What is Preparedness?
Basic preparedness is essential to maintaining self-reliance and freedom. It is the ability to maintain the physical needs of yourself and those you are responsible for during short term and long term disruption of commerce. Preparedness is an ongoing process and includes maintaining enough water, protection from the elements, and food to sustain life.
For most of history, preparedness or storing the necessities of life was a way of life. But modern society has changed how people look at how they fulfill their basic physical needs. Our society has experienced prosperity and abundance for so long, that many, if not all of us, have forgotten what the rest of history considered common knowledge. We have forgotten how to do things for ourselves. Beginning the process of being prepared is a journey back in time. The journey may begin with buying some water to store or a water filter to make water safe. As the journey continues it becomes more and more clear just how dependent we are on others. This is called a paradigm shift. We begin to change the way we view the world and ourselves and begin working toward self reliance. If you want to understand paradigm shifts, turn off the power to your home for 48 hours. That should be sufficient.
Self-reliance is a state of mind. As we become more prepared we develop skills and confidence in ourselves. Combined with divine providence, preparedness and self-reliance become the tools we use to maintain freedom.
How To Start Getting Prepared
The process of getting prepared and becoming more self-reliant is a personal journey. There is no right way to get prepared. However, there are some basic principles or concepts that, if understood, will help you make good decisions and fewer mistakes.
Concept One - Understanding Basic Needs
I know it is hard to believe right now, but an iPhone or HDTV with cable are not basic needs, contrary to what the world would have you believe. Basic needs are those things which are necessary to sustain life. These basic needs are water, protection from the elements, and food. That is it. If you have these three things you can live. This is a very simplistic way of looking at preparedness, but it is a great place to start. Later, you can begin to consider creature comforts as well as the many dangers of this world, and you can add supplies and knowledge to deal with them. So don't get overwhelmed by the possibility of financial collapse, storms, earthquakes and the end of the world at this point. Just make sure that your basic needs are taken care of.
Concept Two - Prepare With A Purpose
It is important that you prepare with a purpose. Avoid going on scavenger hunts on the internet and at retail stores where you see a cool item and buy it without first thinking about how it will fit into your overall preparedness plan. Make a plan for what you want to accomplish with the resources you have. There are two general situations that you will need to pan for. These are sheltering in place and bugging out.
Shelter in Place
The term, shelter in place, is just a fancy way to say that you are not going to leave your home when circumstances require that you draw upon your stored water, protection from the elements, and food. Sheltering in place means that whatever disruption in your life comes, you plan on staying in your home to ride it out. When you are planning your shelter in place supplies, weight and size is not a factor. The recommendation is that you store at least 1 gallon of water per person for at least one month and eventually build up to 2 gallons of water per person per day for 3 months. In addition to your water, it is recommended that you work on putting 3 months of regular foods on your shelves and 1 year of basic foods such as oats, wheat, salt, sugar, and cooking oil. Finally, you should have clothing sufficient to weather the four seasons for the area you live in, and a tent and sleeping bags that could be used if your home is damaged in some way.
When you can no longer shelter in place, and you have to leave your home, you are bugging out. Some people refer to this is "getting out of Dodge". The basic idea here is that it is no longer safe to stay at your preferred place of refuge and shelter in place, so you have to pick up whatever supplies you can carry and leave the area. People who plan on bugging out often refer to their kit as a BOB or bug out bag. Bugging out is a last ditch effort to find safety in a quickly deteriorating situation.
Concept Three - Make a List
Make a list of the supplies you will need and the skills you should learn to become more self-reliant. This will help you stay on track and help you think through what is practical and what is not. For example, a 10 pound sleeping bag may be appropriate for sheltering in place, but is probably much to heavy and bulky for bugging out with. You will need to consider what solutions are the best for the situation you are in. When you shelter in place, it is practical to store a gallon of water per person for one to three months using water barrels. On the other hand, a good backpack with a built in water bladder and a really good mobile water filter will work better for bug out scenarios.