Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Prepping 101

Recently Netflix released several seasons of Doomsday Preppers.  Have you seen the show? This is a reality show that depicts people's applied and planned actions for several calamities that would end the world as we know it: natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other calamities that might cause a breakdown in our society. It depicts their plans of preparedness - stored food and water, defense measures, housing shelters and possible escapes from the conditions that they perceive will happen. I must say, they sure know how to pick some kooks!  In it's defense, the show has shaken me out of my recent state of complacency.

   Years ago Bob and I read a book called The Coming Economic Earthquake, written by Larry Burkette, a highly respected and very insightful, well grounded financial advisor. This book put into words the unrest and premonition of an upcoming disturbance that we had been feeling. It was almost as though an invisible shroud had been dropped enveloping us with an overwhelming sense that things were not right with the world and that there was "something" on the horizon that would change circumstances we've grown accustomed to. So, with that in mind, we began to prep.  Fast forward 10 years. We're in a better place than we were, but due to economic restrictions we, like many of you, live financially from one week to the next.  We have no savings and we earn only enough to make it until the next paycheck - oftentimes holding our breath.

One thing we've gained from watching Doomsday Preppers, besides the entertainment is the realization that we, ourselves, are not prepared. Preparing is a preemptive action to life circumstances. It is the Boy Scout motto, and not necessarily focusing on the negatives that the future holds, but being aware of them and taking action to lessen their effects - not exclusively for extremes like a polar shift or a meteor impact,  but for more  common occurrences such as illness or temporary job loss.  Ben Franklin said, "By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail."

As we've been talking with people lately, we're seeing more and more friends and acquaintances beginning to become conscious of their lack of preparedness, but at a loss as to how and where to begin. I understand. There are a myriad of sources and suggestions out there and it can become quite overwhelming - and expensive, so my hope is to break information down and to give you the benefit of our thoughts, ideas and experiences to help you prepare if you choose.

The military teaches that there are three requirements before a military operation can be initiated:
* Food and Water
* Shelter
* Security

Currently most of us have these three things in place right now.  We have our jobs to earn money to purchase food and water, we have our homes, whether owned or rented,  and we have law enforcement to rely on for security.  When one or more of these basic necessities disappears or is forcibly removed, panic soon ensues.  Being prepared helps prevent you from becoming part of the problem.

Because of mobility in our society, we are not always in a safe place should a circmstance occur.  Even with advanced warning, such as extreme weather, many people have been caught in transit, away from their basic necessities. Our suggestion for the first step is to put together a BOB.

BOB - Bug Out Bag.
A Bug Out Bag is a small bag / backpack with up to three days' supply of food, water, medical, and shelter that weighs less than 10% of your body weight.  The possibilities for its' contents are innumerable but here are some suggestions: Keep in mind that this bag is just to get you from Point A to Point B - from where you are in your day to day travels: grocery store, work, bowling alley etc, to your safety area, be it home, farm or family.  Its small size is to ensure you can carry it on foot if need be. It's not your life belongings - it's just the bare minimum. We suggest it be stored in the trunk of your car or carried in to your place of work for quick access.

 * If you have individual medical needs, they should take priority: insulin, atomizer, epi pen etc.
 * 2 16oz bottles of water / a way to purify water - we'll discuss this in a future article
 * food should consist of  high calorie low weight items. things like energy bars, trail mix, dried fruit, beef jerky...
 * shelter: something as simple as a large plastic bag which can serve as a tent - lean to or a raincoat
 * paracord
 * light windbreaker
 * socks
 * comfortable walking shoes
 * extra clothing suitable for the weather
 * rain poncho
 * ziplock bag with 10 paper towels and coffee filters. These can be used to strain water, for t.p., as a firestarter, to clean eyeglasses/body...etc
 * a hat
 * mylar thermal blanket - very compact and lightweight
 * small tube of sunscreen
 * insect repellent
 * flashlight - LED headlamp which frees your hands
 * multitool
 * firestarter (matches/lighter) and a sealed firestarter kit: containing tinder, matches, striker and fat lighter kindling
 * Whistle
 * anti bacterial wipes - triple antibiotic cream - bandaids
 * tylenol
 * charged cell phone and phone numbers
 * cash - $25.00 in small bills and change
 * ID

this is what we would recommend for each adult to have on hand. Children are another consideration. My suggestion would be to have a backpack for each of your children as well. Even very young children can carry small, lightweight items that would be of help. Having one at school might not be a bad idea. Here are some ideas for what to pack in a child's Go Bag:

 * favorite snacks
 * water or  juice
 * a fleece blanket
 * a favorite toy (stuffed animal)
 *rain poncho
 * extra clothes
 * socks
 * extra shoes
 * space blanket
 *emergency contact information
 * prepaid cell phone

You want to pack familiar comfort things as well as necessary items.
Needless to say, any situation which causes the Go bags to become necessary is not the time to try new things.Be sure the shoes you've brought are broken in and comfortable.   Become familiar with everything in your pack. The more at ease you are with your prep items and the more you discuss possibilities, scenarios and solutions, the less you will stress and panic in time of need.  Thinking clearly and being prepared in a time of emergency will help you to act in a prudent manner - ie Respond instead of React.

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