*An opinion of preparedness*
You think you are prepared. You have a little bit of food, water and some spare flashlight batteries set aside. You think that if anything happens youíll be ok.
As current events have shown many that thought they were prepared, were not. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma have put lie to the thought that a little is enough and that the government will take care of the rest.
Thousandís of people were displaced, their homes and jobs destroyed. Many people died, or were severely injured, through foolhardiness and not listening to officials. In New Orleans the officials didnít act as they were entrusted to. But that is not an excuse. It is not a reason why so many people died. That reason is a lack of self-reliance. Those people didnít rely on themselves. They relied on someone else, in this case the government, to make those choices and preparations for them. As many previous disasters have shown, the government cannot do that. The government is not setup to hold our hands and wipe our noses and to make sure we have a good supply of food, water and other consumables on hand to provide for our families in the event of an emergency. What the government IS set up for is the clean up afterward. The re-building. The resumption of utility services. The bringing in of relief supplies. However as New Orleans has shown, and the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in the 80ís that takes TIME. Time in which you and your family could be without power, water, food, and shelter. Time in which persons of an undesirable nature will be roving around taking what they want, hurting who they want. Will it be your belongings they are taking? Will it be your family they are hurting?
How can you lessen the impact of this to your family? How can you protect them from this occurrence?
Donít just run to the corner store and buy a case of water, and some canned goods and some batteries, and consider yourself prepared. Put together a comprehensive list of all the things you and your family need and use on a daily basis, and start buying extra, buy more canned goods, fill your freezer with meats, buy large containers for storing water and fill them with water.
Buy a small generator that can run your refrigerator and a few lights around your house. They arenít that expensive if you know where to look. A small 1000-watt generator with a 1-gallon fuel tank can run your refrigerator for 10-12 hours if itís a newer energy star compliant appliance. If you have a small chest freezer which is full you can hook it up to the generator for about an hour a day and keep everything in it frozen if you are careful of how many time you open it and how long you keep it open. Storing 10 gallons of gas for your generator isnít very hard, and it will let you go for almost 2 weeks, if you are frugal in what you power.
Ramen noodles by the case are inexpensive, and yes you would get tired of eating them, but youíd be eating. Cans of Spam, or another canned meat store well, and go a long way to supplementing your food supplies. Also canned chili soups, stew and others also store well, but make feeding your family easier. They are also not that expensive. I can go to the local grocery store and spend $20.00 and get enough food to feed me for 2 weeks. Granted it would be Spam and Ramen noodles, and chili, and soups, but it would feed me approximately 3000 calories a day. If Iím just sitting around waiting for the water to go down, or the power to come back on, Iím not really doing anything, and 3000 calories is more than enough.
Get something to cook your food supplies on. A Coleman dual-fuel single burner stove doesnít take up much room and cost less than $40.00. 2 gallons of Coleman fuel is less than $10.00 and if used judiciously can last you for those 2 weeks.
The standard for water usage is 2 gallons of water per person per day. That includes cooking and sanitation. If you can stand a spit bath, just washing down with a small bowl of water and a wash cloth, you can lower that to 1.5 gallons per day. Again with a lower activity level you can consume less water and make your water supply stretch. A good water filter is rather expensive; there are less expensive filters, than can do the job, but any quality filter be it expensive or not is a must. Without potable water you cannot survive, and neither can your family.
Medical supplies are also necessary. A small cut thatís not treated can turn into an infection, which can make you or your children very sick. During the flood of í93 in St. Louis, a friend of mine was sandbagging the riverfront and got a small cut on his leg. He didnít think anything of it. 2 more days of throwing sandbags in the overflowing river filled with untreated sewage did him in. He lost his leg at the hip and almost lost his life from the infection that followed that small cut, which would have taken 10 minutes with a properly equipped first-aid kit to take care of. The old saying is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In his case itís true.
Light is also necessary. Not just so you can see, which is important, but also for your psychological well being. Without light you can become depressed. Your children will be scared. In 1998 a severe thunderstorm blew through St. Louis knocking out power to over 30,000 homes. Mine was one of them. My then 5-year-old daughter was terrified, because when she tried to turn on the lights they wouldnít work. My wife called me at work and I could hear my daughter screaming in terror in the background. I rushed home immediately and got out one of my Coleman lanterns and set it up, she quieted down. But to this day, if the power goes out my daughter is terrified until I get some light on. This could be your child, unless you make preparations.
These are just a few things to prepare for, there are others. You can read all the articles on this web-site and still not know everything. But the articles need to be read, because without them you and your family might be waiting for the government to come and provide for you. So please provide for yourself. Provide for your family.
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