Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A 12 Step Program for the Unprepared

Few of us could afford to prepare for TEOTWAWKI even we knew what it would be. The alternative is to prepare for WTSHTF events like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and blizzards. Fortunately preparing for the smaller events makes us more ready if the big one should ever come along.

Here's my 12 step program for the unprepared:

Step One: Ensure you have enough water on hand to last for at least three days (a week is better) at one (1) gallon per person per day for cooking and drinking only. (Not for washing or toilet flushing.)

Step Two: Ensure you have enough "picnic" supplies on hand to provide paper plates/bowls and plastic spoons/knives/forks (Spoons are most important, you can get by without the others.) so you don't have to eat off of dirty dishes. Remember that one gallon of water per person per day is for cooking and drinking. Picnic supplies allow you to eat without compromising your sanitary requirements.

Step Three: Ensure you have enough food on hand to last at least a week (a month(s) is better). Canned food is best since it requires no refrigeration and most cans nowadays have expiration dates printed on the can. Buy canned goods you normally eat and rotate them; first in first eaten.

Step Four: Ensure you have enough alcohol wipes and/or hand sanitizer for a week. Note that suspect water from compromised municipal water systems is safe for toilet flushing, but not hand washing.

Step Five: If it seems likely the electricity is going to be off for an extended period; eat only refrigerated food at first. Then the frozen stuff as it thaws. Draw a map, from memory, of the contents of your refrigerator/freezer. Then make up a menu. Next pull out those foods needed immediately and close the refrigerator door as quickly as possible. Containers that need to be replaced in the refrigerator should be placed next to it as portions are removed so all of them can be replaced at once. Then update your map.

Step Six: Ensure you have enough candles, flashlights and fresh batteries to last a week. A months worth is better. Don't forget the matches. Common candles are OK, but a better/safer bet would be "jar candles" of the type used in churches. The candle is in a glass tumbler and can be found in most supermarkets with and without religious printing on the side.

Step Seven: Ensure you have enough of the medicines you and yours will need for an extended period. Yes, in a WTSHTF event help may arrive within a week, but medical supplies will likely be in short supply. If possible have your doctor write two prescriptions then fill them both going back for another periods worth when the first prescription runs out then using the second period's meds while the third periods supply acts as a backup and so on. That way you'll always have at least a periods worth of fresh meds on hand.

Step Eight: Ensure you have all your BOBs packed and up to date.

Step Nine: Ensure you have enough TP to last for several months, 'nough said.

Step Ten: If you live in an evacuation zone (and even if you don't) a can of gasoline in the garage, rotated every six months, will get you that much farther when the roads are packed and gas stations drained dry. You did remember to keep the tank at least half full at all time didn't you?

Step Eleven: Family records, pictures, deeds, marriage and birth certificates, résumés and other important documents stored either in a waterproof container or, better yet, copied on to a thumb drive could come in handy in the event the storehouses of those records are washed/blown away or swallowed by the earth or sea.

Step Twelve: "But Dave, but Dave we've gotten all the way to the last step and you still haven't told us which Assault Rifle with 30 round magazines you recommend. Or what 12 gauge shotgun with folding butt stock is most desirable. Or even if a .45 semi-auto pistol is preferable to a.44 magnum revolver." (Well duh, of course it is!)

No, because if you're an experienced shooter you've already made up your mind on which weapon(s) you'll use to defend yourself and my stated opinions won't change your mind.

But I'm glad you asked because if you're a non-shooter with no preconceived notions about calibers and barrel lengths I do have a recommendation for you:

Non-shooters by definition have no firearms skills and so should stick to the simplest to operate personal defense weapon i.e. a short barreled (so he can't grab it away from you) double action (so you don't have to remember to "cock" the hammer) revolver (so you don't have to remember to turn off the safety or "work" the slide). Happy?

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