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Prepared to Prepare

Being Prepared to Be Prepared

by Gary D. Palmer

trimming a fallen tree - aftermath of a storm

Emergency preparedness is receiving a lot of attention these days, and with good reason.  There is a need for it. Government officials and other experts are certainly stressing the advisability of preparing for emergencies. The news itself is filled with stories of disasters taking place somewhere in the world. With all of this happening, it is no wonder so many people are wisely and actively engaged in food storage programs, making sure every family member has access to a 72 hour kit, preparing for power outages, and doing their best to get ready to cope with storms, floods and all sorts of other natural disasters.  You may be doing it yourself.

An important question needs to be posed, however.  Are you ready to act upon those preparations?

For instance, consider that brand new chain saw you've placed in the garage. Part of your reasoning might be based upon the fact that you realize that you may need it for clean-up purposes after one of those severe storms that occasionally strike.  You may know how to gas it up and get it running, but do you know how to safely remove a tree that may have ended up leaning precariously against your house? How about felling a dangeroulsy damaged tree?  Do you know how to make certain that it falls exactly where you want it to fall?

The possibilities may be good that you've either purchased or are intending to purchase a gas generator to help in the event of power failures.  Where is a safe place to store the gas for it?  How much gas should be stored?  Is the generator itself going to be securely locked down?  Unfortunately, a generator can provide a tempting target for thieves during an emergency.

Speaking of emergencies, how about those emergency survival kits, the 72 hour kits?  Have you personalized them?  Have you made important medications a part of them?  Have you checked with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know how long those medications can safely be stored?

Do you know how to use some of those other components?  How do you put together that emergency shovel?  Do you know how to pitch the tent that's in the backpack?  If you've got a fire starter, how does it work?

You may have stored some important documents on a flash drive.  That's a great idea.  Have you made certain, though, that it is password protected?  Does it need to be password protected?  Do you need to worry about identity theft should that flash drive somehow fall into the wrong hands?  Do you know how to implement password protection?

If you have started a food storage program, are you actually storing foods that you are truly going to eat? In other words, do you like the food you are storing?  Have you avoided foods to which family members are allergic?  Do you know how to cook using all of those delicacies that you have so carefully dehydrated?  If you are planning on grinding wheat to produce flour, do you have the wheat?  Do you have the grinder?  If you have a grinder, do you know how to use it?  You're expecting to bake your own bread, but have you actually baked bread before?

The list of questions could go on and on.  The point being made, of course, is that it is wise to be prepared, but it is even wiser to both be prepared and to know how to use what you have prepared.  During an ongoing emergency is really not the best time to start the learning process.

So how do you start the learning?  Well, there are probably all sorts of sources available to you.  You may know a fellow from your church or in an organization to which you belong who is well versed in emergency preparations.  Someone you work with may be a true outdoorsman who is handy with the use of chain saws as well as being the possessor of many outdoor skills.  A neighbour down the street may be a good friend who has been canning for years, or may bake bread on a regular basis, talents that you want to develop.  The chances are that most such people would probably be quite willing to share some of their expertise with you.

You may also want to consult with somebody from your community's emergency measures organization.  Beyond that, there are lots of guides and guidance available on-line.  There are also likely to be lots of tips and "how to's" in the manuals that came with your grain mill, chain saw or gasoline generator.  What's at the local library?  What can you find at the book store?

You'll need to analyze your own situation.  You are aware of how much you already know.  You likely have some idea as to who the local experts might be.

Just take the time to do it.  Be prepared to be prepared.

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