What is 'Preparedness'?
There are many elements to be considered when forming an emergency preparedness plan for your family. Aside from the basics of having long-term storable food and water, the following points should be considered:
1. Working cooperatively with a group of like-minded people:
In times of trouble, it's extremely important to have the support of others. Joining forces with those who are thinking in advance about how to meet their basic needs for shelter, food, water, security, etc., is far preferable to waiting for an emergency, then having to deal with those who are totally unprepared, uninformed, and panicked.
The majority of people today don't have the benefit of living in close proximity to a large extended family, nor do they have close relationships with their neighbors. While we all like to hope that in difficult times everyone will 'look out for their brother', it's also easy to image scenarios in which everyone will be forced to look out for themselves in a crisis environment, under huge pressure and with limited resources.
Without question, belonging to a small community of like-minded individuals will be a tremendous advantage in a crisis situation. Take the time now to make contact with your neighbors, and to identify friends and those in your immediate vacinity who are also interested in being prepared for simple, sustainable living. Start meeting together and get to know one another. Find out who has skills and knowledge that can be shared on the local level.
2. Having a safe destination space, prepared in advance:
While many of us dream of having our own little retreat cabin in the woods, it's often not practical to do so. Those who can afford the real estate investment often can't afford the time it takes to travel to such a destination regularly enough to make it worthwhile. Protecting an unattended retreat is an expensive proposition these days, and the need for security - even in the backcountry - becomes more necessary with each passing year. Will your goods and supplies still be there when you arrive and need them most?
There are many risks inherent in a family emergency plan that is reliant upon facilities and inventory held at some remote location that is left unsecured for long periods. At the same time, the whole idea of an emergency retreat is to have a safe haven that's been stocked in advance with the goods needed for your family to survive and thrive. Simply having a location at the ready and assuming that you can purchase the necessary goods and consumables en route during an emergency… that is a fool's plan.
One alternative to this dilemma is to develop a relationship with an existing community. The Pacific Northwest is populated with many small intentional and homesteader communities. Some are actively seeking new members, while others take great pains to avoid visitor traffic. 4everSeeds has developed the Homesteader Tours package as a way to introduce individuals and families to existing communities that are open to new members. There are many such locations where arrangements could be made to store personal goods securely, and where temporary shelter could be had during times of emergency.
3. Understand what it takes to live sustainably, and gear-up:
You can assess your family's basic needs and your current state of emergency preparedness by doing a simple exercise: sit down and make a list of all the items your family would need to survive for one month in a remote location, under emergency circumstances. Assume that you will have had to leave your house on foot, with only the gear you can carry. What will you need to get by? Now take that list and multiply it by three. This is your basic preparedness inventory.
Even if you're a two-person family skilled in wilderness living, ready and able to 'rough it', the list will be surprisingly long. Now add a few children, an elderly parent, the family dog… and just watch the list grow. Think about the vehicle that would be required to transport your family and all that gear, and consider the implications under adverse conditions. Not a comforting picture.
In addition to introducing you to existing homesteaders and communities, 4everSeeds can help you to refine your inventory, source the right gear, arrange for purchases at significant discounts, etc. Our soon to be launched Earth Arts section will provide lots of great information along these lines.
Part of our mission at 4everSeeds is to help you acquire not only the right goods for sustainable living, but also the knowledge and skills needed to put them to good use. Our staff members are expert in a wide range of homesteading skills, and will freely share their experience with our readers.