Author’s Note: As I write this, I cannot access the internet and I have no way to watch TV. We are completely in the dark, so to speak, when it comes to communicating, except our HAM radio. This is a problem in our county and beyond and so far, no one can find the cause. The 911 system is not working. In 2015 this happened in California at least 11 times and the FBI feared it was terrorists testing our capability to repair the problem and get everything back up. Too many think these types of disruptions cannot happen, they can, and worse. I was criticized for writing about a pandemic in October of 2019. After all, medical science has advanced beyond that right? It happened.
UPDATE: We learned through our HAM radio net the fiberoptic cables were cut near us and at least three counties are experiencing outages.
To read the first article in this series, CLICK HERE.
Now that you have talked thru what a General Store is and why it is important to have one in your home, created a list of items that are important to add to your store and learned to spot bargains, it’s time for the next step.
But before we begin, this week I decided I would shop the sale items at my grocery store. I didn’t really need much except produce, but I had a $10 off coupon that was expiring so off I went. It was so much fun! I felt so empowered. I stocked up on frozen veggies, ketchup, crackers, Oreos, Gatorade. All were on sale for really good prices. I found it interesting that we were warned this week that due to a strike Oreos and Ritz crackers would be in short supply but there they were on sale! Self-reliance really can be a fun game.
This week as a family, think through a disaster and plan your response. When we are faced with a crisis, we mortals all tend to respond in the same way. Why? Because that is the way our brains are programmed to handle extreme stress.
First, we cannot believe the crisis has occurred. We have friends who lost their barn with their camping supplies, food storage, and more. They could smell the smoke, but it was not until a passer-by stopped to warn them of the fire that they realized it was their own barn. We just don’t want to believe it could be happening to us.
The second phase is a stupor of thought. We may know we need to take action, but we just can’t move. We may even stand and stare at our Five-Day kit and never pick it up. We have friends who were called at four in the morning to evacuate due to a wildfire. The husband ran and got the kids into the car and came back to find the wife packing up her makeup. She was not even a makeup person. Stupor of thought.
Finally, we take action. Our actions, however, are only as good as our preparations. As we think through and plan for specific challenges our brain will recall those plans and we will not just survive but thrive when the call to action comes. Have you ever laid in bed and thought through what you would do if there were to be a fire at night? That is a really good thing.
Everyone experiences all these stages during a crisis. The difference is how quickly one person moves from phase one to phase three. How quickly your family members respond depends on how much knowledge they have absorbed before the disaster happens. This is true for everyone, the more you know, the more you have thought through how you will react and what you will do, the more success you will have in dealing with and surviving the emergency. Don’t be afraid to discuss specific disasters with your family. When the disaster happens, they will be more calm and feel more safe because you have empowered them with knowledge.
What are we preparing for? May I suggest four challenges we all need to prepare for.
First, prepare for power outages. Almost every natural disaster will result in a power outage, even dozens of miles away from the epicenter of the disaster. Earthquakes, blizzards, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, derechos, even civil unrest, and solar flares, can all result in loss of power.
Second, prepare for loss of income. This may be a result of a job loss due to downsizing, technology replacing your job, a natural disaster that causes your employer to lose their business, or accident or illness. Loss of income may occur for many reasons so plan for it. Remember we are preparing to be self-reliant under all circumstances.
Third, prepare for empty store shelves. Shelves may be empty due to panic as we saw with the pandemic, slow down or strike by the trucking industry, interruption in the supply chain from imports, drought and crop failure, or damage to the roads and bridges making deliveries impossible.
Fourth, prepare for evacuation. Have a plan to leave your home quickly in case of a house fire, natural disaster, civil unrest, chemical spill and more. Know how to evacuate and practice. One person I spoke with following a wildfire told me she had her car packed with important items but had to unload family treasures because she had not allowed for her pets. She lost her home and her treasures.
If earthquakes are one of the things you are preparing for explain to your family what an earthquake is and the importance of knowing how to stay safe when the earth moves. (See: Shake Rattle and Roll: Are You Ready?) Now tell them you are going to practice a power outage so you can see if you are really ready if the power fails. Of course, you will also practice “duck cover and hold on”. Planning for any other disaster do the same, explain the disaster, explain there will be a power outage with that disaster and then practice a power outage.
As you practice being without power don’t forget to cook off grid. All of this, lighting, cooking, entertainment, cooling yourself and your home, easy to prepare food, water (after most disasters water will be unsafe for at least a few days), communication with family, all will be important to measure and evaluate your real ability to deal with an outage. (See: An Emergency Most Will Face)
With your family, evaluate what you need to do to be more prepared. Ask them what they feel you should purchase for entertainment. They may know of a game a friend introduced them to that you do not have. Do they love to do puzzles or love crossword puzzles? Do they have a book series they could read over and over but don’t own? Do they love crafts? Think now about Christmas and consider adding some of those to the list of gifts to purchase.
This week you will explain a disaster that may happen in your area to your family, practice a power outage and create of list of those things you need to purchase or make, and make a list of items to purchase for entertainment when the power fails.
Due to the problem we are experiencing with the cutting or the fiberoptic cables I feel it is more important than ever to have a binder filled with information in case of a challenge that takes down the internet, like the power outage we are practicing this week. Visit Totallyready.com and copy the articles and relevant blog posts there to begin your binder. As you prepare, please ask questions of those with knowledge beyond your own. There is some very poor, even harmful advice on the internet.
Remember our response to an emergency is only as good as our preparations and mental preparation is essential.