Emergency Preparedness for Beginners – Part 0: Where to Begin
By Brett A. Fernau
You’ve been seeing the bad news on the internet and all over the media – storms, global warming, the coming ice age, earthquakes, pandemics, this year’s flu, food that isn’t food, cops shooting people for no apparent reason, people shooting each other for no apparent reason, antibiotics that don’t work anymore, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, rapes, murders, drug abuse, child abuse, obesity, insanity, wars, jihads, terrorists, unrest, inequality, racism, sexism, immorality, no morality, judgementalism, nationalism, atheism, socialism, communism, capitalism, protests, counter-protests, tea-parties, federalism, state’s rights, human rights, women’s rights, minority rights, voter rights, union rights, right to work, animal rights, extinction, pollution, drought, plague, security, insecurity, spying, privacy, perversion, right to life, right to choose, free speech, freedom of religion, freedom from religion, free healthcare, free food, free phones, minimum wage, unemployment, underemployment, inflation, deflation, depression, mental health, homelessness, domestic abuse, workplace violence, political correctness, speech codes, censorship, bias, misinformation, deception, division – the list is seemingly endless. How do you prepare for all of that? Isn’t it hopeless? Aren’t we all doomed to a life of quiet desperation, at the mercy of whatever disaster befalls us? The answer is a resounding, NO!!
You can do something about your situation. You can.
Where do you begin?
You begin by looking. Get up from where you are. Right now. Get up, go outside and look around you. Walk around the block, or walk to the end of the block and back. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Before you read another word, GO!
Did you do it? No? Go do it. I’ll be right here when you get back.
Okay. Now what did you see? Chances are pretty good that you didn’t see any of the things in the list above. Not one. So, what did you see? People going about their daily lives, moving from place to place, getting things done, talking to each other, laughing, walking, standing, and living? That’s what I usually see when I go outside. When you despair of ever finding a solution to all the horrors which you are told surround you. Go for a walk and look around. That is where you start. You start by looking. You start by realizing, perhaps, that things are not as bad as you were led to believe they are.
If, on your walk, you saw one or more of the things in the list above, then that is another place to start. Start with the idea that you can do something about that.
But the question remains: Where do you begin?
You begin with you. You can do something about your own situation. Doing almost anything is better than doing nothing. Begin by looking. Look at where you spend the majority of your time. Wherever that is, the odds are that that is where you will be when a disaster strikes. Look around that place. What resources are available to you right there where you spend most of your time? Do you have some water on hand if you can’t leave home for a few days? Do you have a few extra cans of food in your pantry? Start there. Think about the area in which you live. I’m sure you’re already well aware of all the natural disasters that can happen there. The “news” media very likely tells you daily what horrible things can happen to you. Start getting yourself prepared for some of those things. The next time you go to the grocery store, buy a couple of extra cans of food and a case of bottled water. Clear out a space in one of your closets, or in the corner of the garage and put those items aside. That is the beginning of your disaster supply kit. Build on that foundation, a little bit at a time. Before too long, you will have a good supply of food and water that will make you independent of the grocery store for a few days should something happen that would cause the store to be closed for a time.
Now you have begun. Keep looking. Keep building. Turn off your TV for a few days. Don’t listen to the news. Don’t read the news. Sit down with your family and make a plan of how you would survive if the power and water are shut off for a few days. Talk to your neighbors. They’re still going to be your neighbors after the disaster occurs and you just might be able to help each other when it does. Talk to your friends. Where else do you spend time? Figure out what you might need in case a disaster strikes when you are there. How will you help? How will you get home?
What are you doing? You are taking control. You are learning to look and to help. You are learning that there is something that you can do. And that is really where you begin; when you know that you can do something about it and then do it.
What if everybody did that? What if everybody planned ahead and got prepared for whatever might happen? What if everybody started talking to each other and helping each other and working together to minimize the damage a disaster might cause? What if we all decided that there was something that we could do about all the bad news we are bombarded with each day? What if each one of us decided that it was our responsibility to take control and do something about it? What would happen?
Where do you begin? You begin by buying an extra bottle of drinking water and an extra can of food and setting them aside for an emergency. You begin by looking around you and finding a way to help. You start by helping yourself and your family, and you continue by helping your neighbors, and, together you help your neighborhood, your community, your city and onward and outward. But you begin with that one extra bottle of drinking water and an extra can of soup. And cat food, my cat reminds you to pick up an extra can of cat food while you are at the store.