Preparedness is just a matter of common sense. Your decision to prepare for emergencies doesn’t depend on your political viewpoint. It depends on your decision to take reasonable actions to provide as much security as you can for yourself and your family, knowing that bad things can happen.
In November, 2014, six feet of snow fell in upstate New York. Drivers were stranded in their cars on the impassable roads.
In September, 2014, a brush fire in California resulted in mandatory evacuations of all residents living in a 1,600 acre area.
The winter of 2013 – 2014 brought Chicago frigid weather and record snowstorms. People stayed at home rather than venturing out into the elements. Many lost electricity for days at a time because wires were downed under the weight of the snow.
In November, 2013, a tornado tore through Washington, Illinois, killing three people and damaging more than 1,000 homes.
And those are only a few examples of uncountable natural disasters that have occurred in the last twelve months. In each case, real people, with their families, pets, homes, businesses and personal belongings, were put at serious risk. The snowstorm, brush fire, frigid temperatures and tornado put everyone in their path in danger, without regard to their religion or political persuasion, whatever their age, race or gender, no matter if they are rich folks or poor folks, and no matter how prepared — or unprepared — they were for a disaster.
Maybe you believe in climate change and maybe you don’t, but it’s hard to ignore those six feet of snow. And the time to prepare for a disaster is not when you hear the tornado sirens go off.
Preparing for an emergency is the obvious thing for a reasonably prudent person to do. The first thing to do is to prepare a grab-and-go backpack in advance of any emergency. This is sometimes called a “bug-out” bag. Stock the backpack with food, water, a first aid kit, a change of clothes, a rain poncho and emergency supplies like a thermal blanket. Your goal is to have enough to live on for 72 hours. In the event of an emergency, you won’t have to stop and gather items. Simply take the pre-packed bag with you if you need to evacuate your home.
The second stage of your preparedness is to prepare your home with supplies for a year. Do it slowly and methodically over time. Your supplies should include food and water as well as equipment such as a fire extinguishers, water purifiers and means of cooking and heating your home if you lose power.
Don’t think that preparedness begins and ends with accumulating stuff. You also need to develop skills. Having a fire starter won’t help you if you don’t know how to use it. You may put up foodstuffs to be able to make bread; you’ll also need to learn to bake it. Don’t just buy a first aid kit. Take a first aid course and learn CPR while you’re at it.
It takes time and money to become prepared. Making a plan and gathering your food, water and equipment slowly and steadily puts preparedness within your reach. But do it. It’s the only rational response to an uncertain world.
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My recommendations for some of the equipment and supplies that you will need are below.