Thread: Be Prepared
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Old 05-16-2006, 22:01   #2
The Reaper
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Free Pineland
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Having spent some time in third world cultures, the average American takes far too much comfort and convenience in their lives for granted. NDD and I have shared some time in places where electric power, potable water, flush toilets, hot water, climate control, sanitary nutritious meals, personal transportation, medical and dental care, and even law enforcement were precious commodities in short supply, if available at all. You may or may not be able to flip a switch and get light, to turn on a tap and get water, or to push some buttons and contact someone you want to communicate with. Those of us who were driving in the early 70s remember waiting in long lines to buy small quantities of gas, you know what I mean. If you value these services, you have to do some planning and some preparation. The planning and development of courses of action costs noting but a little time, why not start today, before throwing money at potentially unnecessary products?

Base your plan on what services you consider vital, how long it will be before help, rescue, or normal conditions return, and how many people you will be providing for. Consider if you have additional people depending on you, whether they are family members, or you are the sort who wants to share with the entire neighborhood. As we have seen in the Pandemic Flu thread, if it mutates to a HTH strain, there are expected to be several waves of 4-6 weeks each, over a period of 18 months. There will be widespread absenteeism from work and school. When the truck driver who delivers the gas or groceries is sick (or his wife or kids), the tank or shelves are going to stay empty. The mortality rate is expected to be anywhere from .5% to 50%. Even if the lesser mortality rates occur, some of these people will be in critical positions in the manufacturing and distribution system, and consequences will follow. If the higher rate applies, there are going to be serious long-term implications. This will affect your ability to do everything from having electric power, to clean water, to gasoline, to fire and police protection, to food, to medical care. The experts are saying to have a plan for up to 90 days of essentials on hand. Full restoration of normalcy and amenities as we know them could take significantly longer. Take a clue from the Boy Scouts and be prepared.

You do not need to order a year’s supply of freeze-dried food for your family and stock up on a dozen cases of 5.56 ammo today. That is not planning, that is just stockpiling. First, as noted, you need to develop an appropriate, workable plan. Then, you need to prioritize your needs and develop a plan to acquire them in accordance with a realistic time line. You don’t have to get everything at once, but some will be high priorities and are more important to sustaining life than others. There are a number of needs and they need to be dealt with in a logical manner. As noted above, some will be a priority. You could start by taking a look at your plan and adding 10% or so to your weekly grocery buy of non-perishables. If you live in Death Valley and have your water trucked in weekly, you will have a different set of priorities than someone who lives on Lake Michigan. Figure it out and plan accordingly. The following is a sort of laundry list of requirements in a semi-prioritized fashion. We can cover each of them in more detail later.

Breathable Air
First Aid/Medicine/Escape gear

After you have determined the necessities to support your courses of action, you need to develop the supporting plan to acquire them.

The plan has to take into consideration the type of disaster, relative importance of the items, available budget for acquisition, and last but not least, available storage space. Get the most important items first, but not necessarily to the exclusion of other items. That year’s supply of 5 gallon buckets of hard red wheat may be a comfort to have stacked in your garage, but without a grain mill, the other ingredients, and a means to bake bread, they are not really much good except as barter to someone else who has those items. The ammo is useless without the weapon, and vice versa. Make sure that you consider those related needs before initiating your plan.

If you need skills or training, get it now. You need to know that you can bake bread before the shelves go empty. If you do not know how to do CPR, there is no time like the present. In many places, classes are free. Make sure that you know how to operate and maintain that shiny new generator before the lights go out. How long before it needs maintenance? Do you know how to do it, have the tools and supplies? If you are not sure which way the pointy things go in your new pistol, get some training. Can you really use that water purification device and provide enough potable water for the people you are trying to care for? Are you going to do it all by yourself? What if you are the first victim or are away from home when the disaster occurs? Does everyone know where the supplies are and how to use them? Get the skills, inventory, assign responsibilities, rehearse, make notes of deficiencies (human or material), correct them, make changes as needed to the plans, develop additional contingencies as required, and reevaluate periodically to ensure that you are ready. Only then will you really be prepared for a disaster. And fortune truly favors the prepared.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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