Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preparedness Planning.

The following was posted as a comment on a website  Thank you to the user Be Informed for your insight.


When true chaos slams the fan, will you be ready?

Everyone hears of talk of war, new geophysical events and threats, deadly viruses, collapse of the economy, terrorism, nuclear contamination and much more. So what is the difference now between 10, 20, 50, years ago? This can still happen at a moment’s notice. We are in no way safer now than any previous perilous time in history. There are of course a whole list of other catastrophes that can end the society that we have become much too dependent on. Whatever mega disastrous event(s) eventually hits, which it will given time, how a person and group of people can be better equipped to survive it is what is all important.

There is much advice on preparedness that focuses usually on one set of people being ready for a specific wide scale calamity. One may be the urban setting of surviving in the city. Another making it in rural areas. Still another living through a complex wilderness setting. This however does not change what a person and group of people usually needs to live and be prepared for regardless of the disaster.

With most prepper/survivalist you will hear the most important to survival is water, food, ammo, and shelter. Not to harp on what is necessary to and most important to everyone. There are still some other crucial considerations and an expansion of these customary needs to think over and understand that go into productive preparedness and are survival musts no matter the circumstances of what has happened and is happening.

Look at following 10 generalized priorities to survival that should be included in all survival plans:

1. Number one is staying hydrated. Being out of water will kill people very quickly and the last stages of severe dehydration are ugly to die from. People can store large amounts of water in cisterns. Others have workable wells and some have springs and streams. People stuck in urban settings must rely on storage of water within their homes or apartments, perhaps using cases of bottled water depending on size restrictions. Water filters and means of purifying water are essential. Catchment areas using tarps for rainfall and learning dew collection is very important. A reliable source of drinkable safe water needs to be planned out before something terrible occurs.

Staying hydrated also means remaining as MOIST as possible. People lose tremendous amounts of water when it is hot and dry. Staying immobile as possible during extremely warm or hot days will help retain body fluids. Eating high protein foods during hot periods uses up more water. Loosely fitting clothes to light colored clothes all helps in minimizing water loss and staying out of direct sunlight. Many people in desert regions also breathe through a lightweight type of clothe to avoid the loss of moisture through the mouth and nose. Misting of skin with spray bottles not only keeps the skin from drying out too much, but helps cool someone through evaporative cooling as long as the relative humidity if not at the saturated level. Don’t get thirsty by trying to ration water, this will become a detriment in the long run to your body, have enough safe clean water by making this a top priority no matter what.

2. Avoiding hunger. No matter where your refuge is people have to eat to stay alive. What many people that prepare for emergencies don’t do is stock up with good quality food. We all need a certain calorie intake to maintain our weight and strength. This doesn’t mean high calorie food that has no nutritional value to it, especially high levels of sodium in it that requires a lot of water to balance it out in the body. People should when storing food to make sure that is quality food that they would eat during the pre-disastrous times. Chemical additives in food simply mean that the food is cheap and the manufacturer is trying to hide the poor quality of it. Good wholesome food doesn’t require much, other than natural ingredients to make it taste good. If you can afford it, buy better quality food to store. During stressful times it is always nicer to have food that taste good. Something is better than nothing, but the better the food is you eat, the better off your body will be for it and the better your body will feel for it.

Every person should scout out their area before something happens to determine what they can look around for to eat because their food supply is likely to run out sooner than later. Urban setting are the most difficult because of lack of natural vegetation and game, but not impossible. Each place that a person lives has some form of food available to them outside their home refuge. The best time to go searching is beforehand, and to map out what possible hazards they will face in a post SHTF environment around their home.

3. Special needs. This is what few people would regard as third most important, but it can be life threatening without that special need. Many people need a certain something stay alive. It could be blood sugar levels, a certain type of medication or vitamin or mineral, or some other need to keep the body alive and functioning. Don’t assume that you can do without something that you need. Each person is different as well as others in any survival group, stocking up and finding alternatives to conventional treatment is paramount in survival. Address your personal needs now and the personal needs of others in your survival group that may depend on something to live or remain well and stock well for these needs.

Another special need is something that few people give much thought to after a catastrophe, this being something to bribe your way out of a bad situation or on occasion trade for something that you need. This should be considered in any survival stockpile, items to be used by desperate people to save yourself and others. Trading with an alcoholic is not such a good idea, but having alcohol (booze) available to bargain your way out of something is not a bad idea. Cigarettes are of course another item highly prized, as many prisoners have saved themselves with a cigarette or two. Another really needed item will be rock salt. People like animals become quite in need of salt to live, and this essential nutrient will become in short supply quickly. Rock salt in 50 lbs bags is cheap. Certain items you might not have use for should be considered to add to a stockpile that others may desperately have desire for them.

4. Protecting yourself from others. This is an absolute must. Even someone totally isolated needs good protection. While some people are opposed to firearms, it must be understood that the further you are away from an attacker, the less of a chance you have or being injured or killed. This means having something that will project an object at enough force to stop the attacker(s). There is a whole school of thought of what someone needs from rifles to handguns to ever size of caliber. The main focus needs to be on the individual needs of a person and/or group. Any prepper/survivalist should also not limit themselves to ONLY firearms. Many other weapons offer protection and practicality such as stealthiness and ease of use, especially hunting game. Bear spray is a lot more effective on a large attacking animal than a lower caliber firearm for example. Booby traps and other means of slowing down, impending, or stopping something is something to consider also.

One of the worst misconceptions of self defense is not understanding the stopping power that is necessary. Many people still rely on a baseball bat or other weapon that can be easily taken away from someone, especially by more than one attacker. People have to think about what life will be like after a severe disaster, it is not business as usual. There is likely no help from law enforcement or neighbors, most people will be on their own. What do you need to stop someone, packs of hungry vicious animals, or many people from taking what you have? Realistic thinking of this needs to be contemplated before something occurs and acted upon. The willingness to do whatever is necessary to protect you and your family is something that all must be ready for. Someone is not being a Rambo type by being simply well prepared to defend themselves and their families with extreme force from harm and death.

5. Safety from the elements. We are all use to turning on the air conditioner when it is hot and the heater when it is cold. This luxury is something likely to be part of the past after a major disaster. Your home can become like an ice box or like an oven. This takes its tool on people and uses up more valuable supplies to stay warmer or cool enough. People should consider some sort of insulation scheme with their survival area before anything happens to maintain temperatures like the way a thermos does. Safety from elements also includes the wind, rain snow, and from the aftermaths of a SHTF event. This can include sheltering from radiation from a nuclear war, nuclear disaster, or terrorist incident. Protecting everyone from anything from the outside that makes life more difficult and trying, on the inside.

Another hazard from outside that needs to be kept outside is vermin. Many people will have blown out windows after certain disasters that let in the air and the pests. Rodents carry every type of disease imaginable, control of these animals must be a top priority. Proper waste disposal is one way of keeping these parasites at bay. Insect control is another consideration, as fleas, ticks, and flies have been the source of death throughout the ages. Many natural and man-made repellents work well with them. You are trying to keep your place as sterile and clean as possible.

6. Personal upkeep. There cannot be said enough of keeping the body as near to healthy and free of physical stress as possible. Personal hygiene is essential. This means some method of bathing, keeping your mouth as germ free as possible through daily dental care, and not allowing your body to have to highly regulate and repair itself. This goes with the safety from the elements and maintaining as near to what your body is most comfortable with. Too many people try to rough out a situation, and this macho attitude has its definite pronounced liabilities. The more your body has to cool or warm itself, the more fuel is needed, eating into your survival stash. The more physical stress someone has, the more vulnerable they are to succumbing to disease and sickness, and the overall shutdown of the body itself.

Many nutritional deficiencies of the past are seldom seen anymore such as scurvy, but will pop their ugly head as soon as the regular diets of people are no more. On top of a stockpile of vitamins and minerals, each person needs to understand all the basic needs a body requires. Books on mineral and vitamin counts of individual foods is the best source of information on this as people will eventually need to obtain their food through other means than the accustomed store brought supplies.

7. Germs are my enemy. Sanitation is something that everyone must practice. It is not just to keep the insects and other vermin away, it is to stop bacteria and other pathogens from getting into your body and into your environment around you. It should be known that anti-bacteria soaps and other disinfections have a limited shelf life. Bleach for example loses its ability to kill germs quickly, months to a couple of years depending on the brand and concentrations. This should be planned for by any prepper and these items should be rotated frequently. Fuel to boil water, sturdy containers to hold water, as well as to sterilize items necessary for cleanliness.

Too many people lose the hands awareness motto. Very few germs actually infect people through the air. Even the flu is mostly contacted because of touch, which is more concentrated usually than in the air. Thoroughly washing hands can save much grief from sickness. Proper cooking of food is something some people fail at to kill pathogens in the food. Use of cutting boards, knives, and other cooking instruments for items not cooked are another source of contamination. The nearly invisible germ is what will kill more people after a disaster than anything else. Something else to remember, when one becomes ill, many often soon follow.

8. Remaining civilized. This is something that many don’t think is that necessary for survival. This is a board scope of what it means to be civilized. People without light during the night are in a dangerous situation, it is depressing and mostly leaves people vulnerable and crashing over each other and anything left around. Just like maintaining temperature control, it is necessary for the well being of people to have some means of being able to properly cook their food, being able to go to the bathroom and use toilet paper, anything that helps someone to maintain what they and their bodies are use to. Change is difficult to deal with, drastic change can be life threatening. While the credo of any prepper/survivalist is adaptation is key to survival, people still want to have something they are use to and ease into a new world as well as possible. Remaining above the level of a savage or an animal must be maintained as much as possible.

Another thing to consider is that being civilized has its benefits in that people think with a clearer head when they can still remain logical and reason through problems. One of the worst aspects of someone that is no longer civilized is that they begin to act and think like a savage. This might work in some circumstances, but in most situations the one best defense a person has is their ability to use their brains and out think any opponent or threat. Losing being civilized and someone loses part of that superior thought process to outwit most problems and predators.

9. I can still fix it. After a cataclysm the regular world is going to be gone, and with it most of the most conveniences that people have come to expect. A person’s ability to repair what is left to make their world at least function is a skill that will take anyone far. Jerry rigging devices, being inventive and creating workable parts and machines, and regular repair will become a norm for the new harsher world. One just has to see someone without a proper tool just how much total misery they go through in the present day world. A tool that works makes all the difference to a task that is impossible without it. Everyone wants to obtain the hand, eye, and mental coordination to work with tools and fix items on their own and with others.

People can train themselves before a disaster happens by using hand tools to repair an item instead of modern electric tools. They can attempt to repair an item using only what is around the house. People can make usable items out of “good” junk or spare parts. It is training of the mind to think, create, and make repairs that someday will become more than routine, but a necessity to help them to survive. Also make such a person high in demand for any type of post end of civilization as we know it work force.

10. Mental stability. This is something that will play a huge part in many lives. People see the world they are use to come crashing down, and see a new world that is extremely frightening and even more threatening. Some people will opt out to suicide either through immediate means or slower and dragged out than face such an impossible world. This is why all of the above 9 priorities are so important. A person must have hope and that hope is so deeply drained away when times become so awful for them that they feel the only way out is death. Retaining some form of normalcy is a basic requirement for many to survive after everything is taken away.

One of the best means of retaining some mental stability is diversion and any sense of accomplishment and progress. The more someone’s mind can be taken off how miserable they are and how much despair a situation is, the better chance they have of not falling into deep depression or coming out of such despondency. While entertainment such as boardgames, cards, puzzles, etc. may seem like space taken up for no good purpose, much of this become a life saver to many. Books are something that have saved people from going insane in confined spaces such as jail. Boredom on top of despair are a really bad combination. Anything that can offer some happiness or distraction from the shear horror of what is going on is quite valuable. Positive feedback to others for chores and tasks and showing appreciate can go a long ways. Remember just because you are all right doesn’t mean someone in your family or group is.

There is another problem that many people fall into that prepare for emergencies from minor to the end of the world as we know it. This is not a clear focus on their personal immediate and long term needs. Each person has different and unique needs and no survival plan fits all in regards to what exactly a person needs to put away. Some people lose sight of what and how much they actual will need have, ending up with not nearly enough to survive even a couple of weeks. A false sense of security. While others go to the other extreme of putting away everything, including junk and useless items that take up space and send their survival organization into total disarray. This is what is defined as a “Pack Rat Prepper”.

Someone should always aim to become a ‘Practical Stockpile Prepper’ that utilizes their volume of space, their limited resources, and their supplies into a well organized and cost effective life saving cache of supplies. This means to balance what you need and not stock what you don’t need and you or no one else can realistically ever use. It often means quality over quantity. Someone needs to know, so it is not lost in confusion. Items that need to be rotated are done so. A person can get to exactly what they need rapidly, being time efficient. Material is clearly labeled and organized. Even items that require a lot of them, the more the better like toilet paper, are keep clean, dry and stacked orderly. The opposite of this can be very self destructive to everyone.

Like the common pack rat that see something and grab it and hide it, many people see items as someday valuable and pack them away for later. There are big problems with this as most pack rats are clueless what they actual have. There is no concentration of true need. Pack rats put all their eggs into one basket and that basket is consistent of utter clutter. Pack Rat Preppers will keep items that have become useful to no one. This might include food that not even a cockroach could eat, piece of broken plastic, broken tools, even broken glass. They see junk and litter as something someday someone can use. Screws, nails, and other spare parts have much value, but trash just takes up space and prevents any type of organization of real needs. They totally lose track of everything and only see the stacks of what they have as volumes of value. This is extreme, but is a downfall that many people that store up for tomorrow fall into in varying degrees of severity.

This is where a true skill comes in before, during, and after a calamity hits, being what is called an ‘Expert Scrounger’. Being able to forage around for useful items is a true art. Anyone can collect useless debris in a big pile that serves no purpose. It takes someone with an imaginative and creative mind to see an item being put together that will work and be helpful to them and others. Many talk about after some monster cataclysm that we all will be reduced to an 18th century level of primitiveness. They don’t see all the potential of so much finished products out there laying around that anyone from the 18th. century would have relished having for the taking. People will also have to learn how to be the gatherer of food, herbs, and other medicinal plants out there in nature for the picking.

Another expertise that almost all people will need to learn and hone is living by their wits. Having what is called savvy will be necessary. A hunter needs this to be able to outthink what they need for dinner. A trader needs this to out master whom they are bartering with. A traveller must have this to not get caught up in a manmade or natural trap, and how to get loose if they do. A survivalist needs this know-how to be able to adapt constantly to the multiple changing world around them after the stability of the human civilization might not be around.

One other trait that most people don’t like is flexibility. Sometime you may have to bug out to another location or do something that you might not have ever considered to survive. The old adage here is that sometimes beggars can’t be choosers. Even the catchphrase of grin and bear it might apply. The ultimate goal is to live and live as well and as long as possible. Common sense must take precedence here, whatever is best going to suit that goal of survival even if that means swallowing one’s pride to do what is necessary for everyone’s benefit.

What anyone is aiming for is the ability of themselves and the people around them to be able to survive and make what they have left around them work to keep them alive and well. The more serious any situation is, the more someone and a group will have to pull from what they have stored up physically and from within themselves. A strong and well balanced level of storage of these needs that can be efficiently used and will be the difference between a likelihood of survival and a miserable difficult possibly fruitless effort at it.

The link to the original article can be found here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

An article about post disaster planning

This article is a few years old but I feel it is still relevant today.