Emergency Preparedness: 101, by Jennie From the Flats

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Wakeup Call
 It was 2 o’clock in the morning when our two year old toddler woke me with a terrifying scream. She was just across the hallway, but I was disoriented for a moment and couldn’t figure out why I was blind.  As I realized the power was out, I looked for the battery-powered lantern I keep beside the bed only to find it missing.  The three year old had probably been playing with it again.  I felt my way around the house and hoped the lantern would still have power.  It clicked on and what a blessed sight that light was.  After a few minutes of rocking and lullabies, the baby was soundly sleeping, but I was wide awake.  I found the extra flash light and left it turned on in the older children’s room so they wouldn’t be scared if they woke in the pitch-dark.  I went to the deck and saw the entire subdivision blacked-out.  Across the fields and interstate the city was aglow, but our tiny part of the world was eerily quiet.  All the white noise of technology was gone and only the frogs and bugs by the irrigation ditch were chirping away.  I lay awake long into the night, on high alert for the sound of little ones crying, pondering the long list of things I did not have prepared. 

Prior to that night I had 72-hour kits, winter-weather packs for the cars, and some bulk foods on hand for rainy days.  I grew up in the country where we kept a flashlight by the back door to check animals in the middle of the night.  My mother was and still is a wonderful advocate of food storage and small animal self-reliance.  Our family enjoys watching shows like “Doomsday Preppers” and “Mega-Disasters.”   My lack of preparation wasn’t because I hadn’t heard the message, but rather the notion that there would be time later.  My goal in writing this article is to provide an outline for individuals new to the prepping world. The first item of discussion is disasters, but which disaster? The second item is creating the LIST, in other words, what stuff is needed to survive said disaster.  The third portion addresses how to keep it all organized once you start making lists.  And I’ll mention a few tips on organizing for the smallest of disasters, Category I’s or 72 Hour Evacuations. 

Item 1: Disaster, Which Disaster?
Survival and Emergency Preparation information is available in many places and it can take days and weeks to sort through.  Our church hosted an Emergency Preparedness Fair with workshops covering many topics such as Heirloom Seeds, Getting Water without Electricity, 72-Hour Packs, Planning, Canning, and Non-canning food storage.  Each participant received a binder entitled “Provident Living” for organizing information and setting goals for future needs.  I dusted that binder off and began reading with new eyes. 

There are as many disaster scenarios as there are “preppers”, so how the heck do you know what to plan for? (Check out “Different Prepping Approaches” by Marlene M. posted July 20, 2013 in the Survival Mindset Category, SurvivalBlog.com.)  Using one presenter’s advice1 to create lists for different scenarios, I summarized his information on disasters into four categories.  It just made sense to start with disasters of shortest duration and build up to The End of the World as We Know (TEOTWAWKI)-level disaster.

Table 1. What types of Disaster do I Plan for?


Disaster

Category I
Evacuation

Category II
Home-Bound

Category III
Provident Living

Category IV
Worst-Case
Scenarios

Description

Natural or Man-made requiring evacuation

Natural or Man-made

Rainy Days & Hard Times

Long-Term Calamity TEOTWAWKI

Shelter

Forced out of home, no utilities or supplies except what you take with you

In home or have access to it, but there are no utilities

In home with possible utilities, insufficient funds to purchase supplies

May or may not be in your home, nothing available anywhere at any price

Duration

72 hours to 2 weeks

Short term- up to 2 months

A few weeks to  a year or more

Long Term- Unknown

Causes

Localized:

  • Natural Disasters
  • Weather related
  • Chemical Spills
  • Wildfires
  • Terrorism

Localized:
<-    All of these, plus

  • Riots
  • Civil Unrest
  • Disrupted Utilities

Economic Crisis:

  • Unemployment
  • Death
  • Medical Problems
  • Hospital Stay
  • Extended family needs

Widespread Catastrophes:

  • War
  • Drought
  • Devastating Storms
  • Terrorism, etc.

Special Emphasis

All essentials in a portable container
Small, compact, lightweight

Emergency Supplies
Emergency Skills

Pantry Principles: Practical
Prudent
Provident

Long-term storage, self-reliance skills of mending, repairing, providing, bartering, medical care, etc.

Item 2: List, What List?
My vague wish list for long-term storage items was not enough.  I began to sort through what I had and figure out what would be needed for possible disasters.  I needed a master plan to get organized and felt that the Lord would guide me.  A Sunday lesson had taught how the Creation was a pattern for gaining self-reliance.  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1). Following this example, I created a plan for my little “Homestead” taking into mind food storage, water, gardening, small livestock, and so on.  I made the following Table and listed some basic supplies for each section to give you an idea. For exhaustive lists search the “List of Lists” on Survivalblog.com. 
Table 2. Creation-Based Planning


Scripture

Items

Category I

Category II

Category III

Category IV

 

Time Frame

72 Hour Minimum*

3 Month Supply

1 Year Supply

Indefinitely

Genesis 1:3-4

Light & Heat

-Candles
-Matches
-Flashlights
-Batteries

Add
- Oil/Kerosene
-Lanterns
-More Matches
-More Candles

Add
-Wood Stove
-Wood for heat
-Cooking Briquettes
-Propane for BBQ

Add
-Generator
-Log Splitter
-Rechargeable Batteries

Genesis 1:9-10

Water

-72 hour supply
-Portable jugs

Add
-2 week supply
-Purification method tablets, filters

Add
-Private Well
-Hand Pump for Well
-Large Storage Tanks

Add
-Portable Filter
-Knowledge of local water and geography

Genesis 1:12,29

Plant Based Foods

-MRE’s
-fruit leather, raisins
-Granolas
-Fruit cups
-Peanut butter

Add BULK
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, fats & oils, nuts, seeds, sugars and peanut butter

Add
-Seasonal Gardening
-Composting, Natural Pest Control
- Canning & dehydrating skills

Add
-Heirloom Seeds & preserving skills
- Farming Tools

Genesis 1:21,25

Animal Based Foods

-Protein shakes
-Jerky
-Tuna
-Powdered Milk

Add
- meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, honey bees (powdered items for back-up)

Add
-Chickens
-Dairy Goat/Cow
- Other livestock
-Hunting Weapons & Ammo

Add
-Fishing supplies
-More Animals
-Gun Smith tools
-More Ammo

Genesis 1:27

Human Necessities &
Comforts

-Toiletry Kit
-First Aide Items
-Sturdy, warm clothing
-Shelter
-Sanitation Items

Add
-All Toiletry Items
-Socks, Underwear
- Medical Supplies
-Cleaning Supplies

Add
-Sewing Machine
-Extra Shoes/Boots
-Fabrics
-More Toiletries

Add
-Outhouse or other Sanitation solution
 -Travel Trailer
-Bartering Goods

Genesis
2:3

Rest from your work and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.  Remember to honor the Sabbath day even in times of hardship.  Those in your company will be in need of Spiritual nourishment as much as physical nourishment.  Ex 31:17 “he rested, and was refreshed.”

Genesis 2:15

Put All into Practice

Set a time every year to rotate items

Store food that your family will eat, and rotate through it

Garden, Raise Livestock, and Live as if your life depended on it NOW

Learn Self-Reliance, Practice It and then spread the word in your community

*72 Hours is the minimum amount of time to plan for.  As recent natural disasters have shown, it may take longer for you to return home and have full use of utilities.

Item 3: How to Organize

So now you have all these areas of your life that need preparation and the list in your head is getting longer by the minute.  Ahhhh! It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the details, but don’t stop now!  Take a deep breath and remember that you only have to start with ONE item this week, and next week you can do another, and so on.  Look at different lists until you find a style that resonates.  A simple spreadsheet design on SurvivalBlog.com is titled “List of Lists”.  They offer detailed lists from an expert on every necessary area.   

All you need is a 1 or 2 inch ring diameter binder and some dividers to start.  The binder system allows you to easily add information along the way.  Start with a section entitled Homestead which will include: Communications, Evacuation Plans, and Tools.  Continue to make a section for each set of items from Table 2: Light & Heat, Water, Plant Based Foods, Animal Based Foods, Human Necessities & Comforts, and Spiritual Needs.  Some additional sections may include Financial Preparations, Safety, Security, and Maps.  Again, the work has already been done in “List of Lists” referenced above and they are free to use.  I just put each list under the best-fitting section and make personal modifications as needed.

Item 4: Category I- Short Term Evacuation

So let’s get into the short term evacuation scenario.  You need to leave your home quickly with enough supplies to carry you through … fill in whatever type of disaster you wish. I started organizing for Category I with “72 hour kits”.  Other names for this type of kit are the B.O.B. “Bug-Out-Bag” or the G.O.O.D. “Get Out Of Dodge” bag. You may have seen the term I.N.C.H. bag as in “I’m Never Coming Home.”  As this last name implies, it would be a kit that is kept for Category IV scenarios with more emphasis on rebuilding tools and long-term survival away from home.  Some helpful hints for beginners: designate an area for these items, make water portable, have a backpack for each person, and post a list in a visible spot. 

72 Hour Emergency Station- Create one spot or “station2” where all things needed for the 72 hour level of emergency are kept together. We now have a closet in our laundry room that is designated for that purpose.  This ensures that any person at home could load the evacuation supplies and meet up at a Rally Point with other family members. To help young children prepare, practice drills where each family member is assigned certain items to carry for an evacuation.  Use a stopwatch and make it a game for them. 

Water
- The general rule of emergency preparedness is 1 gallon of water per person or pet per day. There are 5 people in our family x 3 days= 15 gallons.  Because my small children can’t carry the weight of three gallons, I have 2 liters in each pack with the additional water in a combination of 5 gallon jugs and cases of bottled water.  Since this is the bare minimum, it’s also a good idea to have water purification methods in each of the kits. 

Backpacks
- There is one backpack or small rolling suitcase for each person and pet in the home.  These hold everything from important documents in waterproof covers, flashlights, food, clothes, and first aid kits to books and tiny toys for the kids.  This is where list making is needed.  After studying several suggested lists, compile an individualized list based on what type of disasters are common in your region and specific needs of the person such as extra prescription drugs, glasses, or diapers. 

Evacuation List- Make a printed list that hangs in the station listing evacuation items in order of importance.  You decide and make sure everyone else knows that the list is law.  Take time to think it through now so when the SHTF evacuation will go smoothly and safely.  Put the “Extras” at the bottom of the list.

Extras- “Extras” are the items that would be nice to have if there was time and space to take them, but not essential to your survival for three days.  It could be a duffle bag or other portable container.  Mine is a blue Rubbermaid tote that is easy to move, water proof, and doubles as a child’s bath or wash tub.  Inside the tote is an inventory of items so that all family members will quickly know what resources are on hand.  I also added a copy of driving directions and a map of alternate routes to our evacuation spot. 

Item 5: Line Upon Line

Following the example of organizing for Category I, continue to develop your plans for the next category, and then the next, and then the next.  It’s a situation where the principle of “line upon line, precept upon precept3” applies because after you have planned for and acquired supplies for 3 days, 2 weeks will seem do-able.  After you have two weeks’ worth of supplies, three months won’t seem like too big of a burden, and all of a sudden you will have a year’s worth of supplies and be living like a veteran “prepper.” 
The last section titled Put it all into Practice happens when “prepping” becomes a way of life.  “Line upon line” you will gain knowledge of self-reliance, including but not limited to: gathering resources, building a personal library, networking with people, gardening, raising livestock, physical fitness, self-defense, hands-on training, and tools of a trade. 

Gathering Resources-
The internet is a wonderful tool for gathering information on every topic imaginable.  SurvivalBlog.com, Mother Earth News and Honeyvillegrain.com are just a few of the sites I like to search. As I find a specific topic that I want to learn more about I send for free catalogues to look at supplies. My preparedness binder has a growing section of articles I’ve printed from professional and amateur blog sites. 

Personal Library
- When the grid goes down, having a collection of books on a wide range of topics will be invaluable.  I want the peace of mind knowing that I can refer to tried-and-true information in times of need.  Take the time to read reviews on books before purchasing them.  Many times I was saved from buying a book because the other readers pointed out it lacked the critical information I would need for real-life scenarios.  I also subscribe to GRIT that offers information on all kinds of homesteading topics.

Networking with People
- The talents and experience of neighbors, extended family, and community members is a wealth of knowledge that is only useful if we know where to go.  The Preparedness Fair at church gave me insight into the resources of our congregation.  We moved into a new subdivision and as we get to know the neighbors, I’ve found that one is a Jack-of-all trades that can build anything from houses to engines while another on is an avid bow hunter and camper.  Ask these people for advice and help when you come across new and unfamiliar prepping topics.  Being new to this blog, I find it exciting to know there are countless people out there with similar interests and a wealth of knowledge.
If you are a veteran prepper that has been doing this for years and can think of someone you know who hasn’t caught the fire to prep, maybe they don’t know where to start.  Don't give up; continue to be the great examples you are and someday it will reach someone like me.

Gardening
- Grow what you can, even if it’s a few pots on the patio.  Learn about local soil, how to fertilize, controlling pests and climate restrictions.  Living in a dry area with short growing seasons means that my ability to preserve a large harvest is crucial.  Up here we plant mid-May and harvest by late September, so in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, I would be eating canned or dried produce 9-10 months of the year. 
Look to your local county extension office for help.  Each state has this program under their county government listing. They offer scientific based help for agriculture, livestock pastures, family and consumer sciences (cooking and preserving methods), and horticulture.  One example of courses offered by Yellowstone County helps develop horticulture skills in a Master Gardener Course. 

Raising Livestock
- Start small and build your herds and flocks with the same principle of “line upon line.”  I grew up in the rural 4-H setting, so I dabbled in everything from pigs to dairy goats to horses.  If you have children from ages 6-19, find a local 4-H club to join.  The kids get to enjoy the responsibility of caring for animals and parents have an automatic network of experienced project leaders that volunteer hundreds of hours to the program.  Their programs extend beyond animals to include a wide range of topics with everything from Aerospace and Astronomy to Wind Energy and Woodworking.  Check out page 16 of the Project Material Order Form4 for a full list of the 115 projects available.

Physical Fitness- After reading several articles5 I realized my kids will be depending on me to keep them safe, sheltered, and fed when SHTF.  I’m 35 pounds overweight and I feel stiff and tired many mornings.  That comes after a good eight hours of sleep in a very comfortable bed with plenty to eat and a hot shower each day.  Imagine being on the run, sleeping on the ground with limited calories and an immense load of stress.  This was another important area that I needed to start making changes in now, and not wait. So thanks to a great neighbor, I’ve started cardio and weight lifting, alternating days and resting on Sundays.  When I get tired, I envision having to put up a shelter in subzero temperatures or bug out with all our gear.  That’s what motivates me to push harder.

Self-Defense
- I cannot add any personal experience in this area of preparation yet.  If you are like me, unfamiliar and intimidated by handling firearms, the best advice I can offer is to seek out opportunities to learn these skills.  This summer I will be attending a three day camp, just for women, that focuses on outdoor skills.  (An idea is already forming for my next article, Women and Firearms: 101).  This fall I want to take a two-part basic pistol class offered by a local shooting range. My goal is to increase my confidence through these experiences and become knowledgeable enough to purchase my own firearms. 

Hands-on Training
- So how do I become self-reliant?  If I wait to learn by trial-and-error, I may not last the first week or the first growing season.  Start by asking family members to share things they know about.  My father-in-law is a Vietnam Vet and was really helpful when I told him I had started “prepping.”  Search out camps and retreats that offer classes by experts.  I found affordable and local classes put on by the Wildlife, Fish and Parks Department in Montana.  They offer classes on things like packing horses in the mountains, GPS and Compass reading, Rifle, Archery, Outdoor cooking, and Wilderness Survival.  Locally the police department put on a free woman’s self-defense class.  Even if your funds are limited, be resourceful and find ways to learn the skills you want.  Organize classes through local churches or volunteer to be a 4-H project leader.

Tools of the Trade/Craft
- If the grid crashed today and there was no FedEx or Amazon.com would you have the tools and supplies needed to perform or produce something of value?  For example, my extended family raises dairy goats.  Each spring the children choose newborn kids for 4-H project animals and the extra milk is used by our families.  There are many valuable products besides milk such as cheeses, soaps, meats, hides and pack animals.  While these aspects of the goat herd aren’t being utilized right now, having the necessary equipment on hand such as molds, lye, presses, cheese cloth, Rennet tablets, etc. will be crucial for us to have a means of bartering goods and providing basics for survival. 

Just Do It
Just do it!  If you made it this far, I know you have been “awakened”! You are now aware that there are various types of disasters to plan for and that each can have a different list of supplies. Use a system to keep it all organized so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.  Remember to seek the council of the Lord.  Start with the smallest disaster and build steadily toward TEOTWAWKI. Make self-reliance a way of life and may God bless you in all worthy endeavors.

References

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on August 14, 2013 11:12 PM.

Letter Re: The Value of a Magnifying Glass was the previous entry in this blog.

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