I found myself asking myself this question in 2015, after the terror attack in San Bernardino. At that time, we had approximately 37 terror attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11 and the idea that these terror attacks were not going anyway anytime soon and that it was quite possible that this would become an everyday thing, I decided my husband was right. He had been pressing me for a long time to start doing what I needed to do in order to help him get out family prepared for a major emergency. I, kept being ignorant about it and kept ignoring him, up until San Bernardino. I don’t know why it was that particular attack that got my attention, but it was and from that point forward, I started learning and doing whatever I could to get my family prepared.
I knew a lot about food storage, a little about food preservation, some about canning and nothing about anything else. I began to hone in on a few skills that I knew would be extremely beneficial to learn and to pass along to my kiddos.
How to create a plan
The first thing I should have done was to create a preparedness plan. I didn’t. I just flew by the seat of my pants, made lists of what I thought I should be purchasing and went from there. I did things a bit backwards and as a result, I didn’t have the funds to budget my preparedness journey, I didn’t have the necessary preparedness supplies like, a good bug out bag for everyone, a good knife, a food storage plan, a dehydrator, canning supplies, gardening tools, alternative ways to heat my home and cook, etc. Had I realized that I needed to have a plan in place, things would have fallen in line a little bit easier.
Getting your family involved
If you are like how I was and you aren’t really prepared at all, then most likely, your family isn’t either, and they may think you are a bit crazy when you start. Pushing your family isn’t going to make your them want to be part of your preparedness journey. But, if you include them in what you are doing, that will help to open their eyes, hopefully before it’s too late. By having your spouse help in the garden, package up your food items, go on a camping weekend with you will help introduce them to the idea. Talking with them about past disasters and current threats is an excellent way to get them involved. You don’t have to talk about the world ending as we know it, but talking about localized threats like hurricanes, earthquakes, chemical spills, power outages and medical emergencies are good ways to start.
Learn how to take it all in
Being able to just sit back and take in your surroundings and get a feel for what is going on is a great skills to have. You can assess the situation a lot better when you understand the mood of your environment. Watching a person’s body language, facial expressions, and listing to their tone of voice can give you a pretty good idea of how they are feeling, and what their intentions may be. Also, paying attention to the sites, sounds and even the smells of your environment can let you know if there is trouble.
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To have mental strength
When there is an emergency, things get stressful and chaotic. While everyone else is running around in a panic, keeping your wits about you is probably going to be the most essential asset you have to keep you and your family alive. Knowing how to not panic and think clearly will help you get to safety and keep everyone out of trouble. If you break down, you won’t be able to put your action plan into place. You’ll forget important steps you were to take and you will put yourself and your entire family at risk.
How to have fun
Seriousness has its place, but so does learning when and how to relax. Even in a disastrous situation, you have to be able to let your hair down a bit and have fun with your family. No you wouldn’t go to the amusement park if a terror attack was likely and in a real poop went south disaster you surely wouldn’t play the drums (this would make your presence known and give away your location). But there is nothing wrong with playing board games, telling jokes and seeing the humor in your situation.
To live a more self-sufficient lifestyle
Being self-sufficient means you aren’t relying on others to take care of you and your family. Sure, you know the grocery store is there if you need it, but you can grow and preserve your own food, so you don’t need them. Being able to rely on myself and my family and knowing we’d be okay without grocery stores, gas stations, electric companies, banks or the government is a major skill and goal of mine that I want to master.
- Bake your own bread
- How to raise small livestock – even if you don’t currently own any, learning how to feed and care for them is a good skill to have.
- Cooking from scratch
- Cook without electric
- Use of alternative energy sources
- Use of medicinal herbs and essential oils
- Preserving your own food – canning, dehydrating, freezing, smoking, root cellars, etc.
Learn about long-term food and water storage
Learning how long your food items can be stored, what to store them in for maximum storage time and how to store those items will make sure that your food supply is there when you need it to be. Water is essential, you can only survive 3 days without water, so be sure you know how to not just get water, but how to store it and how to purify it.
No you don’t have to be a Bear Grylls, but it wouldn’t hurt. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time in the woods, you really should know at least the basics of survival. Learning how to build a fire and keep it going, how to build a shelter, how to signal for help, how to hide if you need to, edible plants, how to find water, purify water, etc. are all pretty important skills to know. You may think you’ll never use them, but if things go south, you’ll be venturing off into the woods more than you think.
Unless you are a doctor, nurse, EMT, Fireman or police officer, you really need to take a basic first-aid class and CPR classes. The last thing you want is to be in a situation where someone needs a wound cleaned and dressed or someone needs CPR and you don’t know how to do it.
How to protect yourself
Taking a self-defense class isn’t just going to teach you how to stop your spouse from tickling you, it could also stop you from being robbed, being raped or it could save your life. If you know how to protect yourself with your body and by using your 2nd amendment right, you are in a good place.