Friday, October 19, 2012

RE: Preparedness Priorities

Claire Wolfe wrote a great post 1, 2. Seriously please read both parts before going further.

The point that it is easy to freeze after preparing for the basic 72 hour whatever sort of local emergency is valid. After that things get a lot more complicated and expensive. I suppose it is easy to get overwhelmed and just stall out.

Claire brings up some good points. Preparing for more realistic situations and those pesky little economic problems are nowhere near as cool as getting a new rifle or some sweet gear. Life has shown me that there are a lot more times I will need $400 (our number for whatever reason) than we will need to long term food storage so survive a social collapse.

So the real question of how to get past the 72 hour/ week preparedness to a longer and darker scenario without getting overwhelmed. I think that the first part of the answer is simple.

How do you lose 50 pounds? How do you pay of 100k in consumer debt? The answer is the same as preparing for a full on crazy Mad Max scenario, a little bit at a time.

There are some other pieces to the question.


Focus on your situation. You can't control the economy or the news. You can control your pt program and preps.

Stay consistent. Figure out what you can regularly put towards this goal and do it with regularity (I hesitate to quantify this but it would probably be 7 or 8 out of 10 weeks or pay periods) by paying yourself first.

Work from more probable to less probable scenarios. There will definitely be times you need money. Between crazy kids, projects, and cooking people will get cut, banged up and injured. In most places there are storms, power outages or other short term disaster type emergencies. 

Prepare dispassionately. There are things you want for whatever reason and things you NEED. By all means get stuff you want; just don't do it with money that should go for things you need. 

Prepare evenly and in proportion. The best cool guy knife doesn't equal out not having spare batteries. A pantry full of food will not somehow produce .308 ammo. Put a few bucks into gear, a few into medical stuff, a few into ammo, a bunch into food and then repeat. Consider some sort of intentional purchasing plan.

Do Not:

Get sucked into comparing yourself or your preps to others. Everybody has different situations of income, expenses and family size, effort and duration of active preparedness.

 Get sucked into studying preparedness or reading about it on the internet. If your situation as measured by fitness, skills and stored preps is not moving in the right direction then something is wrong. 

Taking a step back.

I think that talking about capabilities and systems is important. Sometimes a less expensive tool (maybe one you already have) can do the job almost as well. A $35 Buck 110 is a solid cutting tool, not as cool as a $300 Emerson but a whole lot cheaper.  Both are folding knives you could easily EDC. They are different tools but you could well look at capabilities and see them as fairly similar. Your pistol might be Grandpa's old .38 special and your rifle a used 30.06 or 30-30. These guns will do their jobs sufficiently. Maybe down the road you might want to switch to something else but then again you might not.

Anyway I hope this gives you something to think about.


Anonymous said...

Q:"How does the ant eat an elephant?"
A:"One bite at a time."
Is always a good lesson.

FWIW, after going through 2 mega-quakes (so far), one major riot, and numerous minor local catastrophes, the 72 hour plan is hogwash. It's okay to use as an early milestone, but a realistic minimum is more like 720 hours (a.k.a. 30 days), with 1 yr to indefinitely being the better long term ideal. Because between intractable forces of nature and government incompetence, YOYO for probably a month if just a local event turns things sideways.

Despite having been well-prepared for the previous local bumps in the road, it was only a few years ago that the penny dropped for making the push for lomg-term survival anf thrival. (That ought to be a word, some I'm leaving it in.)

Where Rawles et al. got me revved up was by breaking things down into *systems* that needed provisioning, rather than the basic Red Cross/Civil Defense (yeah, I have the duck & cover books, and did the drills) "plan" of just checking of boxes on a little list.

I break it down to 12 groups, and hit one a month. November it gets cold, so that's Shelter month. December rains, I work on water storage/supply. January is a new year, so it's time to go through Medical stuff -add, rotate, replace, etc. February is somebody's Hardware Month, thus a great time to bulk up on quality tools on sale. And so on throughout the year.
A couple of sections I'm ahead on, or nearly done. I can reallocate the take then to bigger ticket items from another group. And in my birthday month, I get myself whateverthehell *I* want; I also save one month for purely frivolous, short-term gratification, simply for recreation and peace of mind. The other 10 months' surplus more than suffices for the major categories, so nothing is endangered by my bi-annual self-indulgences.
And in the greater metropolis of 8 million souls hereabout, I'm likely in a group of 8,000 (likelier it's 800) as moderately well-set as I am.

The only thing left soon is the big leap out away from here altogether, but circumstances are pushing that one closer to the top every day.

Thanks for your continued blogthoughts.

3rdman said...

Anon 10:41

Would like to see your full 12 break down. Pretty interesting.

Ragnar said...

Excellent post. I think a key point that you mentioned is preparing for what is most likely to happen. That sets your priorities. Work on all your needs/scenarios, but put the most money and effort into what you know you will have to deal with even if it is not the most life threatening in the long run. This is also a way to sell preparing to a spouse. If your power regularly goes out, it is easy to convince him or her that lamps and a generator are good expenditures.

I too would like to read a list of the full 12.

Anonymous said...

A read a comment on another blog recently that was a repost of the article here:

That's how I approach preparedness, by looking at what my family's needs are, and having contingency plans to provide for them without relying on any outside infrastructure for as long as possible. I just kept asking myself "what if" as I went through the daily routine. What if the grocery stores were all closed (on the way to store)? What if the furnace didn't work (when adjusting the thermostat)? What if the power went out (when turning on a light, or opening the frig)? What if no water came out of the tap (when getting a glass)?

I started preparing during the Cold War, and it was tough to not focus on the big 'what if' question of the day, "what if there's a nuclear war?" - but you have to start small and cover the most basic priorities first. Everyone's situation is different, but if you've got gasmasks, antibiotics, and NV gear but no way to heat your house if the electric goes out, maybe not the best plan.

It's a good idea to consider the preparedness angle before making any major purchases/improvements too, might save a lot of money down the road. When you need a new frig, can you get by with a smaller energy efficient model with better insulation? If you plan on remodeling the family room or building the man cave, maybe a good time to put a little woodburner in the corner? When buying a vehicle, maybe 4-wheel drive or a diesel has more uses than GPS, a moon roof, and a satellite radio? When we were looking to buy our first house, I decided it needed to have propane heat, a well, and a septic system to even be considered. We found one with those features, and a fireplace too. That little house was fairly well suited for any shorter term emergency, and it didn't cost any extra.

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