meant to treat in a huge scale. In many cases, it was only meant to provide immediate treatment while waiting for medical professionals, if there’s a need. (Now that we’re at this point, let me ask this too: do you at least have a first aid kit at home?)

Because my kids still co-sleep with us, my husband and I made sure that our bedside tables are prepared for emergencies too. I have two fire blankets in my drawer, while he has three in his. We also have fire extinguishing balls. Our bathrooms are also equipped with fire blankets, just in case an emergency happens while we are taking a bath. We also made sure that our vehicles have their own fire extinguishers, properly stored and secured.   

Everything that we allow to enter in our homes must be given proper attention and tender loving care. The same is true with our fire blankets and fire extinguishers! Here are some tips on their proper use and storage:

  • Dispose your fire blankets properly after use, as they are designed for one-time use only. They may not be as effective when used the second time. 
  • Turn your fire extinguisher upside down for a few seconds every week. This will help release pressure, and prevent the powder content from becoming compact. 
  • Elevate your fire extinguishers at least four inches from the floor, to avoid hardening of content due to the concrete or flooring’s temperature. 
  • Mount your fire extinguisher on your wall if you prefer, but remember: the heavier the fire extinguisher, the closer it should be on the floor. You should be able to access it with the least amount of effort required. 

Having these items in our homes without knowing how to properly take care of them defeats their purpose in case of emergency. It’s always best to be a prepared and mindful homemaker!

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as being overprepared. As a mom, I always pray that we would never have to use our fire extinguishers and fire blankets in our lifetime. I always pray for our safety and protection, most especially for my kids. 

Now that we still spend most of our time at home, I think it’s the best time to study and inspect what our home really needs, provide it now if we can, and save up for it if we still can’t. There are pieces of advice and information we take for granted because we don’t think we need them yet. But that’s exactly the point of preparation. You do it now, so you don’t regret later.

You don’t necessarily have to be a parent or the oldest person in your home to prepare yourself, your household, and your home. Just like what I always say, you only need to embrace homemaking – because whatever age or status in life you’re in, you are a homemaker. 

Stay safe and neat, everyone!