Preparedness and survival are becoming increasingly popular discussions in these days of economic and political instability. Head to a diner in the morning and you’ll hear ol’ timers talking about their deer rifles they have with extra ammunition. Pass in a supermarket and you’ll hear middle aged housewives speaking of the class they are taking on home canning. Most people have the mental image of a worldwide doomsday when “survival” is brought up. That fact is that survival is simply that…survival. Whether your family is snowed in for a few days in a cabin, an earthquake ruptures water and power, all the way to nuclear bombs dropping, survival is a must. From my view, the first thing that you can do is to prepare yourselves is to put your faith, trust and life in the hands of the Lord. Through Him, you will find strength and knowledge that will help you survive until He decides to call you home. The next steps for preparing are what you can do for you, your families, and your friends.
Read, take a class, and learn! There are literally hundreds of books to help you become prepared. This aspect is especially crucial for people who are not familiar with the process of surviving a tragedy. Having all the guns in the world will not help you if your weapon and ammunition have ceased to be useable because you didn’t know how to properly store them. Literature on weapons is certainly, if not the top, near the top of the list for reading material. Firearms are extremely dangerous, and are meant to be that way. Firearms are dangerous to you if you do not understand how they properly function. Pick up some books on basic firearm components and functions. Find a firearms safety class near you to get hands on and practice. I strongly recommend classes from the NRA. If you decide to buy an AR-15 semi-auto rifle, it would be prudent to purchase books on maintenance. Even Rambo can’t be Rambo if he’s not taking care of his weapon. In the same, Julia Child is not a cook if she doesn’t have the right ingredients. During a disaster, food and water will more than likely be in high demand. Proper food and water storage is more than just keeping a few extra cans of beans in the pantry. Ask someone that knows to show you the proper methods of canning. When dealing with food and water, one cannot be too careful on storage. Illness can befall a family if food was not properly canned, dates weren’t checked, or water is not in the correct containers. Most books on this topic can give rough estimates of how much food and what type to store for a specific number of members. Just as illness can present with bad food, it can show up with anything. Anything from the common cold to a fractures arm can strike at any time. With the means of getting to a doctor diminished and EMS services at nil, first aid is crucial. Sign up for CPR and a First Aid class at your local community college or American Red Cross. Once you have developed basic skills, there is a bountiful supply of resources on primitive medicine and military combat style first aid. Don’t let your skills expire! You must be persistent on keeping your certificates and hands on training up to date. Like the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
All the brain food in the world won’t be of assistance if you don’t have the tools to perform your skills. Purchase your first firearm if you do not already have one. Go out and get some cold weather clothes. Buy that solar panel that you know could be a lifesaver. In discussions of preparedness, many folks have the knowledge either from living a certain lifestyle or by reading. Some do have quite a bit of products already bought and stored away somewhere. How many have the stuff they really need? You must look at what is most important to you and your situation. If you have a small budget and live in south Florida, is it wiser to buy the really neat camo cold weather jacket for $350 or extra screening for your windows. Do you even have a six month supply of food before you buy that extra screening? All the high tech GPS systems, voice activated handheld radios, and night vision goggles won’t do you any good if you and your family die of dehydration in three days. Start with the most basic items first and work your way up. Begin with food and water storage and move your way to appropriate clothing. Move on to an advanced first aid kit with basic medications and vitamins. Figure out if you want to stockpile store bought ammunition by the thousands or buy some reloading equipment. Only once the basics are acquired should you be worrying about the GPS that also cooks your dinner for you. When purchasing an item, do your research. Find out if it is at its lowest price. Is it the most trustworthy and durable? Hopefully with all of the reading you did before will give you great insight of what you need.
Training is the last step after reading/researching and purchasing. Once you become comfortable with firearms, take and advanced course such as combat shooting or self defense with a side arm. If you’re strapped for cash, hook up with a combat veteran or law enforcement officer that has experience in these topics. Since practice makes perfect, make sure you are hitting the range at least once a week and are trying different styles. Weapons training is one of the tasks that you can practice on your own. Since performing CPR and first aid on a healthy human being is harmful, ask your local fire department if you can become a volunteer. Adrenaline runs high for non-medical personnel during routine medical treatment let alone during a medical emergency. You may find yourself surprised when someone’s ribs break while you doing CPR. Your mind and body must also be accustomed to the lifestyle and events that may occur during a survival situation. Get your body in physical shape. This involves being used to the cold and heat. Start with hiking in good weather and advance to backpacking in the dead of summer of during a cold spell of winter. Just take the proper precautions so as to not injure yourself, others, or become stranded. A small garden is a grand way to embark on your agricultural skills. If you live in an area such as an apartment where a garden is not feasible, try a few tomato plants and carrots in a normal houseplant pot. This is something that even children can help with. They will enjoy helping you out and will learn valuable lessons at the same time. Children require the same steps that you go through as well. Start with them young and have them read and take classes. Buy them their first .22 rifle. Take them camping and fishing with you so they can get their training in as well. Remember that children are all different. Never force your child to do something that puts them in a dangerous situation, but guide them so that when the time is right, they are well taught and eager. Training is not for just one person, but for the whole family.
These three cycles are meant to repeat. Do not spend six months reading everything you can on survival, then dump twenty thousand on some supplies. Start small so you do not overwhelm yourself or your family. Begin with reading on gardens, buy the tools, and start one. Move on to firearms, and so on. With so many people just talking about being prepared, they don’t realize that they themselves are not prepared. None of us are God, thus we can’t just speak things into existence. One aspect to remember is that once you have the basics covered, continue on with your own personal items. Remember that children will need to have toys to keep up morale, so is a video game or board game more feasible? If you are taking care of an elderly family member how will they handle a difficult situation? What if they have a specific medical condition? Literature on basic psychology and of the medical condition would be of great help. My desire is for this article to get you thinking. There aren’t enough books in the world to tell you how to prepare for every type of disaster and every item that you must have. The important rule is that you learn, then buy, train, and repeat. Talk’s great, but doing is greater!