My wife and I came to the realization that we needed to do something to be more prepared when we were standing in line at the commissary as Hurricane Sandy came barreling toward the east coast. We realized why should it take something being imminent to get prepared, so we decided not be one of the many lemming out there. I am not calling anyone of you lemmings because if you are at this blog you are ahead of the majority of the population by learning about sustainability and preparedness.
So we needed to figure out where to start but how do we do that. So being the typical 30ish year old I did what anyone my age would do, I went to my laptop and punched preparedness plus other terms into Google©. Wow is all I had to say when I did that because the results were overwhelming. The first link I clicked on started talking about anarchy so I backed out of that link and waited for the black helicopters to come get me. Of course I am joking but I am a military member who is proud of what he does for a living and I love my country, therefore I do not tolerate or expose myself to anarchy talk. Then after a few hours of research I was overwhelmed by terms and acronyms like BOB, BOL, BOV, etc… Being a military member I wanted a checklist to follow but quickly realized that would not work. So I had to shut the computer and think about what we needed to do. We knew we needed PLAN. If you get overwhelmed like we did remember and practice this acronym: K.I.S.S.=Keep It Simple Stupid!!! Now if you are fortunate to be in the position where you have the money to go out and buy everything at once then I happy for you but for most of us we have to get creative to get prepared.
So my wife and I when we had a free time we would write ideas in a notebook. Then we took our ideas and started prioritizing them. I will get into each of the priorities in more detail in future post. My wife being a proud Texan she said the first priority had to be security and that meant guns but this was not as easy as going out and buying guns. We live in the District of Columbia, who is very restrictive with gun laws, so we bought a handgun to go with our shotgun. Our guns are locked up in a safe in Virginia until I can stationed somewhere else, hopefully Texas or at least somewhere more rural than city. I have the paperwork to register the guns to bring them into DC but I likely will not bring them into the district. I will discuss the reason at a later time and I look forward to your feedback. We also realize that security does not just mean guns, therefore we plan to take self-defense courses as well. There are things that can be done to your home as well but we live on base so this is less of an issue.
I am not a smart man but I have been around women long enough to agree with her first priority as long as it was somewhat reasonable. There are a couple of reasons to allow your spouse to have the say in the first priority. The first reason is a happy spouse is a happy home!!! The second reason is by allowing them to pick the first priority you will gain their buy in because you just created a vested interest in the process. The third and final reason is in the end you will likely work on several of the priorities a little at a time, so what is listed first does not matter.
Our second priority was food and water. These are typically separated into separate items and both can be complex issues but hey it was our list so we could do as we pleased. If you want to become overwhelmed look at the options for long term storage of food and types of food that are available for long term storage. I looked at pictures of people who have what looked like warehouses of stored food in everything from Mason© jars (yes Mason© jars are useful for more than just alcohol), five gallon drums and mylar bags. I quickly realized that this would not work for us because when I get sent somewhere else the movers would have a field day moving large amounts of food, so we realized we would have to take a different approach. We will discuss how we decided to tackle that issue in a future blog about how we decided to tackle food storage preparations. Water can also be a daunting issue but truthfully you can store water in anything that is clean so this can be easy to get started storing. There are lots of options regarding water storage, filtration, and conservation, so weigh all of your options before just buying what you find in a camping store.
The third priority is gear and tools that will make taking care of us in the long term easier. No doubt many of you are thinking I have plenty of tools and gear but think about your tools and do you have an axe? I mean a real axe, not one of those small tomahawks, that you could use to cut firewood or cut up a downed tree for use around your property. If you do not live in a rural setting and have a wood burning fireplace you probably do not have one. You can get completely nuts with preparedness and survival gear but I do not have the budget for that and again I will have to drag all of that gear to who knows where when we move. We knew we would have to be selective about what gear to buy. Gear is like anything else when you are on a tight budget because you have to balance quality and price. After giving it some thought we realized we would need gear that did not require electricity and that we could maintain ourselves. It is important to incorporate as many of these tools into thing you already do so that you can become proficient in using them. Also I encourage you to buy multi-use tools that besides being good for preparedness and survival they can be useful around the house.
The fourth priority is health and medical. This is an area I have turned over to my wife, although I do have a base knowledge because of my military training. My wife has a real interest in medicine and being a mother she has an innate intuition when it comes to medical issues. You can go all out and buy these complex first aid kits that allows you to treat everything from a cut to just about conduct surgery. Make sure that you stay within your abilities when collecting medical supplies. Medical reference books can be your best friends and do not forget military survival manuals can be helpful as well because they use simple methods that most people can employ.This list is definitely not all inclusive but it is what we deemed our top four. People argue all the time about what the order of these items should be but it is not all that overly important where you place them on your list. We are tackling these items a little at a time. When we see bags of dried beans on sale we pick some up, when we are at the store we grab a roll of gauze, and if we see a deal on a piece of gear we want we pick it up. We initially became very overwhelmed at all of the prospects but we realized we could not risk inaction so we asserted that we would accomplish our march toward self-sustain ability one small, even micro at times, step at a time. As Jack Spirko says on The Survival Podcast "how do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time." I think that is the best approach for most of us who are attempting to tackle the challenges that lay a head.
If you have lists of your own I would interested in seeing them and sharing them with others who read this blog please include them in the comment section below. I would love to hear you comments, thoughts and feedback on our list.