The Beginnings of Preparedness

Posted on Oct 27, 2009 in Emergency Preparedness & Survival – Kevin Hayden

The Beginning of Preparedness – Mark Smith

Ever had the lights go out suddenly due to a bad storm?  Remember fumbling through the darkened house looking for candles or a flashlight?  Do you recall cursing yourself when the flashlight was so dim it barely lit the hallway due to dead batteries? 

Are you prepared for potential disasters?  Ice storms?  Hurricanes?  Natural or man made events?

Let’s talk some about where to begin. You’ve decided that it’s a good idea to be better prepared for potential disasters and emergencies; good for you!  Might not have been an easy decision but the main thing is that you are here now. 
So you want to be better prepared and could be wondering how to go about that.  I have one piece of proven advice for you –  inventory.  Until you KNOW what you have you won’t KNOW what you need.  Doing a written inventory (use a computer, crayons, a pad and a pen, doesn’t matter – just write it down) does several things for you. 

1. Let’s you physically see what you have and what condition it’s in. 
2. Gives you an actual count of items compared to, “Well I think I have this many…” 
3. Helps you to better organize what you do have (I’m coming to that) 
4. Allows you to save money!
As you’re counting things and by that, I mean every last can of vegetables, bandage, gallon of gas etc., you are helping to lay out a plan. Don’t let the task intimidate you and don’t make it an all day project.  Count some today, do more tomorrow and then finish it the day after or make it a family event!  Get your kids involved, grab the spouse!  Once it is done, organize your list the way that makes the most sense to you – Food / Medical / Ammunition / Fuel / Paper Goods / Camping equipment, etc.

Once you have that done then you will have an accurate, up to date listing of what you actually have on hand. This way, you are not running out INTO the disaster when everyone else needs that “forgotten item”, like a few more gallons of gas, another pack of toilet paper, or a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper!  You are well prepared in advance and can obtain any items long before an emergency with a nice, organized list.  Also by finding everything and counting it gives you the opportunity to examine it all at the same time  “Oh, that’s right, I need to put batteries in this flashlight!” or “Oops, where is the flashlight?”  It could be that most, if not all of the materials are in good shape but by counting everything you KNOW what shape it is in.

Well if in the process of counting items you discover that you have four camping lanterns but they are scattered all over the place, you can collect them up and put them together which means they are easier to find when you need them.  Could be that you want to go camping or a strong rain storm knocked out the power so you need some light… “Ah ha! I know right where the lanterns are!” 
By doing this, you are saving money and in this economy that is a huge issue and inventorying items actually helps with that. Once you have finished your inventory you can identify areas of weakness in your supplies. Say you realize you only have one flashlight and no spare batteries.  After inventorying, you KNOW that you can address that by buying another flashlight and a pack of batteries which will serve both of the lights. Your money is being spent on what I call ‘targeted spending,’ which means it is going to a very specific purpose instead of being wasted on 3 or 4 very similar items that have no compatibility.

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