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Emergency Preparedness for Disaster Survival
What Makes Me So Concerned?
Why am I concerned that everyone have an emergency survival plan?
A couple of years ago my family and I were watching it rain as we left the house to go to church on a Wednesday night. We mentioned to each-other that it was really coming down, so unusual for July in north Texas. When we got home, several hours later it was still raining steadily. I looked at our sheep, my spinner's flock of 3 Jacobs, and wondered aloud if I should move them to the pasture where there were more trees for shelter. You see, I had them in a movable pen in the front yard mowing our lawn. They were wet and miserable. My husband thought a moment and said that I should not, they would be fine. That choice would later save their lives. We went to bed listening to the ping of drops against the window.
I don't know what woke me up. An odd sound? I am not sure. I could hear something...one of the horses hitting the water tank? Did one of the kids forget to water them? I sat up and looked out and....
My pasture was flooded. I could see our horse, Candy, in a weird light and she was up to her belly in water! I jumped from the bed yelling at my husband to wake up, pulling on shorts and a top and boots as I scrambled down the stairs.
By the time we got the last sheep and goat into my laundry room (only safe place), chickens on the porch, and horses out to the street, I was moving through water that was up to my chest in my front yard. My house was raised higher than the property around it, but even so we realized later that the water was within inches of coming in.
Later, as my husband checked on neighbors as part of his responsibility as the president of the homeowners association, we found that some of our neighbors had lost everything, some had waited for hours in the rain on their roof tops, some had lost livestock, but no-one in our neighborhood was dead. Others were not so lucky.
During the weeks afterward we cleaned up debris, had our barn repositioned (it had been moved 8 feet) and generally thought about alot of what ifs. While we were working 12-15 hours clearing stuff from our property, chainsawing downed trees, and helping neighbors, no-one was in the house cooking. I had no time to shop. I was unprepared.
Now, this was not nearly as awful as the hurricane situation, or tornadoes or other things that could have happened but the truth is that my lack of preparedness made a difference in my life that I don't wish to repeat. I hope that some of what I have learned helps you.
Have A Priority #1 Sealed Bin
Actually you need a couple of them. This first bin is to be the priority one bin. It is the one you are going to grab if you have to evacuate in a hurry or there is a fire or flood. A good size rubbermaid bin with a seal-able top is perfect. You may want smaller bins to fit inside for organizational purposes. This bin will hold your priority items and you will keep it in a place you can get to it in a moment. These are what I consider to be priority-
1. copies of birth certificates and social security cards for everyone in the family
2, copies of insurance papers, marriage certificates, bank accounts, credit cards, even last years tax return
3. an address book with important phone numbers and addresses. Copies of prescriptions.
4. cash. An envelope with 500.00 would be what I would shoot for.
5. water purification tablets
6. MRIs for 3 days for each family member,
7 solar blankets. These are lightweight and fold into small packets. One for each family member
9. flashlight and batteries
10. hand crank radio that does not need batteries or electric
11. hand sanitizer
12 toilet paper
13. powdered infant formula if you have a baby..be sure to keep this in date. Bottles.cloth diapers( you can run out of disposables)
14. First Aid kit
15. a survival reference guide, like The Ultimate Survival Guide by John Wiseman
16 a Bible
17. water bottles.
18. dried fruit and nuts
19. dog food/cat food if you have a pet.
20. A couple of story books, crayons and coloring books
21. Feminine hygiene products- You may want to consider cloth pads that can be washed and reused.
23. trash bags, latex gloves, can opener, scissors, multiple use knife
Now, remember, this list is to get you through the first few hours in an emergency. With these items you should be able to grab the bin, get your family in the car and be gone in a matter of minutes. You will have proof of identity, cash, food, and even things for the kids to entertain themselves with.
There may be other things you can think of. Go ahead and add them. But remember this bin is to be somewhat light. easy to get to, and easy to manage so keep it as small as possible.
A 72 Hour Kit
In this bin you will keep your longer term stuff: cleaning products, flour, dry milk, sugar, salt , paper plates, peanut butter,yeast, jelly, kool aide, crackers, beef jerky, tuna fish, hand soap, a bowl, a skillet...anything you might need ot get you through a longer time, yet in an easily transportable form. This bin would be left in cases of extreme emergency but taken if there was time to grab it. Consider this bin to hold the day 4-10 emergency equipment and start up materials for rebuilding your life if the need arises.
To me that would include books on homesteading, how to build cabins, grow gardens, medical guides etc. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the birth process, since even in emergencies babies get born on their time, not ours.
You would also want to keep vegetable seeds in there (non hybrid) and seeds like alfalfa for sprouting. This bin is going to hold the seeds of your new life.
Have a Long Term Plan
Last you want to have things on hand at home to make you self reliant. Maybe you are not in a situation where you will have to leave the house. Maybe it is another issue and it is just that the economy has failed, you have lost your job or some other thing. This is the type of preparedness that you work on long term. Skills, habits, attitudes, and resources that will allow you to live not only off grid, but independently as possible.
I wrote another hub about these things, 25 Ways to be More Self Reliant that is more of a long term preparedness plan. If you want to see what type of things you would need imagine that different situations have happened and how you would handle them. Walk through your house and see what would occur if you were without electricity for an extended period in the summer. How about winter? We don't use air conditioning because for one, it is expensive, and for the other we found that we have acclimated to the warmer temperatures and can work outside without getting over heated. When we had the flood and i had to use the chainsaw for extended periods of time I realized that I needed strength training to help my arms become stronger.
What would you do about sanitation and toilet needs? Trash? Could you cook without electricity? What about heat for your home? How would you store your food? Do you have some kind of water supply?
Remember that your main priorities will be :
5. Transportation - for an extended time period you will want bicycles because what if you can't get gasoline?
Each of those areas should be covered. You will also need tools like axes, hammer, nails, wood glue, hand saws, etc. so that you can make or fix anything that might need to be fixed. If you don't know how to do basic things like how to split wood then read up on it and learn to do it when you don't have to. SO many things our grandparents knew how to do have been lost to us.
Consider A Gun
This seems to be controversial so I will add it in it's own area. I think everyone should be knowledgeable in the use of firearms for obtaining meat, as well as defending your family. In the case of a massive emergency a percentage of society becomes even more corrupt than it is all ready. Ever read, Lord of the Flies?
For us part of preparedness is responsible use of firearms. Having the guns available, being trained in the use of them is an important part of our preparation. I like the idea of being able to provide small game as needed and I feel good about being able to protect my family with a hand gun if it becomes necessary. Of course everyone is different and you must follow your conscience.