With billion dollar disasters occurring every 20 days, it may be time to once again address those things that may be sabotaging our preparedness plans. We have visited this subject before but it’s time to consider a few more things. The last week we have seen five objects shot down over north America. We saw 70 cases of attacks on the power grid in 2022. Preparing for weather related disasters is not the only challenge we should be considering. How many of the following may require some rethinking on your part?
- Don’t Go It Alone: We talked a little about this in the article: Create a Self-Reliance Posse. What ever you choose to call it, a tribe, a team, a squad, a troop, whatever you call it don’t tackle preparing alone.
- Don’t Advertise: Now that we have established you need a friend, or several to be part of your preparedness journey don’t let the world know what you are doing. This is not the information to share on a social media platform. You may want to post a great deal on food or supplies you find to encourage others but keep those posts infrequent except within your group. When the going gets tough, people do desperate things to feed and protect their family. Even the neighbors may do things they would normally not think of doing.
- Limited Focus: If you focus too much on one aspect of preparing, such as food storage or bugging out you will not be adequately prepared for emergencies. Food storage is essential for a job loss but may not help much when facing a flood. Preparing to bug out does not help in an extended power outage or when you need to shelter in place. Don’t limit preps to one area.
- Forgetting About Sanitation: During a crisis the last thing you need is for the family to get sick. Now is the time to learn about sanitizing with items in your pantry such as lemon juice and vinegar. Do you have plenty of hand soap and laundry detergent or supplies on hand to make your own? Do you have a power-free way to wash clothing and a line and clothes pins to dry them? Do you have paper products stored such as paper plates and towels? During an emergency, trash pickup may be delayed or unavailable for a long time. Paper products can be burned in your back yard fire pit. NEVER store styrofoam products.
- Forgetting About Personal Hygiene: Not many things are worse than facing the day without brushing your teeth or bathing. What supplies do your need to stock up on to be able to meet those needs? Do not forget feminine hygiene products of all kinds. They can be used for medical emergencies as well. If you have elderly parents or friends and family with young children who may evacuate to your home don’t forget diapers, adult and child.
- Off the Shelf Kits: You will spend more money than necessary on a premade kit than on one you put together yourself. Premade kits will not address the unique needs and preferences for your family. Every family member should have a whistle in their kits but not everyone needs a fire starter or first aid book. Everyone needs a light source but kids need only a small flashlight while a headlamp is much efficient for an adult. AND no one needs a tube tent, totally worthless, buy a two-man tent or tarps instead.
- Shelter, Shelter, Shelter: We often think food storage is the most important of our preparations but if you cannot survive the storm or power outage, if you can’t survive the night all the food in the world will do you no good. You can survive without food longer than you can survive freezing temperatures or tornadoes.
- Forgetting About the Car: A car can be shelter when acting as an evacuation vehicle which may take hours longer than expected. It may also be your shelter when a storm closes a roadway as you are commuting or taking a road trip. Don’t ignore preparing your car with a kit.
- Having a Plan But Never Practicing: If you don’t practice your survival plans, you will struggle when the time comes to implement them. Have children practice calling your out of area contact person. Practice a fire drill, an evacuation, and if in tornado country, sheltering in your safe area. Ask a friend to pretend they are a 911 operator and have family members call them to practice. There are stages everyone experiences during a challenge. First, we all think this can’t be happening. Stage two, now what do I do? Finally, you are ready to act. Those who have practiced and thought thru scenarios move very quickly to stage three, those who have not often get stuck and can’t act.
- Not Having Enough Vitamins: Times of stress require consuming more calories to cope. They also cause us to need more vitamins since our food consumption changes and for those who have not properly prepared that means diets aren’t nutritionally balanced. Stress can also contribute to a weakened immune system leading to colds and flu. Vitamins can help.
- Ignoring Personal Safety: Guns and ammo may be on your list for hunting and for defense but what other security methods have you implemented? If your emergency involved people evacuating or rioting, is your home protected? As mentioned before when people are desperate, they will do things they would never do under ordinary circumstances. Do you have deadbolts on all exterior doors including the garage? Do you know how to lock the garage doors so they cannot be opened with a remote? Do you have window covering on all windows? Are your windows and sliding doors secure? Do you have motion activated lighting and cameras? Shooting an intruder should be our last and worst option. Discourage them so they move on to another home.
- Pets Are Family Too: As much as we all love our pets, it’s easy to forget they need emergency supplies as well. Animals require more than just food and water. They need bowls from which to eat and drink. They also need a cage and collar and leash, when appropriate, if you want to be allowed into a shelter. Don’t forget medications, treats, toys, medical records, flea and tick treatment, grooming supplies, and items necessary to clean up waste. Don’t forget a manual can opener if storing canned food.
- Failing to Understand Possible Disasters: Too often, we focus on the disasters we have experienced but fail to acknowledge others. For example the New Madrid fault has not moved since 1812. The New Madrid earthquakes were the biggest earthquakes in American history. They occurred in the central Mississippi Valley, but were felt as far away as New York City, Boston, Montreal, and Washington D.C. President James Madison and his wife Dolly felt them in the White House. Church bells rang in Boston. From December 16, 1811, through March of 1812 there were over 2,000 earthquakes in the central Midwest. How many living in that area are preparing for an earthquake? Remember if a specific disaster has ever happened in your area, it can and will happen again. Remember fires, power outages, and job loss can happen anywhere.
- Not Having a Plan B: We have all planned the perfect holiday gathering only to have it turn out not so perfectly. The same can and will happen to our evacuation, sheltering in place, and other plans. We can never foresee all possibilities. A secondary plan is a must.
Your planned route out of town may be inaccessible due to flooding, fire, mudslide, so many things could go wrong. Do you have paper maps with alternative routes highlighted. What if you cannot get to your out of area contact location? What if you are forced to shelter in place, do you have enough food water and medications? Every scenario needs a plan B. Try living off the food you have in the house for a month. Tape over light switches and see what you may still need to survive and thrive during a power outage.
It is never too late to begin and to refine our preparedness plan until the disaster hits. Take small steps each week to refine your plans. Not one family imagined they would be homeless the night before the Paradise, California fire destroyed 14,000 structures, mostly homes. We never know when a challenge will change our lives forever. Prepare now to thrive not just survive.
Visit TotallyReady.com and Totally Ready on facebook for tips and answers to your questions. Message Carolyn at: Carolyn0847@yahoo or on facebook messenger to ask a question, make a suggestion for a future article, or schedule a zoom class for your ward, family or community group.