Are You Really Prepared?

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When it comes to emergency preparedness, some people might be prepared with supplies, but are they really prepared to survive? It takes more than a few supplies.

First, let’s discuss how some people prepare. They buy a bunch of freeze dried food in #10 cans and set them on a shelf for 14 years. They think they are ready, but what happens when they open that can of beans, and it must be eaten within one week. That’s a lot of beans! Have they considered having individual dehydrated meals for a short term situation. Do they have the water to re-hydrate the food. Have paper plates been put in the supplies along with eating utensils? Do you have a coffee percolator that can be used over a fire? A coffee bean grinder?

Freeze_Dried_Individual_Meals.1For short term survival, individual freeze dried meals can be a good idea, as opposed to #10 cans, if water is available.

EmergecySupplies A bucket of paper plates can save water, a coffee grinder can grind those beans, and a coffee pot that can be used over a fire.

Once they eat, do they have a way of getting rid of what they ate? Did they include a portable toilet, chemicals for its use, and extra toilet paper? Is a solar shower in the supplies? Do they have an alternate supply for obtaining water, and a further means to purify it. Do they have an alternate way to cook? I asked some people how they will cook in an emergency and they said “No problem, we will use the barbecue grill.” I asked how many extra canisters of gas they kept, and they said, “What?” Do they have a means to get rid of garbage? A burn barrel setting in the garage, just in case. Do they have a compost pile? All things to consider.

For light, some people put away a bunch of candles, and maybe an oil lantern. But have they put away extra lamp oil, wicks, or matches to light them? People put away canned goods, but don’t think about a manual can opener. Did they include an extra supply of required medication? Is a well outfitted first aid kit kept updated, and will it handle major medical emergencies?

Two_Oil_Lamps_Hanging.1Oil lamps hung in convenient locations make them handy when needed.

Matches_LampOilExtra Matches and Lamp Oil are great preparedness items.

Some people start putting away tools, just in case. Do they have the skills to use them effectively? How-To-Books are a good source for any home library.

People garden, and this is a good way to bring in extra food. But do they use heirloom seeds, so they can have a garden the following year? People who can their own food might have an extra supply of new jars, but did they put away a large supply of extra lids? They are required when you go to re-can with an old jar.

Canning_Jars.1Canning_Lids.1If you do canning, you should have a supply of extra jars and lids!

Paper goods such as toilet paper, as mentioned above, as well as a good supply of paper towels, garbage bags, contractor bags, zip-lock bags, etc., are handy for various purposes.

Paper_Goods.1Extra trash and zip closure bags, as well as paper towels and toilet paper are a must.

Pantries are a valuable asset in an emergency situation, but how many people really get serious about it. They may think because the cupboards are full, they are set. How much of that stuff is filler, and how much is real food? How many actual meals can they make?

Pantries can be placed in various location at the home. I have even used the space going up the stairs from the cellar for both a pantry and emergency supplies. The are very handy to get to by simply opening the cellar door.

PantryLookingUpFromCellar.ArticleLooking up from the cellar at a pantry built alongside the stairs. Emergency supplies are at top.

EmergecySuppliesThe left photo shows the bottom portion of emergency supplies.  The right photo shows the top portion of emergency supplies.

Three_Sided_View.New.1A well supplied pantry, with more than freeze dried food allows you to eat what you are used to, but you must store what you use and use what you store. Rotation is important.

Are people ready to protect and defend what they have, and are they willing to? This doesn’t just include those who wish to takes what is yours, but are they prepared for fire? Are there fire extinguishers staged throughout the house? If they have to leave, evacuate, bug-out, do they have a pre-arranged plan as to where they are going? Do all family members know, and do they have the bare essentials stored in their vehicles, or will they all have to return home to get them?

These are just some simple examples, but they should make you look at your survival strategy. Think past the immediate needs, and think about sustaining those needs. A situation may last longer than you planned for. Supplies are good, and important, but they are not a panacea to an emergency or survival situation. So let’s look at the other variables.

I believe that you need a survival mind-set. An understanding of what could actually occur and how you plan to deal with that situation. Are you practiced at a real situation? Have you ever turned off all your support (electric, gas, water, heat, etc.) for just a weekend? This type of practice exercise can really identify holes in your plan. You might learn some interesting things that you hadn’t thought of.

I recall going without electric at my home for several days (happens a lot here). A neighbor asked, “So how are you making out. Don’t you find it difficult?” I asked, “Why, has something happened?” He said, “We have been out of electric for days!” I said, “Gee, I didn’t notice”.

This was my wife’s and my mind-set. We just thought it was an inconvenience, but not an emergency situation. We are practiced at what we do. We keep adding to our abilities. A little more of this here, a little more of that there, add another solar panel, etc. But it is the mental attitude, the survival mind-set, and the skills that we practice, that give us our comfort zone. There is a popular country song called “Trailer hood”, and there is a part that says, “When the storm starts getting bad, you hear those sirens humming, grab a six pack and a lawn chair, there’s a tornado coming.” Now that’s a positive mind-set!

I hope you enjoyed this article, and as always, Be Prepared To Survive!

Copyright © 2014 by John D. McCann

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