Survival Skills for Real People
Real Earth Solutions
Real Earth Solutions

Readiness 101 (Or How You Can Cause A Riot At Home)

You think you’re ready for anything because you’ve been prepping a long time? Your food supply looking good? Your water supply in place? Your medical supplies on hand?

But, wait!

How ready is your family? “Great,” you answer. “We’ve discussed all the possible things that can happen and what we should do.”

That’s what I thought about my troops. Then I decided to run a little experiment. I chose a Saturday when  everyone was home, including grandkids and some of their friends.

My Little Experiment

All I did was disconnect the satellite TV dish from the box. You would have thought World War III had started.

Within minutes I had a riot brewing as my hamshack was flooded with hysterical kiddos. They stormed in announcing that they couldn’t get their favorite programs. In fact, one said, “It feels like my umbilical cord has been cut.” (She’s the dramatic one.)

I acted surprised. Soon the room was filled and from all sides they were demanding that I do something and that I do it right now! I went into the living room, looked at the TV and said, “Yep, it’s not working.”

They weren’t amused.

Grabbing my phone, I made a pretend call to our service provider, nodding as I acted like I was listening to a recording. Shaking my head, I announced, “Look’s bad. They’re having difficulties and service is going to be out for several hours.”

After a few groans and lots of grumbling, the herd dispersed.

I slipped out and disconnected the Internet feed. Instantly I was put on the “hot seat” again. After another phony call I told the family that the phone lines were overloaded so I couldn’t get through. Now no internet!

From the reactions I got you would have thought a loved one had died. The griping started in earnest. “What are we going to do with all these kids?” my wife asked plaintively.

“How long will it be off?” my grandkids cried. They all grabbed their beloved phones and breathed a sigh of relief to see that they weren’t totally cut off. Sadly, I couldn’t interrupt those so easily.

TV and Radio Stations

How enlightening to see the huge reactions I got over them losing these most basic services. I thought my family were “battle-hardened” and fully prepared, yet the first time it happened when they didn’t know it was a drill brought home to me how unprepared we really are. Clearly, I needed to give this part of my preparedness plan a lot more thought.

Very few TV and radio stations have functioning back-up power. They might think they do but the truth is that unless they test their equipment regularly, they have no idea if it works or not. If their equipment is powered by gasoline or diesel, then they have to replace the fuel frequently or it will go bad. Let’s be truthful here, the odds of that are slim, at best.

No, once the power goes off, then phone, internet, and television broadcasters won’t be far behind. Less than 1% of our population has even the simplest of battery-powered radios. Panic will happen in a moment! We have become a nation of people so helplessly dependent on our “devices” to guide us every moment of every day that we have no idea what to do without them. This is especially true of young people.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Take a moment to think about these questions. How many of you have current paper maps in your car? Very few, if any, and why should you? After all, you have a built-in car GPS and there’s one on your phone. Right? Surprise, these won’t work for long without power and even the satellite GPS system relies on ground controllers to keep it functioning.

“Oh, the government won’t let those systems fail,” you say in a scoffing tone. Really? Remember it took FEMA 3 days to get water to the Superdome. Do you really trust the clowns in Washington to do anything besides look out for themselves?

How much of your prescription medications do you have on hand? How much toilet paper? You won’t laugh when you’re wiping with dirty socks! How will you even flush the toilet when you run out of water?

Where am I going with this? Simple…almost no one is really ready to cope with even minor emergencies. For those of us who are preparing we must not get comfortable and smug. We have to make certain we’re ready. When was the last time you really thought long and hard about what supplies you would run out of first?

Don’t say, “Well, if things start looking bad, THEN I’ll stock up on those items.” That’s exactly when they won’t be available. There is simply no way to prepare for an emergency after it happens.

And another thing. How many of you (and I’m including myself) have a goodly supply of goods stored, but don’t use it and restock it constantly so everything stays fresh? Yes, I know it’s a pain to dig all that stuff out and keep up with the dates on it, but it’s important to do just that. Don’t you want to feed your family fresh food?

Much more importantly, don’t you want to give your sick child medications that are still in date? As the old saying goes, “Hindsight is 20-20”. Watching a loved one suffer or die because you didn’t want to think about prepping or you didn’t have time for it would be a terrible price to pay.

People died in New Orleans and in Miami because hospitals couldn’t get medications in time  that could have saved lives. Not because they were negligent but because they weren’t available. Sadly, hospitals are keeping fewer and fewer medications on hand now because they can’t afford to. Thanks to a certain politician’s “O’care” programs, hospitals have less money to spend on things like reserve medication. That means if you don’t have it already, you may not be able to get it when you really need it.

Most of the studies I’ve read on death rates after some sort of catastrophe list common infections as a leading cause of death. Even a scratch can become a fatal injury if it’s not kept clean and uninfected.

Look at your medicine cabinet and ask yourself how long your supplies would last if you couldn’t get more? How much do you have in the way of antibiotic ointments, antiseptics, band aids, and bandages? (Today’s tip: diapers make great bandages. Clean ones, dummy…gross!) That applies to cloth and disposable diapers.

Stock up now while supplies are plentiful and cheap. Buy a tube of triple antibiotic ointment or something like that each trip to the store. An extra dollar won’t break the bank (but it might save a life.) When you buy a new one, don’t forget to take out the oldest one in your stash and put it to use. Try to add more supplies than you use.

Above all, don’t forget soap! Keeping clean hands and bodies is critical when medicines are few and far between.

Taking Action

IMPORTANT: Give your family an occasional surprise drill to see how prepared they are. Afterwards, they’ll be ready to talk about what to do in those circumstances. And don’t forget to get your copy of the free report. That ensures you’ll at least have power for lights and the ability to recharge tablets, portable DVD players etc. After you build this, it will be the perfect time to test its effectiveness.

OK, that’s enough for right now. Let’s go look at our preps with a critical eye and a determination to be here when the dust clears! Please leave a comment and let me know how you test your family for readiness.

See you next time…

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