Thursday, October 21, 2010

Preparedness, Part 1

Be prepared.

As an Eagle Scout, I have been very familiar with the phrase. It wasn’t until the events of September 11, 2001, late August of 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, and, of course, January of 2009 with the Ice Storm that struck here in the Western Kentucky area that this concept hit home. These events, and others like them, have served to really get my mind focused on my preparedness.
Was I prepared for the Ice Storm? Not really. We stayed at my in-laws for two weeks and luckily, they had a gas fireplace, gas water heater, and a gas stove; not to mention the generator we used part time. Coincidentally, we had some cash on us from my wife’s paycheck a few days before. We live off of our debit cards and, to that point, never carried much money on us. It helped then because we were able to buy groceries at the local IGA grocery which only accepted cash due to the lack of power. Yes, I did have flashlights, tons of candles, guns, and quite a bit of food, but, I believe that I went into that disaster completely unprepared for what we were going to have to face.
Since then, I have been researching different ways that I could be ready for disaster. Tornados are not uncommon around here and we live on a very large fault line that has been predominantly inactive in my lifetime. Anything can happen though. FEMA states that in a state of emergency that it can take them three days to be at ground zero ready to help. I, for one, cannot wait three days. I have children and a wife who depend on me to keep them safe, fed, and as comfortable as possible. Three days without drinkable water can be fatal depending on the temperature. Yes, three days without food is doable, but who wants to go through that? It makes sense for every family to have enough supplies for themselves for a minimum of three days so that they don’t end up worse off than they should be.
What does three days of supplies mean? Obviously it means food, water, and shelter.


You need to have enough food to feed yourself and anyone who lives with you and a way to prepare it. Now, that may not be too much of a struggle depending on the climate at the time. Things from your refrigerator and you freezer can be eaten either over a gas stove, a campfire, or a charcoal or propane barbeque grill. If it’s not that big of a disaster (like a power outage due to a storm) it’s actually kind of nice to sit outside on the patio and grill some steaks that you were saving for a special occasion. Canned goods are also good to have. These can range from soups and vegetables that you would buy at your local supermarket or fresh fruits and vegetables that were canned in mason jars right after harvesting. Either is great and will go a long way in making sure that you stay well fed. They also have a very long shelf life so having a few extra sitting on your pantry shelves shouldn’t be that big of an inconvenience. Making sure that you consume a sufficient number of calories is critical. If you have to clear out your road with a chainsaw so help can even get to you, you’re going to burn calories. The less you eat, the more exhausting even the smallest chores can be during a time like that.

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