Friday, June 22, 2012
Preparedness is a Journey!
Preparedness what is it? It is not easily defined or accomplished. The whole idea of preparedness is different for different people. You may think preparedness is what they televised on "Doomsday Preppers" or you may think it is what you read about in many of the books that are on the market today like the ones who have the word Survival or Prepare for...... in the titles. You may think it is keeping your tank as full as you can in your car in case of a hurricane evacuation. You may think it is keeping a few weeks food in your cupboards in case of a local disaster. Or maybe you think it is keeping some cash in your safe at home all the way up to keeping gold and silver coins in that same safe.
I could go on and on about different things that people feel is their preparedness and guess what - - they are all right! I'll bet you didn't expect me to say that! All those things are preparedness. They should be in your bag of tricks. But is that all that you should do? Is there more that is important for the future of your family?
One thing that I would like to leave with you is this: Life is a journey and you don't live it in a short time but one day at a time until you eventually go to your reward. Think of Preparedness the same way. You can't do it all in one day or one month or even a year. You should be adding to your preps until something happens and you start surviving because you did prepare. Then you should be less stressed when it counts because you acted on accumulating your preps when it wasn't such an emergency.
Now what would be the things that you feel you should be prepared for? Natural disasters? Man-made disasters? World War? Pandemic? Economic Collapse? Societal Collapse/Riots and Looting/Martial Law? Food Collapse from natural disasters and big agra manipulation?
Well, let's look at what is needed for all of these scenarios......
1. Clean Water- will always be needed for continuation of life for human beings.
2. Nutritious Foods- You can only survive for weeks without it.
3. Shelter- Whether it is the severe cold of winter, stifling heat of summer, or the rainy season humans need shelter to protect them from the elements.
4. Medical / First Aid- Most everyone will need some medical or first aid for everyday injuries and chronic illnesses. From bandaids to life preserving medications (like heart medicines and insulin).
5. Gardening Tools, seeds, and knowledge to grow your food if food is unavailable or dangerous to eat.
6. Security- Good locks, people on watch, guns, ammo, baseball bats, stun guns, pepper spray, sling shots, compound bows and arrows or anything else that you would feel would help you become safe and secure when there is rioting and looting going on. Also many of those items could be used for hunting for meat animals.
7. Cash, silver, gold, barter items, and precious stones. When banks are closed, atm's are down, and might not be able to be back on for the foreseeable future.
8. Communications- will be important to keep in touch with family, neighbors, and to know what is going on outside of your neighborhood or county.
9. Transportation- What if most vehicles are dead because of a CME or EMP, how would you travel?
10. Knowledge!- One of the most important and the least expensive to accomplish.....
I am sure there are many more items that you may be interested in preparing with but most of them will fall under these main groups such as Food (Cooking implements and methods), Shelter (Heating and cooling, lighting, etc.) I am sure you get my drift by now.
Now you must decide what you already have and what are the most important things for you to accomplish. Take inventory of what you have already. Most people have shelter, but is your home in a safe area? Are you capable of obtaining water in your location or is it city water only with no other water sources nearby?
Let's try to be logical and organized in what you are interested in preparing for. If you are only interested in preparing for natural disasters then you might need to have a bug out kit and vehicle which would assist you on your way out of the dangerous area. Bug out kits are containers such as a back pack which have the basics for survival in them.
Bug out kit possibilities - Back pack, knap sack or ruck sack, bottles of water, containers for heating water or food, food, first aid/medicine kit, shelter components such as paracord or bank line and tarps, cutting tools such as knife and saw, space blanket and/or wool blanket, firestarting equipment such as a lighter, matches, and cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly, flashlight, and batteries, small radio or walkie talkie, and at the very least clean dry change of socks and underpants and t shirt. If you usually don't wear walking shoes then keep a pair attached to your bag to change to. Keep your items small and as compact as possible to keep down bulk and weight.
Bug out Vehicle - This will depend on your specific vehicle, but if you have a van or suv you will be able to use your vehicle as a shelter for more people than a small compact car can. Whatever your vehicle is keep it tuned up, good tires, full tank, and store extra fluids in your car as well as jumper cables, and spare tire and jack, duct tape and some extra fuses would be helpful as well. Now keep a few rolled up blankets, a change of clothing, in winter keep extra warm clothes such as thermal underwear, knit wool caps, gloves, and coats in a small container or bag. Keep a small container with foods that heat or cold won't hurt but rotate them anyway. Instant Oatmeal, dry soup mixes, granola bars, hard candy, dry milk, instant coffee, tea bags, dry cocoa, crackers, a few cans of tuna, chicken, and complete pancake mix and some oil and brown sugar or syrup. There are many more items that is made in retort packaging now that are possibilities as well. There are hundreds of ideas for food for camping, hiking or bug out kits on You Tube, check them out. I would suggest you keep flashlights, cooking equipment such as a folding stove and Sterno or buddy burners so you can cook inside the car if you are stuck in a blizzard as well as a boy scout mess kit with a fork and spoon for each person. It will also help keep the car warm. A larger knife such as a machete, or larger hunting knife could come in handy for cutting wood for a campfire/cook fire.
Now if you are preparing to stay in your home because you don't have choice or it is just not possible to bug out because the roads are blocked or vehicles don't operate any longer then we will have to ways to survive long term at home. Let's say there was a Solar Flare or CME so you don't have electricity, electronics or cars operating. You will need water, food, ways to cook your food, and security at the very least.
Water - try to store as much water as you can in 2 liter soda bottles, fruit juice bottle, or other harder plastic bottles, do not use milk jugs or soft OJ bottles for water storage, add 4 drops per 2 liters of water to keep it clear and good. A good larger water filter system like a Berkey would be excellent for running rainwater through to make sure it is clean and pure. When the electricity first goes out the first thing you should do is to run the water out of your taps into any and all of your larger pots and containers. Then turn off your electricity at the panel to everything in your house. No longer use your toilets. Urinate in a bucket and pour it outside around trees or bushes. Use a separate bucket for your feces buy using sand, saw dust, kitty litter, or ashes. Each time it is used take enough of the previous list to cover it and then cover the bucket. When full you dig a hole in the ground away from your food plants or well if you have any and bury the contents of the bucket of feces and cover with earth. Clean bucket with some sand and start fresh again. It is important to keep feces and urine separated to keep odor down. Mixed they start putrefying quickly.
You may catch rainwater from your gutter system. Small children's pools are a good way to capture rain water as well. If you live in an apartment you can turn an umbrella open and upside down into a clean container such as a new Home Depot bucket and capture the water that way. A plastic liner in your pickup truck bed is another way to capture water. I think you could do all of these things and capture a lot of water in a short time. Why not buy a couple of new trash barrels to hold the water, after filling them after the rain stops put the lid on to keep bugs out of it. Filter the water through a sheet or pillow case or some tightly woven fabric and then run through your Berkey or homemade Berkey to make sure it is as clean as possible. If you will be storing the water for a longer time then add your 8 drops of bleach (plain unscented liquid bleach such as Clorox) per gallon to make it last longer in a drinkable condition. If you get water from a pond, lake or stream then filter it several times through fabric, sand and charcoal then boil the filtered water to kill any cysts, polyps, or viruses that may be in it.
Foods will be our next subject. Many people don't store food because of the expense of freeze dried foods, or dehydrated foods that you buy commercially. MRE's and the previously mentioned foods have their place in food storage but they are not required to have the beginnings of food storage. What do you eat on a regular basis? Do you eat pasta, meat and potatoes, or casseroles? Why not store the things you use to make these. Chicken and Rice Casserole is a good example, store the chicken in canned form, fairly inexpensive from the grocery store and then store the rice and cream of soup that you prefer for making it. You can buy dehydrated onions in the grocery or warehouse stores and you are pretty well set.
The same rice that hopefully you buy in bulk can be a side dish for serving with meat and gravy such as chicken, canned chunky soups, roast beef in gravy, etc. You can also make fried rice, or spanish rice or rice and beans.
Your pasta dishes are the same way, store your pasta of choice with pasta sauces like marinara, meat flavored spaghetti sauce or alfredo sauces. Pasta can be made in more ways than you can shake a stick at. Make cold macaroni salads with tuna, or make macaroni and cheese with canned ham or make noodles to serve with chicken and alfredo sauce.
There are lots of ways to use packaged potato dishes such as scalloped, augratin, or instant mashed potatoes and there is hash brown mixes as well.
There are quite a variety of meats, poultry and seafoods in cans which can be used in place of fresh meats for your food storage meals. Clams can be used in clam sauce for spaghetti, or make clam chowder, or clam fritters. Canned crab can make casseroles, soups, crab cakes, etc. Tuna comes in the plain variety or seasoned steaks for casseroles or main dish fish. Salmon now comes in the retort packaging and also in cans and you can also use Mackerel which makes a passable fish cake like a crab cake in style.
Chicken comes in can like tuna and super versatile to make almost anything you want except for roasted of course. Chicken salad, chicken casserole, sweet and sour chicken, chicken and gravy over stuffing, chicken pot pie, barbeque chicken sandwiches, etc.
You can buy Dak ham or other brands that are similar in 12 oz or l lb. cans. They can be used to slice for sandwiches, baked, casseroles, in salads, in mac and cheese, in bean soups, fried for breakfasts, etc.
Now we come to Spam and Treet which everyone knows is hated by most people but loved by quite a few. Spam now comes in all kinds of flavors such as bacon, smoked ham flavor, and they have turkey spam now for those who don't eat pork. Treet is similar but is just a spiced luncheon loaf but it can be used to flavor beans, casseroles, and egg omelets, quiches, and frittatas. Never buy more that one can of something that you aren't sure you like until you try it and see if your family will eat it. Don't tell them what it is, just say that it is smoked pork in the bean soup, or potato casserole. They probably will love it. Now slicing and frying may be another story, but try it and see.....
Lastly think about how you may buy beef. I have stocked some dried beef in jars to make creamed chip beef, I also have bought some roast beef in gravy in cans, Chunky soups such as Sirloin Burger and Vegetables makes a good topper for rice, noodles or mashed potatoes. Any of the Chunky Soups can be used like that including pot roast and potato soup.
You can stock the vegetables and fruits that you like that come canned for side dishes in your food storage. You are only limited by your imagination. There is also many dried fruits now a days that are sold on the grocery shelves such as cranberries, raisins, apples, apricots and even banana's.
My suggestion to make your food storage less expensive is to learn to can and can your own beef, chicken and pork. It is simple to do. The directions are on the net or buy a Ball Blue book to learn from. It basically takes a pressure canner, a beginner kit of tools and a few cases of jars and you are on your way. Vegetables are much better tasting if home canned as well.
You will need non electric can opener and a way to cook your foods as well. There are many ways to accomplish your cooking. Solar ovens are one possibilities as well as a rocket stove both of which can be homemade or bought commercially made. You can cook on a gas grill as long as your propane holds out, and you can cook over charcoal as long as your supply of charcoal holds out. You can build a small fire pit to cook over as well. As far as baking is concerned you can bake in a solar oven, or in a camp oven that you put on a wood stove or over your grill or campfire. Buddy burners are good for heating up quick meals on a hobo stove and can be used indoors because it is basically a large candle in a tuna can. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace or wood stove you can cook on these in the winter.
I would like to remind everyone to use common sense and safety procedures with whatever method you chose. Remember open flames of any kind can start a wild fire that would get out of hand quickly and there won't be fire departments available to help. Also you could get burned and with no medical facilities that could be very painful and possibly fatal. Please buy fire extinguishers to keep by your open flames to stop anything from getting out of hand. Use silicone pot holders or leather pot holders to protect your hands. Also keep a bucket of water nearby to pour over the fire or to plunge your hand in if it gets burned. KEEP CHILDREN away from fire and open flames. Never leave candles or fires unattended!
That is about all I am going to put in this particular article. Remember try to build your supplies and food storage and water storage as you can afford it for the amount of time you think you might need it. I would suggest you start off with a one month supply of food and water and then add to your food storage until you build up to 3 months, after the 3 months supply is stored then I would suggest you go to some of the dehydrated vegetables, fruits and meals. Dehydrated eggs and milk are invaluable as well as having quantities of rice, beans of your choice, and instant mashed potato flakes in number 10 cans. Sit down make up your list of what you usually eat and find a way to turn it into food storage meals. Don't expect to have steaks, fried chicken, pork chops and salads unless you have chickens in your yard, hunt or grow steer for butchering or have a salad garden. But most foods are adaptable to food storage cooking. You tube is full of how to do it and many of my articles talk about it. I have links to many helpful sites on here as well.
Remember - Every Journey begins with the first step. Take that JOURNEY just be taking action!
The importance of surviving any upheaval for any reason should help motivate you. Just try!