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Year to Prepare calendar

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to become more prepared for emergencies.  I’m excited about it!  Have you set a similar resolution?  It’s hard to become prepared all at once, but we can accomplish so much in a whole year.  This is our year to prepare!

Of course, it’s important that we become more specific about our resolution.  Vague ideas don’t usually lead to much accomplishment.  What do you want to achieve by 2012?  Do you want to have a certain amount of food storage?  Do you want to be prepared for different sorts of disasters?  Maybe if you already have your food storage you would like to learn how to cook with it.  What do you know you should be doing, that you haven’t done yet?  What simple steps could you take so that a year from now you can feel confident and peaceful about your capacity to live normally (or even just to survive) during an emergency?

Here are some suggestions for how you can implement a goal to prepare for emergencies during 2011:

–       Have you seen The Stowaway food storage plan? It’s such a good idea!  You don’t have to spend a whole lot, you don’t have to go shopping, or lug big cans around…just pay a little every month and by the end of the year you will have accumulated a whole year’s worth of food storage.  This is such a great idea for anyone who wants to have a food storage goal and wants to stick with it.

–       Cook with your food storage. You might try cooking from food storage for one meal per week, or cooking with food storage for one month straight.   This could be a valuable (and fun) experiment!

–       Make yourself and Emergency Preparedness calendar. For each month, choose a different theme, like “Emergency Supplies,” “First Aid,” “Business Preparedness,” “Financial Preparedness,” “Gardening,” “Fire Safety,” or “Winter Weather.” For each month, focus on your chosen theme, and select a few relevant tasks to complete during the month.

–       Choose a theme for the whole year. Maybe you already have a bigger goal in mind, which could take a whole year to complete.  The Red Cross has many free classes that they offer for volunteers.  If you wanted to become really involved with them, you could take one or two classes each month of the year.  They would love you for it, and by the end of the year you would have learned an awful lot.

–       Read a preparedness related book each month. Especially if you already have a reading list you’ve been meaning to tackle.

–       Develop a habit of being prepared. Decide that every week you will complete at least one task to help you prepare.  You could list these tasks all at the beginning of the year, or come up with them each month.  The important thing is to keep actively preparing.

–       Start a neighborhood preparedness group. You can be the one to make a difference.  Plan a meeting for everyone on your street to attend.  Decide what you want to discuss ahead of time.  Maybe survey your neighbors about their preparedness (eg, what skills do your neighbors have that would be useful in an emergency).  Meet quarterly for short meetings about emergency preparation.  Consider planning a fake emergency.  If there is enough interest, maybe arrange a CERT training for you and your neighbors.

What are your preparedness goals or resolutions for 2011?  How do you plan to achieve them?

4 Responses to “2011 is Your Year to Prepare!”

  1. Robert C. Wilmoth

    It’s unfortunate that neighbors of today aren’t at all like neighbors I had while growing up. I live on a cul-de-sac and only talk to one neighbor and her two boys. No one except for the cop on the corner would even consider a preparedness plan. I worry about not being able to protect my family in a true crisis. If people even think you have hords of food, how do you protect it from being stolen and being killed?

  2. Emily

    Robert – You have really valid concerns, and they’re issues we all have to deal with as we reach any level of preparation. My husband and I have a tiny farm, and our hope is that it would partially sustain us in a crisis…but what if someone steals our goats and chickens? In an instant we could lose our means of having fresh eggs and milk. It’s tough. We plan to bring the animals into our (large) garage if we need to, but even that may not be enough. This is something we’ve really thought about. It’s definitely possible that in a true crisis someone could want your food storage and be willing to kill you for it.

    This may be a good topic for a future blog post, but here are a few ideas that may help:
    1. Hide your food storage. If people don’t know you have it, you’ll be much safer.
    2. Plan to have a little (or a lot) extra, for people you would actually want to share with.
    3. If you live somewhere where you can legally own firearms, seriously consider getting a gun. (My hope is that we will never have to use our guns but, at a minimum, they will make us less of an easy target. If it came down to protecting your own life or someone in your family, you have to remember that in a crisis law enforcement will certainly be overwhelmed.) A taser is another option.
    4. Take a self-defense class. A practical one may be more helpful than a traditional one.
    5. Have a plan. I think a lot of times crises are made worse because people don’t have a plan in place. Do you have another relative or close friend that your family could evacuate to be with (safety in numbers)? What portions of your house would be the safest in a crisis? If the emergency is really local, often the safest choice is to just get out of the area.
    6. Even if your neighbors are not interested, I strongly recommend developing some sort of community with people who are interested in preparing. My church group has emergency plans in place. If you are religious, that may be a group of people that is receptive to the idea of preparing. It could be any group of people that you associate with regularly, though–coworkers come to mind. Does your community have a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program? Check with your fire department. I think they’re typically the ones who develop and run CERT programs.

    Just some ideas to think about. The best idea for you may be to just hide your food well; this is pretty easily accomplished (under beds, behind other objects in cupboards, etc). It will really depend on what you think will work for you. In any case, it would probably be a good idea to work with the cop on the corner to set up a very basic neighborhood emergency plan. Of course, still try to develop friendships with the other neighbors even if they’re not interested in emergency prep. They may have skills or tools or something that they could contribute in a crisis. Hope that helps.

  3. Kevin

    Robert,

    The answer is simple, but the implementation can be and usually is complex – even daunting unless undertaken methodically and logically. The simple part is that there’s no way to protect yourself from hungry desperate people unless you have made the proper planning, taken the proper training, and have ample numbers in your “fortress” to repel whatever horde you may face.

    Unfortunately that is the complex part. It does take time, money, consistent effort, and education. It’s certainly not impossible and you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by it. Start chipping away at it and you’ll be surprised how it will start to come together. If you come to the point where you simply don’t believe that you and your family members can attract enough other like-minded families to use your place as TEOTWAWKI meeting place, then your best best is to tailor your plan around a GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) scenario.

    Having a GOOD plan means locating a low profile destination that’s close enough to get to on a half a tank of gas if you don’t have to go through any population centers at the furthest, but preferably somewhere within a half hour drive especially if you have to go through populations (TRAFFIC). This place would preferably be someone’s full time home in a rural area at the end of a road in a secluded area. But it could also be a preplanned and stocked cabin – but not just for two. It should be someone that has also planned with at least 2 other families but ideally four. Your plan will mean you have “go-bags” and other supplies ready to go and also that you’ve been adding to the “community pantry” where you will go WTSHTF. This means you must trust the people where you’ll be moving to implicitly. And remember, this is going to be your home and you have to think that way, and they have to think that way also. And I cannot say this enough, this all takes much study, preparation, and planning, and training.

    Homes that are defended by only a man and wife and perhaps a teenager or two will have no chance whatsoever in a worst case scenario unless the home has been turned into a fortress and each family member are highly trained and capable of long periods of sleepless guard duty with periods of intense combat. Four highly trained adults that are defending a highly fortified home can repel a surprisingly large number of untrained zombies, and even a large SWAT-type team in the right situation. But the amount of training and fortifications for that are not within the reach of the average working Joe and Jane. Think about how easy it would be for one or two well-trained men to flush you out of your fort if you haven’t planned against fire or tear gas cannisters coming through your windows. It’s easy to guard against canister penetration, but fire is much more involved.

    The subject is entirely too complex to touch but I am just giving you a small example so you can decide which route you want to take. From your short paragraph it sounds to me like you need to locate a place to go where other families will meet. But you must have prepared well in advance and you must have done so with trustworthy, competent, stable people of like mind. Even something as simple as having 1 or 2 smokers amongst 10 or 12 non-smokers can create serious problems that in a sane world are easily avoidable. It’s the details like this and thousands of others which must be addressed beforehand that are as important as how much and what type of various stores you cache.

    For example, the common man or woman might reply with “But in a scenario as dire as you describe, cigarettes will not be available for long and they’ll just have to quit.” That’s true, but for the time that they’ve got those smokes, one of them is on guard duty one night and at 2:00 a.m. takes a sniper round in the head right in the middle of his second pull off the brightly-lit, dead give-away. And this is just one simple example it doesn’t address any of the obvious issues of cramped living, withdrawal of the smoker once their stash runs out, and the fact that cig smoke can be detected for very long distances in the right conditions yada yada.

    There’s a website called prepper.org where you can meet like minded people. Click on your state, then click the forums link. Some states are more active than others. I’m sure there’s other such resources but since i live in an ideal location and have been planning this for years with 4 other like minded families, I have not spent time on any of those forums. THE most important aspect in being prepared to execute your GOOD plan is something which I’ve never seen taught anywhere but I will share it. You must decide in advance what indicators you will look for, and how many of them you will use before you pull the trigger to leave. If you jump the gun you have not lost anything and even got the benefit of a training exercise. If it is a nuclear strike on NYC that makes it easy. It may or may not set off a cascading of events which create a national panic – or it may not. But you won’t take a chance you’ll GOOD. If economic collapse sets off TEOTWAWKI then that will be more subtle most likely. But for those who are prepared for it, they won’t have to waste time scrambling to pull together a vain last-minute buying spree to sustain there family. While those masses are fighting each other in the stores and at the gas pump, you and your family are taking the less-traveled roads (literally and figuratively) to your GOOD location.

    My last advice is to get your spiritual house in order. Organized religions have been teaching false doctrines and leading their ignorant masses for years – these people will not fare well and most will not “endure unto the end” because they have listened to words from deceivers who have “tickled their ears” with useless blabber.

    After all, what would it profit a man ardently prepare for survival in this dimension, only to discover he had not planned for the survival of his eternal soul? more accurately, as my 1560 Geneva says:

    For what ſhal it profite a man thogh he ſhulde winne the whole worlde, if he loſe his owne ſoule?

    Godspeed.