Thoughts on Survival and Preparedness
I was curious to read much of what other people who prepare had to say. My wife seems to think anyone who would look ahead to any of the numerous possible scenarios that require preparation are doomsayers and require anti-depressants. I obviously disagree but will admit that the folks on shows like “Doomsday Preppers” are a bit more into it than I believe necessary. But that is their affair and I wish them well. Many of us fall into the tamer category, that being we realize the importance of a plan and act accordingly while still living our lives.
“Why prepare?” many people ask me. My answer is usually, “why not?”. What possible harm can come from having a food store sufficient to feed my family in a prolonged crisis? What part of having a plan to get out of the urban area we live in to a place of relative safety makes me paranoid or worthy of ridicule? Why not have a set procedure to get through a hard time that is indeed on the horizon, just as past hard times were once only on the horizon? The answer, when you pose these questions to a person who thinks us foolhardy, is usually a shoulder shrug. Which tells me they realize the logic of preparing yet still don’t want to be bothered. These are the people who will suffer when the time comes. And it will, as it always has.
Now, as far as having school buses full of food, weapons, ammo and livestock, I believe that’s something many of us will pass on. Again, that’s a personal choice and there’s absolutely nothing weird or wrong about it. The core of preparing for a majority of us is this: have a plan, have a reasonable supply of food and water and ensure you have everyone who you involve with your preparations on the same page.
Having spent 12 years in the Marine infantry, I’ve learned the importance of a team. You WILL need other people that think like you to help when the time comes. And it’s not hard to get your plan together. Ensure you trust the people you associate with and involve in your planning. Then you simple sit down over a few drinks or dinner and discuss, point by point, what your plan will be and what you need to do to make it work as far as food stores, fuel, power and transportation. You’ll be surprised how fast the night goes and how much planning can get done in a few hours time. This is the key to the Marines success on the battlefield, and it can be your key to surviving a national crisis.
The most critical part of a plan is a food store. Your first move is to determine how many people you will need to feed, and for how long you will need to feed them. Most health authorities will say an active person needs in the neighborhood of 2,000 calories a day to sustain them and a minimum of a gallon of water. I personally have to cover three people in my own family. Every trip to the market I buy at least twelve cans of food: six of a vegetable and six of a bean. Beans are a great source of protein and other nutrients and can be eaten right out of the can. Check the dates on your cans and log it so you’ll know when you need to replace it, if you so choose. In reality, most canned goods are safe for years. They may not taste great, but they’re safe. Also, shelf stable foods like pastas and rice are great additions to your store. Keep a log of what you have and how long you’ve had it, and store all of it together in the place you plan to go in case of trouble so you don’t have to haul it all with you.
That brings me to a mobile food supply, which you may need if you have to leave. This should be whatever you will need to feed your party for a reasonable amount of time. I personally keep four days worth of food in my vehicle and in my wife’s vehicle. Much of this is MRE items so as not to take up too much room. Each vehicle also has a small water filtration pump and water treatment pills in the glovebox in case the supply runs out. You can survive for a time on small amounts of food, but you will need water. Learn how to treat it yourself and buy the right equipment to do so.
Communications are a HUGE part of your plan. In each of my vehicles is a walkie talkie, a Grundel emergency radio, a Garmin GPS receiver and spare batteries. There is also a detailed map with different routes to our destination if we have to leave. It’s impractical to drive EVERY possible route to your destination, but try to cover the main ones you’re most likely to use. Notate gas stations and food stores. Also look for stores that carry items you may need (sporting goods stores or outdoors outlets) so you can resupply if need be. Needless to say, a total breakdown of society will destroy the dollar, but during a lesser incident (hurricane, power outage) these places may still be open so make sure you have money with you.
Some folks are compelled to carry firearms. I am one of them. You have every right to protect yourself and your family with a firearm, but you also have a responsibility to use your weapons responsibly and only as a last resort. Make sure you choose the right weapon for you. For home defense, I feel a 12 gauge shotgun is your best bet. It’s easier to hit a target with that than a pistol, especially if you’re heart is racing and you’re scared out of your mind, which you most likely will be if you have to use a gun. A pistol is a good weapon to put in a go bag simply because it’s small. Either way, ensure you train with your weapon and know how to use it as safely as possible. And ALWAYS ENSURE CHILDREN CANNOT GET THEIR HANDS ON IT! Lock it away when you’re not using it.
My last thought is this; RELAX. Hopefully, nothing happens and everybody gets to keep living the way they like. Prep with the hope that NONE of what you’re ready for comes to pass and with the knowledge that if it does, you ARE ready. Then go on with your life. Being ready doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid; it just means you’ve thought ahead and have done what you can to help yourself and your family when there’s nobody else to call. Good luck and God Bless.