The Basics of Preparedness

When people first start out learning how to prepare they come across all of this information. It overwhelms them and they decide that it is just too much to think about, let alone, try to actually do it. Between the “whole world’s going to end tomorrow” doomsday activists and the “oh, nothing’s going to happen; it never does and it never will; life will continue like it always have” optimists there is some truth in the middle of the road.

Somewhere between spending millions of dollars to prepare for an apocalypse and spending nothing because nothing bad will ever happen lies the truth in preparing in an easy to manage way. If you are one of those people who don’t believe in preparing, please read Let’s Get Prepared.

Preparedness Basics

There are four steps to preparing for any disaster that comes your way. Yes, only four. Everything else is in the details.

  • Step 1: Know what you are preparing for
  • Step 2: Make a plan
  • Step 3: Obtain the necessary items
  • Step 4: Know how to use your preparedness items


Step 1: Know what you are preparing for

The first step is to know what you are preparing for. Is it a natural disaster? Is your area more prone to tornados or is it earthquakes? Does your area go through forest fires or high temperatures causing a drought? Does your area go through regular power outages during certain times of the year?

Are you preparing for an economic lost? An economic lost can affect your living arrangements, your eating habits, your transportation, and your general sense of well-being. Are you or your spouse facing a potential layoff? Have you already lost one income in the family? Could you at least eat for the next three months if you had no more income coming in at the moment? If you lost your health insurance, do you have enough medicine to tie you over until you can find some more?

Choose the top 3 “most likely to happen” scenarios to prepare for. You’ll find in most cases when you plan for one you’re most likely planning for all of them.

Step 2: Make a plan

After you have figured out what you are preparing for, it’s time to make a plan. The purpose of the plan is to think about what could happen and come up with answers as to how you and your family will survive it in the best way possible. This plan is just for your family’s needs.

Are there any special needs that need to be met? Is anyone on special medication that needs to be refrigerated? Do you have elderly people with health issues or a newborn baby, who needs constant attention? Do you have pets you love?

If a natural disaster happens, where will you and your family meet up? If something happens to your home, where is the next meeting place? Have you planned for a particular event? For example, if a tornado hit, do you have a storm shelter to retreat to? If not, do you have the capabilities to build one? Do you always keep your gas tank in your car at least half-full, just in case you have to drive to get to your safety zone? How will you handle a fire? Do you have escape ladders?

Step 3: Obtain the necessary items

Once you have decided on what you are preparing for and have a plan in place for the most common scenarios, it’s time to gather the necessary items that will help you get through your crisis. The first thing most people purchase is food and water. Then they purchase ways to cook and stay warm. After that the list could consist of shelter, clothing, security, communication and a few other things. It really depends on what you are preparing for and what you already have and what you feel is the most essential right now for your family.

Gathering your preparation items can range from simple to complex. The goal is to start small and work your way up. Most people start by obtaining 3 day supplies and moving to 3 week supplies to 3 month supplies and finally ending at a 1 year supply for their whole family.

Step 4: Know how to use your preparedness items

Now that you have gone through all of your planning and bought all of your preparedness items it would be a shame if you didn’t know how to use them. I don’t mean you think you might know. Or something looks easy to do. You have to know that you know that you know how to use something. In a time of crisis is not the time to find out you really don’t know how to do something or you needed to buy something in order for something else to work.

For example, you bought a lot of candles for light, but no matches or lighters. Or you bought a fire started, watched a video on YouTube and thought you knew how to use it. As it turns out it was harder than you thought. The video made it look way too easy.

Another example, you bought a grill but no charcoal or propane (whichever the grill takes).

A final example, you bought a year supply of wheat berries, but no wheat grinder and you don’t know how to sprout the berries. What will you do now?

The Four Steps

Although there are only four steps, there are definitely a lot of details in each step. The goal is to focus on one step at a time for any given situation. Once you have decided what you are planning for you are done with this step, unless you want to plan for other areas. Making a plan can be as simple or as elaborate as you need it to be. Step 2 is a step you should revisit periodically to see if anything needs to be updated, tweak, or revised completely. Everyone needs to make sure they understand the plan and know exactly what to do in a crisis. That only comes through periodic review. Steps 3 and 4 can be ongoing with gathering and then learning over and over again.

I truly hope this has helped you begin to focus on preparing you and your family for any disaster that may come your way.

Preparedness Focus

My focus is on real situations that are most likely to happen – power outage, earthquakes, tornados, sickness, lost of income, or a host of other realistic things, not an asteroid destroying the earth or an outbreak of zombies.

This series will focus on preparing you and your family to make it through whatever set back you come across. Hope you will join me on this journey of preparation.

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