From yesterday’s thread…..to an idea……to ZMalfoy’s resourcefulness and writing skills…and here we go! Thank you to all the creative hearts and minds. You guys are something else (a very nice “something else”). This thread will be like Our Treehouse, The Chapel, Our Mission and Heroes Contact List: a permanent place to come any time you have ideas, questions or comments that fit within what follows, which was prepared by ZMalfoy. Thank you all!
Preparedness 101: The Very Basics
Since there was some interest in the subject of preparedness, let’s start a thread for reference for the Tree Dwelling Community.
Since we all have different info, I’ll start with the basics. There will be some (optional!) homework. Anyone who has any tips, advice, corrections, stories, links, etc., is invited to share them in the comments. There will be questions, too, for the community to answer, which may become posts of their own in the future. One caveat: Since the writer and blog are based in the U.S., it will be written from a U. S. point of view. If you live elsewhere, adjust the information and feel free to share with us the variables in things you are dealing with.
1) What are we supposed to be preparing for?
2) Where do I start?
What are we preparing for?
Short answer: Life.
Slightly longer answer: Anything that could happen to disrupt our fun–anything from house troubles to sickness to The End Of The World As We Know It (aka TEOTWAWKI). Maybe economic collapse, maybe natural disasters, maybe an epidemic or terrorism. This can be a bit hard to handle, so a few things to keep in mind as we begin:
1) The emergency you face will not be the one you prepared for. This is the prepper’s corollary to Murphy’s Law. If you’re ready and waiting for the next flu epidemic, you’ll get an earthquake. If you’re ready for an earthquake, you’ll get terrorism. If terrorism, you’ll lose your job and live off your food storage for a few months while working at Starbucks to pay the mortgage. Luckily, much in the way of prepping overlaps–it’s just the details and the particular tinfoil-hat designs that differ. So, if you’re prepping with Economic Armageddon in mind, and you see someone freaking out about the New Madrid Fault line, it’s okay–you’re both getting ready for things going pear-shaped.
2) Sometimes, the asteroid hits your house. Sometimes, even if you prep to the nines, all that work will go up in smoke. Realize that. Even if you have a “retreat location”–it’s the retreat that gets hit. In other words–don’t put all the eggs in one basket. But have the humility to realize that still, sometimes, The Schumer Hits The Fan (TSHTF). It’s for this reason that many people consider skills to be the most important part of preparing, with stockpiling coming after. If circumstances make you a refugee, knowing how to sew, grow crops, preserve food, work with wood or metal will be far more valuable than great skill with Excel. Not that Excel isn’t useful–but in a grid-down situation, your ability to grow tomatoes and weld metal will be far more valuable.
3) Never stop enjoying life. You know the stereotype, and maybe you’ve run into the real thing. Guys who get so into the mode of preparing against the horrors of the future that they forget about living today. Don’t be that guy. Do what you can, as you can and enjoy the blessings God showers you with every day.
4) You will never be entirely self-sufficient. No man is an island, it is said, and this is true. One desires to become as self-sufficient as possible, but you will always need someone else, for some reason or another. As a single chick myself, I’m really coming to appreciate how much I can get done in one day–even on a Saturday. One more person could double that workload. A Team would be invaluable. So talk to your spouse or your family. This is sometimes hard–people don’t understand it. But many preps result in frugality–so talk about the economy, look at the fate of northern Japan. Get a team, if you can. Network with neighbors, with people online, with extended family. On the other hand, remember Operational Security (OPSEC). Don’t tell the neighbors about your food storage, and make sure the kids or spouse don’t either. Instead, try to subtly nudge the neighbors in that direction without letting them know where the food will be if it all goes to crap. Talk with them about gardening, the price of groceries, etc. You know your neighbors–you’ll know the best balance.
5) Every little step helps. Just go, one thing at a time. Do what you can, as you can. Every small thing put away for an emergency, every bit of skill, it all adds up. Every bag of rice, can of tomatoes or tuna is one more meal that you and yours won’t be hungry. Every skill is one more thing you can do, not just for yourselves, but for others if needed.
Acts of God: Look at your geographic region–what is your area prone to? What weather or other phenomena happens or has happened on record? Drought? Hurricane? Tornadoes? Blizzards? Floods? Earthquake? Dust storms? If it has happened on record, it can happen again. Do you live near the New Madrid Fault line, or any of the West Coast fault lines? Is there seismic activity anywhere within a 2-3 day drive? If a local volcano blows its top, where will the ash fall? If your house may be affected, this is something to prepare for. Granted, if the Yellowstone Caldera up and explodes (as it has in the past) everyone in the U.S. east of Yellowstone is screwed. But this is not the most likely scenario. Start with the most likely event, of whatever scale.
As for the Acts of Men: What dumb stuff can people get up to around where you live? Is there a government or military facility which might be subject to terrorist attack? Is there a plant or other places that houses toxic chemicals that might spring a leak (deliberate or accidental)? I live just Northeast of DC, which is often downwind from the city. Therefore, I have a stash of Potassium Iodide, just in case Iran finally gets the bomb and gets it into the hands of a bad person who gets it to DC.
Finally, what particular vulnerabilities do you or yours face? Asthma? Diabetes? Physical impairment? Mental impairment? What happens if you lose electricity?
Homework Assignment #1) Make notes on three potential areas of concern: Likely/possible Acts of God, possible Acts of Man, and Personal Vulnerabilities. Let’s look at this danger and face it head on. Keep in mind, however, there are some things you cannot prepare for. (See #2 above)
Now this can start getting overwhelming real fast. If you know what the vulnerabilities are, how do you even start to address preparing for these things?
There are two ways to help organize: The Rule of Threes, and Start with Short, Move to Long.
The Rule of Threes
- 3 Minutes without Air
- 3 Hours without Shelter
- 3 Days without Water
- 3 Weeks without Food
I would add, you cannot survive a moment without God. This rule gives a good hierarchy for where to focus your efforts. When I was starting with preparedness, this rule helped me focus on what to get first. Let’s look at each one:
3 Minutes without Air–when would this come into play? Well, if your car is sinking in water, if a tsunami is hitting, if there’s a chemical attack near you. Also possibly involved in air–biological attack or natural pandemic. So, how do you prepare for these things? Have a device in your car to get you out should you find yourself in this situation–Mythbusters had a great show on this, and I recommend you find it on YouTube. If it is possible that your area gets hit with a tsunami, the best thing is to be ready to run like hell at a moment’s notice. In the case of Chemical attack, first, know the direction of the wind, and get out of “downwind.” Second, a wet bandana is ok as a line of defense if you’ve got nothing else. Even better are N95 masks with respirators. Or, you can go truly survivalist and get some gasmasks with filters. It’s up to you how hardcore you go.
3 Hours without Shelter–this really has to do with keeping your body temperature right. Cody Lundin has an entire book dedicated to this one thing–98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive! I don’t have this one myself, but I was impressed with another of his books, When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes. In short, however, this includes clothing, housing, bedding, air circulation and even water. How do you stay warm? How do you stay cool? Naked in a blizzard on the plains is not the situation you want to be in. What shelter backups do you have? Tarps? Tents? Sleeping bags? Do you have a way to heat your shelter in winter?
3 Days without Water–FEMA (and others) recommends one gallon of water per person per day. Some people debate between water storage and water filters. I say both. Store water–the water in parts of Japan is testing for high radiation, so stored water would be better in that situation. On the other hand, you can only store so much water. There are filters (kinda pricey) that will filter out almost all known biologic problems, and many chemical. Even so, do you have a backup way of boiling water to be sure it’s safe? In a longer case scenario, will you be able to water your garden? Will you have clean water not just for drinking, but for cleaning wounds? Will you be able to keep your surroundings moderately sanitary?
3 Weeks without Food–Food storage is a Big Deal right now, and I’m thankful for it. Lack of food can cause real social problems–the more people have even a slightly bigger buffer, the better. How long will the food in your pantry last you? Can you prepare it without electricity? Does it need refrigeration if opened?
Assignment #2) Inventory what you have on hand, right now, that addresses each of the parts of the Rule of Threes. You may be surprised at what you already have! Add a Medical Inventory to those lists as well. This inventory will give you a good idea of where you already are, right now. This will show you your holes–so many people forget about water!–and will help you get a handle on where to focus future efforts.
Finally, when thinking about what you need, start with short term emergencies. If the car breaks down, if the power goes out in a storm, etc. Use these preps as the foundation for longer term preparation. Start with 3 days food backup, then a week, then a month, then 6 months, etc…..Remember: Every little bit helps. Get CPR Certified. Take a First Aid course. Learn to can food.
A last word for this post: When you are prepping, you start by prepping just for yourself and your family. But ultimately, you are preparing for everyone. You prepare to ride through emergencies, but also to be able to help people–your neighbors, your friends, your community–when it counts the most. Knowing that, but for the Grace of God, it could be you that was the refugee, you prepare to be able to offer some measure of assistance when TSHTF. Be ready to be a shelter for others–but to do that, you need to have a shelter to provide!
Final Assignment! Identify one skill you would like to learn that would be of use in a long or short term emergency. Following posts will go into more detail on various subjects.
Good resources on the net are Beprepared.com. YouTube, FEMA.gov., Redcross.org., survivalblog.com, the survivalmom.com, and the forums at 222.mrssurvival.com.
Please share any info, questions, tips and links in the comments below. Your input is essential.