What-if, the worrisome words, arrive in the conscious spinning topics from safety and financial security to loved ones and pet health. Asking, “What can I do?” leads to a proactive decision to invest time in the ultimate insurance policy- valuable life skills comprising security, shelter, food, water, and medical care! In any emergency, from extreme weather to a personal disaster, you have the power to take charge of your fate by making plans and taking action!
Disasters and emergencies bring out the best in people – or the worst! As tempers flare, family members disperse rather than the intended goal of staying together! A feeling of panic is the result of the body’s automatic overproduction of a stress hormone called “cortisol.” As it travels to the brain, the ability to access critical thinking fails. Planning together helps each person know their responsibility and how to proceed without panic.
The reassuring voice in our mind whispers, “We’ll never have to leave our home. It couldn’t possibly happen to us. Not in our community!” Every person says, “Not us. Not here!” While staying or leaving is uncertain, the goal to preparedness ensures you have a plan for almost every emergency situation.
Let’s define basic needs:
- Familiarity provides security in a well-provisioned home!
- Community is an invaluable resource in times of difficulty. Neighbors, whether you know them well or not, can come together to resolve immediate challenges!
- Homes using only electricity will require a secondary power source. Consider the ability to cook with a range fueled with propane, or using a wood stove for warmth.
- Water is the most critical item! Consider an outside source such as a pool, pond, or creek. How far is it? If you have a quality filtration system, iodine tablets, or the ability to boil, you have water!
- The body needs up to 2500 calories daily. Have you accrued items, whether vacuum sealed or dehydrated, that check off a range of carbohydrates (oatmeal, pasta, corn, beans, and chocolate), proteins (eggs, meat, seafood, nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk), and fats (olive and coconut oil, and lard?)
- Will you use LED camp lanterns, solar light bulbs, or battery headlamps? Don’t forget to invest in a solar battery pack? What other purpose can the sun use heat for energy- a radio that has a USB port!
- Do you have on hand cash for two weeks, preferably in small bills.
- Do you have pet food, and the needs of infants, young children and senior family members! Determine if your pharmacy offers 90-day prescriptions.
- Do you have any items worthy of a trade, such as fresh eggs, homemade goods, or knives?
Fact: Wool can keep you warm, especially if wet, while emergency blankets reflect 90% of your body heat.
In most “survival” literature, experts recommend “bugging out.” Many do not rent or own a cabin or secondary residence; instead, they conduct daily life from their vehicles. Odds are, you have essential items from food, water, a first aid kit, to personal backpacks prepared and ready to go- but where?
Did you perhaps laugh when family or close friends said, “If anything ever happens, please come to us!” Find out if the offer was genuine; otherwise, prepare a plan of action. Trying to imagine thousands of panicked people walking, biking, driving towards a viable food sources or highways sounds, yet again, impossible! One contingency plan may not be enough.
- Preplan your route, marking destinations 100 miles from your home. Be ready for roadblocks and alternative roads.
- Have a print-out of the plan!
- Keep several gas cans filled and readily available.
- You’ll need cash in small bills!
- If you have a means of protection, such as pepper spray, be sure to understand how it works. Never use a “weapon” without practicing!
Evaluating the “what-ifs” allow you to go beyond your comfort of normalcy and safety and start thinking about a plan of action! Invite spouses, children, elder members of the family, and friends. Don’t wait until the moment is a reality! Planning relieves the mind and creates a feeling of empowerment!
Next Month: The Creative Home Toolbox