Preparedness: How To Start
by Nick Meacher
At the time of writing Hurricane Matthew is just off the coast of Miami and is causing widespread power outages and damage from winds and water. If you watched the news you saw that most of the stores, food as well as hardware, ran out of supplies days ahead. Even with the supply chain intact at that time, and with about 5 days notice of the pending impact of the hurricane, stores could not get enough supplies to meet demand. Most grocery stores have no more than 3-days worth of supplies for normal demand. Most homes do not have more than 3-days worth of food. If you live in an apartment chances are that you really don’t have the cupboard space to store more than a few days supplies. Most gas stations ran out in a day or less, most normally get fuel every other day during normal times so a run on gas will wipe out most stations in a day.
If you go back 50 years or more many people grew and preserved what they needed to eat for a year. As we have become more industrialized cities grew up, farms decreased, farming skills have been lost and replaced with a network of grocery stores, supplied by trucks that are stocked by information from point of sale computers. All that stops very abruptly when there is no electricity: to use your credit card to purchase the food, to run the computers to automatically send the restock order to the warehouse, to pump the fuel into the trucks that deliver and to control the traffic lights to allow traffic to flow smoothly.
A hurricane is a short event, it comes with a few days warning, but can leave destruction to the community and infrastructure that takes months or even years to repair. Other events come with little or no notice, and a solar flare could turn our power grid into a mass of useless wire and transformers and every piece of modern electrical dependent equipment into scrap. There is almost no part of our modern society that doesn’t require electricity.
If you haven’t started building your preparedness supplies then this article is intended to get you started and to give you resources for more information.
Firstly you need to ask yourself what you are prepping for. What do you believe will be the biggest thing that is going to impact you and your family? Economic, nuclear/war, EMP/solar flare, etc. While this will help you set an end goal starting is the same.
Firstly add a little to your weekly groceries, buy things that you normally eat. Get a few extra cans, etc. The best way to do this is set 3-month then 12-month goals. The best lists are those prepared by members of The Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), who have a doctrine of preparedness and encourage all families to have a 12-month supply.
LDS suggests $20-$25 per month per person towards preparedness.
Do not go out and buy cases of MRE’s – these are designed for active military and the calorie count is very high. Do not go out and buy 5-gallon buckets of grains etc., until you have 3-months supplies of foods you normally eat and water. You need at least 1-gallon per day per person, as a minimum. Have enough to last a couple of weeks and then some means to get clean water, filters etc.
Make sure you have battery lanterns, a FM/AM radio, etc. and a quantity of batteries. Get rechargeable batteries and a solar panel system that can recharge them. It is important that you can get information. Even better than listening to local and emergency broadcasts is the ability to get your information first hand. A Home Patrol 2 scanner will allow you to listen to local emergency services.
There are ‘specialized’ things that you need to have in addition to food and water. Medical care will not be readily available. People are going to get sick from malnutrition, dirty water and poor hygiene. Medicine that some people take daily to help keep them alive are not going to be available. People are going to get injured doing things that they are not used to doing, such as chopping wood for a fire, or getting injured in a fight to protect your family and supplies. If you don’t have any medical training get some – Oath Keepers has a series of medical courses that go beyond to normal first aid.
Find local like-minded folks.
While it’s fairly easy to build your own supplies it’s a challenge to maintain OPSEC and keep it absolutely quiet when you have supplies being delivered by mail or other courier and you have cardboard boxes in your trash on a regular basis (make sure you shred all delivery notices and invoices before putting them in the trash). A community of like-minded people, with diverse skills, makes it much easier to defend your neighborhood from the gangs and other folks who have not done anything to prepare and think that they can just come and take what everyone else has. A group makes it much easier to have some people highly qualified in survival medicine, communications, gardening, canning and other food preservation methods.
Regardless of how this election turns out we are in for some difficult times. We have forgotten how to garden and raise our own crops. We have become totally dependent on the electrical system – if you don’t believe me turn your main breaker off Friday night when you come home and see how you fair for the weekend.
Bottom line is to take some action TODAY. Don’t put it off saying I’ll start next month when I have more time or more money. The time is now!