Every individual has a different idea for what being prepared is. For some, being prepared
means they have a spare tire and lug wrench in their vehicle at all times. For others, being prepared
means having the skill and knowledge to survive in the worse imaginable scenario. And for many, being
prepared falls somewhere in between these two extremes.
Individuals may feel the need for different levels of preparedness in the full range of scenarios
that may be encountered. Whether being prepared to you means having matches and lighter fluid on
hand or knowing how to use a bowstring to start a fire, every individual makes a conscious decision on
how prepared they want to be. This decision is up to the individuals and the consequences of that
decision is the responsibility of the individual to live with.
In this writer’s opinion, everyone should prepare at the minimum for the major life needs:
water, shelter, and food. Other things that individuals may want to prepare for includes their vehicles,
their property, medications, first aid kits, backup electricity, fuel storage, wood storage and a magnitude
of other things but let’s focus of the major life needs.
1. Water – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, A general rule of
thumb is to store one gallon of water per person per day. They also suggest that in an
emergency situation, you should drink half a gallon of water a day – more if you’re in a hot
climate, sick, pregnant, or a child. The other half gallon can be used for hygiene. Extra Water
should be stored for pets in the amounts of one gallon per cat or dog per day. How many
days should you prepare for? A water main break near your home may leave you waterless
for a day or two, the series of Tornados that struck Dayton Ohio earlier this year left
residents without water for weeks. At a minimum, water storage should last at least three
days which should be sufficient for limited minor emergencies where you only have to wait
for the problem to be fixed by others. A safer minimum would be to kep enough water to
last at least two weeks. This amount will allow an individual to survive much longer if a more
devastating disaster presents itself. For a family of 4, this would amount to at least 56
gallons of water at the minimum. Individuals should also be prepared to be able to sterilize
water for drinking such as with bleach or water purification tablets. This is especially
important for those who have limited storage. Those with limited storage may also consider
a rain collection system which can be deployed in times of need to supplement their need
for emergency water.
2. Shelter – the first line of shelter is simply the cloths that you and I wear every day. A simple
bag with a few days of cloths and cold/warm gear can be a lifesaver when needed. This bag
can be kept in your vehicle or outbuilding in the event that your main cloths are destroyed
by fire or by other means. Preparing to keep a roof over your head should be plan A for
many individuals, make sure your home is maintained and problems are corrected early.
Make sure roofs and exterior coverings are in good condition. Having a warm, dry place to
sleep is paramount in an emergency. You may also prepare for scenarios where you are
unable to stay at home. Do you have a backup plan for that? perhaps camping gear or a
second structure at a separate location is the extent of being prepared for most. Perhaps
acquiring the skills and knowledge to build a structure quickly and simply using natural
products is a better fit for you. Even a simple tarp lean-to or hammock is better than
sleeping in the elements however some forethought must be given to how you will prepare
for shelter in an emergency.
3. Food – Food is a life need and you will not survive without food. However, starvation will
take upward of three weeks to be fatal. And shelter and water should take a higher priority
to food. Excess food can be stored in bug and mouse proof containers that are water tight.
Food can be preserved longer by using mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. Individuals can
prepare easily by purchasing extra can goods and staples in small quantities. Keep in mind
that you should have an idea of how to prepare and cook the food your store if needed.
Food stores can be customized to the individual in almost every way. Pressure canning, food
dehydrations, meat smoking or salting are all methods that can be employed when wanting
to store food for long term emergency preparedness and when common food preservation
is unavailable due to electrical outages.
Are you prepared enough? Perhaps you can do more to be better prepared. I hope you think
about emergency scenarios and how they can affect you and the ones your love. Please prepare
now before its too late. Individuals can not count on being saved by others and must accept
responsibility for themselves and any lack of preparedness that they may be guilty of.
Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Luck isn’t being in the right place at the
right time but is about being ready when an opportunity or event occurs. Lucky people generate
their own luck by being prepared and ready to adapt when presented with challenges. Don’t
count on luck when you realize you are unprepared.
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