Sunday, June 5, 2016

Getting Started Series: Things You Can't Do Without

For our Sunday conversations, let's focus on getting started. We'll look at the basics you need and questions you should be asking yourself to make sure your family is prepared or gets prepared.

In my original "Getting Started" post we looked at defining what preparedness meant to you and I asked a series of questions. We'll start this series by breaking down each of those questions.

First up: What are the things your family cannot do without?

1. Food - This should be obvious but you need a plan for food. There are a few ways to plan for food, it's recommended that you use a combination of methods. First, get some storable food. While your stash of canned goods might help for a little bit, you need real food. And in order to ensure real food, you want to include food that can be stored for at least 10 years while maintaining it's nutritional value. That way, you'll have what you need no matter when an emergency strikes. This type of food source is great for everyday and small-scale emergencies.

The other way to plan is growing and possibly hunting your own food. This will allow you to have fresh food in addition to storable food. The key here is that growing or hunting a reliable source of food takes time and patience but in a longer term emergency, these are crucial skills.

We'll discuss planning for a food supply more later.

2. Water - This one should probably be first, water is the most important thing. Your family will need water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. You need a good source for water and it needs to be clean. Water filtration, bottled water and fresh water sources are all important parts of your water plan.

We'll discuss each later.

3. Medications - If anyone has any chronic conditions in your family, you'll want to make sure you're well-stocked on medications. It's also a good idea to be well-stocked on over-the-counter medications and first aid materials. Things like rubbing alcohol, anti-inflammatory medications and anti-histamines can be helpful in an emergency.

4. Power source - Your family will need a power source, in an emergency big or small. You'll need it to cook, possibly filter your water, for heat and even for communications. Generators - both gas powered and solar - are great options. Also, pocket or portable chargers for electronics are a huge help.

Also, keep in mind that fire can be a solid power source. Having matches, lighters and other fire starting materials on hand can make a big difference in any type of emergency.

5. Other considerations - Do you have family pets? Will you need to get someplace during an emergency?  Your family life and circumstances may dictate additional necessities. Take some time to think about the other things you can't do without - like dog food or gasoline.

If you're looking for the very basic steps in being prepared, covering you and your family's absolute necessities is a great place to start.

What are some of your family's necessities?

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