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#198631 - 03/22/10 03:10 AM Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller
spuddate Offline

Registered: 11/27/05
Posts: 37
Loc: Southern California
Due to divorce, I will soon be living in an apartment. (Wife gets the car and house, so I can get half time custody of my son, who is 15 years old.) I will have a BOB for myself and my son, but it will be hard to store my usual three weeks of food. I am particularly concerned with storing water. Two questions:

1) Any ideas on how to store water in an apartment? Can't use my 55 gal drums anymore.

2) Anyone have a favorite recipe for canned meats, such as canned chicken?


#198635 - 03/22/10 03:48 AM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: spuddate]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Water storage: If the apartment has a dedicated water heater you will have its contents, typically twenty to thirty gallons, on hand. The toilet tank is another source, typically five gallons. Assuming there is some warning so you have time to store water you can store what you need. There are purpose-made plastic bags that can be laid down in the tub or shower and filed to store even more. A large garbage bag, would do much the same thing. Make sure the bag isn't one that is perfumed.

Getting to it: Drawing water off a water heater or filling a bag is much easier if you have a hose set up for the job. A six foot length of garden hose is fine and the drain tap on the water heater should fit the standard female hose end. Filling a bag is easiest if you unscrew the aerator from the sink or shower head from the shower and connect up the hose. You will need to have fittings on hand to make the connections. The guy at the plumbing department of the hardware store can fix you up with what you need. The connections are all standard sizes. These parts are available in inexpensive plastic that work well. While your there get a small pair of pump pliers, 6" or 7" will do, to remove the head or aerator and snug up the connections.

I would invest in a simple flat-bar type pry bar. A 16" or 18" model, about $10, could come in handy. In an earthquake the building can shift and jam doors shut. With a flat-bar you can lever any doors or windows open and get to your gear or son and escape the building. Consider getting a couple so you have one on the side of the wall you end up on.

Flat-bar types are particularly effective because they are thin and once inserted can be rotated laterally to multiply your effort. Being cheap is good also. They are also handy for many other survival uses, like digging through mixed rubble. IMHO no urban survival kit is complete without one.

I would check into apartment insurance. Without it if the place burns your out everything. Also make sure all your important papers are in one spot and ready to go. A sturdy waterproof container is good.

#198636 - 03/22/10 04:01 AM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: spuddate]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
I use thr 5 gallon blue cube containers from Wallyworld, and my rather extensive collection of Nalgenes is stored filled with water if nothing else is in them.

As for canned meat, I made this up earlier today and I'll make several meals through the week:

Cook up some pasta, a big batch (I use two bags of Barilla tortellini). Drain. Toss with one can of flaked ham and vegetables that are cooked but still have body (I used a bag of mixed frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots). Add a good handful of shredded cheese and either butter with garlic and onion and whateveter else strikes your fancy, or a healthy dose of italian dressing. Mix well.

As I said, I'll make three or four meals of this. Also works with chicken, turkey and (ugh) tuna.

Or just a can of ham with a can of beans poured over it, nuked until hot. Serves one.

Or one can of soup. Heat. Stir in rice or couscous until desired consistency- the easiest casserole you'll ever make. Can serve two.

Other simple stuff is a can of meat, and a pouch of a flavored instant rice side. Or a can of meat, a small can of corn, and mashed potatoes.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#198637 - 03/22/10 06:48 AM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: spuddate]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
Fill up some empty 2L soda bottles and put them in the fridge if you have some extra space. Buy a few cases of Trader Joes 1.5L bottled water and put 'em in the closet. Each case is around 4.7 gallons I think. Fill up some used water bottles and put them in the freezer. You could quickly put up about 20-30 gallons and not even know its there.

#198647 - 03/22/10 01:03 PM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: LED]
Compugeek Offline

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
I live in an apartment. In an apartment complex, you may or may not have access to the water heater water.

If you have advance warning, you can fill up your tub. But check now that your tub actually seals and will hold water. One of those large, round flat seals that simply lays over the drain is a way to be sure.

Put water bottles in the door of the freezer. 1/2" of air space is enough to keep them from bursting when they freeze. They'll help moderate the temperature changes of opening the freezer, and they'll help keep it cold longer when the power is out.

I have several refilled commercial bottles lining one side of a shelf of my fridge. When I use and refill one, it goes to the back and the others shift forward.

Between the freezer and the fridge, there's about 2.5G of water right there.

I have one of those 6 gallon plastic water jerries in the back of the closet, and plan to add another one. My "shoe shelf" is in front of it, and they all sit under my shirts very nicely.

I live alone, and that'll be a week's worth of water with very little storage impact at all.

Remember the space under your bed. A case of commercial bottles would probably slip under there, along with a LOT of stored food/supplies.

Remember the dead space behind towels/linens/etc. in the linen closet, and in the very backs of cabinets. Those are great for things you don't need access to very often. Put the stuff in front in low wire baskets so it's easy to move out of the way.
Okey-dokey. What's plan B?

#198650 - 03/22/10 01:42 PM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: Compugeek]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
Have you already selected an apartment?

How about renting a basement apartment in a single-family home? Or a carriage house? (in DC that is typically an efficiency or one-bedroom at the back of a rowhouse lot.)

With the mortgage crisis so horrendous in California, is it possible to get a sensational rental deal on a single family home? I wonder if banks are doing any rentals on homes they've foreclosed on....

If you haven't signed a lease then there's still time to consider what kind of apartment would be better to withstand the kind of disaster you are most likely to confront where you live. In your case I gather that would be a major earthquake.

I would not wish to be in a high-rise building, period. The Towering Inferno is emblazoned in my psyche. At the least, try to get an apartment on a lower floor (in a building built or retro-fitted with earthquakes in mind). And as has been mentioned in regard to water storage, keep an eye out for an individual water heater. And a balcony that you could cook on with a little Weber grill or some such.

And if you have a balcony (and its usage is not too regulated), there's more space for modest water storage.

As for water storage, I'm fond of 7 gallon Aqua-tainers for camping and home storage. They stack. And they could be carried to your vehicle if you were to bug out.

This change in living situation will be all the more reason to keep your vehicle well-stocked with a case of water bottles and some freeze-dried food or energy bars.


Reliance Aqua-Tainer - 7 Gallon
Item # 618168


#198662 - 03/22/10 04:29 PM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: spuddate]
acropolis5 Offline

Registered: 06/18/06
Posts: 358
Buy a large size Coleman type, 5 or 7 day, plastic ice chest. Fill it with water bottles or MREs or other equipment. Throw a tablecloth/colorful blanket over the top and use it as a coffee or side table or at the foot of your bed, like a blanket chest. The ice chest wll do double duty if you loose power. Some models also have wheels and a handle so you can bugout with it.

#198677 - 03/22/10 09:23 PM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: acropolis5]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Also I'd check the nearby commercial long time storage facilities. Small storage units (like 5'x6') are quite affordable. This way you will have Plan B if the apartment complex collapses or if the indoors storage unexpectedly depleted).

#198679 - 03/22/10 09:55 PM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: acropolis5]
TeacherRO Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2574
Originally Posted By: acropolis5
Buy a large size Coleman type, 5 or 7 day, plastic ice chest. Fill it with water bottles or MREs or other equipment. Throw a tablecloth/colorful blanket over the top and use it as a coffee or side table or at the foot of your bed, like a blanket chest. The ice chest wll do double duty if you loose power. Some models also have wheels and a handle so you can bugout with it.

+1 great idea.

I might use empty 2l pop bottles, stored in rubbermaid containers ( to move or contain leakage)

#198723 - 03/23/10 02:02 AM Re: Help with Preparations for Apartment Dweller [Re: TeacherRO]
DrmstrSpoodle Offline

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 138
+1 on the 2 liter pop bottles. I once was an apartment dweller and these filled their purpose of water storage splendidly. There was a little cubby hole under my stairs and I put about 10 2 liter pop bottles in there, stored with water. As long as they are stored in a cool dry place and you check them once in a while it should be okay.

If you're worried about dropping them/leakage you can do what I did and carry about four bottles in a milk crate with handles for easier transport if need be.

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