Thursday, March 17, 2016

Preparation Mindset

I have grown up in the Mormon Church. As some of you may know, members of the LDS faith are counselled by their leaders to
“Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead.”
April 1937 J. Reuben Clark
Preparedness is a mindset. Each of us lives different lives. My Mother was a child when the depression hit. She lived on a farm and so already had somewhat of a self-sufficient attitude. I am a child of the 1960’s. This was not a time where provident living was generally taught. But as a Mormon and the son of those who lived through the depression, I was taught somewhat of provident living. A saying I heard throughout my life from my Grand ma reed and my Mother was, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
I am not suggesting in this time of prosperity to live like the depression, but having the “Use it up” mindset will get you far.
Repurpose things. We replaced our old box spring on our bed. I took the material off the frame and we used the frame as a trellis in our garden. I’ve also become a great dumpster diver. We built raised bed garden beds from pallets. They work really well.
When we have left-overs we usually eat them. But if there is food that will go bad or not get eaten it goes to: The chickens, the dog, compost pile, worm bin. Waste very little.
This kind of thinking will help you when times are difficult or in a disaster.
Do you know how to:
Start a campfire
Start a cookfire
Make a quilt from scrap material
Build various items from recycled wood (carpenter skills)
Can vegetables
Purify water
Build a shelter
Basic automotive skills
Shoot a gun
Dehydrating food
Basic gunsmithing
First aid
Basic electricity
The list goes on and on…
Skills and knowledge are the building blocks of preparedness. Is gear important? Yes it can be. But if you don’t have matches (gear) could you build a bow and drill to start a fire (skill)?
You can learn from each other. Ask someone who knows to teach you their skill. Books and magazines can teach you. The internet can teach you You tube is a good source. Be careful and make sure what you are learning is the correct and safe way of doing that skill. Sometimes the internet can be scary. The Boy Scouts can help with outdoor skills. They would be happy to teach or you can learn from their materials (merit badge books). Ask someone who may do a skill you want to learn for a living to teach basic things. Doctors and nurses, mechanics, carpenters, etc. If you have someone repairing your dryer ask if they would mind you watching to learn a little.
I can hand you a piece of gear and you may not know what to do with it. If I teach you a skill, you will always have that. You may need gear to do that skill but with that knowledge you may even be able to substitute other items for the regular gear you would need for that skill. The knowledge will always be there, the gear won’t.
Preparedness and security are two things that must become a mindset.
For instance. When I look at items for camping I think about how I can use them for preparedness. A bug out bag, a bug in kit, a get home bag, etc. This is also done with a preparedness mindset. How else can I use that item? Can I repurpose that item to become better prepared? In the garden? In the shed? Can that item be used or repurposed in the house? This is how I look things and have for many years. I look at things on the side of the road that someone is throwing out and ask the above questions. I also keep a collection of certain things on hand. Scrap lumber and metal. Pallets and sometimes old furniture. I know, it sounds like junk and there are times when I cull through it and get rid of things. But wire, fencing, wheels, carpeting and many other things are always around. I use them often to fix things or to build other items. This can get out of control and become a junk yard if you aren’t particular about what you keep. You risk becoming a hoarder or at least having too much. I designate some places on our property to store these items and keep them at a minimum. If it has been too long (a few years) and I have not used that item, I throw it out.
Being prepared in many areas is a process. We started with the basics and then learned more and more. Prioritizing your preparedness is important. You can start with the basics.
I use the acronym ASWiFFS. The basics of survival are: Air, Shelter, Water, Food, Fire, Security.
If you can cover these 6 areas with some built in redundancy, then you can move to other areas.
Air is pretty much everywhere. The only thing we may be able to control is how we breath. N95 masks or gas masks can cover this area. Otherwise, air is all around us.
Shelter can start with your home. Next would be maybe a vehicle. An alternate would be a tent. For my family we start with our home. Then we have a family camping tent. We also have individual tents and some back packing tents. I include in this are the wilderness skill of finding and making shelter in the wild. Ever made a debris shelter? This is something that can be researched and then practiced so you have some experience with it. In our bug out bags we have tube tents. That’s a good thing to have but more important is how to use it. Set it up on a weekend in your back yard. Maybe use one the next time you go camping. This way you will learn if it works and if you like how it works. You may not like it and can move to something else for short term portable shelter.
Water is very important in our lives. Our bodies are made of 50 to 65% of water. It is imperative to have water to live. We have a well but this requires electricity. We have a separate power source to run our well in an emergency. We also have an extensive water storage. We also have various water filters available and have used them so we know their limits and how they work. Do you know how to use water purifying tablets? Do you know how to safely boil water so that it is potable? Could you fashion a water filter from a 20 ounce soda bottle and other items? These things are not difficult to do or learn but as in all things, you must do them to get experience. Do you know of any water sources near your house? This should be found before a disaster or emergency situation. I like a lot of redundancy concerning water.
We have a food storage program in our home and have used our storage for years. We worked on this our entire 30+ years of marriage and my wife knows what works and what doesn’t. This has been years of experience in how to store, rotate, cook and use our stored food. We have a garden every year and have worked to learn how to be successful with growing our own food. I often think we’ve been asked by our Church leaders to become prepared because it takes a while to learn some of these skills. You can’t just say you will grow your own food during a disaster if you haven’t put in the time to learn how to garden or raise fruit or livestock. These take some time to learn. There are also many ways to cook food in an emergency situation. Can you cook on a campfire? A solar oven? On a camping stove? This is part of the process of storing, raising, and cooking food.
The second “F” in ASWiFFS is fire. If you know several ways to make fire then you are prepared. Fire is used to cook, for warmth, for light, for comfort, to purify water, and other uses. There are many and various ways of producing fire. Turning on the stove or oven is just one of those ways. Do you know the difference between a cooking fire and a signal fire? Do you know how to build a fire that will produce coals quickly to cook on? Can you make fire without a lighter, matches, or sparker? These are all skills that have to be learned and practiced. Next time you want to barbeque practice a different way of starting your fire. Do you know how to make char cloth and what it’s used for? Do you know how to use and build a bow and drill? Can you use flint and steel to make a fire? Can you identify and find flint?
Security is a large area of expertise. We can secure our homes in many different ways. We can fortify our homes. We can learn and practice several ways of defense. Can you shoot, maintain, and be safe with a gun? Do you know the proper way to use a defensive baton, pepper spray, or a stun gun? Do you know any kind of level of hand to hand combat? Can you secure a perimeter of a campsite? Security is also a mindset that must be learned and maintained.
These 6 areas are only the beginning of your preparedness.
On April 15, 1912 at 2:20 AM a significant moment in history happened.
The unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg and sank taking with it over 1500 people. The ship was considered unsinkable because of the 16 compartments in the hull it could stay afloat with 4 of them flooded. The chances of that were slim but that was the very case on that April morning. Had the captain seen the iceberg and hit it strait on the ship would have likely survived. But he attempted to turn away from the iceberg compromising 5 compartments as the ship slid along the iceberg. What a horrible tragedy. To make matters worse, lifeboats would only carry 53.4% of the ships passengers and crew.
In our preparedness each of us have our own Titanic. Maybe more than one. There is that one thing you simply cannot do without. For me it is a hot shower. In an emergency my 5th chamber would be if I could not have a hot shower. So I’ve taken care of that Titanic event. I’ve built an outside shower that can be heated with regular hot water heater water, solar heated water, or even a solar camping shower.
What is your Titanic event? Would you just not do well without some chocolate? Canning chocolate candy in canning jars keeps it for some time. I think we’ve had it last a least a year that way. There is also vacuum packing. Find your Titanic 5th compartment and do something that will relieve you of that burden.
Preparedness takes time, commitment, and usually some money. I recommend taking care of these 6 basics and then worrying about alternative power or transportation. Those addition things will come up as you procure your gear and other items, and sometimes circumstances will dictate the direction you go and the topic to work on next. You will get to a point where you can work on several things at once. It is a building process that can be overwhelming at first, but in time, you can see your progress and be less overwhelmed until you are confident in most areas. Know also that 98% of Mormons are NOT prepared.
Semper Paratus
Check 6