What Does Preparedness Mean?

What does preparedness mean to you?

Some people think a handful of candles and a working flashlight are all they need to worry about.

Others believe you need a bug out bag to be able to survive for a few days.

And then of course, there are those people who build underground bunkers packed to the gills with food, water, guns and ammo.

I can say this — being “prepared” is more than having a few extra boxes of cereal and a couple of gallons of water on hand.

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Get to Know Your Neighbors

The first step to preparedness is to get to know your neighbors before you’re in an emergency situation. There is a benefit in banding together as a group in an emergency, but doing so after a disaster strikes is not the best time. Don’t approach neighbors with only preparedness plans in mind (you don’t want them to think you’re crazy), but doing so tactfully could give neighbors a strong network. Finding others around you who would want to work together in an emergency could be enough to help those nearby as a whole if the time ever came.

Plan on a Group Scale

After finding neighbors interested in preparing, the next step is to establish a plan. Just like when you have an escape route plan, discuss who will be the most in need in the event of a disaster. Identify the weakest people in the neighborhood who would need help, the people who are really struggling. These people could vary depending on the situation. The elderly may be limited in a physical disaster, but during economic collapse, consider those who might be on food stamps and how to help them should that service ever be cut off. Just get three to four families that you feel like you can connect with and figure out a plan for your area. Figure out the most likely disaster your area could experience (natural disasters and such) and plan accordingly.

Use Your Hindsight

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The first step to take is to think about emergency situations you have been in before. Have you ever been without power for a couple of days in the summer? How about in the winter? I remember in 1993 there was a huge snow storm here in Georgia (yes, snow storm). It knocked out the power for about 4 days. Luckily, we had plenty of food, blankets, and a kerosene heater. We survived because we were prepared for such an event (even though we had never really thought about a snow storm hitting our area). Looking back on that situation, I can easily think of a few more things we could have had that would have made those 4 days a lot more comfortable. Also, I would take into consideration the possibility of flood, tornadoes, and other natural disasters that could hit. Make yourself a list of things you would like to have in case of emergency, and fill that list as time and money allow.

Stock Up on What Matters

Although it may seem like a good idea to have a large stockpile of canned goods in your basement, that might not be as useful as you would think. People think about food the most, but they haven’t taken into consideration shelter or access to water. In a situation where “normal American life” can’t continue, figure out your most essential human needs and gather those items (or learn how to safely obtain them if you can’t gather them per se):

  1. Oxygen
  2. Shelter
  3. Water
  4. Food

In any extreme situation, remember The Survival Rule of 3!

What Does Preparedness Mean to You?

Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think of when someone says the word “preparedness”. What comes to mind about how to be prepared?

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