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#152199 - 10/17/08 03:10 PM Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long)
Jesselp Offline
What's Next?

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 263
Loc: New York
Hi folks!

Those of you who have read my past posts know that I currently live in a 100+ year old brownstone in Brooklyn, NY. I share my home with my wife and two sons, ages 2 years and 5 months. My preps to date have consisted of making sure I could get home from my office in mid-town Manhattan, and then shelter in place at home with the family. I believe I have reasonable supplies at home to feed, entertain, defend, and keep healthy all four of us. Of course, there's always room for improvement!

All of the above is about to change. In about four weeks I will be moving into a new (to me) home on the south shore of Long Island actually, on a barrier island just off the coast of Long Island. My commute will not actually increase in time substantially (the Long Island Railroad is much faster than the NYC subway) but the walk home in a blackout or other "situation" will increase from about six miles to about 21. Additionally, we are bringing an additional person into our household an au pair. She is arriving from Finland next month and will be living with us, studying, and helping to take care of the kids. Obviously, this move is going to cause me to rethink my prepping. I'd appreciate any suggestions.

Issue 1: Getting Home
Getting home to my kids is my primary goal in any emergency. As I noted above, getting home without public transportation will be much more of a challenge than it is now. It seems to me I need to beef up the supplies that I keep at my office so that I will be more able to walk home if I need to. I will also need to re-think my communications plan, as realistically I don't think I'd begin a 20 mile walk home anytime later in the day than the early afternoon. My wife works a few blocks from me, so we'd obviously like to meet up if possible to make our decisions together. We don't lack places to stay in Manhattan if we needed to, but we'd need to get word to the au pair to let her know our plans. What supplies do people think could reasonably be kept in an office space that would make communicating with family and then getting home over a 20-mile distance during a power or transit disruption easier? Anyone else work in Manhattan and need to make plans on getting out to Nassau County? What have you done?

Issue 2: Staying Home
When the family lived in Brooklyn, it would have taken an awful lot to get us to bug out. Like many others, I simply don't think that bugging out from the NY Metro area is realistic. However, I will now be living on a barrier island in the Atlantic one that is predicted to be under 20 feet of water should a major hurricane come through. In some ways, this makes things easy. The decision tree is very simple: Hurricane coming = us going. On the other hand, I never really gave much thought to bug out logistics before. We have three options for destinations Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Catskill region. The latter is the most appealing for a wide variety of reasons, but furthest away. Unfortunately, getting anywhere from Long Island requires driving through New York City not a great option in an emergency. I've always been wary of living on barrier islands, but the opportunity to live in this house is too good to pass up (read, it's very cheap for two years while we weather the current economy and save some money while helping a family member to pay her over-extended mortgage).

I'll need to increase the amount of stored food I keep on hand, as we will have the au pair to feed (and as the kids get bigger, they eat much more!), and I need to build up an emergency water supply as I do not trust the Nassau County water supply nearly as much as I did the NYC water supply.

Issue 3: Other Issues I'm Not Thinking Of
I've never lived in the suburbs before, so I'm sure I'm missing something. What should I be thinking about that I'm missing?

A side issue: I'll need to purchase a second vehicle. Our current car is a Subaru Outback and it serves our needs well. The second car will be primarily used to drive to the train station about ten minutes each way. Would you go with a small gas-sipping car, or try and get a deal on a mid-sized, crew cab truck? I think the truck would be quite useful for hauling stuff on weekends and could probably be picked up cheaper than usual in today's environment. It will burn more fuel, but the commute is short so I'm not sure it amounts to much. Thoughts?

I'm actually very excited about the move. We'll have much more space, and we're only 2 blocks from the beach, which will be great in the summer! Additionally, there's a volunteer rescue squad in the town which I look forward to getting involved in my EMT certification lapsed after college as I've always lived in big cities without an opportunity volunteer, and it's something I miss doing.

I look forward to your responses.
A blog about adventure
in and around New York

#152203 - 10/17/08 03:49 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: ]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2396
Many good questions here:

getting home -- If you can stash a bike ( folding?) for each of you, suddenly 21 miles is an easy 4 hour ride. Otherwise, the usual considerations; walking shoes, map, water. ( or just a plan to stay put till you can get decent transportation.)

communications - 1. getting in touch with your wife. your plan should include land lines, then one of you going to the location of the other. 2. reaching home -- landlines, then computer ( email) then ham gear?

Home prep -- this starts with CLEAR instructions to your au pair. As in " stay in the house unless X" In that case use X to go to X. Here is a list of friends and family.

#152204 - 10/17/08 03:57 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: ]
Yuccahead Offline

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
After first reading you post, one thing popped into my head. Why walk 20 miles? Ride a bike instead. I know space is always at a premium in Manhattan (I have a brother that lives there) but you might be able to find some way to stash away 2 beater bikes so you could ride home instead of walk.

-oops, was putting my post together when the prior post was submitted....

Edited by Yuccahead (10/17/08 03:58 PM)
-- David.

#152208 - 10/17/08 04:16 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: Yuccahead]
Henry_Porter Offline

Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 111
Several nice folding bikes are readily available in the U.S. these days.

Designed by Brooklyn-based Peter Reich, the Swift folder is now sold under the Xootr brand:


You can see examples of panniers and racks on folders on their site. New bikes still give me sticker shock although I understand the industry. I guess my wallet is stuck in 1977 and I know how good an old, discarded steel bike can be.

An inexpensive beater would be ideal if you have room to store them at work.

#152211 - 10/17/08 04:22 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: Jesselp]
pforeman Offline

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 124
Loc: Iowa
Congratulations on the "new" home and your move! I think a lot of the ideas already listed are very good - the bike is really good. Another thought comes to my mind that goes beyond your questions and is back to the very first word in your post: "Moving".

Is there something like a wiring upgrade that you can do prior to moving in? Can some pre-move modifications to a room in the new house create a "safe room" or a storage area for your emergency supplies? I often look around our home, which we built from scratch, and wish I had done this or that when we were building. I did route extra wires and communications lines and have some nice little touches we did but wish I had done more before we settled in.

Get the family to pitch in on the brainstorming and they will come up with more ideas too I will bet. All said and done, I would also consider your idea of the second car being a truck to be very good. The Outback is great and I like them a lot but a pickup with an open bed has a lot of use. You should be able to get a good buy on one, maybe even a 4x4. You would then be able to consider adding a camper shell or even fully decked out camper to the truck as a way of improving it for bugging out. You could live in it as an emergency measure while traveling and you could maybe store the camper and use the open-bed truck for lots of other things. Keep thinking and you'll figure out what's best for your situation and needs.

Paul in MN -

#152213 - 10/17/08 04:25 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: Yuccahead]
KG2V Offline


Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
LIRR? Hahahahaaha - Oh, That's funny. My wife takes the LIRR, and I used to, and we are on one of the more reliable branches

The LIRR runs late/cancels trains all the time. Here are some of the reasons I've heard

Too Cold (winter)
Too Hot (summer)
It's spring, so the trees are dropping sap on the rails (spring)
There are leaves on the rails (fall)
It's raining (well, yeah, that happens)
It's snowing
The sun is shining in the motormans eyes

I haven't heard of an excuse (other than equipment or signal problems) that they can use on a mild, dry, overcast day - but the trains still run late/are canceled

One of the Barrier Beaches? The Rockaways? Remember, they get flooding even in non hurricanes - Winter Noreasters, days with a good onshore wind

The good thing, believe it or not, is that the subway can usually get you to Jamacia, and there is a huge bus hub there - the RR will often provide buses from there, but also plan out alternates, and things like where someone with a car can meet you

Pack a snack, a bottle of water, and if you really want to - a scanner covering LIRR chanels 1-4 (and the police frqs if you want) - you can often get enough info to "beat the crowd" by paying attention
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

#152217 - 10/17/08 04:55 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: Jesselp]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Some thoughts:
1. Get to know your neighbors. Not just on either side of you but up and down the street and behind you. They might be sources of help or sources of misery, but it's good to know in advance.

2. Buy the truck. You can get one cheap now and gas prices are coming down. The usefulness of a truck is blows away SUV and regular cars.

3. Get a dog.

4. You siad you plan on being in the house for two years. Than what happpens? Do you know if you move into a another house or will your return to the city? That affects what long-term preps you make.

5. Water. Izzy suggested a well but is that an option on a barrier island? Aren't they just a big pile of sand? The Sportsman's Guide sells a hand-pumped reverse-osmosis desalinator for life rafts for under $800. It might be something to think about if you have the money.

6. Communication - ham radio or else just hope the phone lines/cell phones/text messaging works. Then again, a carrier pigeon might work. grin

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#152218 - 10/17/08 05:01 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: Blast]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
Ha, I immeadietly though of a folding bike as well.
HAM licenses aren't a bad idea either - those small ones are easily stashed in a purse or bag of some sort so you and your wife could communicate. You'd have to scope out reliability in the city canyons though.
Got an Au Pair that is survival minded?

#152225 - 10/17/08 05:56 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: Jesselp]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 788
Loc: wellington, fl
Not sure that a well is useful on a barrier island. Fresh water floats on salt, but still....consider perhaps a desalinator . How about marine evacuation to NJ? Or is evacuating to NJ in a disaster an oxymoron? You could use your new truck to go to the north shore with your new boat, and cross LI Sound to Connecticut-(another oxymoron?). For Hurricane evac, it might be more sensible to either leave really early and go to the Catskills, or plan on staying on the island and moving inland to public shelters. LI is a big damn island, and generations of my Van Brunt ancestors weathered the storms in Southampton (except for the branch of the family that went down with the CC Colgate.. Should be some really fine beach-combing on the south shore; in Chicago, dumpster diving is the closest I can come to beach combing...
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

#152226 - 10/17/08 06:04 PM Re: Moving - Need To Rethink Preps (Long) [Re: ]
Jesselp Offline
What's Next?

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 263
Loc: New York
<Au Pair, huh? Swanky. Reminds me of my childhood. Ms. Kukyendall was German, though. Lol.>

Believe it or not, bringing an au pair over to live with our family is the least expensive (legal) childcare option we could find. Sure, we could pay someone cash under the table for less (and many of our friends do) but since I pay my taxes, I feel my employees should too.

Our au pair is coming from Finland, and seems quite nice and excited with good experience.

Staying put for a hurricane is not an option. I have read the emergency planning documents and scenarios, and the forcast is for 20 feet of water over our house. I'm not putting my two kids into that kind of risk.

I don't think a well is an option, as the island is just a big sand bar, but who knows. I think a generator is definately in our future, however, as is some stored gasoline.

Thanks for the ideas. We don't have any acreage to speak of, but we will have a small yard and a garage, and that seems good to me!
A blog about adventure
in and around New York

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