A few days ago I was going through a binder I have had for many years that has all kinds of preparedness information in it. Much of it is outdated or has been copied many times. There are better ways to do a lot of things nowadays with all the resources that are available. I had decided to take out anything that was important and keep it with my other, newer preparedness information.
Several years ago I attended a very well put together preparedness fair that covered many different topics from cooking with wheat, to making your own evaporation still to catch and store water, using a HAM radio to communicate, growing, drying and using your own edible plants and herbs and even building an outdoor latrine.
All the information was wonderfully presented and I took lots and lots of notes and came home with many handouts. There were several things I learned how to do that I’d never done before and many things that really stuck with me and made me impressed and want to be more prepared.
Of all the things I learned, there was one thing that really stuck with me more than anything. I was in a session where we were discussing the things we need to have in our basic storage; the amounts and the tools to use them. It was a bit overwhelming to me, even though I’d been working on my preparedness for years. On the front row with notebook and pen in hand was a very young, newly married girl who was obviously overwhelmed and slightly panicked. She raised her hand and asked, “What if you can’t do all this preparedness stuff? What if you can’t afford all this and wouldn’t have a place to put it anyway? What should you do first, what is most important?” The teacher gave a wise answer. She said, “Honey, keep the gas tank in your car full all the time. Your best preparedness is to be able to get somewhere safely, out of harm’s way, where there is someone who is more prepared than you.”
I’ve have never forgotten that girl’s question or the instructor’s answer. It is true. If there is a life threatening disaster it won’t matter how much food storage you have in the basement if you have to evacuate to save your life or the lives of your children and family. But it will matter if you don’t have enough gas in your car to make it to safety.
Another thing I learned that day is that preparedness is not something you do and then you are done, it is a way of life. It is continually working towards that day when you feel that you have all you really need to call yourself prepared and then continuing to work to keep feeling that way. It isn’t something you can put off until you get more money or a better job, a bigger house or even more time. The time to prepare is now by doing something every day.
It is learning to make a plan, buy in bulk, learn to use what you have and keep it labeled, inventoried, and rotated. I can guarantee that if you don’t do it, no one will do it for you.
Another thing I’ll always remember from that preparedness fair is listening to a friend of mine and her sister-in-law who lived quite close to each other and whose husbands both worked the same job and had similar circumstances. The sister-in-law told my friend, “How about we both get what food storage we can and then we’ll just share?” This left my friend almost speechless and made me kind of cringe inside. My friend had been working on her food storage for years and had a very good start while the other girl had done nothing. I still keep in touch with my friend and things have not changed. One is still preparing and the other chooses to spend her extra money on other things. Fortunately for my friend they aren’t neighbors anymore.
One other statement I heard that day that I still remember is this, “I’d much rather be the one who is prepared and can help others who have nothing, than the one who has to do the asking!”
I think that is a very wise statement. Almost as wise as the poster this teacher had hanging up in her classroom that day. “If Not Now, When?”
My challenge would be to get your 72 hour kits updated and ready to go at a moment’s notice and keep your car full of gas. Not just on the weekends but through the week at well. Make it a habit to go home with a full tank of gas. As for your other preparedness, if you are working on it, keep working even if it seems you aren't making much progress. If you have not started, do it. Now. If not now, when?