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Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Prepare?

Many who visit this site might already be well underway with their preparedness planning - many may be just starting out and some might just be trying to find out what we're all supposed to be preparing for anyway.

When I talk to people who don't have any preparedness plans, I try to ease into the conversation with them so they can see the logic and importance of preparing for events that could become a reality for them.

Many people associate words like "survivalist" with someone who wants to live in a remote little cabin in the woods with their hoard of ammunition and food. While that might sound like a great idea to some, as a mom who has thought through the importance of preparedness and how it can impact my family, I try to take a little different approach with other moms. Since my goal is to encourage them to get prepared, I need to try to meet them on their current level of understanding and then show them how preparedness planning can be important and relevant for their everyday life.

The first question most people ask is "why prepare?" or "what exactly are you preparing for anyway?". Well, we decided many years ago that there are many things that could happen outside of our control that we might need to be prepared for. We read in the news on a daily basis about some crisis that is taking place - flooding, drought, tornadoes, earthquakes, train derailments, job losses, failing banks, rising prices on gas and groceries and the like - recently the list seems to be never ending.

I usually explain that we have a couple of options for dealing with these situations:

Option 1 ~ We can be pessimistic and decide that no matter what we do, things happen that we do not control and so we might as well just resign ourselves to that fact. We can assume that if something happens the government or other agency will step in to help.
Option 2 ~ We can be overly optimistic and decide that those things only happen to other people and probably won't ever happen to us.

Or, we can be REALISTIC and know that things beyond our control sometimes do happen, they could happen to us, but I can PREPARE for some events to make the time I spend going through them a little bit easier. To me, this sounds like a great option. Knowing that we can encounter rough spots in life, but through a little advance preparation, manage to get through them a little easier than we would with no preparation at all.

So what kinds of things am I talking about? Well, before we started our Preparedness Planning years ago, the first thing we did was sit down and decide what types of things could happen in the area where we live that we might need to be prepared for. Then we put those things in order of likelihood - with #1 being something very probable or very likely all the way down to things that might happen, but chances were more unlikely.

For very beginners who want to establish a Preparedness Plan for their family this is a good first step. You sit down and decide what things you want to prepare for by looking at what they are and how they might affect you. Here are a few of the items on our list to give an example:

~ Tornado
~ Earthquake
~ Winter Ice Storm / Power Outage
~ Job Loss
~ Train Derailment

These are the top 5 things that are likely to happen to us in our area of the country - West Tennessee. Let's look at them individually and I'll tell you why they are on our list.

1. Tornado. We live in tornado alley. We are in our safe room due to storms many times each year. On one occasion just this past spring, a funnel cloud passed directly over our house and touched down a couple miles away. A few years ago, it seemed like every week during April and May we had severe storms rolling through the area and we were taking shelter. We have the greatest likelihood of severe weather every year during April/May and again in the fall around November. I have 3 little girls, so I believe it is prudent to be prepared for the possibility of a tornado.

2. Earthquake. Where we live in Tennessee we are directly impacted by the New Madrid fault, and now a new fault in Marianna, Arkansas, that was just being talked about last week. Depending on where a major earthquake had its epicenter on either fault line, we could experience significant damage, loss of power, loss of infrastructure and the like.

3. Winter Ice Storm / Power Outage. Where we live we also tend to get ice storms in the winter instead of snow storms. Our wintery mix almost always starts as rain, turning to freezing rain, turning to sleet and ending up as a coating of ice. This usually means downed trees and power lines. In the last severe storm we had, there were people without power for as long as 3 weeks. And talk about not being prepared - the local paper even ran a story then about all the people who had canned goods in their pantry, but who didn't have a manual can opener to open them with.

4. Job Loss. My husband is self-employed as a financial planner. Depending on economic conditions, increasing regulatory oversight, or a myriad of things going on in today's world, he could at some point be unemployed.

5. Train Derailment. We live approximately 3 blocks from a rail line that has trains zooming through many times during the day. We've seen numerous times in the news about train derailments and hazardous materials leaking. It seems prudent to me that we somehow prepare for a 2:00 AM knock on the door telling us to leave the area due to a train derailment a couple of blocks behind our home.

While I hope that none of these events happen to us I have to be realistic in knowing that they indeed could. So, to help cope with the possibility of these events - I take comfort in knowing that I am prepared for them.

There are even bigger events that we can talk about preparing for - a severe economic downturn resulting in massive job losses, riots - you can continue naming the possibilities. But when trying to reach out to a person who has never thought about preparedness before, or who is just beginning to think about how to start preparing, I find it is a little easier to help them start small as they are trying to wrap their head around how to get it all done.

HOMEWORK: If you are new to preparedness planning or just thinking about why you might want to prepare, take a few minutes after reading this post to jot down the things that could likely happen to you in your area and how it would affect you. In future posts I'll share how our family has prepared for some of the events mentioned here and we'll talk about how you can get started too.


rridgeoutlaw said...

I would also add economic collaspe as a reason to prepare. In that event, riots will occur,stores will close and it will be hard to re-supply. Everyone should have a small veg.garden. It is my major concern right now and the main reason I prep. PS, I love the State of Tennessee.

Shy Wolf said...

MMM, yah- I like the Pessimist attitude with a Positive twist: "It ain't gonna get better so may as well be ready for it."
Good thinking, TN. Excellent reasons to prepare.
God bless, prep on.

Susan said...

Economic Collapse and Rising crime. With as many home invastions in the midsouth area how do you survive those?
With Economic Collapse, Gardens are very important. This year I'm planning on canning everything.
I lost my job so fortunately I had prepped for that by paying off debts and having savings account. There are so many aspects of prepping and each one touches the other.

American Prepper said...

Good job TN prep. You have admin access to customize your site

Prepared In TN said...

I agree, all - there are SO MANY reasons to prep. The purpose of this post was to show how I introduce prepping to someone who has no clue about it or why you would want to even do it. I try to narrow it down to 4 or 5 reasons that could really make a difference to them in our region - at least it gets them started thinking and then I can ease into bigger and bigger things.

We too have a vegetable garden and I do lots of home canning - usually at least 20-24 cases of canned goods each year. I never buy jellie, jams, relishes, chutneys, pickles or anything like that at the store anymore.

I look forward to getting into more and more ways to prepare here - thanks for the comments!

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