In most cases, people want to be better prepared for emergencies but aren't sure where to start or if you're doing it right? I have met folks who state they want to be prepared but not to be considered a prepper. I do believe there is a difference even though I don't have anything against the "prepper" phrase. To me, just like when you buy car insurance, life insurance, home owners insurance, you are taking steps to be prepared.
Let's talk about some of the steps one should consider when wanting to get prepared. Most folks who have attended my classes or read my book understand my 95% vs 5% point of view. That being, you want to be part of the 5% and practice a preparedness ideology. The 95% club are the folks who do not practice preparedness and they raid the local box store when the bell rings. You want to stay prepared and go the opposite direction to avoid the 95%.
Many folks who practice preparedness do a great job but I believe they focus on the wrong end of the potential disaster or cause instead of focusing on how the event or disaster will impact them directly. Is it more important to know the ice storm will drop 10" of ice on your area or focus on being prepared for any ice storm? Or any snow storm? Or any flood? EMP? Economic collapse? Understand my point? You may hear the local news comment how it's a bad fire because it has burned 1000 acres. That is bad. But, what is worse is when it moves through your area and you must evacuate and you are not prepared. That is the personal impact and disaster.
When you focus on you and your family and not the specific event you are more prepared on a broader scope vs a single type event. You want to be self-reliant. The best advice I can offer is that you start getting prepared now because if you wait until the bell rings, recess is over, school is out, time is up, and it will be too late.
So, let's consider some basic steps you should take care of now:
1. Get your home ready for two weeks to thirty days of self-reliance. When completed, build upon your completed thirty-day plan.
2. Get ready to bug-out of your home with only a moment's notice. See my 5-5-5 plan. If you are not familiar, just follow this link to a previous article I posted on the topic: https://www.hopeforsurvival.com/post/did-you-schedule-the-unplanned-event
3. Be prepared to survive when you're away from home. Establish a cache of supplies and have them stocked with current supplies away from your home in a safe place.
4. Practice your plan. How do you know your plan works and is sufficient if you never tested it?
5. Share and recruit. Building teams with trusted like-minded individuals is important.
Your guide should be "evergreen" or a living document that is updated as needed when information changes.
Almost every new Preparer I meet I like to initially ask them "why do you prepare" and "what is your goal"? I have my own rational and could offer it to others but I like to know the initial mindset of those who claim to be like minded. Yes, maybe we are like minded to a degree. But there comes a point when we separate from others. What do I mean? Like the saying goes...."you may talk the talk, but do you walk the walk"? I jokingly call them arm chair preppers. Ha. Look, if someone makes the effort to at least buy 15 days of dehydrated food they are ahead of most. But, it's the extras, the fine tuning, and the invested time that separates the 5% gang from others.
I was blessed with a good 20 year military career with lots of training, experience and world travel with the best of the best. I have since continued learning, training, and getting certifications. What's my point. You paid the bill. Each of you paid the bill if you are a taxpayer. Since retiring from the military in 2003, I have been a firm believer in always reaching out and offering information or training to anyone who desired it if I could help them. It is only the right thing to do. My feelings are often reinforced when I read other sites and opinions as to what is being taught or shared with others. I'm not the expert nor ever claim to be. But I do know from military experience, one must focus on the individual and then their team. If you aren't focused, trained and ready then you are of little good to your family and team.
If you have been involved with the Preparedness topic long you know it will suck you right in. Completing one step creates two steps. One questions creates three. It is easy to go on Google and then visit five websites and three days later you have spent a lot of your hard earned money on equipment...you don't need. It's all cool stuff, but always remember, want vs need. Stay focused and avoid fear porn. Knowing the EMP and total collapse is important but based on Risk Analysis your odds are more likely to experience the ice storm, snow storm, earthquake or tornado.
I like to tell folks, you can't predict the future but you can control your self-reliance and ability to survive by acting now.
Keep these simple rules in mind;
1. Decide and act, do you want to be on the 95% team or the 5% team?
2. Keep it simple, using common sense and practical.
3. If you have it, know how to use it. That would include gear, skills, your plans, community involvement with your plans and you.
Have you ever heard about Maslow's hierarchy and the Pareto 80-20 rule? I have talked about the 80-20 rule (the "Pareto principle") in my book and website. Remember the 20% of the total work gets you about 80% prepared and 90% of Preparedness is Awareness? Then, to go from 80% to 100% prepared requires a lot more work and money.
Another example is what I mentioned above about focusing on your preparedness and not the zombie apocalypse. Maslow's hierarchy is a popular psychology principle that explains what humans need to survive, in order of importance. Hence, the title of my book "Hope For Survival - How Food, Water, Shelter, and Security Could Save Your Life. Right? So many folks I cross paths with have the cart way before the horse and the horse is pushing the cart. They have 30 weapons and 50,000 rounds of ammunition and a 12 pack of MRE's and a case of water. Based on my last statement it is evident no risk analysis went in to the plan that was never completed.
One of the most important steps you should take is getting your finances in order. You can check out money management basics for normal people, with tips for building an emergency "rainy day" fund and for how to change the way you save, budget, spend, and invest. On my blog page of the website you can find a link to Dave Ramsey. If you need some guidance on how to set up a financial plan, rainy day fund and becoming debt free, click on the link. https://www.daveramsey.com
You are much more likely to experience a personal financial hardship than a major SHTF disaster. Yet many people jump right into spending too much money on multi-year stockpiles of food and advanced stuff like bunkers, even though they're living paycheck to paycheck with tons of credit card debt. Don't overlook the importance of a solid financial foundation in prepping - it reduces your chances of emergencies happening in the first place and makes them much easier to handle when they do happen. Controlling your circumstances and situation vs the situation controlling you is a game changer.
Prepping on the cheap I often hear "I don't have extra money to prepare". Really? I disagree. If the understanding and desire is great enough a person will find a way to cut corners and build a plan to survive. If you're prepping on a tight budget, don't worry. Do it in steps from most important needs to survive to the lowest. Remember, wants vs needs. The basics.
Some of the very first things you should cover are water, food, and light for your home. It's better to have those things than to have a compass or gun and no water. As you plan and buy items you would need, think them through. I asked a person this question before, "if you could have one single item, would you take a bullet to kill food or a water filter"? The person said a "bullet to kill food". Think about that one.
Don't double dip.
You'll notice that there's a lot of overlap across the three areas (home, bug out bag, get home bag). Each section has medical kits, matches, knives, and so on. Sometimes they're a little bit different (e.g. liquid candles for home and solid candles for car), and sometimes they're identical. Each location requires basic needs however each person who is planning should remember to tailor the needs to the person.
A pre-packed bag that is purchased is better than nothing, however I personally recommend buying the bag empty and packing it based on your personal choices and needs.
At a minimum you should buy specific items for your car kit and your home kit. If your finances allow, you should also purchase items for your Bug Out bag. Resist the temptation to double dip. For example, maybe you want to cut corners by buying one medical kit that you keep in your car trunk, and you think that if you ever needed to bug out, you'd grab it and put it in your backpack. Bad idea. Real life gets in the way and you end up breaking the "great preps are always ready" rule because your gear is scattered or missing. If you are under stress or a threat at that immediate point, how are you going to focus on switching items between kits and bags if you are focusing on the immediate threat and getting you and possibly your family out of harm's way? Something will not work out in your favor. Personally, I practice the rule of "One is None and Two is One, and Three is Better".
Another common example is your basic emergency water supply. Too many people make the serious mistake of depending on what's sitting in their water heater or assuming they'll have time to fill their bathtub. Because water is so important, it's worth the few extra dollars to have dedicated potable water ready to go at all times.
In the end, it's a good thing to have multiple tools or ways to accomplish something. Following this guide is an efficient way to have those backups. Rather than having three med kits in your basement collecting dust, each one is serving a purpose at all times by being ready in your home, bug out bag, and get home bag.
72 hours vs. 2 weeks
Until recently, emergency preparedness guides typically recommended having 72 hours-worth of supplies. The Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov site currently says, "Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for at least seven days in most cases."
Wrong answer. If 95% are preparing for a 72 hour event, why would you want your water and food to run out at the same time as the 95% group? You should be prepared for at least two weeks to thirty days.
Most survival experts use the two-week rule. Some groups, like the Red Cross, have updated their suggestions - their site now says, "3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home."
Remember, in the event of a local, state or national emergency, the top priority is not you. Critical infrastructure is essential to maintain or get operating again. So, your self- reliance is critical to you. You do not want to be dependent upon any system. It is that simple. Our emergency systems, first responders, and community supplies can be quickly overwhelmed. The system just isn't designed to handle sudden and widespread disasters. In recent years, events like Hurricane Harvey, the Japanese Tsunami, Haiti Earthquake, and the California Wildfires are all examples of localized disasters where people were displaced or without basic services for weeks, not days. Most state and federal disaster training test reveals a common picture to those watching. The systems at all levels are not ready. In 2016 the US Navy, Coast Guard, and Washington state's National Guard did a full-scale, nine-day drill to test how well they could respond to a massive earthquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. That area covers Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland through northern California. The 83-page report comes to a lot of scary conclusions. The authors admit the systems are not ready, infrastructure would collapse, and they'd have a full-blown humanitarian crisis in ten days. It is a repeated theme. We could speak for weeks on why but the bottom line is our society is not only not ready, they are not preparing on a personal level which makes your efforts so important. Politics and budgeting are making things worse over time, not better. It would take at least a week to properly coordinate outside resources brought in to help. For example, the military reports they need an average of eight days to mobilize a response inside the US border. What should you do? Step 1: Get your home ready for two weeks of self-reliance minimum. Why start with the home? Because it's where you spend most of your time and in most cases it is the best place to make it through an emergency. If you are not threatened, stay in your home. But, use common sense. I was monitoring the massive flooding in Houston last week and I heard interviews and radio broadcast from the Houston Mayor asking all personnel to stay put in their home or current location and not get out in the disaster. Just remember the impact vs the cause. Numerous reasons could require you to need two weeks or more of food and water supplies. Example scenarios: * You have an unexpected big expense that blows your tight budget. Maybe you need emergency repairs on a roof or to replace your damaged car. * You suddenly lose your job and face a year of unemployment. * The electrical or water grid goes down for a few days. * A nasty hurricane floods your city for a week. * An epidemic is spreading and you're quarantined to your home. * Civil order breaks down with mass unrest in the streets. * A nearby city is attacked by an enemy. * Total collapse ("Shit Hits The Fan"). In many of these scenarios, you must assume that some or all of the utility lines to your home will be down or inconsistent. So you won't be able to depend on electricity, water, cooking or heating gas, or communication. What is your backup plan to these type events? Your self-reliance could save you when emergency services are overloaded or inactive. So don't count on getting help quickly. Even in situations where that's not the case, for these essentials it's better to assume the worst. We must adapt and adjust to situations and understand how they could and will impact us. For example, sudden unemployment doesn't mean the electrical grid is down, but maybe you'll want to save money on your electric bill. Maybe the grid goes down but you've got your own wood-fired heating and cooking equipment or your own water well. That's great, but it's still better to have these standalone basics to reduce the risks. We will resume discussions on checklist, backpacks and products in Part II next week.
Bravo Echo Out