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Friday, January 21, 2011

What Would YOU Say?

A couple times a week, I get emails from readers and I absolutely love it.  It's like getting a late Christmas present or an unexpected package in the mail.  Fun fun.  On Sunday, I got an email from a lovely lady in a neighboring county asking for information on preparedness; how to get started, specifically, and for a while I wasn't sure what to say. 

Preparedness is such a fluid topic, subject to change at a moment's notice depending on where you live and how you live and what you hope to accomplish in life.  Unlike FEMA's one-size-fits-all-3-day-food-supply public service announcement, true preparedness is case-specific and no two person's approaches will be the same.  We're both limited by and supported by our climate, our community, our livelihood, our budgets and what suits me probably wouldn't be a good fit for the California survivalist.

After a few minutes of consideration, I answered this particular email with the suggestion that learning practical skills like gardening and food preservation is a good place to start. I also suggested stocking up on shelf-stable commodities like wheat, pasta, rice, sugar and finding local resources for basic items like eggs, milk and meat.  But those are MY priorities.  My main concern at the moment is the future of our food supply with regard to QE, inflation, poor harvests and supply problems.  Not everyone has those same priorities.

If you received an email from a neighbor asking where to start on the journey to preparedness, what would you say?

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Ed the Pilgrim said...

Everything you have listed so far is a great starting place for the beginner. I would also suggest that they find their local farmers market. This is a good place to start building a network of who can do what, lots of people who are vendors do more than just sell vegetables. Many have woodlots, keep bees, make soap, etc. And a lot of markets are starting to stay open year round.

Most of the vendors are open to barter/trade also, once you get established as a "regular", so if you have a skill, don`t be shy about it. You might not get takers on the first go round, but just get the word out & somebody will come seeking...

DocFont said...

I've been in this situation more than once. I start by telling them two things. The first is the story of Noah and the ark. If you know something bad is coming, get ready. Focus on yourself and your family's needs. Talk to your neighbors but how they respond is up to them. When TSHTF, you do not have to feel guilty if you have to lock the door and leave them to the consequences of their own lack of preparations. It helps if you have God on your side.

Second, preparedness is a numbers game. You do not have to be prepared for every single possible catastrophy with an underground bunker and 50 years of supplies. Instead think of past disasters. Even in the black plague half the population survived. You don't have to be in the 99.9% prepared in order to survive. You only have to be in the top half. Now think of disasters and what it takes to be in the percent that makes it through alive. Compare it with the percent who are least likely to make it; elderly, city dwellers, drug dependent, public school educated with no practical skills and no where to go with no concept that the system supporting them could fail.
Instead of looking at the negatives of the situation, they now have two positive points underlying what they need to do next.

Andrea said...

Just getting started is the hardest part, in my opinion. Food, water and skills are usually the first steps in getting ready, but making connections and networking with locals is so important!

And I love the numbers game analogy! You're right, it's impossible to be ready for everything, but just getting started puts you ahead of the curve.

Thanks for the comments!

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

I would say food and water are the very first things to do. Learning skills to take care of yourself next. And then on and on after that. But, you need food and water to survive!

Anonymous said...

I would listen carefully. Then ask what they thought they should prep for. Snow? Ice? Storms? and not being able to leave the house? It is winter here and we have snow.

Then what would you need to be comfortable, food, water, way to cook, ability to keep warm? Then how to do that. How long did the last ice or snow storm last, could you get to a store, did you have gas in your car, do you have a way to heat at least one room in your car.

Then I would tell her that some people think that having two weeks of food and other supplies, like toilet paper, paper plates, water and a way to cook and heat their home is a sound precaution for where you live, so much better to have that extra safety net, and not need it, than to actually need it and not have it.

I would also suggest a manual can opener. And ask if her heater would work if there were no electricity.

Annie Mouse

Andrea said...

Thanks for the great suggestions. This particular question just sort of threw me; not because I didn't know the answer, but because I'd never been asked the question before. Strange, huh?

I think over the course of a couple emails, we covered the basics; food, heat, water, light, etc. At the very least, it may give her a jumping off point.

Jane said...

I am new at this prepardness thing, but I would say, just start! Raise a garden, can the food, buy items from the store in bulk if possible. If you use it replace it, just start. I am following your blog, you are welcome to follow mine as well. Blessings jane

Andrea said...

Hi Jane-
Thanks for the comments...sometimes just figuring out a place to start is the most difficult thing. I started prepping (inadvertently) as a result of the '08 food recalls, so gardening and buying in bulk was the natural starting place for me. For others though, it may not be the obvious place to begin. But you're right....JUST START! DO ANYTHING!

BTW-you have the sweetest blog ever!


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