31 August 2012

Preparedness- Get the nesseseties first

For preparedness situations ranging from hurricanes to civil insurrection, you will still need the same things you needed the day before the event. The difference is that if you do not have enough of those things on hand, it will be hard to acquire them once other people decide it is an emergency.
Last week, I was spending some time with a close friend who has been in the firearms industry for 16 years. He was telling me that he has never seen the market like it is now. People who never thought of owning a gun, along with the regulars, have caused massive back orders. We talked about how we hope these people are also preparing in other ways.

Though I agree that everyone should be armed to protect themselves, I would first urge them to take care of regular daily needs first.

Water- Storing water is good. Having an infinite source and a way to treat it is better. More than anything else, the need for water is what has forced people to move since time began. In a perfect world, you would be within walking distance from a creek, river, pond, or lake. If you are lucky enough to have this, take a sample of the water and have it tested. Anyone who has spent any time in the woods will tell you that there is no such thing as clean water. If it does not come from your tap or a store bought bottle, it needs to be purified. If you do not have an alternate water source, once your stored water is gone, you will have to move and moving exposes you. Last I checked, the cheapest bottled water at Wal-Mart was $.88 per gallon. When the shelves are bare, it will be worth 5-10 times that much in the evening in the beginning of an event.

Food- our sugar addicted culture gets cranky if it does not get food every 3-4 hrs. If this describes you, now is the best time to break your addiction to sugar laced items like breakfast cereals and soda. Even during a short term event, you will likely have to go much longer without food under more stress than you are used to. Try to lessen the blow. Common wisdom is to store what you eat, not the stuff that you donate during the can food drive because nobody in your house eats it. Adults are not much different than 5 year olds in that we like to eat certain things all the time. This not only allows us to narrow down what we need to store, but familiar food provides comfort during uncertain times. There are entire websites dedicated to food storage, but the problem is that if your location is not safe or you need to move for water, you can only take so much with you. So before stockpiling 10 lb cans, consider stocking things like tuna, peanut butter, Ramen noodles etc that are light and packable, require minimum preparation, and provide energy. These things will allow you to shelter in place as well as being able to take a large quantity of them with you if you are forced to move. Learn how to cook over an open fire and with propane stoves. Using tin foil, you can cook just about anything in the coals of a campfire.

- this can also provide familiarity. You will probably not be alone and depending on the severity of the situation, people around you may be in shock and denial. Being in familiar surroundings can go a long way in people feeling as safe as possible. Before planning to bug out, first learn everything you can about the area in which you live. Things like the aforementioned watering holes, neighbors you can depend on, and nearby structures are more stable or easier to defend than your home. A few large tarps along with rope can temporarily repair storm damage or seal drafts during cold weather. Now is the time to learn basic knots. Not when you need to tie them in the dark. Clothing is your first line of shelter. Learn now about how to control your core temperature in hot and cold weather. Everyone in the family needs base layers, insulation layers, and a shell to complete a system that can be adapted to deal with rapid temperature changes. Try to remove as much cotton from your wardrobe as possible since it retains moisture which in hot weather can lead to chafing and unpleasantness, and death in cold weather.

Medicines- the ones you take every day. If you have an understanding doctor, you may be able to store some extra. It is also a good idea to ask your doctor what would happen if you did not have those medicines for 72 hours, a week, or more. This will be an issue for many people. Once these are taken care of, consider the ones you take once in a while. Even simple things like antacids, OTC pain relievers, and anti-diarrheal meds. Stress, strange water, and unfamiliar food could make all these things as important as RX meds.

First Aid Kit- regardless of the event, there are only three ways to traumatize the human body: burning, cutting, and crushing. Typically, the worse the injury is, the less first aid there is to do, but the more important it is. Learn CPR and how to deal with burns, cuts, and broken bones.

- no matter what else is going on, people will still need to poop. Next to lack of drinking water, the toilet not working is probably the next thing that will cause people to leave their home. Keep some extra toilet paper on hand, but learn to use a sponge. You can never have too much hand sanitizer.

Lights- everyone should have a head lamp. They are a necessity for navigation and working with both of your hands. Once that is achieved, you can worry about other flashlights, candles, and lanterns.

The best way to figure out what works is with trial and error. Make a list of what you “think” you would need to survive a night of camping by yourself or with your family. Then actually go camping and take copious notes and make adjustments accordingly. Then try two days, then three, and so on. You will figure out that keeping anything cold except in the dead of winter is a losing battle so make your food choices with that in mind.

Once you get good at it, type up a detailed checklist. Use totes or Rubbermaid Safepackers to keep all your “camping gear” in one place. That way it is all together to shelter in place and ready to load into a vehicle if you are forced to evacuate.

After these things are taken care of, buy more guns and ammo.

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