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Monday, February 16, 2009

Ten Must Do Items - To Be Prepared!

As a Prepper, there are a number of things that we can and should be doing right now, especially with our economy as fragile as it is. These are just a few ideas to help you get started or to add to your wish list. Remember, preparedness should be a way of life not just a flash in the pan experience. If you are just starting out, do not panic; just take it one month at a time to prepare. Preparedness is kind of like piano lessons. Practiced daily and regularly, preparedness just happens to you…..Enjoy! Remember also that if you fail to plan (and you procrastinate getting started), you are basically planning to fail (when disasters and emergencies occur). Think these things through carefully and add your own thoughts and needs to expand this list.

1. Consider a Balanced Budget at home. Without it, the runaway usage of a credit card can waste dollars and keep your family in the red instead of financially sound. Total all income and then tally all fixed expenses and all needed expenses such as food, medicine and required care. If you are in an overly serious debt situation, make a plan to reduce your debt monthly, by first cutting up your credit cards, then paying off the most expensive debt first, (and closing out the account), and then move on to the next debt and so on…Subtracting your monthly expenses should leave you with some spending money. If not, there is no other solution but to cut spending or start living within your means.
2. Consider the spiritual law of tithing, paying 10% back to the Lord. Christian families have been heeding this law since the days of Adam and Eve. This is an eternal principle, which always produces blessings, no matter what your faith is. God is always a good investment. Do not believe it? Put it to the test. I have done so and I promise you that you will be blessed. If the blessings had not come to my family, (which I assure you they have), the scriptural promise of not being burned in the last days are enough reason for me to follow this religiously.
3. Consider placing a minimum of 10% of your income into a savings plan. I am not a fan of investing in the stock market, especially looking at the short term of such a volatile market as we have. This is because everything we read warns us “buyer beware”. Is the market still good? Stock Brokers will tell you a big “yes” and they would likely say I am all wrong for trying to recommend someone to be wary of high risks. I would rather error on the side of caution right now however than on the risk of losing my shirt (and possibly your shirt also). There are other places we can invest within this economy. I highly recommend placing money in several different secure locations that are low risk such as federally insured locations, so we can hedge on the side of safety.
4. Consider another safety is to set aside some cash that is readily accessible, that does not have to be withdrawn in the event of a computer meltdown or electricity brownout. Use some of this cash in the purchase of physical items that appreciate in value such as precious metals including gold or silver, and/or your family food storage, and/or the purchase of several mainstream hunting rifles or standard handguns and ammunition.
5. Consider both a 3-month short-term food supply and a one year or more long-term food storage. The short-term foods would be a supply of dated items that you normally eat and your favorite foods, fruits, vegetables, meats, (a complete diet). Buy extra food items when they are on sale, including such things as toilet paper in bulk. (Doing this regularly will save you a ton of money.) Add a little bit every month to your storage until you are satisfied that you have enough. It is amazing how fast you can build up your supplies.
If you have extra money lying around, pick one of the items you are weak in and build up that part of your readiness. Do not forget to have at least two or more weeks of water stored up. Rotate all your storage, food, water, etc, regularly. (For long-term food Storage, there are many good websites to go to. I prefer to go to the LDS Provident Living website at: http://www.providentliving.org/ because it covers food storage in more detail, and has many other subjects regarding being independent and living providently.
There are certain dry goods foods that store for long-terms. These are especially the bulk items of basics such as wheat, rice, beans, quick oats, potato flakes, legumes, powdered milk, and others. These can now be stored for upwards of 30 years if properly kept by observing the acronym HALT (Minimizing humidity, exposure to air, exposure to light and exposure to extreme temperatures.) (Source on data about 30-year food storage.
6. Consider going further than Red Cross and FEMA’s recommendations, to have a ready to go 3-day (72 hour) emergency kit. These are lighter and easier to move about with, but more than likely you will find it inadequate. Instead, I recommend a 5-day (120-hour) “Go-kit” instead of the 3-day (72-hour kit, because history has shown that it normally takes longer than three days for help to arrive or to even respond during major catastrophes. (See post of: 5 Day Emergency Kit Checklist)
7. Consider obtaining an extra supply of everything you might need to “camp out or thrive” should you have to leave the comfort of your home. This would include larger items like sleeping bags, tent, tarps, tools, and other extras, such as copies of important documents and medical records. (List to follow for long-term items.)
8. Consider putting together or purchasing First Aid kits and Emergency Kits for everyone in the family including children and pets, and for your vehicles as well as your home. Do not forget to be fire safe and have Fire Extinguishers available. Of course these will be no good unless you know what to do in an emergency, so First Aid Training and Emergency Preparedness Training for the disasters we are likely to experience in our State are very important. We will cover emergencies we are likely to face in Washington State in later updates.
9. Consider that communications is the single most serious weakness within our state when a wide area disaster or emergency occurs. CB radios are line of sight, good for one-three miles; cell phones and telephones go down quickly within serious flooding and storm related disasters. Coordination with local help and the outside world takes a major jump backwards in disasters. The most reliable form of communication in a disaster is the ham radio mobile communication unit in your vehicle. Portable ham units are good for short distances, (less than five miles line of sight) but mobile units in autos can easily quadruple the distance. Plan on passing a radio license test and purchasing a ham unit for your emergency preparedness. Tests are administered often. Ham radios will cost you about $350 for a good 2-meter band radio, which should be more than adequate for emergencies.
10. Consider growing your own garden and add some fruit trees. I have had varying degrees of success in past years of my life including having one year I had lettuce and cabbage all year long. I am already gathering my seeds now and a few plant starts and have two box starter units that will start 72 plants each. Be a scavenger/gleaner; study wild edibles. (I will be posting plants as I find them; look for photos of edibles posted on this site in the future. Winters are always a little thinner than other seasons, thus the squirrel’s habit of storing up for rainy days and winters. Invest in your gardening techniques and learn how to can and put up your own food stores. Food never tasted better than fresh homemade!

Good luck in your prepper-ations………Bill

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Washington Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Washington Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.