Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 5A

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

NOTE: This is a (very) rough draft

Harm Comes In Many Forms

Originally, I had thought to title this chapter Physical Harm so I could do a pun off Fiscal Harm in a later chapter. However, that really doesn’t work as in addition to physical harm, there can also be mental and spiritual harm to individuals in the course of a disaster. Sound preparedness demands that you be prepared for all types of harm.

Before you start going off on all the things that can happen, remember that it doesn’t have to be complicated unless you make it that way. Yes, the potential numbers of disasters, or injuries, is almost infinite. So, don’t focus on infinity, but on the three types of injury: everyday, trauma, mental/spiritual. There, three things, not infinity. Now, let’s start breaking this down a bit so you can plan effectively for you and your situation.

Everyday life has its moments and its wounds, or at least boo-boos. There are the scraped knees, twisted ankles, sprained fingers, the tears — heck with kids, that can be me on a good day. Growing up, I had family, friends, and acquaintances who could have formed their own clan, with a motto of “Hey Ya’ll, Watch This!” Your humble author, of course, never did anything like that. [Editor’s Note: Bullshit].

One way to look at it is that everyday injuries are the things you can deal with on your own that don’t require a trip to the doctor or emergency room. They are the things you know how to handle because you parents or others took care of them for you when you were growing up. They are the things for which you can take some basic first aid courses and feel confident in handling.

A basic, or expanded basic, first aid kit gives you all you need to handle such injuries. Bandages, ointment, wound cleaning, eye-flush, basic tools, a few other supplies, and you are good to go. Add in some things to keep around the house like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, cold- and hot-compresses, and some other items, and you truly can handle the everyday injuries that come with life.

Trauma, on the other hand, requires a bit more training and preparation. Traumatic injuries can be defined for planning purposes as any injury that requires treatment by a doctor, emergency room, or hospital. The first aid kits for trauma are going to be a bit different, as they should include things like tourniquets, clotting bandages, pressure bandages, and other items for dealing with severe injuries. An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is an example of a trauma-level first aid item.

Why prepare for trauma? Like everyday injuries, trauma can strike at any time. When I was driving long distances extensively a few years ago, I carried a trauma kit with me because accidents happen, and on rural interstates and roads the first responders might be minutes or more away. Bleeding out won’t wait for the EMTs and others to arrive. Right now, an intersection near where I live sees a lot of wrecks, so both my neighbor and I keep a kit at the ready despite medics being close by. When trauma strikes, seconds often count.

You don’t need an earthquake, tornado, or nuclear war to get trauma. It’s going to hit all around you every day. Accidents, crime, and more generate trauma and if it doesn’t hit you, you may be the one who can make the difference between life and death by taking action before the first responders can even think about getting to the scene. That’s some additional food for thought to factor into your planning.

Finally, there is mental and spiritual damage for which you need to be prepared. Yes, a tornado, earthquake, or nuclear war are going to have an impact on you. So will being first on the scene of an accident and doing what you can for those involved. Or trying to comfort someone when they are injured or are watching the medics work on a loved one. Even dealing with some extensive everyday injuries to a child can hit you (and the child). It’s only smart to plan for it now, while you can do so.

Now is where things can get a little complex. You have the basics, now we need to factor in the length of the disaster. Remember, for planning purposes a minor disaster will last minutes up to a week. A moderate disaster will last a week up to a month. A major disaster is a month or longer. The longer a disaster lasts, the more you have to be prepared to do on your own.

In a minor disaster, your ability to contact or reach medical assistance may not be impacted at all, or be something that results in a delay of minutes. If it moves towards being a week or more, there are increasingly good odds that your contact with, or ability to reach, medical assistance can be delayed or lost. If you are in a moderate to major disaster, you should consider that you may have little to no outside medical help for an unknown period of time.

So, what does this mean for your planning? Here are a few thoughts.

First, get all the training you can and if you know people already trained, start thinking about adding them to your plans despite the first rule. The more training you and those around you have, the better. There are any number of options for courses, from paid to free, so see what is available near you that you can work into your schedule. Things like basic first aid, use of an AED, CPR, and even advanced first aid are all a good place to start. Do you need to become a certified EMT? Maybe. Maybe not. As always, you have to figure out what works for you and your situation, and develop your plan accordingly.

Second, learn about the “Good Samaritan” laws in your state, and if you are going to travel out-of-state, in those states too. Sadly, in this day and age, CYA is needed. You also need to think about how much you would be willing or able to do in the face of a moderate- to major-disaster. The sad fact is, however, that in a moderate- to major-disaster, with the loss of access to medical assistance, there are going to be times that nothing can be done. Accept and prepare for that as well.

Third, plan your kits according to your needs. For example, in my opinion, many so-called basic kits I’ve bought in the past have had a number of items that were not really useful. I set them aside, and added in things that I have found to actually be useful. For example, adding moleskin and similar was a good idea for hikes and such. Getting rid of cheap tools and replacing them with better is a great idea. While there are many options, I’ve found some great deals on paramedic scissors, surgical scissors, and other tools at flea markets and even gun shows. Are they your super-high-end name brand tools? No, but they can be sterilized and they work. From hemostats to various exam tools, think about what you might need if not able to access medical assistance for some time and plan to address those needs.

Along those lines, look at possible trauma needs. There are a number of excellent pre-done trauma kits, from ones that easily can fit on a belt or in a car door pocket, to larger kits intended for medics. If you can afford it, allow me to suggest that having small kits in each vehicle, purse, or bag is a very good idea. When we talk about bugout bags later, sticking a good basic kit and a larger trauma kit in each is also a very good idea. Having that large bag in the house is also a good thing.

Fourth, start thinking about your mental and spiritual needs as well. For the longer term, what are the things that may bring you peace or comfort? Some may call it pampering, but you will need some things to bring you comfort and aid, so get them in place now. In the shorter term, you will find that in many cases if you are in an accident or you help those who are in such, the first responders may offer you access to a chaplain or other counselor. Don’t be stupid, take them up on it. It may be that you should consider a course on dealing with trauma and stress, as it may be you having to comfort others as well as yourself.

Going back to something I said earlier, yes, the first rule of Preparedness Club is that there is no preparedness club. The less people know of your preparations, the better and safer for you and yours. That said, this is one of the times where you need to start thinking about expanding your circle of friends.

The fact is, there is strength in numbers. Having others you can count on will lessen the impact of any disaster. The thing is, you need to have absolute trust in those people and that they understand the first rule. If they do and happen to have combat lifesaver training, well, that’s a good thing. If you know someone who is a surgical tech, nurse, EMT, or other, and they fit the bill, sound them out and work them into your plans. Even if they are not interested, but are willing to help you develop your plans and kits, that’s a win.

The longer the disaster, the greater the need for others you can count upon. Trained medical assistance is one of the most pressing of those needs. Just a thought to keep in mind as you plan.

Now, as a thought to consider in your plans: what other resources can you or should you get? One such is written material on first aid or more. When I say written, I like to keep paper copies around but if you can find something where you can get both print and an electronic copy, all the better. Put the e-copy on your phone, computer, flash drive that’s in your bugout bag, and anywhere else you can. The more ways to access it, the better. Meantime, you have that print copy you can access even when the power is out.

Back more years ago that I want to think about, I had a book Being Your Own Wilderness Doctor. Back in those days, when dinosaurs still walked the Earth, there were no cell phones, satellite phones, or other options for instant communications. If you were doing extensive hiking and camping, you could find yourself days away from civilization. That particular book guided you through the steps to put yourself or a companion back together enough for you to survive to get help. There are still resources like that, and I do strongly suggest you look for them and add them to your planning.

Now, a thought to consider as you are looking at what resources you need for this area of planning. The longer the emergency, the greater the need for resources. It is never a bad idea to keep OTC nausea, anti-diarrhea, and pain killers on hand. If you believe that a moderate- to major-disaster looms, from war to something everyone but the politicians see coming, stock up on all the OTC medications you can. As much of as many different types as possible. Again, just a thought but one you need to factor into your plans at the start.

Congratulations! You now have the basic blocks to start planning for how to handle harm to you and others in the event of an emergency. If you stick with those blocks, it makes planning a much more simple process and you are less likely to miss something important.

The book as it goes:

Preparedness Pays: Draft Introduction

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 1A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 2A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 3A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 4A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 4A

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

NOTE: This is a (very) rough draft

Planning For Power

The final resource you need to be thinking about as you work up your preparedness plan is power. This modern world requires it, as we live by our cell phones, computers, internet, cable, and other amenities of modern life. Without power, we can lose a significant portion of our daily tools, from that cell phone to the stove.

Even if you have gas appliances, there are good odds they won’t work with the power out. As noted earlier, it’s a “safety” feature to prevent gas leaks and fires. The fact that it also deprives you of the use of an otherwise fully functional appliance in an emergency has most likely never crossed the bureaucratic minds behind the “safety” feature.

So, let’s take a few minutes to think about what can be done to ensure we have at least some power in any emergency. As always, start small then work up from there.

For individual phones and such, you can get solar chargers and hand-crank chargers. The emergency radio I own has a crank for recharging both its batteries and anything plugged into the USB ports. I know some people who swear by a particular solar charger that they use when camping, on river trips, and other outdoor activities. These are useful for all emergencies and give you some long-term options.

Also, don’t forget the next step up: Exercycles that generate power. Yes, the old standby is out there in the form of a stationary bike and generator. For moderate- and major-disasters, they are well worth considering.

We’ve already talked batteries, but let’s consider something larger. Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) are an option and you can find some good deals on them. They are great for your computers and other electronics and pairing them with a good surge protector can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.

A good surge protector is one that comes with a warranty that covers up to $XXXX of value of the item or items plugged into it. When I lived down South we frequently got surges from lightning. One time, it was enough to overwhelm the surge protector and take out the television. Contacted the company, got the certification of the lightning damage they needed, sent them the ears and tail of the surge protector, and they bought me a new television.

When I say Preparedness Pays, I’m talking things like this. Without the surge protector, things could have been much worse, since a fire is not out of the realm of possibility with a surge that large. Instead of damage, loss, and a major expense, it was a minor expense (postage, little fuel, new surge protector) and a small amount of inconvenience. There’s a reason everything electrical I own is plugged into a surge protector.

UPSs and battery backups come in all sizes. It’s also not just your electronics that may need protecting. If you have a sump pump in your basement, it’s a good idea to have a battery backup for it so that a power failure doesn’t turn into a flooded basement. Same if you have a well, that pump needs a backup too.

While the big box home supply stores may have them, don’t forget as you are planning and thinking to check out places like Tractor Supply Company, Rural King, or your local equivalents. Not only may you get a better price, but you may find that the staff there have dealt with this issue before and can be a good knowledge resource.

Now, about those appliances that brick when the power is off. You might want to check with the appliance manufacturer or seller about what level of power is needed to keep them running in an emergency. It can be more than you think, though in the case of a particular stove I never did get a good reason on why it drew so much power initially.

Should you put refrigerators and freezers on backups? That is up to you. It is an option, and some will argue a very good option.

Now, let’s talk wind and solar. They are options, though I consider them partial options. That said, you may find various programs that will defray or cover the cost of adding those options to your home, and potentially increase it’s value.

That said, both are partial options because they are intermittent. Day/night. Winds are calm. You get the picture. They are not going to provide steady-state power over the course of a day, a month, or a year.

Now, something that you may or may not get told when talking to companies about adding their solar/wind/other to your home is that there are two basic options for dealing with the steady-state issue. The first is simple, set things up so that when you are generating power and not using it, that it goes into the system (and you should get paid for it). When you need power, you pull it from the grid like normal. The second is to install a fairly good size battery bank to store power for the times you aren’t generating/generating enough. You may still have to pull from the grid on occasion, but you can reduce that amount.

The last time I looked into such, it was a very expensive proposition. That was before I factored in having to build a shed to house the storage batteries as I was not willing to put them inside my home at that time. There are risks to that option you would need to explore thoroughly and include your insurance agent in those explorations and discussions. The tech is supposedly getting better, but you would be surprised to find that from local codes to insurance policies, things are still built around tech that is 20-50 years old.

There are also generators as an option. A small one can keep the essentials like a refrigerator and a couple of lights, running. A moderate sized wheeled generator can run most of your house. A large generator will run your house.

When looking at this option, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is, what is essential for you and your situation? For example, in the rural house the essentials were: gas stove, refrigerator, freezer, gas furnace, a few lights, sump pump, and power for the computer. That covered the essentials we’ve been talking about in the previous chapters.

Based on this, I figured my electrical load, looked at being able to do a few nice things (washing machine and dryer for example) via rotation (take power from one area and put it to another), and then decided to get a mid-sized generator that was on wheels. Then I installed the power run and lockouts into the main breaker box, and was good to go.

Yes, unless you are one, you will also need to plan to hire an electrician to set up the power feed into your home. Most utilities require a power feed with lockouts so that during a power failure you are not accidentally putting power into the grid. Because if you do that, you can injure or kill the nice people working to restore the power. Don’t do that.

Now, before you start to plan, here a few things you will also want to consider. First, any generator is going to need a secure spot outside the house for operation. Note the word secure. Doesn’t matter how big or how small, you need to be sure that generator doesn’t walk off. In emergencies, they have a distressing tendency to grow feet and wander off. Securing it needs to be part of your plan.

Second, you need to think about noise. In a minor emergency, you might not have to worry about it too much. But, it is worth the extra money to invest in a quiet generator, and yes, some are much quieter than others. The other part of the reason is not about disturbing you or the neighbors, it’s that in moderate to major emergencies that sound is going to be a beacon that can draw unwanted attention to you. Potentially, very ill-intentioned attention as you have power that they want, and if you have that, what else might you have? There are good reasons for the first rule of Preparedness Club: there is no preparedness club.

Third, in line with that, whatever options you choose you will also want to plan on being discrete about lights, heat, and such. If your house is a blazing beacon of light in an otherwise dark area, well, the ill-intentioned will come. As will most of your relatives. So, as part of your plan, you may want to think about upgrading to blackout curtains and other steps to reduce what can be seen or heard. Again, look at it as a way to improve where you live.

Finally, as you plan, keep in mind that you don’t have to provide constant power. Let’s face it, it is nice and we are used to it. That said, to keep things going like the refrigerator and freezer, you may only need to provide power part of the time. Run them twice a day and not constantly. Saving fuel and other power resources is a good thing, especially if you aren’t sure how long the disaster will last.

Congratulations. You now have a basic framework to use in planning for individual resource preparedness. Next, let’s look at harm that can happen to an individual and start thinking about how to plan for that.

The book as it goes:

Preparedness Pays: Draft Introduction

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 1A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 2A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 3A

Battery Brands

A discussion with Beege on Twitter sparked the idea for this post. As always, I am not sponsored nor do I get anything from any company mentioned here. If you are a company and interested in such, do drop me a line. Anywho, since we talked batteries in the last chapter of the book, some food for thought.

When buying batteries, do a bit of research first. The ads you see aren’t always a good reflection of reality. For example, years ago Duracell had a great reputation and there were a number of first responders and emergency medical people who would only use Duracell batteries. Then, I noticed the quality slipping, and there were reliability and longevity issues. In short, I and a number of others quit using Duracell as we were getting better performance at a much better price out of others.

I’ve tried a number of batteries over the years, and right now I’m using Ray-O-Vac as I’m getting good performance for a very good price thanks to some sales at a certain home improvement store. Beege swears by Energizer, and I’ve had good luck with them myself. I’ve had mixed results out of a house-brand for a major sporting good chain, but if the rubber has to hit the road, I want the best.

I’m actually thinking of doing a comparison test between Energizer and Ray-O-Vac similar to the one that sparked the conversation on Twitter. New batteries, fair test, and see what happens. What say you?

Oh, I will add that when it comes to my Streamlight products, I am using the regular and rechargeable Streamlight batteries. Those are items where I’m not willing to risk anything else.

Remember, there is no one magic list nor is there one magic product for each need. Do your research, test, and find what works best for you.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 3A

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

NOTE: This is a (very) rough draft

Expanding Your Resources

Alright, now that you have started thinking about food and water, let’s expand things a bit. The next resources to think about are light, the ability to cook or heat your food, and heating.

I really do think that if you could do a study, the lights (power) going out is probably the most common “disaster” we face on a regular basis. It is probably the most frustrating thing, because just as the water goes out right when you’ve soaped up, the lights always go out as you are doing something important. For a number of reasons, I want to focus right now just on light and we will tackle the larger issue of power later.

There are a number of options available to you. Just to name a few: flashlights, battery-powered mountable LED lights, camping lanterns (electric and gas fuel), candles, oil lamps, and chemical lights/glow sticks. There not being that one magical list of items that works for everyone in every situation, you need to decide what mix of items works for you.

For example, candles and oil lamps can be part of your decor. The latter are not just the old-fashioned kind, but newer ones that are very modern looking. With practical preparedness the idea is to have the items do more than one thing. It’s like Alton Brown’s rule on kitchen items: most kitchen items need to be useful for several things. Your choices for preparedness should do the same. While there are a few things that only have one use, most of what you get for preparedness should pull double or triple duty. Even if that duty is to be decorative.

Another bit of food for thought is that whatever you get, get spares and if batteries are used get spare batteries too. If you have a flashlight on a shelf at the top of the stairs, put spare batteries with it. Because if you go down into the dark basement without a light because the batteries are dead, you frankly deserve to have the monster get you, or find out the sewage is backed up the hard way. It’s about as bright as standing artistically in front of the archery targets in one of those teen camp slasher porn movies. So, unless you want the monster to get you, don’t do that.

A further bite of food for thought: it’s not a bad idea to have emergency lighting that can be used in a hazardous environment. There are any number of things that can cause gas pipes to rupture, fuel to spill, or otherwise create an environment where not only is the smoking lamp out, you don’t want cheap electronics or other items generating sparks. While you can spend as much as you want to on hazard-rated lights, you might be surprised at how many of the newer (and inexpensive) flashlights are actually sealed. Look around at what’s available, think about it, then choose wisely.

Back when I had a house in a more rural location, every room had a small plastic storage bin that contained scissors, utility knife, tape, tacks, brads, hammer, tarp, flashlight, chem light, spare batteries, and a small first aid kit. The idea being I had light and a means of covering holes/busted windows, and taking care of boo-boos at hand no matter what. If gas was an issue, I could use the chem light instead of the flashlight at need. Also, for long-term light, the chem light was the better choice.

Which gets to an important point in thinking about what mix works best for you: duration. Give yourself as many options as you can. Church pillars are designed to burn for hours, so used judiciously they can last for weeks at need. There are candle lanterns that use long-lasting candles (as well as bug repellent candles). My favorite brand of lights has an option of a USB rechargeable battery that I can even recharge using the hand crank on the emergency radio. Bit more on that when we talk power, but look at all the options open to you to make your light mix last.

Also, as you work up your plan, be thinking about where to put what type of light. Where practical, you may want to put a mirror up nearby to help bounce the light (or reflect sunlight further inside). In an emergency, when the lights go out, I’ve been known to put aluminum foil up on the wall behind candles and omni-directional lights to put as much light as possible out into the room.

Now, let’s look at using the light that comes out of your plan to do something extremely important: cook and heat your food and drink. Vehicles hit power poles and take down lines. Construction crews dig into gas lines. Things happen. I don’t know about you, but I’m not giving up my coffee or food because someone else did something stupid.

Again, there are a number of options. The portable butane chef stoves you see at a lot of brunches, or events where cooking is being done on the spot, used to be relatively inexpensive though I hear that’s changing. Keep in mind butane does not work in cold weather. There are a number of propane or liquid-fuel small camping stoves available. Better yet, there are even multi-burner propane stoves and ovens that can handle large scale cooking. Grills make an excellent option as well. Got a fireplace? Guess what, it’s can be fun to cook over a fire.

Find a mix that works for you while giving you both flexibility and durability. By durability I don’t just mean the product lasting, but the ability to get fuel for it even in an emergency. For example, a good charcoal grill can also handle wood, which is likely to be available no matter what (even if you have to go cut it). Having more than one type of fuel is also a good thing for your ability to handle moderate to major disasters.

To help with your planning, allow me to share a real-life experience that may help. Where I’m currently living, we experienced a power failure which took out the lights and stove. My bedroom and bathroom are in the basement. I needed to get to work. So, I broke out the camping lanterns and used one to light my room, one to light the common area of the basement, and one to light the bathroom (yes, I already have hooks in place to hang them at need).

I put up two in the kitchen, pulled out a propane camping stove and set it up on top of the regular stove. I cooked breakfast, cleaned up, got my shower (water was still going) using the remaining hot water in the water heater (note: a number of gas appliances will not run if the electricity is off, “safety” feature). As I did all this, I turned off lights when not needed and otherwise minimized my resource usage.

Net result, I had my regular breakfast and coffee, and had no issues making it to work on time. For all that I might be a bit of a coffee head, one of the reasons I use a French Press to make my coffee is that I’m not dependent on electricity to make it. For all that I like the taste better anyway, it doesn’t matter if the water is heated on a stove or over a fire as I huddle in the ruins of civilization, you just need hot water. And coffee, of course. If I did engage in preparedness, you can be sure I would have some tucked away. Cough. Remember the first rule of preparedness club…

The last truly crucial element for survival, and the start of surviving in style, is heating. Cooling, while I do love my air conditioning, is not essential. Even in most temperate zones, having heating comes in handy in an emergency, especially if you are wet or cleaning up after flooding. In large swaths of the world, heating is essential so that you don’t freeze to death in the winter.

Again, there are options for you to explore. Do you have a fireplace? The option to add a wood stove? Portable indoor-use kerosene and propane heaters are available at most home supply stores. They may also be useful for keeping water warm or hot, or even doing some light cooking over them. The key is going to be the ability to store fuel for them so that you can use them as needed in a moderate or major disaster.

Just be sure that what you are looking at are rated for indoor use. There are a number of heaters that are not, and require extra ventilation if they can be used inside at all. You don’t want to freeze, but you also don’t want to either burn up or die of carbon monoxide poisoning. If battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are not already a part of your life, make them part of you preparedness planning. They are essential now, and critical in the aftermath of a disaster.

I would also highly recommend good cold weather clothing be a part of your preparedness planning. Fuel shortages, regulations, and other delights can impact anywhere, and even if you are prepared you need to consider wearing extra clothing to cut down on use of your preparedness resources. Get extra blankets and throws now as well, as there may be a run on them in the not too distant future.

Guess what? You now have the basics in place to develop a plan that will provide you water, food, light, the ability to cook, and the ability to heat in the face of disaster. In other words, you have the basics of survival at your fingertips. Now, in the next chapter, let’s look at adding some other resources to your planning mix to take that up to surviving in style.

The book as it goes:

Preparedness Pays: Draft Introduction

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 1A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 2A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 2A

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

I had originally planned to do Chapter 1 a bit differently, but am opting for now to try smaller chapters, possibly focused on a single concept, to make it easier for those new to preparedness. We will see how it goes, meantime, onwards!

NOTE: This is a (very) rough draft

Building With Our Blocks

Now that we have our basic building and planning blocks, let’s take a look at how to use them to create the preparedness plan that works for you. To do so, why don’t we take a look at what most of it boils down to: ensuring people have the resources they need.

As noted previously, resources include (but are not limited to) things like  food, water, power, fuel, and other resources necessary for life, much less modern life. So, let’s start with the most critical items for life: food and water.

Most people in first world countries (and even many second) take clean, safe, and abundant water for granted. We cut the tap on, and sweet, sweet, water flows out into our glasses, sinks, or tubs. While there are exceptions everywhere, overall we have gotten rather spoiled about water. Even the most minor of disaster or emergency becomes a real issue when it effects our water.

Most of the time, that impact is an annoyance. The water goes off while you are in the shower and you need to rinse. You can’t do the laundry or dishes because the water went off. It’s not the end of the world, but it impacts your day. Thing is, the longer it is off the greater the impact. Given that you can live for days to weeks on little to no food, and only a very few days without water, water really needs to be your top priority for preparedness. So, let’s look at it in terms of our planning blocks on the three lengths of disaster.

For minor disasters, those lasting minutes to a week, stored water comes in very handy. Caught bathing and need to rinse off? A bottle of water or maybe part of a gallon jug of water takes care of that. I keep both bottles of water and gallon jugs of distilled water around personally, as I use the latter for making coffee (the water around where I currently live being a fluid phase of limestone) and the former for general use. During any emergency, don’t throw out the empties: they have important uses we will get into later. For planning, while you have to have two liters of water a day from drinking and food to survive, you are going to find life a lot better if you have three to four liters per person per day.

For moderate to major disasters, storage really isn’t practical. Though, one should plan for ways to increase your storage if there is warning. Collapsable containers, tub bladders, even your cookware can and should be used to store water if there is warning of a coming moderate to major disaster. If you have freezer or other containers, fill them up too. If it will safely hold water, fill it up!

So, what can you do to prepare for water during a moderate to major disaster? You are going to need one or more water purification systems. No, I’m not talking systems for cities or such, but the small, mostly portable systems used by campers and backpackers. Those systems are designed to take water from lakes, streams, or other sources and turn it into pure, clean, safe water for drinking. Some of them can even handle various types of grey water. Wait, what? Grey water?

You are going to deal with three types of water in life, much less during a disaster. Clean water is what you are used to drinking. Grey water is water that has been used for things like showering, cleaning, technically even cooking water like pasta water is grey water. Dark/black/other-term-here water contains sewage or other organic or chemical contaminants. There are ways for you to deal with filtering and purifying grey and black water, but we will get into that more later.

For now, you’ve got enough information to begin planning for your water needs. Given that things never go to plan, I recommend being a pessimist and planning on storing enough drinking water to get through a minor disaster if at all possible.

That may not be possible. Each of us has a different situation in terms of space, storage space, and other delights. I’ve heard of some apartments or rentals that have it in the lease that you are not to store water or other fluids in the structure. In your planning, get creative. There are a lot of odd spaces and places you might not think about, but will work great for storage.

For any and all disasters, look at water storage options. There are a variety of collapsible containers out there for camping and emergencies. Some hold just a gallon or three, and others can hold a hundred or more gallons. The tub bladders are a great idea since that part of the house/apartment is build to hold that weight, and you will be amazed at how much water you can store in one.

For longer term preparedness, research water purification systems and find what works for you. If you have the budget, or can budget for it over time, I highly recommend a portable system for each person, and a larger camping system for the home. It gives you maximum flexibility and capability at need. Also, get replacement elements for each system, at least a year’s worth if possible. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Also, when researching those systems, keep in mind they are not all the same. Some basically just filter, so you don’t get mud and any large parasites or other delights. Others will filter out even smaller things. Yet others will purify the water as well as filtering it. You can even look at getting water purification tablets and using those on the water before putting it through a filter. Not a bad idea to plan on having some of those around anyway, just in case. Also, for a major disaster, you also want to research sand filters and how to make them, for possible inclusion in your planning.

Now that you’ve got the basics so that you can plan for water, let’s take a look at food. As with water, there are some basic minimums to consider. While you can technically survive on as little as 800 calories a day, you really need around 1200 calories a day, and about 1400 a day if you are going to be active.

Those calories need to be balanced, in that you need about 72 trace elements, 20 essential amino acids, and some essential fats to live. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, as well as a good bit of the human body. Our body can actually produce 11 of the essential amino acids we need to survive and thrive, but we need to get the remaining nine through our diet.

Now, there are foods that contain complete proteins, that is they have all 9 of the essential amino acids needed by the body. When you eat fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, and meat you are getting complete proteins. In grains, quinoa is a complete protein.

You can also “mix and match” to get complete protein. For example, legumes with rice can do the job, but if you mix legumes, a veggie, and a grain, you can as well.

You also want to research essential fats. Yes, you need a certain amount of fat each day to survive, and there are some fats you really need. It is much tastier and easier to include such in your supplements and food than to catch and eat six to eight medium to large moths each day.

Just as there is no one magic list for preparedness, there is no one perfect recipe for nutrition. You have to find what works for you and yours, and any known dietary problems or needs. Now, when I say dietary problem I mean a diagnosed medical condition, not that you hate X, Y, or Z or avoid them because of virtue signaling. While I find low-carb works well for me right now, in an emergency I’m an omnivore and will eat whatever I have to ensure proper nutrition.

For moderate to major disasters, you also need to consider supplements to ensure proper nutrition and health. There are a lot of supplements sold that claim many things, but those things may or may not be verified. My favorite is still the calcium supplement that did indeed have several hundred times the amount of calcium of any other supplement. Only thing was that it was a form of calcium that could not be absorbed by the body…

For long-term nutrition and survival, you really need to be focused on those things that provide you trace elements and other compounds you might not get from tight rations. Things I will recommend: a good multi-vitamin, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D.

A good multi-vitamin gives you most of those trace elements in the recommended daily amount. Go generic and you can get a multi-year supply for a reasonable amount. No, it’s not perfect but it gets you most of the way there. Yes, right now you are urinating most of it away. In a survival situation you likely won’t be. You will be glad to have it.

Why Vitamin C? Scurvy for one thing. In a true disaster, Vitamin C can end up in short supply in your food (or lack thereof), which can and will result in scurvy and other delights. Just ask the British Navy, who finally figured out that a lime a day kept the doctor away. Again, inexpensive and can prevent a number of health issues.

Why Vitamin D? You may or may not be getting much sun for a while in a nuclear war or similar disaster. Low D-levels have been found to be linked with a host of medical issues, and no one wants to see rickets and other delights return. Again, D3 is inexpensive and can prevent a number of other health issues.

What else do you need? You really need to sit down with your doctor to work that out. If you trust your doctor, get with them and ask what you should look at getting and taking.

For a minor disaster, it’s not that hard to stock up enough food to make it through the week. It’s the moderate to major length disasters that you need to consider all the above discussion. One more small bit of food for thought in your planning: be sure to include a lot of soups and stews. They are a great way to get some of that water you need to survive, a great from a nutrition perspective, and can allow you to make the fullest use of ingredients. Especially if the power has gone out, and will be out for more than a few days, and you have things in the refrigerator and freezer. Yes, you do need to think about things like that in your planning.

Now that you have the basic blocks to begin planning for the most essential part of preparedness, we can turn to the next two most essential things: light and cooking.

The book as it goes:

Preparedness Pays: Draft Introduction

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 1A

Preparedness Pays: Draft Chapter 1A

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

The Basic Blocks Of Practical Preparedness

Since I know you probably skipped over the introduction and all that other stuff up front, a quick review. Preparedness is not something that should be daunting, intimidating, overwhelming, or anything other than fairly straightforward, maybe even enjoyable. Brave words, but accurate.

Yes, there are an almost infinite number of possible disasters large and small out there. It’s what the brainiacs refer to as an “Infinity minus one” situation though I still say the number of possible disasters is “Infinity minus two” since the Sweet Meteor Of Death (SMOD) proved to be just another lying politician. The thing is, the number of potential disasters is not where you need to focus. Instead, look at what can be affected by a disaster and the types of damage done.

When you come right down to it, there are only three things that can be affected by any disaster: people, places, things. Now, let’s take a look at each. People can only be impacted three ways: loss of resources, body damage, and fiscal damage. Places can be impacted two ways: damage and destruction. Things can be impacted three ways: damage, destruction, and scarcity. These eight things are the basic building blocks for preparedness. Working with them, you can design a plan for practical preparedness that you can work into you life and lifestyle. Eight is much easier to plan for, no?

Now that we have building blocks, you need some planning blocks to go with them. While there are several such blocks, we are going to start with the most basic. They revolve around time, since all your planning will ultimately do so as well. Time is what differentiates a minor disaster from a moderate disaster and those from a major disaster. For purposes of planning, a minor disaster will last minutes up to a week. A moderate disaster will last a week up to a month. A major disaster is a month or longer.

For example, a power failure or the city where you live shutting down water to your neighborhood for work is a thing of minutes to a day or two (usually). A winter storm is going to impact things for a few days to a week as a general rule. The thing is, minor disasters are of relatively short duration, and the shorter that duration the easier to have practical preparedness turn a disaster into, at most, an inconvenience.

Moderate disasters take things up a step. They can be major weather events that cause damage, industrial accidents, or other delights where most normal day-to-day activities are impacted for up to a month. While things may not be back to normal by then, they are to the point where most of your normal life can resume.

Major disasters are going to have an impact lasting months and even years. Major disasters usually involve rebuilding not just structures, but lives and institutions. It can be a massive tornado, hurricane, or nuclear war. It could be a massive crop failure, or even the failure of a major system (economic, logistics, etc.)

More than you will believe right now, here at the start, the type of the disaster rarely matters. It is the length of the impact that does.

So, let’s start playing with our blocks. First up, relax, there are no pop quizzes in this book. When it comes to preparedness, life is the pop-quiz and I want you to pass with flying colors. Let’s start by looking at our three people building blocks.

What is loss of resources? It is the loss of food, water, power, fuel, and other resources necessary for life, much less modern life. For this block, it is the resources that need to be replenished on a regular basis. It is the groceries we buy to make into meals. It is the water we get from the tap and other libations that we drink, adult or otherwise. It is the electric bill we pay so that we flip a switch and the lights come on, the stove runs, and other wonderful things happen. It is the gas that comes into the house for heating and cooking. It is the gasoline for our car, the lawn mower, or even the chain saw. If you have a fireplace, it is the wood that goes in it to be burned.

What is body damage? It is physical harm to the body. It is the impact on mind and spirit that come from a disaster. Both have negative effects on the body, and prevent a person from responding fully to a disaster. It’s hard to chop wood with a broken arm. Cuts and scrapes need to be mended. It is the tendency in the human animal to blame themselves for things outside their control, as well as to blame ourselves for not being perfect in our preparations, much less life. It is being overwhelmed by the scope of a disaster, and losing our sense of proportion as we face a problem.

What is fiscal damage? It is the loss of monetary resources or other valuables as the result of disaster. It can be the cost of repairs, or it can be the loss of value because of inflation, recession, or even depression. It can be the result of fraud or other unfriendly action. While it will not be a major part of this book, it is something for which planning and preparation is needed.

Now, lets look at our two building blocks for places. For our purposes, places are going to be primarily structures, though natural locations and structures also technically fall into this category.

What is damage in the context of this block? It is anything that impacts the structural integrity and/or the weather tightness of the structure or location such as a cave. It is broken windows, cracked foundation, a hole in a roof, a hole in or damage two the side of a structure. It is fire, it is flood, it is a collapsed ceiling. Anything that makes a structure become of limited use and habitability is damage. More importantly, it is damage that can be repaired.

What is destruction in the context of this block? It is not just the total loss of the structure, but it can also be damage that is too extensive or that can’t be easily repaired. Anything that makes a structure unsafe to use or totally destroys that structure is destruction for the terms of this building block.

Now, let’s look at things. Things are all the devices and objects we use in everyday life. They are our cell phones, our tools, and our vehicles. They are also the bridges and roads we use. There is not much we can do to prepare those things for an emergency, but we do need to plan on what to do if they are damaged or gone.

What is damage in the context of this block? It can be physical damage, such as a cracked screen on a phone, a bent fender, or a broken handle. It can be water damage from rain or flooding. It could even be damage caused by an electromagnetic pulse. It is anything that prevents or reduces the usability of an item.

What is destruction in the context of this block? It is the complete loss of use of the item.

What is scarcity in the context of this block? It means the item, in full working condition, is in limited supply. It means there isn’t much or many of the item out there. It means what you have needs to last as long as possible.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at applying our planning blocks to our building blocks.

The book as it goes:

Preparedness Pays: Draft Introduction

Preparedness Pays: Draft Introduction

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Definitely a draft. Not happy with some words and phrasing, but it’s a start. Feel free to make suggestions but remember it’s the introduction, not the book. Details come later. Unless it’s a detail that will hook a reader. 🙂

Into every life some rain must fall. True, but there is no reason real or metaphorical rain that comes with the vagaries of life should be more than a nuisance. With a bit of preparation, “everyday disasters” become annoyances, and true disasters become something that you can handle.

Practical preparedness is something that should be a part of your lifestyle, rather than in addition to it. In the most basic sense, it is simply making sure you have what you need and use in everyday life so that you can handle the unexpected. It is not hard or complicated, it is not time consuming, and it is not (necessarily) expensive. It’s something that you can start small and build up as you go along — unless you’ve not done anything and the emergency is upon you.

Let’s start with some basics that will be covered in more detail in the pages to follow. Unless you want to make it that way, practical preparedness is not complicated or hard. Yes, there are an almost infinite number of possible disasters and if you try to focus on them, you’re not going anywhere because you will get overwhelmed. Instead, consider the following:

At the most basic level, there are only three items that can be impacted by any disaster large or small: people, places, and things. Guess what? Within each category, there are only two or three things that can happen to each of them. That’s a lot easier to deal with than an almost infinite number of disasters.

Time consuming? No, not really, though if you get into things you can put as much time and money into it as you like. In both cases, the time and money you put into it is far less than the cost of not being prepared. If you truly do incorporate it into your lifestyle, it becomes for most days a matter of a few minutes a day.

Expensive? That depends. In terms of preparedness for day-to-day emergencies, it’s easily within most budgets as the resources needed are truly everyday things. They are things you would or should have around anyway, and most of what you are doing is changing some types and quantities. That said, the more thoroughly you prepare, the more you can spend. Nice thing is, some of those expenses might be deductible and there may be low-cost/no-cost options for some things.

The thing is, the cost of not being prepared is always higher than the cost of being prepared. It could be that not being prepared could mean being late for work or even missing work; it could mean damage to your home; or, it could mean an unplanned expense. Being prepared could mean not missing work; it might mean lower utilities for your home; or, it could mean catching a problem before it becomes a problem.

How? Well, that jug of water might let you rinse off if the water goes off as you are in the shower. It can even let you bathe at need. Meantime, it’s available for use in making coffee, cooking, watering the plants, or other day-to-day activities.

Weather proofing your home not only lowers utility costs, it protects you against a range of emergencies from insect entry to keeping fallout outside. It adds to your home’s value.

Doing routine checks of your car, household machines, furnace, and other items is always a good idea. In this case, it might mean you catch that oil leak early before it becomes a major and expensive unplanned repair.

Practical preparedness can also open the door to new hobbies and family activities, and enrich your life. It all depends on you and how you want to approach things to find what works best for you and your circumstances. There are no magic lists of products or foolproof plans here, for one-size-fits all responses never work.

What is in here is a framework for thinking, planning, and then executing what works best for you. It is about making your life better and safer.

So, put aside the television and movie stereotypes. Put aside all the concerns over complexity and expense. Take a breath, a sip of beverage of your choice, and let’s start a mental journey you may find surprisingly fun and rewarding on many different levels.

A Tuesday Omnibus

Between choppy internet access (hopefully new router here soon) and choppy events, I think it best to do a quick omnibus post that covers some highlights. Some of these may get done in more detail here soon.

First, Russia is NOT done in Ukraine even with the losses. The people who are saying that Vladimir has no choice, call it a day, and other hopeful things are making two basic mistakes. One, they fail to get that this is all based on domestic Russian politics; and, that they do politics differently.

Right now, the spin seems to be that the military screwed the pooch and all the problems come from that and not the corruption of the oligarchia. Further, that the political leaders were not aware of all the problems that existed as they weren’t properly informed. Which is saying by strong implication that Vladimir and others were lied to rather than they made mistakes.

If you think the media narratives here are bad, you should see what goes on in Russia. For all that there is still a lot of cynicism at the media left over from Soviet days, the Russian population has been fed a massive amount of propaganda and manipulation for the last 20 years. The populace may be starting to figure out that bad things are happening, but it truly is not yet common knowledge. Add in the new draconian punishments for disrespecting the military and the like, and yes they can keep controlling the narrative for a far longer time than many believe.

Which means we are truly starting to hit critical times. As the political situation becomes more dire because the military situation continues to crumble, the chances go up for things to escalate and or get out of control. Things are going to get more dicey, not better. Hang on, and seriously pray.

Also, do check out Ed at Hot Air in regards the dumbest “question” so far from CNN, along with some good and important questions about our intelligence community. Well worth a read.

I will also offer my sympathies to the family of Ed Lambert, and highly urge you to read Stephen Green’s excellent tribute to the man. Godspeed Ed.

I also have to agree with Stephen on this. I hope Artemis I makes it into space safely, not the least as I know someone who has a payload on it. But, again, it is still mid-70s tech and the last gasp of the old space job distribution system. I don’t see the new SLS (keep in mind, Shuttle was also the first SLS) carrying cargo to orbit.

Finally, I want to get back to working on the book Preparedness Pays and using that for a series of posts here. Since I now have a number of readers who are interested in practical preparedness and more, seems to be the right thing to do. Originally, I was going to use all the “correct” terminology and such to increase the possibility of some outreach (and sales) to official and academic disaster preparedness/emergency management operations.

Thing is, I’ve been a small part of those efforts before. When it comes to local, there are some great people and operations out there. I’m thinking that the book needs to speak to the average person, and not to “the experts” in DC and academia. So, instead of people, infrastructure, and resources, plan to go with people, places, and things.

As I’ve said a time or hundred on here before, there are infinity-minus-2 potential disasters out there. What matters is that there are only three things that can be damaged: people, places, and things. There are only three things that can happen to people: loss of resources, physical harm, and fiscal harm. Places basically have only two options: physical damage and loss of resources. Things boils down to: loss, damage, shortage. Not quite a 3×3 matrix, but you’ve gone from infinity-minus-2 to effectively 3 points each for planning. Simplifies things nicely.

A lot has changed since my article on disaster preparedness appeared in IEEE Spectrum a few decades back. There I looked at about five things, three works much better. Once you quit trying to play guess-the-disaster, that’s when good things start to happen in terms of real practical preparedness.

More soon!

*****

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Also, If the site is slow loading or you’ve had trouble getting through, my apologies. We are experiencing growing pains as I move from regular blog to high-traffic blog.

Preparedness On The Fly II: Quick Thoughts

If the site is slow loading or you’ve had trouble getting through, my apologies. We are experiencing growing pains as I move from regular blog to high-traffic blog. Working on it, feel free to hit the tip jar to help me keep going and upgrade the site. Your gifts truly do make the difference. Working on adding a mail-in option, others; if interested in mail-in for now drop me a line.

I know that people love lists. They want specific recommendations, and there are those who will cater to that and, in some cases, make lots of money off them. I left Amazon and its affiliate program years ago (never looked back) and boy howdy to I wish I got free things, money, and more from some of the people I do recommend (waves at Streamlight). I’m a writer, therefore a whore for all that I prefer to see myself as a courtesan as opposed to a street walker.

What do I recommend getting and in what order? It remains: Food, Water Processing, and Cooking/Heating. It doesn’t matter if there is a nuclear war or “just” the disruption of the world-wide food and drug production and distribution system, the basic needs remain the same. Also remember that Professor Reynolds is right: You are the carbon they want to reduce. Prepare accordingly.

On food, aside from ensuring basic nutrition, consider how much of what we eat and drink comes from overseas in whole or in part. Coffee and Tea, for example, are imports. If you like them as much as I like them, stock up. You know what else is imported? Chocolate, a lot of coconut and coconut products, and some other staples for baking and even producing pasta and such. Spices quite often are imported, and peppercorns were known as the King’s spice for a reason. Himalayan Pink Salt? First word gives it away. Oh, yes, it is a good idea to have some iodized salt tucked away, as while it is not as good as the potassium iodide tablets it’s better than nothing. That smoked paprika you like? Most likely an import. Canned pineapple? Keep in mind that the pineapple is a symbol of royalty for a reason, as only royalty could afford to have fresh pineapple shipped in to enjoy. Even when grown in Hawai’i, it is still shipped.

Don’t stint on your basic nutrition, and a lot of what we consider junk (canned pasta items for instance) can get you by surprisingly well. That said, stock up on the import items while you can. Heck, if someone wants to get me a gift card to The Fresh Market so I can stock up on coffee and tea (and some other things), drop me a line as I will not object. Same holds true for WalMart, Meijer, and Fresh Thyme. Really do need to beef up the strategic hot sauce reserve as well, come to think of it.

Unless you know of a local salt mine or lick, you need salt and a good bit of it. Again, it’s one of those things that what you start with may be all you have for a while. Also, not a bad idea to have several gallons of vinegar on hand for pickling, cleaning, etc. Said all that before, but it needs the repetition.

I will add that your supplements and medical needs go right in there with basic food. Again, start with the things you can get that come in whole or in part from overseas. Then add in the rest.

Water is a close second to food. Without water, we die and we will do so even faster than we will starve to death. Much, much faster. In addition to stocks, you need to be able to create clean water. Get thee to a good sporting goods store and get some good systems. My recommendation is that everyone, regardless of age, have their own at need. You also need to be able to process large amounts when circumstances allow. I’ve discussed these systems before and I highly recommend not getting filters but complete purification systems.

Thing is, don’t stop there. Get the replacement elements (filter, purification, etc.) that you need to change them out on a regular basis. Get as many of those replacements as you can. The more you have, the better. The one time I will recommend a filter system is for a Chemical Biological Nuclear (CBN) environment. In that case, it’s not a bad idea to filter source water before running it through your main purification system(s). Check the filter with a geiger counter often, treat as potential hazmat, and use it as long as you can.

Why the emphasis on water? Well, in a nuclear exchange I don’t expect municipal water supplies to be on for long if they survive, and residual pressure is only going to go so far. The same holds true for whatever stockpile you have created. In the event of global supply disruption, where do you think the chemicals used by many municipal water treatment plants comes from? Civilization is a fragile thing, and many of the things we take for granted, like food and reasonably safe water, are as well.

Now, on to cooking and heating. Let’s face it, it may be a long, hard, and cold winter for many in England and Europe; and, some other locations around the world are going to have issues as well. While I don’t expect the same levels of rolling blackouts, gas shutoffs, and the like here, they are not out of the realm of possibility. In the event of a major disaster such as a nuclear war or exchange, well, let’s just say the supplies of energy might face an impact (juuuuuussst a touch outside!).

So, you need to be able to cook and/or heat if not your full home at least the shelter area you’ve set up. Propane stoves are great and come in a variety of sizes and such. You can even get propane ovens for camping (and, yes, I really want one myself). Even better, you can get indoor-safe propane heaters to use to augment any heat from cooking. There are other indoor-safe options and I urge you to explore them. Redundancy is a good thing. If you have a fireplace, remember that in a nuclear event you need to cap it, and if capped it is not safe to use.

There are many things you can safely eat raw. That said, hot food warms the body and the soul, and there is a reason a good military works hard to ensure its troops get a hot meal before battle. Survival in the face of disaster is indeed a battle. Which reminds me we really should talk emergency cooking one day here soon.

Food, water, cooking/heat. They really are the cornerstone of preparedness and survival. In this case, it’s a good list and a good priority list for those coming late to the whole concept of preparedness, practical or otherwise.

Also, again, let me recommend paper copies of Dean Ing’s Pulling Through and Pat Frank’s Alas Babylon. Also, while fiction, John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising Series gets into a lot of good information via engaging stories. If you can find any of Jerry Pournelle’s writings on preparedness and survival, they are quite useful as well.

Preparedness On The Fly Series

Preparedness On The Fly (Food)

Preparedness On The Fly: Water

Preparedness On The Fly: Light

Preparedness On The Fly: Cooking

Preparedness On The Fly: Gear

Preparedness On The Fly: Protection

Preparedness On The Fly: General Thoughts

Preparedness On The Fly II: Complete Nutrition I

Preparedness On The Fly II: Complete Nutrition II

Preparedness On The Fly II: Health

Of Interest

Preparedness: Bugout!

Buying Your First Weapon

Start Of All Posts On Preparedness

Nuclear Overview

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo or drop me a line to discuss other methods. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Preparedness On The Fly II: Health

If the site is slow loading or you’ve had trouble getting through, my apologies. We are experiencing growing pains as I move from regular blog to high-traffic blog. Working on it, feel free to hit the tip jar to help me keep going and upgrade the site. Your gifts truly do make the difference. Working on adding a mail-in option, others; if interested in mail-in for now drop me a line.

The last two posts have focused on nutrition for the long term, now we need to look at one final component to ensuring your health: medications. I’m going to include OTC in this as well, as they are going to be more important long-term than you may realize.

One result of getting hit by lightning is that I now take an impressive array of supplements and medications. Not as many as some, but I went from a couple of antihistamines to several cardiac-related drugs. The good news is my blood work and blood pressure (which was the truly nasty thing post-strike) are doing very well. Which means I want to maintain that as much as possible.

The problem is, between costs and insurance, I’m limited in how much of a stock I can build up for emergencies. Doesn’t mean I’m not working to do so, but it is limited. One would hope federal officials would release renewals of such in the face of nuclear or other disaster, as DeSantis did in Florida before Ian, but competence is not a hallmark of our so-called elites and elite institutions.

What you can stock up on are your OTC medicines including but not limited to: anti-diarrhea, anti-nausea, antacids, cold/flu, etc. If you have allergies, stock up on antihistamines. Whatever the condition, if there are OTC meds that can work for it, get them. In terms of first aid, get bandages, ointments, cleaning supplies (betadyne, etc.), burn bandages, etc. In a true disaster, such things are worth their weight in gold.

Also look into a good trauma kit or kits (every bugout bag should have one as well as basic first aid) as in a disaster the likelihood of major trauma rises rather significantly. A small kit that can easily be carried on you at all times is a good idea, especially if you do carry concealed. Also comes in handy for car trips given accidents.

Don’t forget foot care as well, as in a major disaster if you have to do the bugout boogie the odds of you having to go shank’s mare at some point is pretty good. Moleskin can be your friend, along with foot powders and other delights. Always take care of your feet before, during, and after any disaster.

In addition to instruction if at all possible, be sure to pick-up some good self-help guides. Many decades ago I came across a book called (I think) ‘Be Your Own Wilderness Doctor’ and it was focused on backpackers and others who could find themselves deep in the wilderness in the days before cell and sat phones. It basically covered how to do enough to get by and stay alive until you could get to real medical help. Guess what. In a major disaster your ability to get to real medical help is likely to be very limited. Find the modern equivalents and keep them with you.

Before I forget, invest in good freezer bags. Store important books and documents in them, and put multiple bags into a larger bag for redundancy. When I’ve backpacked or even traveled, I tend to pack everything I can in high-quality storage bags as caca occureth at the best of times. If something leaks in the luggage, if something leaks onto my luggage and it’s not as waterproof as claimed, or if it simply rains, my gear tends to stay dry and clean. FYI, I’ve been paranoid enough to augment the bags with wet-boxes of various types just to be safe, particularly with documents and copies of critical documents.

Now, let’s approach a potentially delicate matter. Consider what’s below as an intellectual exercise on creating a backup plan for your first few backup plans. This is not recommended for any reason other than as an intellectual exercise.

First up, if you’ve waited until the last possible minute and are doing the boogie, don’t stop for any reason until well past minimum safe distance. I don’t care if they are giving away free gold, ice cream, drugs, or anything else, it is not worth your life. Move out!

Now, once you are past minimum safe distance, and/or the disaster has occurred, and if you are relatively safe at the moment, you may want to plan to consider the possibility of breaking the law. Let the idiots loot the appliance stores and grab the televisions, if you loot anything, let it be a good hardware or camping store, and a pharmacy or doctor’s office.

Forget the junky’s dream, concentrate on what you need: the prescriptions for you and yours; local and other anesthetics along with basic surgical supplies such as scalpels, sutures, etc.; antibiotics; anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medications; pre-natal items (Pro-tip: in disasters large and small, humans procreate and there is a boom in births about 9-10 months after. Be prepared); gabapentin and other non-narcotic pain meds; and, only if room and time, heavy-duty pain relief. If there are field medications, as in what you might find in a combat medic’s bag, grab those.

At a hardware or home supply, respirators and masks are a good start along with plastic, tape, and related. Camping and sporting goods, look for more filters for your water system and other gear that will help ensure your long-term survival.

Hopefully you will never need to even consider doing anything like this, as you have planned ahead and the civil authorities will have released stocks and done what is needed to help you deal with the disaster. However, it’s always good to have a backup plan to the first few backup plans and doing the above is just that: a mental exercise to create a backup plan that is hopefully well down the list even as an intellectual exercise.

I will say this as well. We’ve talked a bit before about the desirability to have a group of good people with whom to rally and/or bugout with at need. Consider that having a good GP, surgeon, surgical or similar nurse, EMT, former/current combat medic, or other competent medical professional as part of that group is a very, very, good idea. Have the chance to add such during a bugout? Take it and them.

Also, as you are doing the above purely intellectual exercise, consider the following as well. If the location of a doctor’s office or pharmacy is defensible and offers the needed levels of shelter for the situation, consider making it a temporary or long-term base. If there are people there, offer to help take on security and other duties and see if they are willing to partner or join in. If not, move on.

Moving on from purely intellectual exercises, stock up on the OTCs, and work the rest as you can. Just keep in mind that the health/medical supplies you have may be all you have for a very long time. Make your supplies both count and last.

Preparedness On The Fly Series

Preparedness On The Fly (Food)

Preparedness On The Fly: Water

Preparedness On The Fly: Light

Preparedness On The Fly: Cooking

Preparedness On The Fly: Gear

Preparedness On The Fly: Protection

Preparedness On The Fly: General Thoughts

Preparedness On The Fly II: Complete Nutrition I

Preparedness On The Fly II: Complete Nutrition II

Of Interest

Preparedness: Bugout!

Buying Your First Weapon

Start Of All Posts On Preparedness

Nuclear Overview

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If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo or drop me a line to discuss other methods. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.