First off, for those who are still here and follow the blog, let me offer an apology, if I may. I have a habit of allowing other things to take precedence over posting on this blog. Some are worthwhile, some are very much not so, to be honest, but none of them are so time consuming as to prevent me from posting here. When you consider the reason I started the blog, and especially my earlier post in which I said that I was going to be sharing tips and hints regarding preparedness, it makes my laziness that much more inexcusable. To you, the readers, I offer a sincere apology and my promise that I will be more diligent in posting worthwhile things, and posting them more frequently. — The Doctor
The best place to begin, it is said, is at the beginning, and so shall I do here. Some of what I say may be repeated from earlier posts, but from here on out, I will be building on the posts in succession, so here we go. Before we get into the details on being prepared, how you do it, and what you may need or not need, I’d like to lay down some basic ideas.
- I am not a “survival expert/guru/instructor/fill in your favorite word for ‘know it all’,” nor will I ever profess to be. I am going to be sharing things and ideas that I have found and that I have found to be helpful. That may be ideas from other blogs, it may be products that I have personally used and can attest to, it may be information that is readily available on the internet. Come into these posts with the mindset of looking at the shelves in a grocery store. Yes, there will be some essentials that must be taken – food, water, shelter, in the case of survival – but the rest can be taken or not, depending on your particular needs. I believe in what is commonly referred to as “common sense prepping,” or “middle ground prepping;” essentially, prepping that the average person can do for the realistic disasters/situations in which they may find themselves. You won’t find any “dig a bunker and prepare for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)” information here.
- I am not a conspiracy theorist. I’m not going to advocate being prepared “for the day when…” whether that’s the zombie apocalypse, “the government” turning on us and marching us off to the death camps, or some plague being released on the people because of an experiment gone wrong. Not only are those scenarios unrealistic and extreme, but I could no more tell you how to prepare for that than I could how to prepare for complete thermonuclear devastation or an asteroid hitting the planet. Like I said – common sense, middle ground prepping.
- I read an article entitled “Don’t attack someone else’s SHTF plan as if you’re psychic,” and enjoyed the premise, very much. (SHTF, to maintain our relatively “G” rating on the page, would be “Stuff Hits The Fan,” but I’m sure you all know the more colorful meaning as well. The article, incidentally, can be accessed by the title) I want to continue that premise here by saying this: I always welcome comments from my readers. In fact, I am honored when they come because it means someone took the time to read something I wrote, and think about it. However, this can also be a very personal topic – and it doesn’t need to devolve into arguments over “You should/shouldn’t do/have/need” whatever. The truth is, as stated in the article, NO ONE knows what it will be like after a major, extended, life changing disaster that would cause the collapse of society. Whatever we may feel – let’s keep it civil so that I don’t have to do it for anyone. (That’s never been a problem, but hey, a reminder never hurt!)
With that out of the way, let me address the first topic many people come across when dealing with “preparedness.” Namely, “Why? Why should I be prepared?” I can answer that in a few statements:
- Disasters happen. It’s not a uniquely American quality, but here in the States we have a tendency to sing a favorite chorus, (ironically enough, we sing this for both disasters and the possibility of encountering violence from others) which says, “It can’t happen here/it won’t happen to me/it always happens to someone else.” Sometimes, an additional refrain to that song is, “I don’t need to do anything because the police/the fire department/the government will be there to take care of me.” Unfortunately, in far too many cases, this has been proven to be untrue. In a disaster, response takes time. Depending on your location, the magnitude of the disaster, and the principles of triage used when allocating disaster resources, it may be some time for “help” to get to you. Many times the demand FAR outstrips the supply, and it takes still longer. What do you do in the meantime? Every location has the potential for some kind of emergency/disaster/disruption to occur, whether natural disaster, loss of utilities, civil unrest or the like.
- Preparedness is an antidote to fear and worry. Growing up in the northeast USA, one of my earliest memories is of the power going out during the winter. No power meant no furnace. No furnace meant no heat. We were prepared, though. We had backup sources of heat in the form of a wood stove and kerosene heaters. Our water lines regularly froze, which meant trips to the local fresh water spring to fill buckets and jugs to have water for drinking, cooking, sanitation and washing. I wasn’t worried because my parents weren’t worried. They weren’t worried, I see now, because they had come from a time when they were taught to be self-reliant and not wait around for someone else to fix it. That preparedness was the antidote to fear and worry about “What will I do?” When you have a plan, and are ready, it makes the fear a lot less impacting, even when something does happen.
- You owe it to yourself, to your family, and to your community. Yeah, I know. That sounds like a bad line out of an old 50’s anti-communist video, but it’s true. Your life is precious. You are the only “You” there will ever be. You owe it to yourself to be as ready as you can be so that you don’t foolishly and needlessly waste or lose your life because you weren’t ready. The lives of your family (presuming you have one – in my case, my wife and children) are also precious, and they deserve to be protected and to know that we are as ready as we can be, so that they can avoid fear and worry of the unknown. Make them part of your plan. Give them that security. Your community needs people who will be ready and that they can look to in times of trouble. There will, invariably, be those who were unwilling or, in some cases, unable to prepare. (It does happen. Not every person who is unprepared had a choice – think of the very young, the elderly, or the infirm) They will need emergency services, food and shelter. By being prepared, you not only limit the drain on the resources being allocated, but you may be able to help through your own knowledge of first aid, or how to cook when off the grid, or the like.
I’ll close with this. I have seen this quote in various forms and it hits home – “The day before every major disaster was a normal day; just like today.”
What will YOU do, now that you know?
Next up, resources and basic ideas to get us going on being prepared!
God bless you today, my friends!