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Trust

By Denis Korn

                        Evaluate!

With the current state of affairs and the pervading uncertainty in our society today, it is no surprise that a significant number of people are seeking products for preparedness planning and self-reliance.  While I have addressed the question of why prepare in another commentary on our home page, this article focuses on the crucial issue of trust.

Preparedness planning is a prudent and wise action to take.  This search for provisions, however, can create a dilemma – Who do you trust?  Remember, you and your family are relying on preparedness products, especially food and water options, to sustain you during critical times.  Some situations can be so catastrophic as to have life or death consequences.  It is this very real potential scenario that compels me personally to take the process of emergency planning very seriously.  Who do you trust?  Why?

My over 44 years in this industry with extensive research, valuable networking, and hands-on experience has enabled me to be very discerning as to the reliability and knowledge of those attempting to represent the emergency planning process and appropriate products.  Numerous preparedness dealers and websites have recently appeared on the scene, and many are claiming the virtues of their products and are hoping to take advantage of current demands.  I have been in this industry for a long time, and I have seen numerous companies come and go as political, economic, or prophetic issues dominate the news.  With the advent of the internet, it has become even more difficult to assess the reliability of online companies.

Many companies are conscientious and dependable – as a previous manufacturer of food reserve products I have had business relationships with a number of these companies over the years.  Unfortunately many are very questionable.  I have examined their products, their data, and the accuracy of their information – it ranges from inadequate to unclear, to erroneous.

I urge you to carefully examine the preparedness marketplace, and as you investigate and evaluate companies in which you may make a small or possibly a substantial investment for foods or products, please give careful consideration to our company – PrepareDirect – and what we can provide for you.  To help establish trust and confidence in our company’s ability to service your needs, we ask that you review our experience and knowledge, and our commitment to offering only the highest quality products from established industry leaders.

For specific guidelines in evaluating sources of preparedness foods I highly recommend that you read and answer for your own benefit the questions in the article titled “Purchasing Food Reserves – The Essential Questions.”  In many instances, equipment considerations can be applied to these questions.  Another valuable food article is WARNING: Extreme Caution is Required Before Buying Emergency Foods.

As a last note, there are two indicators to carefully evaluate when an emergency food company promotes their foods.  First, the often deceptive practice of giving only the number of servings for a given time period, this is useless information unless the calories are also given.  Second, it is essential to study the ingredient declaration for each food product, as so many “emergency” foods are filled with junk ingredients.  What is the true quality of the foods you might have to eat for a substantial period of time?

A Comprehensive Guide to Long Term Food Reliance Updated

By Denis Korn                                                                     foodheart

 

Use A Comprehensive Guide to Long Term Food Reliance as the language of long term food storage – defining and clarifying terms, product options, and related information

As the awareness and motivation to store food provisions for extended periods grow with every alarming headline, I have been asked to once again post one of the important 15 Foundational Articles.  This is a valuable basic overview of long term food storage issues.

I am frequently asked, especially by newer preparedness planners, for a concise overview of food storage basics.  I am thankful for many new readers that have found this blog in the last few months, and I feel that this article: A Comprehensive Guide on Long Term Food Reliance is so vital that I am posting it again as we approach critical times.  It is directed towards the serious planner who requires information that summarizes the key points of the food storage process.

With so many preparedness websites and blogs and so many instant experts, it becomes increasing difficult to know who to trust and what to believe.  This is by no means an easy task.  It takes serious research and asking the right questions – and expecting accurate answers – discerning the truth is challenging and daunting.  I know this is difficult because I not only receive numerous phone calls for help, I personally have seen and heard distortions, inaccurate information and blatant deception.

For over 44 years I have been intimately involved in the preparedness, outdoor recreation and natural foods industries – as a retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer, educator and consultant.  You are invited to read any of the articles at this blog that relates to your interests and be serious about answering the many questions posed and researching what I have conveyed.  I hope you will trust my experiences and insights.

Cook versus No-cook

A primary decision needs to be made, as it relates to the specific long term food provisions that you want to procure. Do you want foods that require cooking or do you want foods that require no cooking – or perhaps some of both?

Cooking required food reserves are simply foods that need to be cooked – boiled, fried or baked – in order to be eaten.  Examples include: traditional grains and beans, pasta, bread – egg – pancake mixes and some soup and stew mixes.

No-cook food reserves are foods that can be eaten as-is, or after hot or cold water is added to the foods, and being reconstituted for a short time, are then eaten.  Examples include: freeze-dried and some dehydrated ingredients, meals and mixes, granola, supplements, fruits and powdered drinks.

Cook

Advantages:

  • Readily available
  • Low cost
  • Familiar to those currently cooking from scratch
  • Basic unprocessed foods

Disadvantages:

  • Requires a significant supply of water and energy (heat source – gas – electricity – wood –etc.) – both of which may be in short supply during emergency conditions especially in vulnerable locations
  • Requires time to prepare – could be a significant disadvantage during the chaos of an emergency
  • May be difficult to prepare if one lacks cooking and recipe creation skills
  • Heavy
  • Beware of so called “long term” pouch food companies that use the marking line of “just-add-water” and “freeze-dried” meals.  Many companies use these terms to give the impression that their foods are easy to prepare and have freeze-dried ingredients which have a positive reputation.  Read the labels carefully!  Many companies market their meals as “freeze-dried” yet they contain no freeze-dried ingredients!  Also, you must cook these meals in order to prepare them.

No-Cook

Advantages:

  • Small amount of water required to reconstitute ingredients and meals
  • In emergency situations, freeze-dried foods can be eaten as-is
  • Pre-blended meals are familiar and nutritious if manufactured by reputable companies
  • Minimum time to prepare – could be a significant advantage during the chaos of an emergency
  • Easy to use

Disadvantages:

  • Higher cost for food preparation technologies utilized
  • Food ingredients are processed to some degree

Pouch versus Can

These can be commercially available dried food products packed in pouches and cans, or empty pouches and cans for do-it-yourself packing.  Pouches referred to in this section are ones that have a good quality metal foil barrier with an adequate thickness as one of the components in the layering of the pouch (3 or more layers required).  Metalized, transparent or plastic only pouches are not suitable for long term storage of food.  Cans are rigid-wall metal cans with the proper seal.

Pouches

Advantages:

  • Convenience of smaller units of product for storage
  • Empty pouches are readily available online for do-it-yourself
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • A good variety of meals and ingredients are available from established and reputable manufacturers
  • If properly sealed with an oxygen absorber and stored properly, shelf can be 5 to 10+ years

Disadvantages:

  • Very susceptible to puncturing and pin-holing (rough handling, squeezing, bending and forcing a pouch into a container may create very small holes in the pouch).  This compromises the integrity of the seams and pouch material resulting in the loss of an oxygen free atmosphere.
  • No protection from animal destruction or penetration
  • Must have quality materials used in pouch construction – difficult to ensure if buying empty
  • Many commercial pouched foods are low quality and use questionable materials – must do research
  • If do-it-yourself, pouch must be sealed properly
  • Must be stored properly or there is a risk of damage
  • Beware of companies marketing their pouches as 20 – 25 – 30 year shelf life – this can be just a deceptive marketing tool.  You must investigate the companies making these claims to verify their credibility.  Some companies might be correct, most are not, and most have not been in business long enough to validate their claims.

Cans

Advantages:

  • The most reliable for long term food storage – 10 to 25+ years
  • Properly sealed cans with oxygen absorbers, can create an oxygen and moisture free atmosphere for a very long period of time
  • Rugged construction – can not be penetrated by animals (except maybe a hungry and aggressive bear)
  • Easy to store and handle
  • Metal and glass are the only zero gas transmission rate materials reducing oxidation.

Disadvantages:

  • Increased cost for dried foods commercially packed in cans for long term reserves
  • Not practical for most of the do-it-yourself packers – cans and sealing equipment are not easily obtained – when they are available they can be more costly than pouches and to be cost effective empty cans need to be purchased in large quantities

NOTE:  If protected from potential breakage, properly sealed glass canning jars – quart to 1/2 gallon – with an added oxygen absorber, can be an excellent container for smaller quantity dried foods.  Glass and metal are the only materials available with a zero gas transmission rate – required for long term storage.

Calories versus Servings

A common marketing tactic used by many food companies today is to promote a given number of servings in an assortment, and sometimes to even state that an assortment is good for a given period of time with a given number of servings.  In the preparedness market place today, where people may have to depend on daily food rations for their nourishment, only knowing the number of servings in an assortment is close to meaningless and the information insignificant .  Why?  Because a “serving” quantity and quality can be anything the company wants it to be.  You need more information.

The standard for comparing one reserve food product with another has traditionally been to compare the number of calories of similar products or meals.  This is done by comparing the calories by either: knowing the stated calories and the weight in a given serving of a product; or the number of calories of a food product in a comparable sized pouch or container.  This enables comparisons of similar items from different companies – comparing apples with apples.  Even the government on their mandated nutritional information requires the calories be listed – and the source of those calories.

How many calories does the company recommend one should consume per day, and how many of their servings will it take to achieve this number?

Now you can do the math and compare the real cost and value of one companies products to another.  What is the cost per quality calorie?  What is the cost for supplying the proper number of calories for the time period in your emergency scenario?  Don’t forget it is the quality of the calories that is critical.  Sugar is not quality calories!

Here is the important issue:  The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for the average adult person is 2,000 calories a day (reputable companies generally allow 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day in formulating their assortments).  There are companies who promote a 500 to 1000 calorie per day allowance!

Long-Term

Generally long-term refers to a time period of three – four years or longer.  Many seek food products with that will last up to 30 years.  In the real world there are few situations where one would rely on 30 year old food, however with the application of the proper technology and storage conditions it is possible to still consume 30 year old food.  Boxed, wet pack, frozen, high moisture foods and canned grocery items are not considered long-term for purposes of this primer.

Shelf Life/Shelf-Stability

This term refers to the viable and reasonable life that can be expected of a food product in storage.  During this time the food product must still have significant nutritional value and be palatable and acceptable.

The 7 factors that effect shelf life and stability are:  temperature – moisture – oxygen – infestation – handling – light – time

Food Storage

Simply stated, food storage refers to food provisions that one stores for a long term.  These food products usually have a long shelf life and can be relied upon during times of need or emergency.  There is a diversity of different foods in various forms that can be utilized for a proper food storage program.

Do-it-Yourself Packing

This can be cost effective, customized, fun to do, involve friends and groups, localized and creative.  Before you start packing your foods, be clear about what it is you want to store and for how long.  Are the foods appropriate for your plans?  Do you know how to prepare them?  Do you have an adequate quantity?  Do you have all the equipment necessary to prepare your foods?  What is the nutritional quality?  Are the containers you are using effective for long term storage?

Nitrogen/oxygen free atmosphere

Basically there are 2 reasons for wanting to store food in an oxygen free environment – (1) eliminate the possibility for infestation and contamination from insects and microorganisms, and (2) control oxidation, which leads to the rancidity of fats and oils, foul taste, off color, and nutritional deterioration.  The lower the oxygen levels – the more effective in preserving the integrity of the foods stored.  Lower oxygen levels are directly related to shelf life.

Some foods are more susceptible to oxidation deterioration than others.  It is important to know how susceptible the foods you are storing are to oxidation, because as you will see the type of container you store your foods in may at some point no longer be an adequate oxygen barrier.

Crucial Questions

The serious and conscientious preparedness planner is encouraged to carefully and honestly answer these 12 crucial questions.  These questions apply not only to long-term food storage planning, but also all preparedness planning.

  1. What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies?
  2. How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing?
  3. What attitude are you willing to embody and express during the uncertainty and stress of the emergency scenarios you have determined may exist?
  4. What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing?
  5. During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends?
  6. Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur?
  7. Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?
  8. Do you have an understanding of the financial implications of your projected emergency scenarios?
  9. What are the special needs of yourself, family, or others you care for that might arise during the scenarios you find likely?
  10. In your expected emergency scenarios will you be stationary and remain where you are, or is it possible you will have to be mobile and relocate?
  11. What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate?
  12. In your expected emergency scenarios what transportation options will be necessary and available?

Evaluate the entire list at 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

Preparedness/Disaster Planning

The first step in the preparedness planning process is the acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be prepared in the event of unforeseen circumstances.  Be encouraged to continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.

This process is basically undertaken in three phases – each one of which will take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you are experiencing.

  1. First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
  2. Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision making.
  3. Third, there is taking action and assembling the appropriate provisions and critical information you have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind.  This phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up your supplies and information.

The initial assessment

This consists of 6 basic questions that you are encouraged to answer that will lead you along the matrix to your destination:

  1. What is your attitude concerning emergency preparedness?
  2. What are the circumstances or scenarios and their severity you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies?
  3. What is the length of time you will be affected during these scenarios that you will be required to rely on your preparedness supplies?
  4. For whom and how many are you preparing?
  5. Where will you be?
  6. How serious are you and how much time, effort, and money are you willing to devote to research, planning, and action, and with what help?

Disaster Scenarios

We live in a time of unprecedented options and potential scenarios that could create challenging and disruptive circumstances.  What is required is serious evaluation of current events for taking effective action.  The delivery of essential goods and services is so interdependent on a multitude of diverse factors, that a breakdown in any one area can have severe consequences on our daily life.  Here are some potential scenarios for your consideration:

Acts of God – Man made disasters – Earth Changes:  Earthquakes – Government Regulation/Control – Catastrophic Weather – Flood – Martial Law – Asteroid/Comet – Fire – Food Shortages – Pole Shift – Hurricanes –  Societal Breakdown – Solar Flare/CME – Storm/Ice/Snow – Civil Disobedience/Riots – Tribulation/Religious – Tornado – Medical Emergency – Severe Earth Changes – Drought – Economic Emergency/Collapse – Power Outage – Major Accident – Mud Slides – Terrorism Attack – Tsunami – Biological/Chemical/Radiological Attack – EMP  (Electrical Magnetic Pulse) Attack – Personal Issues – Bombing – Job Loss – War – Illness – Cyber Attack – No Internet – Unforeseen Emergencies – Financial Loss – Famine/Food Shortages – Grid Breakdown/No Electricity

Trusting Suppliers – Food & Supplies

Preparedness planning is a prudent and wise action to take.  This search for provisions however, can create a dilemma – Who do you trust?  Remember, you and your family are relying on preparedness products, especially food and water options, to sustain you during critical times.  Some situations can be so catastrophic as to have life or death consequences.  It is this very real potential scenario that compels me personally to take the process of emergency planning very seriously.

Numerous preparedness dealers and websites have recently appeared on the scene, and many are claiming the virtues of their products and are hoping to take advantage of current demands.  I have been in this industry for a long time, and I have seen numerous companies come and go as political, economic, or prophetic issues dominate the news.  With the advent of the internet, it has become even more difficult to assess the reliability of online companies.

Many companies are conscientious and dependable – as a previous manufacturer of food reserve products I have had business relationships with a number of these companies over the years.  Unfortunately many are very questionable.  I have examined their products, their data, and the accuracy of their information – it ranges from inadequate, to unclear, to erroneous.  It is hard to believe that businesses promoting products and information essential for survival in an emergency can be fraudulent and dishonorable, however there are companies who prey on fear and greed and are not principled nor respectable.

USDA Inspection

To package meat products legally, shelf-stable food manufacturing establishments must be federally inspected to comply with the strictest USDA standards for truthfulness in labeling, ingredient conformity, wholesomeness, and cleanliness.

Storage Conditions

NOTE:  The six conditions listed are chosen because these are factors in which we have the control to optimize for the longest reliable shelf life.  TIME is the one factor that we can not control – and it does have a significant effect on the shelf life of various foods.  Nutritional value is lost with many foods over time.  To know with certainty the viable nutritional value of all food reserve items at any given time after a lengthy period of storage – is at best complex or most likely mere conjecture and guesswork.  What we can do is to apply proper planning procedures – do your research with trusted resources, rotate and consume your storage foods, and be realistic about how long you will really need the foods you choose to store.

  • Temperature– This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods.  The cooler the better. 40 degrees-50 degrees would be great. Room temperature (65 degrees-72 degrees) or below is generally fine.  Avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time. The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.  Note:  There are some “foods” available for emergency preparedness that are known as “emergency food or ration bars.”  These products are generally referred to as “life raft bars” because they were originally designed for life rafts and can withstand high heat for extended periods of time.  They primarily consist of white sugar and white flour, and were not meant to be the sole source of nutrition for a long period of time.
  • Moisture– The lower the better.  Moisture can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.  The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is.  Have foods in moisture barrier containers (metal, glass) in high humidity areas. Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 5 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  Note:  Be careful where you store dry foods in cans.  Very cold flooring or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a build up of condensation inside the container.
  • Oxygen – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. It also allows insects to feed on dried food reserves. Without oxygen, insects cannot live, nor can aerobic (oxygen dependent) organisms. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation. All other processed grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. must be in a very reduced (2% or less) oxygen environment for long term storage.  Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 5 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
  • Infestation – Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.  The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
  • Handling – Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely effect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored.  Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks.  The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
  • Light – Food should not be stored in direct sunlight.  Both for the potential of high temperature, and its affect on food value.  Sunlight directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.  Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the affects of light.

PRODUCT OPTIONS

Freeze-dried

This is a specific technology that refers to foods which have been frozen and dried at low temperatures in a vacuum chamber.  Moisture is removed by a process known as sublimation.  The term “freeze-dried” is often used to designate a dried food product that requires no cooking.  Some meal blends will contain a variety of no cook, freeze-dried, dehydrated and other drying technologies.

Unfortunately, there are currently unethical preparedness food “marketing” companies that claim to provide “freeze-dried” foods, however their foods either need to be cooked and/or contain little or no freeze-dried foods at all.  Buyer Beware – read ingredient declarations and preparation instructions.

  • Advantages:
    • Foods retain the highest nutritional value, taste, texture and appearance.
    • Foods do not “shrivel up”, therefore retaining their original shape.
    • Foods reconstitute easily in hot or cold water- can be eaten dry if necessary- no cooking required in preparation.
    • The only method used to dry meat products for long term shelf life.
    • The chosen method of drying by the military, pharmaceutical companies, supplement manufacturers, and those concerned with nutrition and flavor.
    • The lowest moisture content obtainable- resulting in long shelf stability.
    • Excellent for fruits, vegetables, and meats.
    • Very lightweight.
    • The Benefits of Freeze-Drying – From a Major Processor’s Site

      • Retains original characteristics of the product, including:
        • color
        • form
        • size
        • taste
        • texture
        • nutrients
      • Reconstitutes to original state when placed in water
      • Shelf stable at room temperature – cold storage not required
      • The weight of the food product freeze-dried is reduced by 70 to 90+ percent, with no change in volume
      • The product is lightweight and easy to handle
      • Shipping costs are reduced because of the lightweight and lack of refrigeration
      • Low water activity virtually eliminates microbiological concerns
      • Offers highest quality in a dry product compared to other drying methods
      • Virtually any type of food or ingredient, whether solid or liquid, can be freeze-dried
  • Disadvantages:
    • Energy intensive- requires special equipment.
    • Higher cost.
    • Limited number of processors.
  • Note: There are many newer technologies which can dry specialized foods such as grains, beans, pastas and some vegetables and still retain taste, nutrition and “no cooking required” reconstitution- at a low cost.

Dehydrated

This is a general designation for all foods that have had water removed. It includes a number of different products and dehydrating techniques. Methods of drying include:

    • Air drying
    • Spray drying
    • Drum drying
    • Belt drying
  • Most commonly “dehydrated” refers to: vegetables, fruits, spices, and beans.
  • Spray dried items include- milk powder, dairy and cheese powders, fruit powders, vegetable powders, egg powders, and oil powders.
  • Most “dehydrated” vegetables and fruits are dried at high temperatures for short periods of time.
  • Advantages:
    • Reduced weight
    • Long shelf life
    • Lower cost
    • No waste- compact
    • Easy to use- large variety
    • Many suppliers
  • Disadvantages:
    • Many products like corn, peas, and green beans have to be cooked to reconstitute, resulting in increased time and loss of nutritional value.
    • High temperature drying of some items reduces nutritional value and taste.
    • Texture of some products is altered from original.

MRE/Retort/Self-Heating

The items in this category are wet packed in foil or plastic “flexible” packaging. MRE is a military term that stands for “Meals Ready to Eat” and was designed as combat rations for the military. Retort (available in many grocery stores and catalog companies) refers to the heating process, which give these products a longer shelf life. Self-heating meals are packaged entrees that contain everything necessary to have a hot meal anywhere. The individual flameless heaters were developed for the military.

    • MRE’s are complete meals- entrees, side dish, dessert, drink, and condiments- all in one large pouch.
    • All items in this category require no refrigeration and have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years. MRE’s can last 3- 6 years if stored in cooler temperatures.
    • MRE’s were designed by the military to be eaten for no longer than one month at a time. Extended reliance on MRE’s exclusively could cause digestion issues.
    • Items are excellent for immediate use and easy preparation of familiar foods.

Commodities

This category includes dozens of varieties of grains, beans, legumes and seeds, and can be utilized in numerous forms such as; whole, cracked, flaked, instant, flour, pasta and sprouted.

  • Advantages:
    • Very economical- little cost for significant nutritional value.
    • Easily obtainable.
    • Stores well for long periods of time.
    • Versatility of preparation options and diversity of uses – many can be sprouted.
    • Historically relied upon during emergencies.
    • Reproducible – grow new crops.
    • If prepared and utilized properly, can fulfill total nutritional needs for some time.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Can require large quantities of fuel and water to prepare if not instant.
    • Requires significant preparation time to utilize all the diverse benefits if not instant.
    • Susceptible to infestation if not properly stored.
    • Requires preparation knowledge. Most people do not know how to prepare basic commodities.
    • If not prepared properly or suddenly introduced into the diet in quantity, grains and beans can cause significant digestive problems.
    • Heavy- Not easily transported if you need to be mobile.
    • Many people have allergic reactions to foods in this category.
    • If you rely on only grains and beans for nourishment for an extended length of time, you may have problems digesting these foods; especially if you don’t normally incorporate them into your diet. Preparation diversity is critical.
  • It is essential that those who choose to rely on commodities know how to properly prepare and use them. It is important to obtain good cookbooks and product information before you buy. Do not count on only a few grains and beans- diversity is very important.
  • Tips:
    • Smaller grains (such as millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teff) and smaller beans and legumes (such as aduki, lentils, split peas, mung, and small whites) will require less time, fuel and water to prepare.  Most are great for sprouting
    • Combine like sized grains and beans when cooking for a complete protein meal.
    • Pressure cookers and pre-soaking of most beans will significantly reduce the cooking time of grains and beans.
    • Newly “rediscovered” ancient grain varieties such as amaranth, quinoa, kamut, einkorn, teff and spelt, are highly recommended because of their superior nutritional value, unique taste and preparation convenience – available at natural food stores.
    • To reduce cooking times for whole or cracked grains, try adding a handful to a thermos, or similar insulated container, add boiling water and let sit all day or overnight. (Use at a ratio of one part grain to one +/- part water by volume). Add dried fruit, nuts, sweetener etc. and enjoy a no cook hot cereal.
  • Uses for wheat:
    • Whole grain, cracked, flaked- cook for a hot cereal or side dish.
    • Flour- baking, pancakes, sauces.
    • Sprouting- eat raw or add to bread.
    • Soaked wheat (rejuvelac – a cultured sprouted wheat drink) – soak cleaned wheat in pure water 1-2 days. Drink water and eat wheat.
    • Gluten for protein source- rinse flour many times to produce gluten product. Cook in recipe.
    • Wheat grass juice- grow wheat in shallow trays with soil or outdoors in the ground, cut at 6″-10″, juice wheat grass, mix small amount with fruit or vegetable juice.
    • Diastatic malt- ground and powdered dried wheat sprouts, a natural sweetener.

Grocery shelf

This is the category people are most familiar with and the one most will start with when beginning a storage program.

    • Store products you are familiar with.
    • Shelf life varies. If possible contact manufacturer. Generally canned items will last 1-4 years, glass jars 6 months- 2 years, boxes and packages 6 months- 1 year.  Many folks believe quality canned foods stored in cooler conditions will last years beyond ‘best used by’ dates.
    • Buy extra each time you shop.
    • Buy case quantities.
    • Rotate supplies.
    • This category contains items that will complement and supplement other food reserve programs.
    • Mark date purchased on container

Comfort foods

During emergencies it is important to have foods available which are special treats and personally satisfying. These include:

    • Fruit drinks- sodas (all natural of course)
    • Candy- crackers- chips- cookies (also all natural)
    • Chocolate- drinks and bars
    • Popcorn
    • Puddings- cake and muffin mixes
    • Dried fruit and nut mixes
    • Teas- herb teas- coffee
    • Meat Jerky’s

Sprouting

It is not only a good idea to eat fresh sprouts normally; it is an essential during any prolonged emergency where fresh vegetables are not available. Sprouts are live, highly nutritious, nutritionally dense foods that contain essential elements for healthy living. They contain enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and much more. In an emergency it can be your only source for important nutrients. They are easy to grow and cost very little for so much value. You can sprout grains, beans, seeds and nuts.

    • Get a good book on sprouting.
    • If possible, use only non-sprayed, pesticide free seeds – preferably organically grown.
    • Sprouting equipment is easily assembled with household items such as glass jars, screening, cheesecloth, or you can buy a number of different sprouting kits.
    • Sprouts are usually eaten raw, and some sprouts can be lightly cooked like beans or used in baking like wheat and rye.

Supplements

Very important in emergency situations when a nutritional diet may not be available.

Many products have 2 to 3 year shelf life.

    • See your natural food store for details.
    • Many products can prevent health problems and illness naturally.
    • Whole food green concentrates are highly recommended. Also, multivitamins, green products, B-complex, vitamin C, seaweeds and immune system strengtheners.

Home Canning/Drying

With an abundance of fresh foods always available, canning and drying your own is very cost effective.

    • Obtain books and literature on canning and drying.
    • Take classes and talk to experienced individuals.
    • Get the proper equipment or learn how to build you own.
    • Know how to properly store canned and dried foods.
    • Canning supplies can be scarce in an emergency. Stock up on jars and lids.

Gardening

If the scenarios you anticipate to occur indicate a disruption of normal food supplies for a long period of time, then you will want to consider planting and maintaining a garden.  Obtain quality, non-hybrid, organic if possible, fresh garden seeds.  Get good gardening books and equipment.  Learn how to properly store seeds – this is critical – for next seasons planting.  Different seeds have varying viability and germination rates over time.

  • It is always a good idea to know basic gardening techniques. If you have a long term planning strategy, gardening is a must for a continuing supply of fresh and nutritional foods.
    • Identify the best foods for your local growing zone.
    • Consider building a green house.
    • Learn how to compost.
    • Use non-hybrid- open pollinated seeds. You can then harvest seeds for the next season.
    • Learn how to save seeds properly. Store seeds in as cool and dry a location as possible.
    • In an emergency situation emphasize “whole plant varieties”. These are plant varieties that can be eaten whole at any point in the growing process. Examples include:

– Carrots – Cauliflower
– Beets – Chard
– Lettuce – Dandelion
– Cabbage – Kale
– Broccoli – Celery
– Radishes – Herbs
– Spinach
– Save seeds of wild edibles.

    • Using shallow trays with a thin layer of rich soil, learn how to grow wheat and barley grass for juice (highly nutritious!), and unhulled sunflower and buckwheat for fresh salad greens

Appliances/Equipment- Food Preparation

  • Cooking pots/utensils
  • Solar oven
  • Alternative stoves- grills- grates
  • Portable stoves, and Rocket stoves, that use twigs, pine cones and small wood pieces
  • Fuel- gas/diesel/propane/wood/charcoal/fuel oil/kerosene/shelf stable additive for gas or diesel
  • Generator
  • Sprouting jar/rack
  • Mill/grinder
  • Wheat grass juicer
  • Canning equipment/supplies
  • Pressure cooker
  • Books
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Food containers- plastic/glass/plastic bags/foil
  • Package your own- equipment/supplies
  • Water-purifiers/filters/additives/distillers/containers
  • Camping equipment
  • Non electric can opener

Water

  • Clean water of course is essential for survival. While it is possible to go for weeks without food, after 3 days survival is at great risk without water. Make absolutely sure you answer the following questions.

o How much water do you have available to you in an emergency?

o Will you have enough to clean foods you have stored?

o Will you have enough to cook foods that require lengthy boiling (beans, grains, pasta)?

o What quantities will you need to reconstitute “no cooking required” freeze-dried and dehydrated foods?

o Will you want to wash pots and utensils?

o Do you know how to obtain, store and/or purify water?

o Will you have enough water for sprouting and/or gardening?

  • Plan on at least 1/2 gallon a day per person to survive. One gallon a day per person is considered minimum for drinking, basic food preparation, and basic hygiene. Two gallons for basic bathing, laundry, and cleaning.

Water Sources – Storage – Treatment

Sources:

  • Natural
    • Ponds, lakes, streams, springs, rivers, ocean (use desalinators or distillers only)
    • Know all local locations before an emergency and check quality.
  • Wells
    • Have non-electric collection options available – hand pumps, special buckets, and solar pumps.
  • Bottled , commercial
    • one to two year shelf life – Rotate.
  • Around the house
    • Pools, spas, waterbeds, hot water heater, toilet tank, hoses, pipes – purify before drinking.
  • Collection ideas
    • Snow, rainwater, dew.
  • Survival techniques
    • Plants, underground sources, moisture collection, solar still – get a good survival manual.

Storage:

  • Specially packaged purified water
    • Water in small foil pouches or aseptic fruit juice like boxes – 5-year shelf life.
    • Blue Can canned water – packed in specially lined aluminum cans with at least a 50 year shelf life.
  • Large containers
    • Food grade plastic, concrete, water bladders, cisterns – above or below ground.
  • Small containers
    • Food grade plastic – new is best, numerous types available (If previously filled with food or beverage, used containers can impact tastes and odors), glass. Never use container that held chemicals or cleaners.
    • WaterBrick water storage containers in 3.5 and 1.6 gallon size containers are highly recommended.

Treatment:

  • Devices
    • Portable hand operated purifiers- when rated as a “purifier” the device will kill viruses and filter bacteria and protozoa. Limited types available.
    • Portable hand operated filters- will filter out most bacteria and protozoa. Many types available.
    • Drip/gravity filters and purifiers – counter top transportable units that filter water slowly by gravity.
    • Bottle purifiers- Easy to use, just fill and drink from bottle.
    • Pen like devices- Insert in a glass of water. Utilizes ultra-violet light as a purifier.
    • Desalinators- manual and electric. Removes salt from seawater.
    • Distillers- electric and non-electric available. Steam distills and purifies any contaminated and salt water.
    • Survival Still Non-Electric water distiller is highly recommended.
    • Kitchen units- usually requires water pressure and uses carbon filter element. Some units can be modified to manual use.
    • Boiling- kills viruses and bacteria after 10 minutes (add one minute for every 1000 feet above sea level). May not however kill cysts such as Giardia.
    • Solar ovens can boil water
  • Additives
    • Liquid chlorine bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite – only ingredient) – 6-8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) per gallon of clean water, double for cloudy water. For 5 gallons-1/2 teaspoon for clean water, 1 teaspoon for cloudy water.
    • Iodine (2%)- 12 drops per gallon for clean water, double for cloudy water. Has distinctive odor and taste. Not for pregnant or nursing women or those with thyroid problems.
    • Purification tablets- Iodine or Chlorine- Follow instructions on package. Some brands may not kill Giardia.
    • Stabilized oxygen- A relatively new method of purification. Many swear by it, do your research.
    • Katadyn Micropur (Chlorine Dioxide)- Effective against all microorganisms. Meets EPA purification guidelines.
    • Colloidal Silver- New and becoming more widely available. Worth investigating. Reported to eliminate numerous harmful elements.

Water Storage Tips

  • Store water in a cool, dry, and dark location.
  • Store away from odors, waste products, and petroleum based products (if using plastics – plastic containers can absorb odors).
  • Periodically check containers (6-12 months) and add additional additives if necessary.
  • Water preservatives in liquid form are available.
  • Rotate containers if possible with new water.
  • Don’t use metal containers for long term storage.
  • Use water filters on water stored for long periods of time.

Fuel

  • How much and what kind of fuel is available in your local area?
  • If you want hot meals, boiling water or hot water for clean up you must have a fuel source. If the foods you store require cooking to make them digestible (grains, beans, etc.) you must have fuel to boil water. Sources include:

o Wood, pellets, pine cones, plants.

o Paper, trash, cardboard, cloth.

o Propane, butane-bulk and in small canisters.

o Natural gas.

o Heating oil.

o Kerosene, gasoline, diesel.

o Candles, paraffin, fuel gel.

o Coal, charcoal.

o Rice hulls, corn cobs.

o Electricity.

o The sun- solar ovens, cookers.

Liars, Leaders, Treason

By Denis Korn

Do you have the discernment skills to tell the difference?

I was going over some old articles I used when teaching Critical Thinking at our local college.  This brief excerpt caught my eye, especially given the political, academic, tech and corporate climate of the present.  In all my adult years I have not seen a time such as this where the lying, fraud, deceit, fake news and mental illness is so in your face.  May you tell the truth from the lie and the good from evil.

I always admired the perceptive and truthful discernment skills that Cicero possessed – if only he were among us today – but alas, he would be demonized by today’s media.  Unfortunately what Cicero describes has been with us for a great while.  Let us hope and pray that enough citizens will wake up before it’s too late!

It is essential that we all remain vigilent and seek the truth from reliable sources.  Do not rely on the main stream media, for their agenda is not for our best interests.  I believe much will be reveled soon that will expose the truth of these times.

If you wonder what this post has to do with preparing for emergencies and outdoor adventure – Ask yourself:  Who do you trust?  Why? Where do you go to research and learn the facts you need to to make a proper evaluation? How are you going to make responsible preparedness and adventuring decisions when you don’t have the truth?

“…By the way, what we’re talking about here – the tendency for government to be lying and predatory – didn’t start with Karl Marx. It has ever been with the human race. More than 2,000 years ago, the great orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero foretold the decline and fall of the Roman Empire with these words, which exquisitely described the ravages wrought by lying politicians:

‘A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.’

When all is said and done, we elect liars as leaders because we need lies…”

David Kupelian – Excerpt from: Why we elect liars as leaders

Essential Evacuation Information

By Denis Korn

Franklin quote

July 2019 – With the potential of devastating emergencies occurring this season, I once again post this updated article of essential evacuation information.

In addition to this very comprehensive article, please read the one below “Is your entire family prepared for emergencies at all times?”

Important November 2018 update.

This post, Evacuate – Essential Guidelines Updated, is one of the most important posts I have written.

I am posting it again considering the devastating fires that have occurred here in Northern California last year and this year.  This year’s fire, which occurred just a couple of weeks ago, was very close, about an hour and a half away, in Paradise, CA (the most devastating fire in California history).  This year’s and last year’s fires impacted our community directly.  These fires were a significant wake-up call and an essential lesson in being prepared for the unexpected, and the need for immediate action.  The fires destroyed thousands of homes (almost 14,000 just in Paradise) and structures and significantly impacted thousands of lives.

The fires here in our area and nearby counties started in the middle of the night or very early in the morning due to very hot, dry, and windy conditions.  The fires grew extremely fast, were intense, and they occurred in residential neighborhoods.  In many instances, the evacuation was immediate.  In other situations, only very little time was given.

What I learned from last year’s and this year’s fires and the recent Orville Dam evacuation that affected our area:

  • Emergencies and catastrophes can occur at any time and often when they are least expected and when one is the least prepared.
  • It is essential to evacuate early when at all possible, especially when you are responsible for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • When you must evacuate immediately, there is no time for planning, assessing, discussion, or wandering around the house or office gathering vital papers, equipment, electronics, medications, and heirlooms.  Most people are so traumatized and shocked that the decisions made are often ineffective and inappropriate.
  • Most people do not believe disasters will happen to them and don’t realize that they may lose everything.
  • When people must evacuate, many don’t take not only fundamental provisions, but they also don’t take essentials like medications/prescriptions, medical needs, important papers, computers, cell phones, communication information about family – friends – business, children’s needs, pet needs, money/credit cards, special needs.
  • If it is appropriate, depending on your evacuation route especially in the back country, carry a chain saw to remove trees or limbs that may block the road.
  • Communication – Communication – Communication
  • Help your neighbors!
  • Many evacuees rely entirely on the local, state or federal government for protection, food, shelter, and medical assistance.
  • Most people have not created an appropriate plan of action, and don’t know where to find adequate provisions and guidance.
  • Keep checking with local authorities and community information sources to be kept informed of the latest conditions.  Surprises are not your friend!
  • Community support is essential, and there are many devoted and caring locals, churches, and organizations who are willing to help.
  • Keeping informed of the latest developments during a disaster is crucial for safety and planning.
  • Can one comprehend what life will be like if when you return everything is destroyed?
  • Unfortunately, there are those who will not take responsibility for the protection of themselves, family, neighbors, and pets.  What does it take to motivate, educate, and encourage someone to be accountable?

The timeliness of this information cannot be overstated! The uncertainty of the times requires appropriate preparation and answering the questions contained in this article.  It is a valuable companion to another important post Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning – Including Vehicle Preparedness – Latest Update.

I feel it is very important also to include in this article, one of my Foundational Articles titled Is your entire family prepared for emergencies at all times?  It appears at the end of this post. 

You are highly encouraged to share this post and its vital information with family, friends, business associates, church and temple congregations, and other members of any organizations to which you belong.  May this post help you in your serious preparedness planning.  Celebrate Peace of Mind!

Here are the crucial questions to answer when assembling your emergency response plans and emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag – which is essential if you must leave your home or business quickly.

  • If an evacuation has been declared, a severe weather event is imminent, or a significant disaster has occurred, how will I know?
  • What is the length of time for which I am preparing? Why this length?  How many people will be relying on my grab-and-go bag?
  • If I must evacuate, do I know what to do if given an immediate order, one minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or more?
  • If I must evacuate, will I be in a cozy government evacuation center with food, water, blankets, and a bed, a hotel/motel room, a friend’s/relative’s house, or will I be on my own in the elements, a crude shelter?
  • Am I clear on the circumstances and scenarios that may arise that will require me to evacuate versus the circumstances that would compel me to stay put and hunker down?
  • Do I have an escape plan? Evacuation routes?  Family and business communication?  How to assemble essential documents, electronics, and important papers?  Turn off gas and electric – wrench or pliers to turn off gas?
  • Have I talked with my neighbors about how we can communicate, share information, and support one another in an emergency?
  • If specific government, church, community, and friend’s sheltering options are not available, where do I go? How far? How do I get there?
  • What conditions can I expect to encounter – best scenario – worst scenario?
  • How long do I anticipate that I may have to rely upon my grab-and-go provisions?
  • What are the weather conditions I am likely to encounter? What is the season?
  • Will I be alone, or are others depending on me? Family – children – elderly – pets?
  • Am I dependent on others? Who? Why? Do I expect the government to take care of me?
  • What kind of support is likely to be available?
  • Do I have a list of local governmental agencies, relief organizations, emergency offices to contact if necessary?
  • What food and water should I always have on hand?  Where do I store it?
  • What are essential life-sustaining needs necessary for my family and me?  Are they immediately accessible?  If they are electricity-dependent, do I have a back-up power source?
  • What if there is nothing left when I return?
  • Are my essentials, ID, heirlooms, personal treasures, irreplaceable photographs, documents, and financial assets secure if I leave with only my grab-and-go bag?  Which of these items should be immediately available if I evacuate?
  • Do I have a very accessible list for myself and family members to consult of essential items to take that may not be in a grab-and-go bag near the front door?
  • Are essential documents, computer with essential information and years work, papers, photos, ID, communication contacts, cash, and other valuable items not in the grab-and-go bag all in the same place so they can be assembled immediately?
  • Do I have a reliable communication plan to contact family, friends, and business associates at a moment’s notice?
  • If an evacuation is called or if the home is destroyed when family members are in different locations, what is my plan to meet at a preset safe location or contact another family member or friend as a coordinator?
  • What is the potential severity of the emergency I might experience?
  • Will I have transportation, or will I be on foot?
  • If the electricity is out, how will this impact my evacuation?  Lighting at night?  Opening the garage door to get the car out?
  • Do I have enough money on hand to pay for possible shelter, food, or supplies if I am suddenly evacuated and away from home or business?
  • Do I keep at least a half tank of gas in my vehicle (more if an emergency is imminent)?
  • Have I practiced/visualized an evacuation with myself and if appropriate, all family members?
  • Have I inspected my emergency supplies to ensure they are adequate, up-to-date, and in good condition?
  • Can I stay calm and focused in an emergency, and who is counting on me to be there for them?
  • Am I truly prepared for the unexpected, a procrastinator, or am I in denial (Normalcy Bias)?

To have a genuinely adequate emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag, the above questions must be answered. Your preparedness bag contents will vary depending on numerous factors such as time, the number of persons, locations involved, mobility, support available, season, comfort level desired, anticipated scenarios, and the degree of peace of mind you want.  If specific provisions are not appropriate to your assessment of needs, I still highly encourage you to have available all the essential documents, wallets with money and credit cards, papers, ID, policies, contact information, and life-sustaining medications and special needs.

Here is a list of the basic essentials for every kit. If appropriate consider having multiple kits for home, business, vehicle, RV, cabins, etc.  Each category will have multiple options depending on how you answer the above crucial questions. Cheap, inadequate, and poorly made provisions don’t belong in a quality kit. Prepare your kit as if you and your family’s life and comfort depended on it – because it does!

  1. Water – bottled/filters/purifiers/tablets/containers
  2. Food – ready-to-eat/bars/trail mix/freeze dried/shelf-stable/non-perishable/easy-to-prepare/food preparation equipment/manual can opener (usually on multi-tools)
  3. Medical – quality medical kit with instructions/prescriptions/glasses/essential medications/sunscreen/insect repellent/dental medic/foot care/safety pins/dust mask/gas mask
  4. Special Needs – food/medical/children/infants/diaper bag/elderly/disabled/pets
  5. Tools – multi-tool/knife/scissors/wire/cable ties/duct tape/rope/paracord/gloves/small axe/repair tools/super glue/aluminum foil/ /manual can opener (often on multi-tool)/bungee cords/foldable or wire saw/pocket chain saw
  6. Communication – radio/hand crank – solar – battery/two-way radios/CB radio/ham radio/cell phone/cell phone charger
  7. Fire – fire starter/lighter/matches/tinder/flint starter/magnifying glass
  8. Signaling & Orienting – whistle/signal mirror/compass/maps – local & regional/GPS device
  9. Lighting – Hand crank – solar – battery/headlamp/flashlight/lantern/candles/light sticks
  10. Power & Energy – batteries – regular and rechargeable/power-pack for batteries & cell phone recharged by solar and/or hand crank that charges devices directly
  11. Shelter – tarp/tent – tube or larger/plastic sheeting/insect protection
  12. Emergency Blankets/sleeping bags – emergency or larger or bivy sack
  13. Personal Hygiene – sanitary supplies/disinfectant – bleach/feminine supplies – ‘shewee’ for women/emergency towels,baby wipes
  14. Plastic Bags/ties
  15. Personal Security – weapon & ammo if appropriate/knife/pepper spray/bear repellent/mace or other options
  16. Appropriate Clothing and Footwear – protection from the elements and insects/apparel for warmth/heat packs – hand and body warmers/rain poncho/bandana
  17. Identification and Essential Documents, copies, originals, on a thumb/flash drive – Bible/compact survival handbook/personal ID/computer passwords/insurance/copy of resume/birth certificate/military DD214/social security cards/real estate information/contracts/passports/marriage certificate/wills/power of attorney for health care and living will/medical documents and information/other key documents/entertainment/for Nevada County, CA – 2019 Ready, Set, Go! Handbook
  18. Spare Keys – car/home/other
  19. Phone Numbers and Addresses – friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
  20. Family Action Plan – Instructions on meeting and communicating with family and friends during or after an emergency
  21. Multiple evacuation routes marked on a map and memorized – primary, secondary and more
  22. Cash/credit cards/checks
  23. Pen/markers/paper
  24. Configured Compact Emergency Kit with Essential Items
  25. Carrying Device – carry bag/backpack/suitcase/sturdy container/Food & Supply Brick™/duffel Bag (very durable and if you anticipate carrying your bag any distance shoulder straps should be available with your carry bag or duffel)

If time permits, take irreplaceable items such as heirlooms, heirloom jewelry, photographs, military/marriage/birth/deed records, computers, tablets, and personal contact information and documents not included in your grab-and-go device.

Water
This is an obvious necessity for everyone. Know what water sources are available to you during an emergency, or in the outdoors. Plan accordingly and don’t hold back preparing for this essential category.  Have both filters and drinkable water.

Determine whether or not you want to purify water for viruses.  Not all water filters are designed for this purpose – look for water purifiers that specifically state that they will kill viruses.

Food
Numerous options are available. This category must be accessed carefully, and the quality and quantity of foods chosen should be appropriate to the anticipated length of time of the emergency or outing, and severity of circumstances you anticipate might occur.  For shorter-term scenarios foods in most situations should be nutritious and ready-to-eat; however, you might want to consider some foods requiring only the addition of cold or hot water.  If you do need hot water, you must plan for the appropriate means and equipment to heat your water.  Choose options that have a longer shelf life and are suitably packaged for kits or backpacks.

Medical
When your health and survival during a medical emergency is at stake, you don’t want to rely on cheap or inadequate medical supplies. This is an important category to thoughtfully evaluate. Don’t forget medications or products needed for those with special medical conditions.  If your pre-assembled kit doesn’t include one, make sure you get a good book on medical emergencies.  Better to have too much of an essential medication, rather than too little.

Shelter/warmth
Protection from the elements and insects is essential, especially in a harsh climate.

Tools
Numerous unforeseen situations or just routine conditions occur during an emergency or during an outdoor adventure. Be prepared and secure with the proper quality tool.

Communication/Signaling
It is essential to keep informed during an emergency with friends, family, and appropriate governmental agencies and emergency organizations. When in an outdoor environment, unsettled weather considerations necessitate weather alert radios. Avoid a sense of isolation during serious emergencies.  If you get lost or are separated from your group signaling can be crucial.  Since electronic items are included in this category, you may want to consider a small solar power device.

Lighting
This is an essential category to address when anticipating any situation where you may be in darkness. Not only for a sense of security and comfort, but to be able to see clearly and act accordingly if emergencies occur in the dark.

Personal protection
For some, this may not be an essential primary category.  Everyone must decide the extent to which they will or will not provide protection for themselves and their families from physical harm by others or wild animals.

This article provides a fundamental list of suggested items we believe are essential for emergency preparedness and outdoor recreation; especially if space, weight, and mobility are important.  For an expanded list of suggestions read our article: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Items for Automobiles – Trucks – Vans – RV’s

These items are especially necessary for long trips, family outings, new younger drivers, inclement weather, evacuation, remote area travel, and at night.

AS A FATHER OF 3 DAUGHTERS AND 8 GRANDCHILDREN, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE FATHERS AND MOTHERS TO ENSURE YOUR CHILDREN ARE SECURE AND PREPARED – ESPECIALLY IN WINTER AND INCLEMENT WEATHER – WHEN THEY ARE DRIVING!

  • Spare tire
  • Jack with a tire iron and supporting tools
  • Device to break the window and cut seat belts from the inside in an emergency
  • Tire inflation device – portable power and/or aerosol can inflator/other tire repair materials
  • JB Weld®/super adhesive
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Portable power unit for jump-starting and backup power
  • Tow cables/rope
  • Chains/cables/bungee cords for tightening
  • Crowbar
  • Reflectors/flares
  • Hidden spare key
  • Extra oil
  • Extra gas/funnel if appropriate
  • Siphon hose
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Extra fan belts/bulbs/hoses/additives/sealers/hard to get parts/repair kit
  • Window scraper
  • Important phone numbers/documents/insurance information
  • GPS device if appropriate
  • Empty gas can
  • Material to gain traction if stuck in snow or ice – cat litter/sand/wood shavings/old rug

Additional critical items from the Essential Checklist to carry in your vehicle:

  • Tarps
  • Blankets/emergency sleeping bag
  • First Aid kit
  • Baby supplies
  • Food and water/water purification/containers if appropriate
  • Maps
  • Pen/magic marker/paper
  • Personal documents and photo ID/registration/insurance
  • Gloves
  • Duct tape
  • Rope/wire
  • Repair tools
  • Plastic bags large and small
  • Cell phone/smart phone/charger
  • Emergency radio/hand-crank radio
  • Emergency lighting
  • Rope/wire/bungees
  • Small solar/12-volt power packs for small electronics
  • Cash/credit card
  • Extra clothing in harsh and wet weather/hat
  • Hand/body warmers
  • Rain gear/rubber boots/poncho
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Whistle
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Shovel
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Matches/fire starter
  • Extra batteries
  • Personal protection devices or items as appropriate/pepper spray                                                                                                                                      
  • Refer to the Essential Checklist for other items relevant to your vehicles specific needs.

 

Is your entire family prepared for emergencies at all times?

Recent events have brought us catastrophic circumstances that have had devastating and lasting effects on thousands of people around the world.  I pray that you take this advice seriously.   Recent conversations have also motivated me to consider this important article as a Foundational Article.

I am reminded of a presentation I made some years back to a large gathering of preparedness professionals.  This convention consisted of folks who came from all over the country, and of course this meant that they would be gone from their families for a few days.  Bear in mind that at my presentation, there were a couple of hundred people whose responsibilities included preparedness planning and education for very large companies, organizations, and governmental agencies.

At the beginning of my talk, I asked the group how many felt completely confident that in their absence, their families were prepared to deal with unforeseen emergencies or disasters – especially significant ones.  Only a few raised their hands!  Since most of these participants were the head of their households, what does it tell you about fulfilling one’s responsibility to protect and keep the family secure in difficult times?

Fortunately, over the years, the professional emergency management community has become more dedicated to personally embodying what they are responsible for in government and business.  What about the average household?

It appears that most heads of households have some notion that their presence is security enough for the family during an emergency.  This is a dangerous assumption.  The sensible attitude is to ensure that all family members – adults – the elderly – teenagers – and young children, know:

  • What to do
  • How to respond
  • Where to go – or not go
  • Who to contact
  • Where the information and supplies are located
  • How to use and operated essential equipment
  • How to turn off the gas into the house
  • How to access drinking water
  • How to prepare any food reserves
  • How to communicate with family and emergency personnel
  • How to keep warm in freezing conditions
  • How to have the proper attitude
  • How to pray

Instructions should be in writing, and the entire family should participate in drills and practices.  Family members – immediate and extended – should know their part during an emergency under all scenarios and given any combination of family members physically present – or absent.

  • Do your children, spouse and other family members know what to do and how to act if a serious emergency occurs and they are not at home?
  • How will you communicate with them or those in their keeping?
  • What if they are at school – what plans does the school have to communicate with parents or guardians?
  • What will the school provide for students?
  • What if they are at work – what plans does the business or organization have to communicate with other family members?
  • What will the business provide for their employees?
  • Does the business or organization have their contingency plans?
  • Do you have contingency plans for communication and provisioning for your spouse – adult children – younger children when they are away from home at camp, business trip, etc.?
  • What if an emergency occurs while a family member is in their vehicle and in transit?
  • Is your family secure, knowledgeable, and responsible?

Between Learn To Prepare and numerous internet websites, there is an abundance of valuable information for the whole family.  Study this information as if your life and your families’ life depended on it – in a significant emergency, it does!

So, I ask all of you reading this post:  In your absence, is your family adequately educated and prepared to properly respond and survive during a serious emergency?  I encourage you to have all family members read the Foundational Articles on the right column of this blog.

dilbertDisasterPlan

 

Attitude An Essential Element

By Denis Korn

Seriously reflect on this post!

Time to look at the importance of attitude as an essential element once again.  Why?  Look around – read the headlines – talk to family, friends, co-workers – experience the media – both mainstream and alternative – what is your attitude about the current state of our society?  I hope this post “Attitude An Essential Element” will help you understand the essential nature of a proper attitude, especially during these most trying of times.

What’s your attitude – about anything?  How are you coping?  Do you see a correlation between your attitude and your mental and physical health?  Do you feel helpless and unable to effect any meaningful change?  Is the prospect of impending disaster and lifestyle upheaval generating an overwhelming amount of fear?  Do you feel incapacitated?  Do you feel that others – the government – the banks – the ignorant masses – the evil ones – the self-serving are controlling your life?  What is your responsibility during these most challenging of times?  WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT ALL THIS?  WHAT ATTITUDE WILL YOU CHOOSE?  DO YOU REALIZE YOUR ATTITUDE IS YOUR DECISION?

Yes – attitude is a decision – your attitude during a traumatic event or disaster is essential for survival – attitude is everything.  So what does this mean, especially during an emergency, disaster, or catastrophic event?

After over 40 years of educating, supplying, and encouraging folks for emergency preparedness, I am convinced and truly believe that the most essential element in emergency and disaster preparedness is one’s attitude.  Where is your focus?  Who relies upon your courage and commitment? Can you be counted upon to encourage others and take charge?

I am also aware that in our society where personal responsibility and owning one’s choices are not the essential values they should be, choosing an appropriate attitude is exceedingly difficult.  It is even more difficult during a situation where you are gripped with stress, anxiety, and fear.

One’s attitude during trying times sets the context or foundation for all the actions taken – or not taken.  Attitude often determines whether your actions and intentions will succeed or fail.  Attitude can often be the difference between life or death – hope or despair – calm or chaos – order or confusion – love or hate – selflessness or selfishness.  Your attitude is your state of mind – your thoughts, and to be able to control and choose how you are going to think and behave in challenging times requires great discipline and focus.  It requires a positive and confident outlook and inlook – a constant awareness of the consequences and results of the attitude you embrace. The benefits of a constructive and encouraging attitude should be self-evident, as are the realities of the struggle in persevering during difficult trials.

The development of a proper and victorious attitude requires determination, the strength of will, and constant attention.  If you are with those who also understand the importance of attitude, mutually support each other continually.  For believers, earnest prayer is essential.

To encourage you to understand the value and the importance of developing the right attitude during overwhelming circumstances, I recommend one of the great and influential books written in the 20th century.  I used it in my philosophy classes as required reading, and the response from students was significant.  The book is titled Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl.  He was a doctor who survived four concentration camps during the Holocaust.  While there are many books written on the importance of a positive attitude, Frankl’s experiences and the conditions he endured gave him an extraordinary perspective.   His insights on attitude during the worst of circumstances is invaluable.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”     Viktor Frankl

“Frankl’s wisdom here is worth emphasizing: it is a question of the attitude one takes toward life’s challenges and opportunities, both large and small.  A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction.  A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments…”     William Winslade in the Afterword to Man’s Search for Meaning (2006 printing)

You are encouraged to be honest with yourself – answer the questions given – and seriously reflect upon this post!

The Foundational Article for Preparedness Planning

By Denis Korn                                                12-questions

Of the many I have written, I believe this to be the primary foundational article required for effective and thorough preparedness planning.  Written years ago and updated frequently.

These 12 crucial questions of preparedness planning are a result of expansion and modification of questions given in The Essential Emergency Planning Guide for Food and Water.  They apply to any preparedness planning scenario you believe to be appropriate.  Answer them carefully – your safety, health (emotional and physical), peace of mind, and comfort depend on it.

Preparedness planning is fundamentally built on two principles – (1) developing a philosophical or personal worldview while evaluating and assessing the current state of affairs – (2) then developing a specific plan of action based upon your reflective conclusions, needs, and the physical conditions that you anticipate can occur.

Thank you for having made a wise and sound decision to take responsibility for you and your family to be prepared in the event of unforeseen circumstances.  A proper attitude during the preparedness planning process is essential, and it is made more effective by exercising competent critical thinking skills. Reacting from a position of fear or confusion can be an obstacle to efficient planning.  Please remember, when it comes to seeking reliable information and essential provisions for nourishment, health, and safety – ask: Who do you trust? And Why?

As you evaluate your answers to the following crucial questions and the circumstances for which you are preparing, there is another underlying issue to consider – cost verses quality.  Are the equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be based on how cheap they are , or on the quality, value, and reliability of the product?  What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that are made?  Who is affected?  What chances are you willing to take with inferior and inadequate provisions?  Answer these questions carefully – your safety, health (emotional and physical), peace of mind, and comfort depend on it.

Food issues and questions are of particular importance to me personally.  When purchasing food provisions, especially pre-configured assortments, it is essential to know precisely the quantity of food you are getting for the price you are paying.  “X” amount of servings, or “X month’s supply” doesn’t give you the accurate information you need for proper planning.  You need to know the answer to these questions: What is the basis for the manufacturer’s claims?  What are the nutritional value, quantity, and quality of food and the caloric value of each serving?  Do “X” months give me how many calories per day, and of what quality and nutritional value are the foods?  Beware of companies claiming “freeze-dried” with little to no freeze-dried ingredients used in meal formulations.  The most apparent RED FLAG are claims of a 25-year shelf life for foods packed in pouches.  This is typically a marketing deception and companies advertising these excessive shelf life pouched foods are to be considered carefully.  It is a number that started to be used after 9/11 to sell emergency foods to those wanting to feel good about shelf life.  We never used these numbers prior to 9/11.  Most have not been in business that long and have no definitive evidence of their claims – ask them how they arrived at that number, and you will hear all kinds of conflicting answers.  There are ligament companies who can claim a long shelf life, and I encourage you to research them and their packing methods.

It always has been and always will be the policy of Learn To Prepare and PrepareDirect to provide products, information, perspectives, insights, and recommendations for action with an attitude of helpfulness and respect for an individual’s choice based on evaluation and thoughtful judgment.  Be conscientious and diligent in your planning, and demand truthfulness and accuracy from your suppliers.  You evaluate – you choose – you own your decisions.  If you need help, contact us at PrepareDirect/Learn To Prepare.

The Questions

  1. What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies? (This is not only the most important and first question to answer, but it is also often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough).  What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances in your life?  Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?  Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?  Is your family more susceptible to specific emergencies?  How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine?  Work or livelihood?  How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm?  The grid is essential to most homes and businesses – if it is down, how long could you function?  What would society look like without the grid, and a prolonged cessation of the availability of vital goods and services?  Do you have back up power?
  2. How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing? This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to envision the difficult details that might occur, the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly answering this question.  Needless to say, the longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity of situations that will surround you.
  3. What attitude are you willing to embody and express during the uncertainty and stress of the emergency scenarios you have determined may exist?  An appropriate attitude is essential to survival and effective functioning during a severe emergency or disaster. Your emotional and spiritual viewpoint is the foundational component of any emergency circumstance. The longer the emergency, the higher degree of stress, which will affect your well-being. Do you believe it is essential for you and your family to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your preparedness planning? Do you have a biblical worldview regarding trials and tribulations?  Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength, and hope?  Where is your faith?
  4. What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing? How about the experience and wisdom of family or friends?  What informational resources and references – books and other tangible items – do you have or have access to?
  5. During an emergency, what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends? This includes not only information and education, but also essentials such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical supplies.  What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or elimination?  What will you do to compensate for the loss of electricity, water, gas, or phone service?
  6. Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur? Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you also?  Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to assist and resolve the situation?  Do you have a community support network available?  What skills and knowledge do you possess that you can contribute?  How many people are you planning to provide with emergency provisions? Extended family?  Friends?  Church members?  Community?
  7. Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency? Is it prioritized?  Do you have a list of the fundamental categories your supplies fall under? What do you have on hand now?  Are you actively storing provisions?  If not – why not?
  8. Do you have an understanding of the financial implications of your projected emergency scenarios? This includes the costs of preparation, other financial obligations that might occur during and after the emergency, and understanding the choices needing to be made to adequately be prepared.  For most folks, it will be necessary to honestly assess the personal and family financial priorities in the preparedness process.  Do you keep enough cash or items for barter on hand for unforeseen emergencies?  Do you have back up hard copies of essential financial documents?
  9. What are the special needs of yourself, family, or others you care for that might arise during the scenarios you find likely? This especially includes medical issues, nutritional requirements, and physical and emotional limitations.  What psychological, social, medical, or unique factors could potentially arise from a long-term (6 months or more) catastrophic event?  Also consider your personal, family, work, and community needs for timely communication during an emergency.  Are any pets involved in your planning?  Have you had a family, company, or group meeting to directly and honestly discuss what actions are to be implemented during an emergency of the type you determined might occur?  For many individuals and families, the religious or spiritual factor in preparedness planning and implementation – especially during a serious or catastrophic event – is the most important.  If this applies to you, make sure all family members and friends are in prayer.
  10. In your expected emergency scenarios, will you be stationary and remain where you are, or is it possible you will have to be mobile and relocate? This could include different responses depending on your predictions of the duration and severity of the emergency.  Are you aware of all the implications and planning required depending upon your answer to this question?  This is another one those very difficult questions to fully comprehend, because not only can there be many perspectives to consider, being prepared to be mobile and leave an established residence or homestead requires a whole different set of planning points.  If you had to evacuate or relocate right now, where would you go?  With prior planning, where would you prefer to go?  Do you have a bug-out or grab-and-go bag/device?  Do you think you need one?  If you do have one, is it adequately supplied with essential provisions?  Do you know how to use the items it contains?  If you have to carry it – can you?
  11. What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate? This includes both two-way communication with others, including family, friends, and associates, and one-way communication from radio stations, emergency broadcasts, or individuals via short wave.  Do you have a cell phone?  Will towers be functioning?  Land lines?  Internet?  Hand held walkie-talkies?  Satellite phone?  Short wave radios?  Citizens band radios?  Emergency and/or ham radios with two-way communication capability?  During a dangerous emergency, accurate information and updates are essential for survival.  What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) from a solar flare or nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics useless?  How will this effect communication equipment you are relying on?
  12. In your expected emergency scenarios, what transportation options will be necessary and available? Needing to be mobile requires serious planning and so does remaining in place if your anticipated scenario lasts for a long duration and you need to travel within your area.  What vehicles are available?  What fuels do they need to operate?  What do you have on hand?  If you must relocate, how much space and weight is needed to transport your supplies?  Do you have a bicycle?  Small solar or gas scooter?  Adequate foot gear?  A horse?  What if the emergency is in the winter – a harsh winter?  What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) from a solar flare or nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics useless?  How will this affect vehicles you are relying upon?

Proper preparedness planning requires a serious commitment – your life or health, and the life and health of your family may depend upon it!

Are These Really the End Times?

By Denis Korn

Are we at the End or the Beginning – or somewhere in-between?

I realize that some of this material may be a bit “academic” and some of the terminologies may be unfamiliar. However, there is much here for serious reflection and study.  This post relates to preparedness by pointing out some of the philosophical and historical backgrounds to the contemporary cultural and religious influences that many people have as they prepare for a variety of potential challenging scenarios.  Are these really the End Times or the Last Days?  I thought this post would be a welcome change to the usual perspectives one often is presented.

This post is the conclusion for a Masters Thesis I wrote in 2004 at California State University, Sacramento – with the rather academic title of Christian Eschatology, Premillennialism, and Apocalypticism in Contemporary American Culture. Essentially it is a study of end times perspectives both religious and secular and its influence on our current culture.

I believe this conclusion to be very relevant today – so I am pleased to share it with you.  It is a bit lengthy, so I have begun with a few excerpts to pique your interest.

~~ From the standpoint of the present, the allure and hope of the future is never static.  As events unfold throughout one’s life both inwardly and on the world’s stage, the yearnings and details of a fulfilling future move in and out of focus like a photographer preparing to take a picture of an object in the distance.

~~ As much as some Christians strive for a distinctiveness, consistency, and certainty in their explanation of millennial events, it has not come to pass.

~~ Thought has dominion over behavior, and apocalyptic thoughts can produce apocalyptic actions.  At the same time, utopian and hopeful thinking can result in encouraging and useful conduct.

~~ Although Christian, secular interests, and other religious perspectives are often opposed to each other on many differing fronts, there is a mutual bonding in certain present-day apocalyptic conclusions.

~~ It appears the long hoped for reformations in the affairs of men have still eluded our civilization.

~~ Some contend that the signs are pointing to imminent apocalypse and vindication of the premillennial view in the short term, while others argue that the able communicators of premillennial doctrine can manipulate the meanings of signs or any geopolitical crisis to justify whatever interpretation is desired and appropriate.

~~ It is possible that for many standing so close to the edge of the apocalypse for so long has taken its toll.

~~ The question arises—is this just another opportunity to investigate a historical-cultural phenomenon brought about through scenarios of disaster and unrest, or are the events and conditions on the planet today satisfying the circumstances required for a truly significant transformation in the course of human affairs?

~~ Scholars both Christian and secular with years of study, with mastery and fluency of all relevant languages, and with the resources of great institutions of learning, and colleagues with extraordinary minds at their disposal continue to disagree.

~~ What is the common man with limited knowledge and resources to conclude?  With so many options how can one truly discern a cosmology that is relevant and true?

First of all you must understand this,

That in the last day’s scoffers will come,

scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying,

“Where is the promise of his coming?

For ever since our ancestors died,

All things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!”

2 Peter 3: 3, 4 (NRSV)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The Conclusion as presented in the Thesis

From the standpoint of the present, the allure and hope of the future is never static.  As events unfold throughout one’s life both inwardly and on the world’s stage, the yearnings and details of a fulfilling future move in and out of focus like a photographer preparing to take a picture of an object in the distance.  So it is with the Christian who hopes for and anticipates the millennium, and the secularist, Native American, New Age believer, and the devotees of other religions who contemplate the world’s destiny.  All look to the future with only the past and present as a guide and with a perception dependent upon each one’s unique experience.

Eschatology and apocalypticism are areas of study filled with variation and subjectivity.  As much as some Christians strive for distinctiveness, consistency, and certainty in their explanation of millennial events, it has not come to pass.  The differing viewpoints are far apart as to the specifics on timing, human involvement in outcomes, and the condition of society as a whole.  While there is agreement on an ending to earthly events and the eventual judgment and reign of Christ, everything occurring until then is open to the diversity of interpretation.  Even though there is not a consensus on the specifics, the conclusions that one reaches concerning the impact of future events on humanity and culture have a very definite and profound influence on individuals and society as a whole.

This influence ranges from the decisions made by powerful leaders in government, education, and business, to the attitudes taken into daily life by individuals who are parents, friends, and co-workers.  Thought has dominion over behavior, and apocalyptic thoughts can produce apocalyptic actions.  At the same time, utopian and hopeful thinking can result in encouraging and useful conduct.

As one surveys the events occurring in the world today from an eschatological and apocalyptic perspective, there are essential choices to be made.  Whatever might have occurred in the past and no matter how many generations have stood on similar ground, humanity once again finds itself at a significant crossroad to the future.  The attention given today to millennial, apocalyptic, and humanitarian issues attest to the importance of these themes.

Is civilization degenerating at an apocalyptic rate with or without demonic assistance, or is civilization just going through the valley ready to climb up a new mountain to a glorious horizon?

Although Christian, secular interests, and other religious perspectives are often opposed to each other on many differing fronts, there is a mutual bonding in certain present-day apocalyptic conclusions.  For the Christian premillennialist, Catholic apocalypticist, Native American, New Age believer, and secular apocalypticist, that communal ground exists within the contemporary prophetic expression, which contains common strands of interpretation that tread through shared predictions.  The conditions extant throughout the world that for many Christians are the source of anxiety and fear stimulate a response that births apocalyptic and premillennial prophecy.  And with that fear comes the need for hope, which is provided in the premillennial system.

For many, human effort and time will produce fruit and an opportunity for a peaceful and harmonious world community.  Technology, science, global communication, education, and mutually beneficial interests will bring about transformation and universal charity.  For the Christian postmillennialist or secular utopianist, it is time to get to work and not be so negative and defeatist.  The postmillennialist and amillennialist do not look upon the worldly influences as having more power than the sovereignty of God.

Given the state of political and social debate in our contemporary culture, the optimism expressed in the late eighteenth-century by Richard Price and Joseph Priestley seems sentimentally hopeful yet to many, unfortunately naive.  Asserted over two hundred years ago during cataclysmic political and societal events, it provides a stimulus for reflection while surveying the conditions of our own times.  “The virtuous would achieve God’s will on earth by combating and ultimately defeating the forces of corruption and evil.  Progressive changes in government would accomplish this task, because government controlled so many aspects of human life.”[1] It appears the long hoped for reformations in the affairs of men have still eluded our civilization.

The pessimist looks at the short term and the optimist at the long.  For the last three decades, dispensational premillennialism has had the advantage of dominant cooperating media that emphasizes the negative and disastrous, and sympathetic premillennialist Christian leaders focusing on the crises and catastrophes of modern times to spread an apocalyptic message, which the premillennialist has felt was supported by the signs of the times.  Some contend that the signs are pointing to imminent apocalypse and vindication of the premillennial view in the short term, while others argue that the able communicators of premillennial doctrine can manipulate the meanings of signs or any geopolitical crisis to justify whatever interpretation is desired and appropriate.  They look to the long term for a turn around of events and a more positive outcome and are tiring of a barrage of fatalism and despair.  The secular, Native American, and New Age community likewise has those on both sides of the apocalyptic fence.

It is possible that for many standing so close to the edge of the apocalypse for so long has taken its toll.  Postmillennialism and amillennialism have been experiencing a revival in the last few years.  The demands placed on the average citizen, just to maintain a comfortable and secure standard of living, have not allowed for the option of apocalyptic scenarios.  Denial of the significance of prophesied apocalyptic events, and signs whether religious or secular, is the choice for many.  To entertain properly and evaluate a potentially cataclysmic situation one must imagine and formulate the personal reactions and emotions inherent in the predicament.  For many with families, businesses, commitments, debt, and plans for a peaceful future this is inconceivable.  For others, denial is a flagrant avoidance of responsibility and dangerous to the individual and society.  Eugen Weber, in Apocalypses, suggests that we would do well to bear in mind Montaigne’s admonition: “It is a dangerous and consequential rashness, beside the absurd temerity that it entails, to despise that which we cannot conceive.”[2]

The question arises—is this just another opportunity to investigate a historical-cultural phenomenon brought about through scenarios of disaster and unrest, or are the events and conditions on the planet today satisfying the circumstances required for a truly significant transformation in the course of human affairs?

Not everyone can be right since so many predictions and interpretations do not correlate with each other.  Scholars both Christian and secular with years of study, with mastery and fluency of all relevant languages, and with the resources of great institutions of learning, and colleagues with extraordinary minds at their disposal continue to disagree.  Combine this with years of detailed analysis of every complementary subject and the wisdom of the historians of the ages, and still no consensus of eschatological principles.

What is the common man with limited knowledge and resources to conclude?  With so many options how can one truly discern a cosmology that is relevant and true?  For the Christian, perhaps the words of Blake apply to these enduring questions:  “The Beauty of the Bible is that the most Ignorant and Simple Minds Understand it Best.”[3]

Here we go round the prickly pear

Prickly pear prickly pear

Here we go round the prickly pear

At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is

Life is

For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men V, 1925[4]


[1] Fruchtman, The Apocalyptic Politics of Richard Price and Joseph Priestley, 45.

[2] E. Weber, Apocalypses, 233.

[3] Harrison, The Second Coming, 230.

[4] T. S. Eliot, Selected Poems (New York: Harcourt, 1936) 79, 80.

Critical Thinking for Preparedness Planning

By Denis Korn

critical thinking for preparedness

Seriously reflect on this post!

Having taught college philosophy courses in Critical Thinking, I am aware of the evaluation process most folks use in researching various subjects.  I teach students to consider the three “E’s” in their practice: Evaluate – Embrace – Embody.  Evaluation is earnest and appropriate research with discernment and reasoning.  To embrace that which you have evaluated requires prudent judgment and sensible critical thinking skills, combined with a little healthy intuition.  The embodiment is the hard part.  It takes discipline and a strong will to incorporate your carefully considered decisions into your thoughts, attitude, and actions.  I believe understanding and making use of these three steps in the evaluation process will aid you in your research of preparedness and outdoor products and advice.

Essentially there are two attitudes available to you when you do research into preparedness planning – or most research for that matter.  One attitude is the desire for discovery and to find out something new and hopefully valuable in your pursuit of knowledge and truth.  The other attitude is the search for validation for what you presume to be true, or at least to confirm what you already believe.

With optimistic expectations you seek knowledge and information – ideally with the suggestions given above – to discover the truthfulness and accuracy of information that will help you in your decision-making process – or you seek information that tells you how justifiable your decisions are that you have already made.

In the first case, you are not necessarily influenced or biased with prior details or another opinion.  In the second case, while there is no inherent problem with prior information that is appropriate, accurate, and reliable, there exists the human dilemma – the tendency to disregard that which is in conflict or disagreement with what you have already identified as correct and factual.  Once you have accepted information as fact, it is more difficult to evaluate new information objectively.

In the second case be extra vigilant and aware of your prior judgments and their accuracy if they conflict with new information. Previous data could, in fact, be reliable or perhaps faulty and inaccurate.  Understand clearly how you came to the conclusions and assessments you embraced.  Good discernment skills are essential in these situations.

Proper planning for emergencies and outdoor adventure is new and challenging for many people, and so you are encouraged to be conscientious and thorough.  Your decisions can affect your security, health or even your survival.

For over 40 years it has been and always will be the policy of Learn To Prepare and PrepareDirect to provide products, information, perspectives, insights, and recommendations for action with an attitude of helpfulness and respect for an individual’s choice based on evaluation and thoughtful judgment. You evaluate – you choose – you own your decisions. Be conscientious and diligent in your planning, and demand truthfulness and accuracy from your suppliers. Need help – we’re here!  Read the other companion articles on preparedness planning in the articles section on the home page of our website.

Here are important questions to answer when evaluating food reserves as part of the preparedness planning process:

1) Are the quantities and specific food products you are considering purchasing adequate and appropriate for the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness food supplies? What will be the anticipated duration of the emergency for which you are preparing? Will you need to be mobile?

2) On food assortments that specify food supplies for a specific length of time (i.e. 1 year, 6 months, 30 days), how was this time frame determined? Who determined it – the provider (the person or company selling you the products) or the manufacturer? Was it determined by caloric value or another means?

3) If the caloric value was used (the usual method), what are the daily values that determine the length of the assortment? For whom? Children – teens – adults – elderly? What was the source of the technical information on caloric values? Important note: Most companies selling food units do not adequately inform the customer of this essential information, and without it how can you properly compare differing available food reserve units? Unfortunately, many units have inadequate caloric values and deficient nutritional worth.

4) What is the source and quality of those calories? What amount of those calories comes from sugar?

5) Who is the manufacturer/canner of the food reserves? What do you know about them? How reliable are they?

6) Does the food manufacturing facility conform to federal standards, and are they inspected for cleanliness, and labeling compliance by the USDA? If not, who does inspect them?

7) How long have both the provider and manufacturer been in business? Will the provider/manufacturer be available in the future? What about future customer service?

8) What is the experience and qualifications of your food reserve provider? Have you researched them? While prudent planning and self-reliance are always important, is your provider more interested in promoting fear and catastrophe as an incentive to buy rather than knowledgeable information and sincere customer support?

9) Do you trust your food reserve provider? Will they deliver true value for your monetary investment? Also, do you trust their knowledge of the quality, quantity, and nutritional value required of the foods that you will be relying upon to keep you and your family alive in a serious emergency?

10) How familiar are you with the specific bulk foods or the foods in the units you will buy? Do you know how to prepare them? Are they similar to your current diet? Are you or family members allergic to specific ingredients? Will you be able to properly digest the types of foods in the units you want? Are the foods “better than starving” quality and consisting of items you have never eaten or hope you will never have to eat; or will you be satisfied to use your reserves at any time for convenience, camping, temporary economic difficulty, or during an emergency.

11) In the units with #10 size cans have you been given the information you need so you can make comparisons with other company’s products? One must compare apples with apples. For example, one might be given serving sizes but not the calories per serving or one company has significantly more product in a can compared to another, or the calories per can may substantially differ. Consider cost per calorie as a true means of comparison.

12) Ultimately the question is: What are you paying for? What is the cost per serving or per calorie? You must determine the real price by evaluating caloric values, the quality of those calories, the nutritional worth of the specific foods, and the actual quantities you are buying. Be diligent in your research and equip yourself with the facts – beware of less than honorable providers – I wish it were not so, but there is a great deal of inaccurate, misleading, and outright false information about preparedness products, storing foods, and proper planning.

 

Triggering Events

By Denis Korn

Please do not hide from the events that are occurring around you!

As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.”  Ask yourself,  What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?  What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?” If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for possible immediate action.

It is time to be specific!  Whether an emergency can be short term and have only a minimal disruption in your daily routine, or catastrophic requiring a significant change in life style, apathy and ignorance will not be bliss.  While I’m not a prophet or psychic, I do have the discernment skills to realize that we live in very precarious and uncertain times.  Between acts of God, geophysical events, and devastating man-made incidents, there are so many potential scenarios that could come to pass, that being continually vigilant is essential.

Based on the diversity of potential scenarios listed at the bottom of this post, here are some of my specific and significant triggering events:

  • Declaration of an imminent weather event
  • A pattern of major and/or catastrophic weather events
  • Significant indication of, or actual occurrence of, a major physical event or multiple events
  • Prolonged drought leading to possible food shortages and drastic measures
  • Potential loss of job, income or bank accounts due to government or corporate actions
  • Serious personal illness
  • Substantial instability in national and global financial markets
  • The elimination of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency
  • Bank holiday’s
  • An indication of a major financial restructuring
  • Economic collapse
  • Shortages of critical foods, medications and provisions
  • Curious and strange activity of government officials, corporate executives and the very wealthy
  • Social unrest and civil disobedience leading to severe government and police action
  • Martial law being declared
  • The suspension of the 1st and/or 2nd amendments – freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc. and the right to bear arms
  • Strict government control over the internet
  • Major cyber attack
  • Suspension of elections
  • Terrorist attack, act of war or preparation for war
  • Disruption of oil supplies
  • National medical or biological emergency – real or contrived
  • Activation of emergency presidential powers that will control everyone’s normal activities
  • An extraordinary governmental or media deception
  • Severe solar activity that could lead to CME’s (Coronal Mass Ejection) and major disruption of the electrical and communication grid
  • A profound and extraordinary religious, spiritual or cosmological event
  • Signs of an imminent pole shift or major geophysical event
  • An announcement by the government – widespread or to a confidential group – to relocate, leave coastal areas and to seek secure surroundings
  • Domestic terrorist activity by radical Islam and ISIS attacks in Europe and the US
  • Implementation of Agenda 21 (UN agenda to seize most private property in the US and instigate dramatic social control) and the suspension of property rights
  • Resignation/assassination of the President
  • Increasing and significant persecution of Christians, Jews, Patriots, Conservatives
  • Out of control immigration
  • Significant loss of freedoms
  • Iran gets the bomb
  • The Deep State gains control

 

Be encouraged – I hope none of these events or circumstances ever happen – And if they do God help us – as we help ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbors!

 

 

Be Prepared to Be Prepared

From a previous post

Currently a growing number of people believe serious physical, political and economic events could be occurring worldwide, it is once again essential to direct your attention to what I have identified as a “triggering event.”  Simply put, if you are still hesitating to prepare for emergencies or disasters, I urge you to identify and assign significance to a triggering event that will finally motivate you to provide for yourself and family during a significant emergency.

I have written on this subject before – it is even more timely today than it was then.  Folks that have followed my posts know that I do not subscribe to the doom-and-gloom end-of-the-world mindset.  One’s proper attitude regarding disaster planning is essential in maintaining the environment for critical thinking and effective results.  You are not only what you eat – you are what you think and what you focus your attention on.

Being able to discern reality from fantasy –  hopeful thinking from critical thinking – prudent planning from no planning – wise counsel from foolish counsel – the truth from the lie – a slick sales pitch from the facts, can be the difference between distress and peace of mind or even life and death during an unforeseen emergency.

You don’t have to believe in catastrophic events to be prepared.  Being prepared for the unexpected is simply a good idea.  Whatever your perspective, being aware of world events during these critical times and their potential effect upon you and your family and friends is the responsible attitude to embrace.

Many folks are reluctant to plan, or they assume that the government or others will take care of them, or they are just too busy, or they just don’t think it is necessary.  As an option to doing nothing or to enhance some other method of emergency preparedness planning you have chosen, consider the following.   As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.”  Ask yourself, “What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?” “What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?” If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the lookout for possible immediate action.  This is especially important if you have considered scenarios that will have a long term impact on the supply of goods and services that are required to sustain your basic needs.

If there are items that are essential to your well-being such as medical products, devices, children’s products, or special nutritional foods, then being alert to a potential disruption of vital needs is crucial. While it is always desirable to plan and have provisions in place, it is better to react at the last minute than not at all.  Know exactly what you need, how much will be adequate, where you have to go to supply your needs, how you will get there, and how you will pay for your supplies.  Obviously, some scenarios may offer some prior indications, such as hurricanes, storms, or economic/political issues; while others can occur without warning.  You are responsible – you must choose to act or not – unfortunately, nonaction can have severe consequences for yourself and your family!

If you have been hesitant to act or even reflect about preparedness planning you are encouraged to seriously consider this post.

Scenarios

Acts of God Man Made Earth Changes
Local – Regional National National/Worldwide
Earthquake Government regulation/control Catastrophic Weather
Flood Martial Law Asteroid/Comet
Fire Food Shortages Pole Shift
Hurricane Societal Breakdown Solar Flare – CME
Storm/Ice/Snow Civil Disobedience/Riots Tribulation/Religious
Tornado Medical Emergency Severe Earth Changes
Drought Economic Emergency/Collapse
Power Outage Major Accident
Mud Slide Terrorism Attack
Tsunami Biological/Chemical/Radiological Attack
EMP – Electrical Magnetic Pulse Attack
Personal Issues Bombing
Job Loss/Financial Loss War
Illness Cyber Attack – No internet
Emergencies
 

Time Frames

3 Days to 2 Weeks

Minor to moderate inconvenience and disruption of the daily routine.  Basic supplies in the first 3 days would be valuable for comfort but not essential.  An adequate amount of basic supplies after 3 days are important.3 Weeks to 2 Months

The inconvenience is very noticeable and the routine disruption can be significant.  Supplies required are usually on hand, and stockpiling some supplies will be very important.

3 Months to 6 Months

Preparedness planning is very important and a serious disruption to the daily routine is inevitable.  Mobility and location to wait out the emergency is important in your planning.  Proper supplies will be critical.  Medical and other special needs must be planned for in advance.

6 Months to 1 Year

Unless you are very prepared and are committed to self-reliance, in this time frame your lifestyle will definitely be impacted.  Serious attention to your preparedness planning is required.  The questions covered in the foundational articles must be answered and a realistic plan created.  Action and provisions are essential.  You will be dealing with serious issues during this time period, and you must be prepared.

1 Year or More

Scenarios actualized in this time frame are this most serious and catastrophic, and will require a serious commitment to lifestyle changes.  You will be dealing with national and worldwide calamity.  The extent of the impact on everyone’s life can not be over emphasized.  Significant and detailed planning is required, and even with this an emergency situation of this duration will be wrought with uncertainty.  This will be a time for community togetherness, sharing, and mutual support.  Skills not normally possessed by folks will be required.  Gardening and other self-reliant skills will be essential.  Books, tools, and other valuable resources will be vital.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Fundamental Components of Emergency Planning

By Denis Korn

Let us pray that 2019 will be a year of right living, right thinking, right planning, discernment and an attitude of true hope and faith.  May the Truth be with you and may you discover who you can truly trust!

These 10 Foundational Elements of Emergency Preparedness Planning – AND RESILIENCY – and the suggested links are in my opinion an essential component to the beginning, improving and solidifying an effective, successful and beneficial preparedness and disaster survival plan.  You are encouraged to conscientiously evaluate and embrace the information given and the guidance provided by the questions contained in the linked articles.

The wise and foolish builders

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

MATT 7:24 – 27 (NIV)                                                                                                                                 

1 – Attitude

The importance of a proper and confident attitude is essential and key to not only planning for an emergency, but also surviving an emergency.  The right attitude is the cornerstone and foundation of the preparedness process.  The three aspects of an appropriate attitude include: the pragmatic and realistic; the emotions and thoughts: the religious and spiritual.

An appropriate attitude is essential not only to survival, but also to effective functioning during a severe emergency. Your emotional and spiritual viewpoint is the sustaining components of enduring any emergency circumstance. The longer the crisis the higher degree of stress and anxiety, which will affect your health and well-being.

How serious are you?  Do you believe it is essential for you and your family to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your preparedness planning?  Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength, and hope? Where is your faith?

Without a thoughtful, reasoned, sincere and discerning attitude regarding potential emergencies with potentially devastating circumstances, conditions, and outcomes, or the possible detrimental effects on family, friends, groups, and community – this article or any presentation or investigation into preparedness planning and resiliency is an exercise in futility.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

— Viktor Frankl, MD, Ph.D. 1905 – 1997  Psychologist, Philosopher, Author and Survivor of 4 Nazi Concentration Camps  

“Frankl’s wisdom here is worth emphasizing: it is a question of the attitude one takes toward life’s challenges and opportunities, both large and small.  A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction.  A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments…”     William Winslade in the Afterword to Man’s Search for Meaning (2006 printing)

READ: Your Attitude is Your Decision – Own it!

2 – Critical Thinking and Discernment

While many think developing critical thinking skills are for the beginning philosophy student, they are vital for everyone.  Recognizing and overcoming the barriers to critical thinking are essential in creating and maintaining genuine, honest, and nurturing relationships and making effective and appropriate decisions.

A common denominator of these barriers is that the individual has no control over their effects.  They are held captive by defective responses and impressions.   One “reacts” to a situation, idea, or challenge, whereas the critical thinker “chooses” the process of thoughtful evaluation – embracing – and embodiment.  The critical thinker has the freedom to rightly assess circumstances and concepts, and the result is to arrive at an appropriate and insightful conclusion and reasonable outcome.

In the pursuit of the embodiment of critical thinking skills always be mindful of the value and necessity of honesty, wisdom, discernment, and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.  We live in an unprecedented time of media, institutional, educational, and political self-interest that will not hesitate to use any means possible to achieve its objectives including deceptive indoctrination techniques, propaganda, deceitfulness, fallacious argumentation, and fraud.

READ: Barriers to Critical Thinking

3 – Overcoming the Normalcy Bias – The attachment to inaction

The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.  Denial is the operative state of mind. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made by many in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster has never occurred to them, then it never will happen. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less dangerous situation.

The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes. The normalcy bias also causes people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, they think that everything will be all right, while information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them a reason to believe there is a risk. This creates a cognitive dissonance that they then must work to eliminate. Some manage to remove it by refusing to believe new warnings are coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the perceived danger.

READ: Normalcy Bias – Why People are Attached to Inaction

4 – Scenarios

What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies? 

What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life?  (This is not only the most important and first question to answer, but it is also often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough).  Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?  Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?  Is your family more susceptible to certain crises?  How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine?  Work or livelihood? How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm? The grid is essential to most homes and businesses – if it is down, how long could you function? What would society look like without the grid, and a prolonged cessation of the availability of vital goods and services? Do you have back up power?

How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing?

This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to envision the difficult details that might occur, the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly answering this question.  The longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity of situations that will surround you.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

The #1 Preparedness Question – What’s Your Scenario? (Why?)

5 – Knowledge and Skills

What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing?

How about the knowledge of family or friends?  What informational resources and references – books and other tangible items – do you have or have access to?  How confident are you that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to be responsible and effective for yourself and your family during an emergency?

The realization that you have the appropriate knowledge and have adequately prepared for unforeseen emergencies is an essential factor in discovering and embodying peace of mind.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

6 – Preparation and Action

The first step in the preparedness planning process is the acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be prepared in the event of unexpected circumstances.  Be encouraged to continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.

This process is undertaken in three phases – each one of which will take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you are experiencing.

  1. First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
  2. Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision making.
  3. Third, there is taking action and assembling the appropriate provisions, and critical information you have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind.  This phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up your supplies and information.

READ: Beginning and Improving Preparedness Planning

7 – Supplies

For most people planning for emergencies, it is similar to preparing for a camping trip or any other outdoor adventure where the usual conveniences of home are not available. The most significant difference is determining whether to plan for being away from home or being in your residence – or perhaps both. The equipment to include in your emergency kit or camping supplies list will be very comparable. Differences and variations will generally depend upon the severity and length of time you anticipate for your emergency scenario. Long term emergencies and outdoor explorations will require more extensive planning and provisioning.

Important questions to answer as you do your planning:

Are the equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be based on how cheap they are, or on the quality, value, and reliability of the product?  What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that you make?  Who is affected?  What chances are you willing to take with inferior and inadequate provisions?  What will the climate be during the emergency or adventure?  What is the probable availability of essential goods and services where you are going for your experience or during your anticipated emergency?

Be clear about the time factors, persons involved, and situations that you anticipate will occur in an emergency or an outdoor experience. Knowing this information is crucial to stocking the appropriate items in the proper quantities. Many of these items will be essential for bartering if supplies are exhausted and the emergency you are preparing for is long term.  Proper provisioning is about safety, health, protection, comfort, and peace of mind – for not only you but also your family and friends.  Don’t forget the special needs – medical, food or otherwise – of you or your family.

Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?

Is it prioritized?  Do you have a list of the essential categories your supplies fall under? What do you have on hand now?

During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends?

This includes not only information and education, but also essentials such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical supplies.  What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or elimination?  What will you do to compensate for the loss of electricity, water, gas, or phone service?

READ: Checklist of Essentials for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

8 – Considering Others

Many conscientious preparedness planners realize that individuals, groups, and churches should provide for the most vulnerable and those in need, especially in a time of emergency.  They feel it is the groups’, churches’ or an individual’s responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting contingency planning education and action for its members or others.  There is ample historical precedent for this perspective.

As far as churches are concerned, some feel that much time, effort and money is spent on spiritual issues and teaching activities (which is, of course, primary and essential), missions, and new facilities, but not enough on basic physical essentials such as food and daily necessities.  There is a desire to make sure that church members, or anyone seeking the help of the church, such as the elderly, widows, disabled, single parents and the poor, are secure with the essentials during times of adversity and disaster – especially when primary sources of supplies may not be available.

Family and neighbors often do not take responsibility to provide for themselves during emergencies.  Considering others while one engages in the preparedness process is a very personal and vital factor to consider.  Whether it is provisions, education or a desire to teach and motivate, all planners need to contemplate whether or not they will address the essential needs of others.

READ: Why Are So Many Christians Being Called to Prepare?

9 – Communication

What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate?

This includes both two-way communication with others, including family, friends, and associates, and one-way communication from radio stations, emergency broadcasts, or individuals via short wave. Do you have a cell phone? Will towers be functioning? Land lines? Internet? Hand held walkie-talkies? Satellite phone? Short wave radios? Citizens band radios? Emergency radios and/or ham radios with two-way communication capability? During a serious emergency accurate information and updates are essential for survival. What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) from a solar flare or nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics useless? How will this affect the equipment you are relying upon?

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

10 – Networking

Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur?

Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you also?  Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to assist and resolve the situation?  Do you have a community support network available?  What skills and knowledge do you possess that you can contribute?

During a serious and prolonged emergency, it will be vital to have available to you and your family the support and expertise of others in your neighborhood and community.  Everyone has a skill that they can share during challenging times.  The sooner you discover those who are compassionate and sympathetic enough to network with others, the better it will be if an emergency occurs.

READ: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

A Message of Encouragement

By Denis Korn       

   Be Encouraged!

My Be Encouraged post first appeared at the end of 2011 and I have received many encouraging comments about its value in these troubling and challenging times.  I have been posting a message of encouragement every year at about this time with additions and further encouragements.  

It is my observation after 44 years in the preparedness and outdoor recreation industry as a manufacturer and retailer, a researcher and commentator on contemporary cultural events, and with my college teaching experience, that 2019 will be a transformational year – a crossroad that will determine the course of our nation. This is not meant to be an article about the specifics of preparedness or outdoor adventure – it is here to be a brief rest from the apprehension of daily life and the anguish of the times.  2018 has been a year of significant challenges and 2019 will be even more daunting.

The first definition of encourage in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope – may you be encouraged to endure with sustaining faith and hope!

I felt a personal calling to write and share this prayer of encouragement as a gift to those needing some uplifting words during distressing events and the constant perpetration by media and government of crisis, fear and hysteria.

It is difficult to stay positive, feel secure and be joyful when the world around us appears to be degenerating and transforming, and so many people are delusional. 

We all need encouragement to help us cope

Blessings to those who are encouraged by these words

  • Be encouraged: to find tranquility, serenity, courage, and contentment amid the uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion of the times.
  • Be encouraged: during the chaos, uncertainty, and distress of agonizing current events, to trust GOD to replace fear and worry with peace and hope.
  • Be encouraged: to reject discouragement.
  • Be encouraged: to avoid those who rob you of your passion.
  • Be encouraged: to pursue a course of right thinking and living that will inspire all who encounter you.
  • Be encouraged: to seek the company and counsel of those who encourage, understand and support you.
  • Be encouraged: to develop critical thinking skills and to seek the wisdom to be able to discern the truth from the lie.
  • Be encouraged: to discover someone you can truly trust.
  • Be encouraged: to focus your mind and heart on that which edifies, inspires and transforms.
  • Be encouraged: to let go of the notion that you can do “it” all yourself.
  • Be encouraged: to cast off the chains that bind you to discontentment.
  • Be encouraged: to love one another in thought, heart, and deed.
  • Be encouraged: to be selfless, not selfish.
  • Be encouraged: to be honest with yourself – and others.
  • Be encouraged: to set aside a few moments each day to quiet your mind, open the eyes of your heart, meditate in silence, be thankful, and give praise to GOD for the blessings and opportunities that you have been given.
  • Be encouraged: to deflect the negativity, fear, and hatred that is thrust upon you daily.
  • Be encouraged: to experience aliveness as much as possible.
  • Be encouraged: to discern the beneficial actions you are called upon to pursue during these troubled times.
  • Be encouraged: to be courageous while you walk among the weak and disheartened.
  • Be encouraged: not to give up on loved ones who are in denial of the truth of the times and ridicule you for your faith and commitment to being prepared for the unforeseen.
  • Be encouraged: to embody the right attitude that will carry you through all the trials and tribulations of your life.
  • Be encouraged: to continually search for and discover meaning in all circumstances.
  • Be encouraged: to embody forgiveness.
  • Be encouraged: to embolden our youth with a hunger for the Truth.
  • Be encouraged: to realize and exemplify your GOD given purpose in life.
  • Be encouraged: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – think about (meditate on) these things … Phil 4:8
  • Be encouraged: to pray to GOD with thanksgiving – believe and have faith – let go – follow GOD’s guidance and instruction with patience and perseverance.
  • Be encouraged: to resist the temptations and deception of the evil one, and pray that the darkness will be vanquished and conquered by the Light.
  • Be encouraged: to discern the difference between GOD’S will and your will.
  • Be encouraged: that GOD will grant you the Serenity to accept the things you can not change; the Courage to change the things you can, and the Wisdom to know the difference (serenity prayer).
  • Be encouraged: to encourage others!

God is our refuge and strength.

A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

Even though the earth be removed,

And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though its waters roar and be troubled,

Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

Psalm 46: 1-3

Evacuate – Essential Guidelines Updated

By Denis Korn

Franklin quoteImportant November 2018 update.

This post, Evacuate – Essential Guidelines Updated, is one of the most important posts I have written.

I am posting it again considering the devastating fires that have occurred here in Northern California last year and this year.  This year’s fire, which occurred just a couple of weeks ago, was very close, about an hour and a half away, in Paradise, CA (the most devastating fire in California history).  This year’s and last year’s fires impacted our community directly.  These fires were a significant wake-up call and an essential lesson in being prepared for the unexpected, and the need for immediate action.  The fires destroyed thousands of homes (almost 14,000 just in Paradise) and structures, and significantly impacted thousands of lives.

The fires here in our area and nearby counties started in the middle of the night or very early in the morning due to very hot, dry, and windy conditions.  The fires grew extremely fast, were intense, and they occurred in residential neighborhoods.  In many instances, the evacuation was immediate.  In other situations only very little time was given.

What I learned from last year’s and this year’s fires and the recent Orville Dam evacuation that affected our area:

  • Emergencies and catastrophes can occur at any time and often when they are least expected and when one is the least prepared.
  • When you must evacuate immediately, there is no time for planning, assessing, discussion, or wandering around the house or office gathering vital papers, equipment, electronics, medications, and heirlooms.  Most people are so traumatized and shocked that the decisions made are often ineffective and inappropriate.
  • Most people do not believe disasters will happen to them and don’t realize that they may lose everything.
  • When people must evacuate, many don’t take not only fundamental provisions, but they also don’t take essentials like medications/prescriptions, medical needs, important papers, computers, cell phones, communication information about family – friends – business, children’s needs, pet needs, money/credit cards, special needs.
  • Communication – Communication – Communication
  • Many evacuees rely entirely on the local, state or federal government for protection, food, shelter, and medical assistance.
  • Most people have not created an appropriate plan of action, and don’t know where to find adequate provisions and guidance.
  • Community support is essential, and there are many devoted and caring locals, churches and organizations who are willing to help.
  • Keeping informed of the latest developments during a disaster is crucial for safety and planning.
  • Unfortunately, there are those who will not take responsibility for the protection of themselves, family, neighbors, and pets.  What does it take to motivate, educate, and encourage someone to be accountable?

The timeliness of this information cannot be overstated! The uncertainty of the times requires appropriate preparation and answering the questions contained in this article.  It is a valuable companion to another important post Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning – Including Vehicle Preparedness – Latest Update.

I feel it is very important also to include in this article one of my Foundational Articles titled Is your entire family prepared for emergencies at all times?  It appears at the end of this post. 

You are highly encouraged to share this post and its vital information with family, friends, business associates, church and temple congregations, and other members of any organizations to which you belong.  May this post help you in your serious preparedness planning.  Celebrate Peace of Mind!

Here are the crucial questions to answer when assembling your emergency responce plans and emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag – which is essential if you must leave your home or business quickly.

  • If an evacuation has been declared, a severe weather event is imminent, or a significant disaster has occurred, how will I know?
  • If I must evacuate, do I know what to do if given an immediate order, one minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or more?
  • If I must evacuate, will I be in a cozy government evacuation center with food, water, blankets, and a bed, a hotel/motel room, a friend’s/relative’s house, or will I be on my own in the elements, a crude shelter?
  • Am I clear on the circumstances and scenarios that may arise that will require me to evacuate versus the circumstances that would compel me to stay put and hunker down?
  • Do I have an escape plan? Evacuation routes?  Family and business communication?  How to assemble essential documents, electronics and important papers?  Turn off gas and electric?
  • If specific government, church, community and friend’s sheltering options are not available, where do I go? How far? How do I get there?
  • What conditions can I expect to encounter – best scenario – worst scenario?
  • How long do I anticipate that I may have to rely upon my grab-and-go provisions?
  • What are the weather conditions I am likely to encounter? What is the season?
  • Will I be alone, or are others depending on me? Family – children – elderly – pets?
  • Am I dependent on others? Who? Why? Do I expect the government to take care of me?
  • What kind of support is likely to be available?
  • Do I have a list of local governmental agencies, relief organizations, emergency offices to contact if necessary?
  • What food and water should I always have on hand?  Where do I store it?
  • What life-sustaining essential needs are necessary for my family and me?  Are they immediately accessible?  If they are electricity dependent, do I have a back-up power source?
  • What if there is nothing left when I return?
  • Are my essentials, ID, heirlooms, personal treasures, irreplaceable photographs, documents, and financial assets secure if I leave with only my grab-and-go bag?  What of these items should be immediately available if I evacuate?
  • Do I have a very accessible list for myself and family members to consult of essential items to take that may not be in a grab-and-go bag near the front door?
  • Are essential documents, computer with essential information and years work, papers, photos, ID, communication contacts, cash, and other valuable items not in the grab-and-go bag all in the same place so they can be assembled immediately?
  • Do I have a reliable communication plan to contact family, friends and business associates at a moment’s notice?
  • If an evacuation is called or if the home is destroyed when family members are in different locations, what is my plan to meet at a preset safe location or contact another family member or friend as a coordinator?
  • What is the potential severity of the emergency I might experience?
  • Will I have transportation, or will I be on foot?
  • If the electricity is out, how will this impact my evacuation?  Lighting at night?  Opening the garage door to get the car out?
  • Do I have enough money on hand to pay for possible shelter, food or supplies if I am suddenly evacuated and away from home or business?
  • Am I truly prepared for the unexpected, a procrastinator, or am I in denial (Normalcy Bias)?

To have a genuinely adequate emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag, the above questions must be answered. Your preparedness bag contents will vary depending on numerous factors such as time, the number of persons, locations involved, mobility, support available, season, comfort level desired, anticipated scenarios, and the degree of peace of mind you want.  If specific provisions are not appropriate to your assessment of needs, I still highly encourage you to have available all the essential documents, wallets with money and credit cards, papers, ID, policies, contact information, and life-sustaining medications and special needs.

Here is a list of the basic essentials for every kit. Each category will have multiple options depending on how you answer the above crucial questions. Cheap, inadequate and poorly made provisions don’t belong in a quality kit. Prepare your kit as if you and your family’s life and comfort depended on it – because it does!

  1. Water – bottled/filters/purifiers/tablets/containers
  2. Food – ready-to-eat/bars/trail mix/freeze dried/shelf-stable/food preparation equipment
  3. Medical – quality medical kit with instructions/prescriptions/glasses/essential medications/sunscreen/insect repellent/dental medic/foot care/safety pins/dust mask/gas mask
  4. Special Needs – food/medical/children/elderly/disabled/pets
  5. Tools – multi-tool/knife/wire/cable ties/duct tape/rope/paracord/gloves/small axe/repair tools/super glue/aluminum foil/ /manual can opener (often on multi-tool)/bungee cords/foldable or wire saw
  6. Communication – radio/hand crank – solar – battery/two-way radios/cell phone
  7. Fire – fire starter/lighter/matches/tinder/flint starter/magnifying glass
  8. Signaling & Orienting – whistle/signal mirror/compass/maps/GPS device
  9. Lighting – Hand crank – solar – battery/headlamp/flashlight/lantern/candles/light sticks
  10. Power & Energy – batteries – regular and rechargeable/power-pack for batteries & cell phone recharged by solar and/or hand crank that charges devices directly
  11. Shelter – tarp/tent – tube or larger/plastic sheeting/insect protection
  12. Emergency Blankets/sleeping bags – emergency or larger or bivy sack
  13. Personal Hygiene/sanitary supplies/disinfectant
  14. Plastic Bags/ties
  15. Personal Security – weapon & ammo if appropriate/pepper spray/bear repellent/mace or other options
  16. Appropriate Clothing and Footwear – protection from the elements and insects/apparel for warmth/heat packs – hand and body warmers
  17. Identification and Essential Documents – Bible/compact survival handbook/personal ID/insurance, copy of resume, and other key documents/entertainment
  18. Spare Keys
  19. Phone Numbers and Addresses – friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
  20. Instructions on meeting and communicating with family and friends during or after an emergency
  21. Multiple evacuation routes marked on a map.
  22. Cash/credit cards
  23. Pen/markers/paper
  24. Configured Compact Emergency Kit with Essential Items
  25. Carrying Device – carry bag/backpack/suitcase/sturdy container/Food & Supply Brick™/duffel Bag (very durable and if you anticipate carrying your bag any distance shoulder straps should be available with your carry bag or duffel)

If time permits, take irreplaceable items such as heirlooms, heirloom jewelry, photographs, military/marriage/birth/deed records, computers, tablets, and personal contact information and documents not included in your grab-and-go device.

Water
This is an obvious necessity for everyone. Know what water sources are available to you during an emergency, or in the outdoors. Plan accordingly and don’t hold back preparing for this essential category.

Determine whether or not you want to purify water for viruses.  Not all water filters are designed for this purpose – look for water purifiers that specifically state that they will kill viruses.

Food
Numerous options are available. This category must be accessed carefully, and the quality and quantity of foods chosen should be appropriate to the anticipated length of time of the emergency or outing, and severity of circumstances you anticipate might occur.  For shorter term scenarios foods in most situations should be nutritious and ready-to-eat; however, you might want to consider some foods requiring only the addition of cold or hot water.  If you do need hot water, you must plan for the appropriate means and equipment to heat your water.  Options listed have a longer shelf life and are suitably packaged for kits or backpacks.

Medical
When your health and survival during a medical emergency is at stake, you don’t want to rely on cheap or inadequate medical supplies. This is an important category to thoughtfully evaluate. Don’t forget medications or products needed for those with special medical conditions.  If your pre-assembled kit doesn’t include one, make sure you get a good book on medical emergencies.

Shelter/warmth
Protection from the elements and insects is essential, especially in a harsh climate.

Tools
Numerous unforeseen situations or just routine conditions occur during an emergency or during an outdoor adventure. Be prepared and secure with the proper quality tool.

Communication/Signaling
It is essential to keep informed during an emergency with friends, family, and appropriate governmental agencies and emergency organizations. When in an outdoor environment, unsettled weather considerations necessitate weather alert radios. Avoid a sense of isolation during serious emergencies.  If you get lost or are separated from your group signaling can be crucial.  Since electronic items are included in this category, you may want to consider a small solar power device.

Lighting
This is an essential category to address when anticipating any situation where you may be in darkness. Not only for a sense of security and comfort, but to be able to see clearly and act accordingly if emergencies occur in the dark.

Personal protection
For some, this may not be an essential primary category.  Everyone must decide the extent to which they will or will not provide protection for themselves and their families from physical harm by others or wild animals.

This article provides a fundamental list of suggested items we believe are essential for emergency preparedness and outdoor recreation; especially if space, weight, and mobility are important.  For an expanded list of suggestions read our article: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Items for Automobiles – Trucks – Vans – RV’s

These items are especially necessary for long trips, family outings, new younger drivers, inclement weather, evacuation, remote area travel, and at night.

AS A FATHER OF 3 DAUGHTERS AND 8 GRANDCHILDREN, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE FATHERS AND MOTHERS TO ENSURE YOUR CHILDREN ARE SECURE AND PREPARED – ESPECIALLY IN WINTER AND INCLEMENT WEATHER – WHEN THEY ARE DRIVING!

  • Spare tire
  • Jack with a tire iron and supporting tools
  • Device to break the window and cut seat belts from the inside in an emergency
  • Tire inflation device – portable power and/or aerosol can inflator/other tire repair materials
  • JB Weld®/super adhesive
  • Jumper cables
  • Portable power unit for jump-starting and backup power
  • Tow cables/rope
  • Chains/cables/bungee cords for tightening
  • Crowbar
  • Reflectors/flares
  • Hidden spare key
  • Extra oil
  • Extra gas/funnel if appropriate
  • Siphon hose
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Extra fan belts/bulbs/hoses/additives/sealers/hard to get parts/repair kit
  • Window scraper
  • Important phone numbers/documents/insurance information
  • GPS device if appropriate
  • Empty gas can
  • Material to gain traction if stuck in snow or ice – cat litter/sand/wood shavings/old rug

Additional critical items from the Essential Checklist to carry in your vehicle:

  • Tarps
  • Blankets/emergency sleeping bag
  • First Aid kit
  • Baby supplies
  • Food and water/water purification/containers if appropriate
  • Maps
  • Pen/magic marker/paper
  • Personal documents and photo ID/registration/insurance
  • Gloves
  • Duct tape
  • Rope/wire
  • Repair tools
  • Plastic bags large and small
  • Cell phone/smart phone/charger
  • Emergency radio/hand crank radio
  • Emergency lighting
  • Rope/wire/bungees
  • Small solar/12-volt power packs for small electronics
  • Cash/credit card
  • Extra clothing in harsh and wet weather/hat
  • Hand/body warmers
  • Rain gear/rubber boots/poncho
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Whistle
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Shovel
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Matches/fire starter
  • Extra batteries
  • Personal protection devices or items as appropriate/pepper spray                                                                                                                                      
  • Refer to the Essential Checklist for other items relevant to your vehicles specific needs.

 

Is your entire family prepared for emergencies at all times?

Recent events have brought us catastrophic circumstances that have had devastating and lasting effects on thousands of people around the world.  I pray that you take this advice seriously.   Recent conversations have also motivated me to consider this important article as a Foundational Article.

I am reminded of a presentation I made some years back to a large gathering of preparedness professionals.  This convention consisted of folks who came from all over the country and of course this meant that they would be gone from their families for a few days.  Bear in mind that at my presentation there were a couple of hundred people whose responsibilities included preparedness planning and education for very large companies, organizations, and governmental agencies.

At the beginning of my talk, I asked the group how many felt completely confident that in their absence their families were prepared to deal with unforeseen emergencies or disasters – especially significant ones.  Only a few raised their hands!  Since most of these participants were the head of their households, what does it tell you about fulfilling one’s responsibility to protect and keep the family secure in difficult times?

Fortunately, over the years, the professional emergency management community has become more dedicated to personally embodying what they are responsible for in government and business.  What about the average household?

It appears that most heads of households have some notion that their presence is security enough for the family during an emergency.  This is a dangerous assumption.  The sensible attitude is to ensure that all family members – adults – the elderly – teenagers – and young children, know:

  • What to do
  • How to respond
  • Where to go – or not go
  • Who to contact
  • Where the information and supplies are located
  • How to use and operated essential equipment
  • How to access drinking water
  • How to prepare any food reserves
  • How to communicate with family and emergency personnel
  • How to keep warm in freezing conditions
  • How to have the proper attitude
  • How to pray

Instructions should be in writing, and the entire family should participate in drills and practices.  Family members – immediate and extended – should know their part during an emergency under all scenarios and given any combination of family members physically present – or absent.

  • Do your children, spouse and other family members know what to do and how to act if a serious emergency occurs and they are not at home?
  • How will you communicate with them or those in their keeping?
  • What if they are at school – what plans does the school have to communicate with parents or guardians?
  • What will the school provide for students?
  • What if they are at work – what plans does the business or organization have to communicate with other family members?
  • What will the business provide for their employees?
  • Does the business or organization have their contingency plans?
  • Do you have contingency plans for communication and provisioning for your spouse – adult children – younger children when they are away from home at camp, business trip, etc.?
  • What if an emergency occurs while a family member is in their vehicle and in transit?
  • Is your family secure, knowledgeable and responsible?

Between Learn To Prepare and numerous internet websites, there is an abundance of valuable information for the whole family.  Study this information as if your life and your families’ life depended on it – in a significant emergency, it does!

So, I ask all of you reading this post:  In your absence is your family adequately educated and prepared to properly respond and survive during a serious emergency?  I encourage you to have all family members read the Foundational Articles on the right column of this blog.

dilbertDisasterPlan

 

The Definitive Essentials Checklist

By Denis Korn                                                                                                                    emergency_preparedness1

NOTE:  The demand for the information given in this definitive essentials checklist has been significant – so I am posting it again with additional comments and items.  There are listed both convenient and essential items required for proper preparedness & adventure.  Only you know your unique situations and anticipated scenarios – prepare accordingly.

This is one of the 15 Foundational Articles which are available on the column to the right.  As we enter the holiday season and the winter, it is extremely important to have essential provisions on hand.  Review this list seriously and welcome to peace of mind!

Many of the items listed in this checklist are available on our product website PrepareDirect.  We will be adding new items and categories continually so please visit us.

This exceptionally comprehensive essential checklist for emergency preparedness should be a crucial assist in your emergency, survival and outdoor adventure planning – study it carefully! It is one of the most comprehensive lists available – thankfully copied by many.

For most people planning for emergencies is similar to planning for a camping trip or any other outdoor adventure where the normal conveniences of home are not available. The biggest difference is determining whether to plan for being away from home or in your own residence – or perhaps both. The equipment to include in your emergency kit or camping supplies list will be very comparable. Differences and variations will generally depend upon the severity and length of time you anticipate for your emergency scenario. Long term emergencies and outdoor explorations will require, in addition to this list, more extensive planning and provisioning.

Important questions to answer as you do your planning:

  • Are the equipment and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be based on how cheap they are, or on the quality, value, and reliability of the product?
  • What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that are made?
  • Who is affected?
  • What chances are you willing to take with inferior and inadequate provisions?
  • What will the climate be during the emergency or adventure – weather and political?
  • What is the probable availability of essential goods and services at the location where you are or where you are going for your adventure or during your anticipated emergency?

I highly recommend you evaluate and answer the 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning.

Although this list is an authoritative and comprehensive compilation of crucial supplies for emergency preparedness and outdoor adventure, these suggestions focus on basic necessities, and are not intended to be an exhaustive and detailed list of all choices, as each person or group has their own special requirements and needs. While there are numerous options to choose from in each category, use this guideline of essentials to ensure you have evaluated all the possibilities given the scenarios and circumstances for which you are preparing and provisioning, whether for preparedness planning or outdoor adventuring.

Your comfort, enjoyment and life may depend upon it!

Be clear about the time factors, persons involved, and situations that you anticipate will occur in an emergency or an outdoor experience. Knowing this information is crucial to stocking the appropriate items in the appropriate quantities. Many of these items will be essential for bartering if supplies are exhausted and the emergency you are preparing for is long term.

Proper provisioning is about safety, health, protection, comfort, and peace of mind – for not only you, but also your family and friends.

Items with an asterisk * are recommended for a “grab-and-go bag” or “bug out bag.” This is an easily accessible bag you keep nearby to grab when you only have a moments notice to evacuate. Items with a double asterisk ** indicates items for your bag whose quantity will depend on the length of your anticipated emergency scenario. You may require more than one quick-grab-bag depending on your specific needs.

As a complement to this checklist, I highly recommend answering the questions in: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning article.

Important and related posts:

Essential Emergency Grab-and-Go Kit Information & Advice

10 Foundational Elements of Preparedness Planning

Critical Questions and Essential Information About Bug-Out-Bags and Vehicle Preparedness

THE LIST

  1. Carrier for Provisions

If you anticipate having to relocate, have your transportable supplies in one or two easily accessible carriers, especially if you must leave in a hurry.

  • *Backpack
  • *Large duffel/canvass bag with duel shoulder straps in case it has to be carried for some distance
  • Lightweight suitcase/sturdy container/Food and Supply Brick™
  • Wheeled device
  1. Water

An obvious necessity for everyone. Know what water sources are available to you during an emergency, or in the outdoors. Plan accordingly and don’t hold back preparing for this essential category. Don’t go cheap!

  • *Gravity/hand pump water purifier/filter/extra cartridges/straw filters
  • *Bottle purifier/filter
  • *Purification tablets – Chlorine Dioxide/iodine
  • *Separate containers for dirty and treated water
  • Multiple containers depending upon the situation
  • WaterBricks™ water container
  • Camelback™ & bladder type containers
  • **Specially packaged water (5+ years storage life), Aqua Blox®
  • **Bottled water (2 years storage life) – can be filtered or treated if older
  • Solar or stove top distillers
  • Survival Still® non-electric portable distiller
  • Desalinators for salt water
  • Reverse osmosis purifiers
  • UV purifiers
  • Additives – colloidal silver/bio-active silver hydrosol/stabilized oxygen/BioFilm drops
  • Chlorine (5.25 % sodium hypochlorite, non-scented only with no additives – 6 drops per gallon)
  • Manual pump if near a well
  • Water gathering supplies – plastic tarps/containers/instructions
  • Water stored in your own containers – large and small
  1. Food

Numerous options are available. This category must be accessed carefully depending upon the length of time of the emergency or outing, and severity of circumstances you anticipate might occur. Remember, certain foods will require more water and fuel to prepare – is this appropriate to your anticipated situation? Would you store foods for an emergency that you would not normally want to eat? Foods should be shelf stable and easy to prepare. Consider nutrient dense foods not empty calorie foods. When considering whole grains, seeds, legumes and beans don’t forget sprouting.

NOTE: Many newer food companies are promoting their pouched foods to have a 25 year plus shelf life – beware! Many of these food companies market their foods as “survival” foods – they are just that – eaten to survive only – their quality, packaging and shelf stability is questionable. Would you store foods for an emergency that you would not normally want to eat?

  • **Bars/energy bars/trail mix/food tablets
  • **Other eat-as-is simple and nutritional compact/nutritionally dense foods
  • **Freeze-dried/dehydrated from established companies in pouches, cans or bulk – numerous varieties available
  • Canned – wet pack
  • **Retort wet-pack pouches/trays/self-heating meals
  • **MRE’s (Meals-Ready-To-Eat) – military specs (These military designed rations were developed for troops to be eaten for no longer than one month at a time – they are not appropriate for exclusive long term consumption)
  • Boxed – eat as is/mixes/individual items
  • Baking soda (numerous uses)
  • Non-perishable basics
  • Powdered items – milk/cheese/whey/vegetables/fruits
  • Wild foods/foraging – get a good illustrated guide
  • Bulk commodities – Rice (brown rice has a short – 6 months – shelf life), grains, seeds, honey, beans (smaller grains and beans are good for sprouting and cook quicker with less water)
  • Bulk freeze-dried, dehydrated, air dried, instant, just-add-water, powders – fruits, vegetables, beans, pasta, oats
  • **Ready-to-eat comfort and nutritional foods
  • Garden seeds if appropriate – longer term scenarios – heirloom/organic (You will find many who promote storing garden seeds. You must research the shelf life, storage conditions and germination viability of the different varieties you are storing – they vary considerably.       Garden seeds alone are inadequate without tools, gardening knowledge, the ability to remain in place and of course water. In the long term emergency situation where survival depends on growing your own food, significant planning is vital.)
  • Supplements – vitamins/minerals/powdered green drinks/energy formulations
  • **Concentrated energy powders/bars/tablets
  • Condiments/seasoning blends/salt/coffee/tea/bullion/sweeteners (as natural as possible such as stevia and coconut sugar)
  • Gravy – dry mix or canned (can be added to bland foods for flavor)
  • Cooking oil (olive oil in a steel container has a decent shelf life – avoid hydrogenated oils containing trans-fat)
  • **Special needs foods – Those with food intolerance’s/nursing mothers/children/medical conditions
  • Baby foods
  • Red wine
  • Freeze-dried meats
  • Tuna fish in oil/sardines – high protein and long shelf life
  • **Cooking/heating required for the foods you have in your grab-and-go bag?
  1. Food Preparation

If you must relocate and plan on cooking or heating water, consider lighter weight and efficient equipment.

  • **Stove – camping/alternative/very portable/Kelly Kettle®
  • **Pots and pans – stainless steel/cast iron/non-stick – avoid aluminum
  • **Utensils
  • Pressure cooker
  • **Cookware kit
  • Grills
  • **Fuel – propane canisters/butane canisters/white gas/alcohol/wood/solid fuel cubes/charcoal/kerosene/lighter fluid
  • *Water/food bottle
  • *Hand operated can opener/opener on a knife or multi-tool/P38 (for all of us military folks)
  • 5 or 6 gallon plastic buckets
  • FoodBricks™ – from WaterBrick™ company
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Chlorine bleach – non scented
  • *Plastic bags/containers
  • Cheese cloth
  • Thermos for “prepare in container” whole and cracked cereals (Add about a 1:1 ratio of boiling water and cereal –       mix in dried fruit, nuts and sweetener if desired – close container tight – let sit a few hours or overnight.)
  • Knife sharpener
  • “Package-you-own” equipment and supplies
  • Solar oven with cookware/GoSun Solar Stove/All American Sun Oven (both units will also purify water)
  • Manual grain mills/grinders/juicers/mixers/beaters
  • Sprouting equipment – portable and/or stationary/sprouting jars
  • Canning equipment if appropriate
  • Twist-ties
  • Corkscrew/bottle opener
  • Paper plates/bowls/cups/towels
  • Coffee filters – has multiple filtering uses
  • Small storage containers
  • Aluminum foil
  1. Fire Starter – Matches

Be prepared for any situation and the possible need to start a fire, especially if weather conditions are severe.

  • *Flint/magnesium starters
  • **Waterproof tinder/very fine steel wool/products designed to start fires in adverse conditions
  • **Windproof high quality lighters/disposable Bic type lighters
  • **Matches in a waterproof container/storm proof matches
  • Magnifying glass
  1. Medical

When your health and survival during a medical emergency is at stake, you don’t want to rely on cheap or inadequate medical supplies. This is an important category to thoughtfully evaluate. Don’t forget medications or products needed for those with special medical conditions.

  • *Quality kit with adequate components for a multitude of emergencies
  • *Accessories – dental emergencies/suture kit/snake bite kit – instructions/tweezers/safety razor blades/cotton balls/scissors/safety pins/tick removal
  • Syrup of Ipecac (to induce vomiting if poisoned)
  • *Essential prescription medications/allergy medications/birth control
  • *First Aid manual
  • *Insect repellant (non DEET recommended)
  • *Sunscreen/lip balm
  • *Eyeglasses/sunglasses/contacts/repair kit
  • *Copies of prescriptions
  • *Foot care/moleskin/blister pads
  • Aspirin/Tylenol/ibuprofen/other over the counter drugs for minor issues/antibiotics
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Colloidal Silver – internal/external – gel
  • Herbal kits/aloe vera
  • Dust masks/gas masks
  • Potassium Iodate (Iodate is recommended over Iodide)
  • Isopropyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol
  • Anti-itch salve
  • Medications for head lice
  • Ear plugs (it could get noisy at night)
  • Quik Clot® (stops bleeding)
  • Baking soda/hydrogen peroxide
  • Tourniquet
  • Thermometer
  • Latex gloves/Nitrile – latex free gloves
  1. Personal Hygiene – Sanitary Supplies  

Depending on individual circumstances and your location, it is vital to prevent any problems that might arise from unsanitary conditions. Take precautions to ensure a disease free environment. The length of an emergency and living/camping conditions require different approaches to personal hygiene.

  • **Personal hygiene items – soap/toothbrush/toothpaste/shampoo/deodorant/hair brush/comb/dental floss (multiple uses)
  • **Feminine hygiene
  • **Treated towelettes/waterless wipes
  • **Sanitary toilet provisions – portable toilet/powered chlorinates or lime/disposable urinals – solid waste bags
  • *Plastic bags
  • Latex gloves/nitrile – latex free gloves
  • **Toilet Paper
  • Towels
  • Solar shower
  • *All purpose soap/cleaning agents
  • *Anti-bacterial sanitizer
  • Kleenex
  • *Nail clippers
  • Lime/disinfectant/bleach
  • Cloth diapers (multiple uses)
  • Small shovel
  1. Clothing

For warmth, comfort, and protection from insects and the elements.

  • *Proper and adequate clothing for the appropriate season and location
  • *Appropriate shoes/socks/boots/snow shoes/extra laces
  • *Rain gear/poncho/rubberized boots
  • *Cold weather gear – coats/layered clothing/thermal underwear
  • *Hat/gloves/bandana
  • Extra stuff sacks
  • Insect head net
  • Belts – regular/military type with small pouches
  1. Shelter – Warmth

For protection from insects and the elements, warmth, sleeping, comfort, privacy.

  • *Tarps
  • Plastic sheeting/large plastic trash bags
  • *Tent – *tube/*lightweight/regular
  • Shelter building material
  • Nylon patch repair kit/seam sealer
  • *Sleeping bag – *emergency/*lightweight/*bivy bag (small individual size tent/bag)/compact lightweight/regular down bag
  • Sleeping pad/cot/air mattress
  • Hammock
  • *Emergency blankets
  • Regular blankets
  • Sheets
  • Hand/body warmers
  • Insect netting
  • Extra stakes/rope/bungee cords
  • Umbrella

  10. Communication

It is essential to be kept informed during an emergency with friends, family, and appropriate governmental agencies and emergency organizations. When in an outdoor environment, unsettled weather considerations necessitate weather alert radios. Avoid a sense of isolation during serious emergencies.

  • *Radios – hand cranked/solar/batteries
  • Two-way radios
  • Short wave/CB (citizens band)/GMRS (general mobile radio service)/FRS (family radio service)/VHF (very high frequency) radios
  • Ham radio for radio amateurs – need license to transmit and/or radio with Ham frequencies for listening
  • Radios with NOAA (government agency) weather channels (7) and weather alerts if necessary in your area
  • *Cell phones/smart phones/charger
  • Satellite phones
  • *Whistle
  • *Signaling devices/flares/mirror
  • *Notebook/pen – regular & space pen that will write in any weather and position/markers/waterproof paper
  • PLB (personal locator beacon)
  • Small TV – battery/solar operated
  • Telephone not requiring external power
  • Morse code chart

11. Lighting

This is an essential category to address when anticipating any situation where you may be in darkness. Not only for a sense of security and comfort, but to be able to see clearly and act accordingly if emergencies happen in the dark.

  • *Flashlight – hand cranked/solar/batteries/LED and regular bulbs
  • *Lantern (*small or large size) – hand cranked/solar/batteries/propane/mantel/ candle/LED and regular bulbs
  • Oil lamps – kerosene/clear lamp oil/wicks
  • Strobe light
  • *Head Lamp
  • **Extra batteries/power source
  • **Candles
  • Extra mantels/extra propane canisters
  • Light sticks
  • Solar charger for charging rechargeable batteries

12. Tools – Instruments – Accessories

Numerous unforeseen situations or just routine conditions occur during an emergency or during an outdoor adventure. Be prepared and secure with the proper quality tool.

  • *Knife/knives/knife maintenance/sharpener
  • *Multi-tool/Swiss Army knife
  • *Navigation/compass/GPS device
  • Repair tools – hammer/screwdrivers/pliers/wire cutters/nails/screws/nuts & bolts/crowbar/spikes/pulley
  • Repair Kits
  • *Axe (*small or large)/saw (*hand controlled chain or special outdoor)/hacksaw/wood splitting/wedges
  • *Rope/wire/bungee cords/straps/paracord/heavy cordage/cable ties
  • *JB Weld/super adhesive/superglue/epoxy
  • Goo remover
  • Lubricating oil/WD-40®
  • Chain
  • Padlocks
  • *Work gloves
  • Shovel/multi-purpose folding shovel
  • Garden tools if appropriate
  • Fishing/hunting/trapping gear/Ronco Pocket Fisherman®/snare wire
  • *Duct tape/Hurricane tape/nylon repair tape/patches
  • *Plastic bags/trash bags/plastic sheeting
  • *Aluminum foil
  • *Sewing and repair supplies
  • Velcro
  • Safety goggles
  • Weather condition instruments/thermometer
  • *Watch – regular/multi-featured
  • Binoculars
  • Stuff bags for organizing
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Small broom/rake
  • Buckets
  • Files
  • Clothes pins
  • Dust/gas masks
  • *Siphoning tube/hose
  • Hand pump
  • *Auto/bicycle/boat emergency items (keep in vehicle)
  • Can of red spray paint to indicate emergency information
  • Shut-off tool for gas/water supply
  • Tool for braking auto glass and cutting seat belts/webbing
  • Fuel – gasoline/diesel/kerosene/propane
  • Fuel stabilizer
  • Fire extinguisher

         13. Emergency Instructions – Guidance – Support – Back up – Personal Documents

Important and accurate information can not only be helpful it can be life saving. Researching reliable and trustworthy information sources is a vital component to preparedness and outdoor survival planning. Establishing family communication and reunion plans is also essential for security and peace of mind. Certain documents should always be available.

  • Books/*Bible/novels
  • Morale builders – personal items that help children and adults cope in stressful situations
  • *Medical information
  • *Emergency/survival information
  • *Manuals appropriate for equipment you have
  • *Maps
  • *Pen/magic marker/paper/chalk
  • *Compass
  • Edible wild foods publications/field guides
  • *Essential personal documents – photo ID/will/insurance/stocks/bonds/birth certificates/DD214/bank account & credit card numbers/family records/personal property inventory for insurance/deeds/pink slips/passports/ Social Security cards/check books/credit and debit cards/irreplaceable photographs and certificates – IN WATERPROOF CONTAINER
  • *Phone numbers and addresses of friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
  • *Spare keys
  • *Instructions on meeting and/or communicating with family and/or friends during or after an emergency
  • Duel language dictionary if appropriate
  • Solar calculator
  • Back-up computer discs/flash drives
  • Laptop/iPad/tablets/PDA’s/mp3-4 players
  • *Entertainment – music/instruments/cards/games

14. Power – Energy

A reliable power supply can be crucial in an emergency or for various outdoor recreational activities. Many valuable communication, radio, entertainment and lighting devices require power. Currently there are a number of dependable portable solar (large and small), storage, and hand operated units available to power your electronic devices.

  • *For power – a small portable solar charger for electronics and rechargeable batteries
  • For lighting
  • For radios
  • For electronic devices
  • For communication
  • *Hand cranked radios and lanterns with USB charger & power cords
  • Solar/storage/hand cranked power devices – fuel free portable power/small power packs
  • Solar panels
  • Generator – gas/propane/back up fuel
  • Appropriate linking cables
  • *Batteries of all sizes – alkaline/rechargeable
  • *Battery charger – wall/car/solar
  • Deep cycle battery
  • Inverter

15. Cash

It is impossible to know for certain what circumstances might exist during a serious emergency and for what duration normal financial activities will be disrupted. Access to electronic funds or use of credit cards may not be possible. Cash or barter may be the only means of paying for goods or services.

  • *Cash in smaller denomination bills
  • Gold/silver coins
  • Smaller items for barter
  • *Credit/debit cards

16. Personal Security

Each individual must decide the extent to which they will provide protection for themselves and their families from physical harm by others or wild animals. Don’t forget fire safety.

  • Weapons/ammunition/gun cleaning supplies/bow hunting supplies – If you have firearms make sure all those who might use them are properly trained
  • Taser
  • Mace
  • Pepper Spray
  • Bear repellent
  • Sling shot
  • Clubs/bats
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Large dog
  • Sand Bags

17. Special Needs

This category must not be overlooked if you, other family members, or friends have specials needs and require individual attention.

  • **Personal items specifically required by special needs individuals
  • **Medical items and prescriptions – consider having an adequate supply on hand in the event of an unforeseen and prolonged emergency
  • **Special foods or other items for children/elderly/disabled/nursing mothers
  • *Children’s items for comfort and a sense of security – blankets/dolls/toys/diapers/pacifiers
  • **Pet needs

18. Transportation Support

An often overlooked category, specific transportation support must be assessed especially for longer duration emergencies or for outdoor activities where the transportation devices are critical. Evaluate these options, determine which ones you will utilize, determine what you will need to ensure safety, comfort, repair potential, and adequacy to handle the transportation of your provisions.

  • Motor Vehicle – car/truck/van/RV/motorcycle/extra gas/repair and emergency equipment/trailer
  • Boat – motorized/sail/canoe/kayak/paddle/inflatable/folding
  • Scooter – gas/electric/solar
  • Bicycle – regular/folding – repair parts/tire pump – special towing cart/small gas engine
  • Horse
  • By foot
  • Wagon/garden cart/wheel barrow – for manual needs

Emergency Preparedness Items for Automobiles – Trucks – Vans – RV’s

These items are especially important for long trips, family outings, new younger drivers, inclement weather, remote areas and at night.

  • Spare tire
  • Jack with tire iron and supporting tools
  • Device to break a window and cut seat belts from the inside in an emergency
  • Tire inflation device – portable power and/or aerosol can inflator/other tire repair materials
  • JB Weld®/super adhesive
  • Jumper cables
  • Portable power unit for jump starting and backup power
  • Tow cables/rope
  • Chains/cables/bungee cords for tightening
  • Crowbar
  • Reflectors/flares
  • Hidden spare key
  • Extra oil
  • Extra gas/funnel if appropriate
  • Siphon hose
  • Extra fan belts/bulbs/hoses/additives/sealers/hard to get parts/repair kit
  • Window scraper
  • Important phone numbers/documents/insurance information
  • GPS device if appropriate
  • Empty gas can
  • Material to gain traction if stuck in snow or ice – cat liter/sand/wood shavings/old rug

Additional critical items from the above Essential Checklist to carry in your vehicle:

  • Tarps
  • Blankets/emergency sleeping bag
  • First Aid kit
  • Baby supplies
  • Food and water/water purification/containers if appropriate
  • Maps
  • Pen/magic marker/paper
  • Personal documents and photo ID/registration/insurance
  • Gloves
  • Duct tape
  • Rope/wire
  • Repair tools
  • Plastic bags large and small
  • Cell phone/smart phone/charger
  • Emergency radio/hand crank radio
  • Emergency lighting
  • Rope/wire/bungees
  • Small solar/12 volt power packs for small electronics
  • Cash/credit card
  • Extra clothing in harsh and/or wet weather/hat
  • Hand/body warmers
  • Rain gear/rubber boots/poncho
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Whistle
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Shovel
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Matches/fire starter
  • Extra batteries
  • Personal protection devices or items as appropriate/pepper spray                                                                                                                                      
  • Refer to the Essential Checklist for other items relevant to your vehicles specific needs.

Reproduction of this important Checklist for other media is granted if Denis Korn and Learn To Prepare is appropriately credited

Why Are So Many People of Diverse Communities Being Called to Prepare?

By Denis Korn

What’s your calling?

discernment

Discern carefully – then act!

Why Are So Many People of Diverse Communities Being Called to Prepare? While this was written 19 years ago to a Christian audience, it is as applicable today to any church, group, organization, web forum or family, as it was to Christians when I wrote it right before Y2K.

Most scenarios are the same, the issues surrounding preparedness are the same and the events and potential events are real and impending.  I foresaw then that it wasn’t just about Y2K, but any unforeseen occurrence – and I knew then that Y2K was just a wake up call for more serious potential events yet to come years into the future – that future is with us now.

What follows is the original article with some updating and additional comments.

I have been aware of the desire of large numbers of born-again Christians to be spiritually and physically prepared for emergency situations, especially catastrophic ones, for 43 years now – and as contemporary events wax and wane in importance, the spiritual significance grows in relevancy to those with a sensitivity and a discerning spirit.  Was there some kind of “millennium madness,” as some would suggest, or is something else happening?

It is my observation that basically 4 things are occurring:

First, many Christians realize that individual churches should provide for the most vulnerable and those in need, especially in a time of emergency.  They feel it is the churches’ responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting contingency planning education and action for its members.  There is ample historical precedent for this perspective.

They feel that much time, effort and money is spent on spiritual issues and teaching activities (which is of course primary and essential), missions, and new facilities, but not enough on basic physical essentials such as food and daily necessities.  There is a desire to make sure that church members, or anyone seeking the help of the church, such as the elderly, widows, disabled, single parents and the poor, are secure with the essentials during times of adversity and disaster – especially when primary sources of supplies may not be available.

Second, there is an overwhelming sense of impending trials and tribulations – whether it is the last days, Godly rebuke or some intense period of transition or wake up call to The Church and the world.

Potential problems can be triggered by a number of possible events: Y2K, war – and the rumors of war, scientific experimentation gone wrong, terrorism, earthquakes and other natural disasters, famine, pestilence, economic and technical instability, political upheaval, martial law, The New World Order – and the list goes on. [This short list was written in 1999 – except for the uncertainties of Y2K it appears the same scenarios are still with us, and with even more intensity and probability.] Any one event, let alone multiple events all at once can cause a dramatic and profound change in our society and our lifestyle.

It is self-evident that most of our population today in America is not prepared for nor accustomed to serious hardships.  We have become comfortable and dependent rather than self-reliant and responsible.  The availability of goods and services are dependant on so many interrelated factors, that a breakdown in just one area can have a significant impact on our daily life and the ability to provide for those depending upon us.

The Word instructs Christians to be wise, prudent and responsible and provide for their families.  While spiritual trust in God is first and foremost, many are realizing the need for physical preparation is also essential in preparedness planning.  There is a spiritual awakening and discernment of the realities and vulnerability of the times in which we live.  Many are interpreting Biblical teaching as a call to action.

A classic example is the Old Testament account of Joseph [Gen 41: 34-36, 48-49] who stored provisions in the abundant times for the time of famine and great need.  When you continue reading in Genesis 47: 13-26 what occurred during the famine to the citizens of that time and the consequences of relying entirely upon the government is sobering – although they did not starve – you will be shaken by the implications of the loss of freedoms and the total dependency upon the government that are possible today.  Are we so naïve or arrogant as to believe that it could not happen in our country in our time?

Third, Christians feel a need to create community and associate with like-minded Christians who share a common perspective on the times and what actions to take.  I am both amazed and dismayed at the polarization that is occurring in the church over the issue of Y2K and preparedness in general.  [During Y2K this was also the case among many secular groups. With today’s current events and concerns, the same polarization is occurring in and out of The Church.]

Within churches and within families, people are branding those who are planning for emergencies – especially Y2K – as “wackos,” “nuts,” “extremists,” “suckers,” “stupid,” and those who supply emergency provisions as “opportunists,” “money hungry,” and “snake oil salesman.”  The often harsh judgment on those preparing and supplying makes me wonder what is really going on here, and what are the greater implications of the whole matter.  What can be wrong with rational Christians – or anyone for that matter – wanting to be prepared for any number of potential emergency scenarios?

Many Christians feel a “coming together and fellowship” with others who have prayed earnestly, studied the Bible, felt called and have concluded that being prepared is the action to take.  There is mutual support, a deepening bond and a sense of security and peace of mind.  There is the opportunity to contribute in the time of need, and the acknowledgment from one’s brothers and sisters that what you are doing is okay…and even proper.

Fourth, many Christians have informed themselves and evaluated the facts, read books, gone to conferences, watched videos, talked to friends, gone to church presentations, asked lots of questions, attended community meetings, been on the internet and concluded that Y2K and other potential problems have a real possibility of occurring.  It can be as simple and logical as assessing the potential risks and taking appropriate action, compatible with one’s personal situation.

We can hope there are no problems or consequences and carry on, or we can study the vast amount of knowledgeable information from true experts and form educated opinions.  We can weigh the reliability of news sources and use our common sense and rational judgment to come to reasonable conclusions.  [While we are fortunate that nothing serious developed from Y2K and that the technical issues were addressed and resolved, it was very clear to many experts at the beginning of the fixing process that there was a real potential for a serious impact on the very interdependent network of delivering vital goods and services.]

This article was not written to convince anyone to run out and start planning.  It was written to share and comment on what I have observed and feel is happening as it relates to preparing Christians.  It remains, however, that a key question must be asked: What chance are you willing to take that any emergency or disaster will be so insignificant in your life that no action is required on your part?

I personally encourage everyone to pray, learn what the Word has to say to you personally about preparedness planning, and conscientiously study the events of the day, the times and the facts relating to Y2K and other potential emergency scenarios.  Consider not only January 1, 2000 but the months and years to come!

——————————————————————————————–

Relevant Scripture:

These Scriptures very slightly among the different translations, however, the core meaning is relevant to being prepared, being watchful, being responsible, sharing, service and trusting in the Lord.

  • Genesis 41: 29-31, 34-36, 48-49, 53-57
  • Consequences of Genesis 41 – Gen 47: 13-26
  • Proverbs 22:3; 6:6-8; 3:5-6; 16:9
  • Ecclesiastes 8:6-7
  • 1 Timothy 5:8
  • Luke 21: 34-36
  • Isaiah 62:6; 32:6
  • Jeremiah 6:17-19; 17:7-8
  • Philippians 4: 6-8; 2: 3-4
  • Ephesians 6:10-18; 5:15-17
  • Matthew 24; 25: 1-4, 6-9, 13; 7:24-25
  • Hosea 4:6a
  • Acts 2: 44-47
  • James 2: 14-17

Aliveness as an Essential Attitude

By Denis Korn

ALIVENESS is a noun – the state of being ALIVE.  Here are 2 of the definitions of alive from the Encarta Dictionary, on-line:

a.live (adjective)

4. full of life

Full of energy and vigor, and with a zest for and interest in life.

5. animated

Active or animated, especially full of busy activity or a sense of excitement.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Those of you who have read other posts I have written know that I value attitude as an essential factor in emergency preparedness and outdoor adventure.

I read an excerpt from a book recently that has had me reflecting on my attitude and state of mind as I go about my daily routine.  I want to take this opportunity to share some thoughts and insights on the value of ALIVENESS.

I’ll begin by sharing two quotes.  The first from the excerpt I read, and the second from President Harry Truman – put on the side of a design-it-yourself mug given to me by my daughter:

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

— From a spiritual mentor of Gil Bailie as quoted in Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and advise them to do it.

— Harry S. Truman

The more I study and observe the current political, social, emotional and moral state of our society the more I realize how mentally and spiritually numb most people are today.  People are out of balance and out of touch with the realities that are all around them.  They are incapacitated by fear, unhappiness, confusion, dependency, indoctrination, ignorance, and the list goes on and on.  Folks hope for change and security – without the capability for felling ALIVE and DYNAMIC.

While I feel blessed to have finally grasped the true value of ALIVENESS, I am filled with compassion and sorrow for those who have not realized its worth.  The less than honorable agendas and schemes of those who exert the most powerful influences on our society today have robbed so many of the ability and yearning to feel and act ALIVE.

The difficulties of the present have enabled many people to seriously consider and critically assess their response to the uncertainty and anxiety of these times in which we all find ourselves.  Use this opportunity wisely.

Evaluate – embrace – and embody the actions and attitudes that awaken in us the exhilaration of ALIVENESS.  Quietly reflect on what it is that makes you feel truly ALIVE.  We all have had times in which we have felt joy, passion, excitement inspiration and fulfillment.  What were you doing when you felt these emotions?  Strive to do it again and again!  It is never too late to grow from just existing, reacting and filling space, to waking up and LIVING.

Because what the world needs are people who have come ALIVE!!

February 2011: A new quote –

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

— Thornton Wilder

It is Essential That the Entire Family be Prepared for Emergencies at All Times

By Denis Korn

Is your ENTIRE family prepared for emergencies at all times?
Is your ENTIRE family:

    • Secure
    • Knowledgeable
    • Responsible
    • Patient
    • Prayerful
    • Vigilant

in an emergency situation?

We are experiencing a serious and potentially devastating fire season.  I pray that you take this advice seriously.   Recent conversations have also motivated me to consider this important article as a foundational article.

I am reminded of a presentation I made some years back to a large gathering of preparedness professionals.  This convention consisted of folks who came from all over the country and of course this meant that they would be gone from their families for a few days.  Bear in mind that at my presentation there were a couple of hundred people whose responsibilities included preparedness planning and education for very large companies, organizations, and governmental agencies.

At the beginning of my talk, I asked the group how many felt completely confident that in their absence their families were prepared to deal with unforeseen emergencies or disasters – especially significant ones.  Only a few raised their hands!  Since most of these participants were the head of their households, what does it tell you about fulfilling one’s responsibility to protect and keep the family secure in difficult times?

Fortunately, over the years, the professional emergency management community has become more dedicated to personally embodying what they are responsible for in government and business.  What about the average household?  Is your family prepared for emergencies in all seasons of the year?

It appears that most heads of households have the notion that their presence is security enough for the family during an emergency.  This is a dangerous assumption.  The sensible attitude is to ensure that all family members – adults – the elderly – teenagers – and young children, know:

  • What to do
  • How to respond
  • Where to go – or not go
  • Who to contact
  • Where the information and supplies are located
  • How to use and operate essential equipment
  • How to access drinking water
  • How to prepare any food reserves
  • How to communicate with family and emergency personnel
  • How to keep warm in freezing conditions
  • How to have the proper attitude
  • How to pray

 

Instructions should be in writing and the entire family should participate in drills and practices.  Family members – immediate and extended – should know their part during an emergency under all scenarios and given any combination of family members physically present – or absent.

  • Do your children, spouse and other family members know what to do and how to act if a serious emergency occurs and they are not at home?
  • How will your communicate with them or those in their keeping?
  • What if they are at school – what plans does the school have to communicate with parents or guardians?
  • What will the school provide for students?
  • What if family members are at work – what plans does the business or organization have to communicate with other family members?
  • What will the business provide for their employees?
  • Does the business or organization have their own contingency plans?
  • Do you have contingency plans for communication and provisioning for your spouse – adult children – younger children when they are away from home, at camp, business trip, etc.?
  • What if an emergency occurs while a family member is in their vehicle and in transit?
  • Is your family secure, knowledgeable and responsible?

Between Learn To Prepare and numerous internet websites, there is an abundance of valuable information for the whole family.  Study this information as if your life and your families’ life depended on it – in a significant emergency, it does!

 So I ask all of you reading this post:  In your absence is you family adequately educated and prepared to properly respond and survive during a serious emergency situation?  I encourage you to have all family members read the Foundational Articles on the right column of this blog.

Evacuate Now – Essential Guidelines

By Denis Korn

Franklin quoteImportant November 2018 update.

This post, Evacuate Now – Essential Guidelines, is one of the most important posts I have written.

I am posting it again in light of the devastating fires that have occurred here in Northern California last year and this year.  This year’s fire, which occurred just a couple of weeks ago, was very close, about an hour and a half away, in Paradise CA (the most devastating fire in California history).  This year’s and last year’s fires impacted our community directly.  These fires were a significant wake-up call and essential lesson in being prepared for the unexpected, and the need for immediate action.  The fires destroyed thousands of homes (almost 14,000 just in Paradise) and structures, and significantly impacted thousands of lives.

The fires here in our area and in nearby counties started in the middle of the night or very early in the morning due to very hot, dry, and windy conditions.  The fires grew extremely fast, were intense, and they occurred in residential neighborhoods.  In many instances, evacuation was immediate.  In other situations only very little time was given.

What I learned from last year’s and this year’s fires and the recent Orville Dam evacuation that affected our area:

  • Emergencies and catastrophes can occur at any time and often when they are least expected and when one is the least prepared.
  • When you must evacuate immediately, there is no time for planning, assessing, discussion, or wandering around the house or office gathering vital papers, equipment, electronics, medications, and heirlooms.  Most people are so traumatized and shocked that the decisions made are often ineffective and inappropriate.
  • Most people do not believe disasters will happen to them, and don’t realize that they may lose everything.
  • When people must evacuate, many don’t take not only fundamental provisions, but they also don’t take essentials like medications/prescriptions, medical needs, important papers, computers, cell phones, communication information about family – friends – business, children’s needs, pet needs, money/credit cards, special needs.
  • Communication – Communication – Communication
  • Many evacuees rely entirely on the local, state or federal government for protection, food, shelter, and medical assistance.
  • Most people have not created an appropriate plan of action, and don’t know where to find adequate provisions and guidance.
  • Community support is essential, and there are many devoted and caring locals, churches and organizations who are willing to help.
  • Keeping informed of the latest developments during a disaster is crucial for safety and planning.
  • Unfortunately, there are those who will not take responsibility for the protection of themselves, family, neighbors, and pets.  What does it take to motivate, educate, and encourage someone to be accountable?

The timeliness of this information cannot be overstated! The uncertainty of the times requires appropriate preparation and answering the questions contained in this article.  It is a valuable companion to another important post Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning – Including Vehicle Preparedness – Latest Update.

I feel it is very important also to include in this article one of my Foundational Articles titled Is your entire family prepared for emergencies at all times?  It appears at the end of this post. 

You are highly encouraged to share this post and its vital information with family, friends, business associates, church and temple congregations, and other members of any organizations to which you belong.  May this post help you in your serious preparedness planning.  Celebrate Peace of Mind!

Here are the crucial questions to answer when assembling your emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag – which is essential if you must leave your home or business quickly.

  • If an evacuation has been declared, a severe weather event is imminent, or a significant disaster has occurred, how will I know?
  • If I have to evacuate, will I be in a cozy government evacuation center with food, water, blankets and a bed, a hotel/motel room, a friend’s/relative’s house, or will I be on my own in the elements, a crude shelter?
  • Am I clear on the circumstances and scenarios that may arise that will require me to evacuate versus the circumstances that would compel me to stay put and hunker down?
  • If specific government, church, community and friend’s sheltering options are not available, where do I go? How far? How do I get there?
  • What conditions can I expect to encounter – best scenario – worst scenario?
  • How long do I anticipate that I may have to rely upon my grab-and-go provisions?
  • What are the weather conditions I am likely to encounter? What is the season?
  • Will I be alone, or are others depending on me? Family – children – elderly – pets?
  • Am I dependent on others? Who? Why? Do I expect the government to take care of me?
  • What kind of support is likely to be available?
  • Do I have a list of local governmental agencies, relief organizations, emergency offices to contact if necessary?
  • What food and water should I always have on hand?  Where do I store it?
  • What life sustaining essential needs are necessary for myself and/or my family?  Are they immediately accessible?  If they are electricity dependent, do I have a back-up power source?
  • What if there is nothing left when I return?
  • Are my essentials, ID, heirlooms, personal treasures, irreplaceable photographs, documents, and financial assets secure if I leave with only my grab-and-go bag?  What of these items should be immediately available if I evacuate?
  • Do I have a very accessible list for myself and family members to consult of essential items to take that may not be in a grab-and-go bag near the front door?
  • Are essential documents, papers, photos, ID, communication contacts, cash, and other valuable items not in the grab-and-go bag all in the same place so they can be assembled immediately?
  • Do I have a reliable communication plan to contact family, friends and business associates at a moment’s notice?
  • Do I have an escape plan? Evacuation routes?  Family and business communication?  Essential documents and papers?
  • If an evacuation is called or if the home is destroyed when family members are in different locations, what is my plan to meet at a preset safe location or contact another family member or friend as a coordinator?
  • What is the potential severity of the emergency I might experience?
  • Will I have transportation, or will I be on foot?
  • If the electricity is out, how will this impact my evacuation?  Lighting at night?  Opening the garage door to get the car out?
  • Do I have enough money on hand to pay for possible shelter, food or supplies if I am suddenly evacuated and away from home or business?
  • Am I truly prepared for the unexpected, a procrastinator, or am I in denial (Normalcy Bias)?

To have a genuinely adequate emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag the above questions must be answered. Your preparedness bag contents will vary depending on numerous factors such as time, the number of persons, locations involved, mobility, support available, season, comfort level desired, anticipated scenarios, and the degree of peace of mind you want.  If specific provisions are not appropriate to your assessment of needs, I still highly encourage you to have available all the essential documents, wallets with money and credit cards, papers, ID, policies, contact information, and life sustaining medications and special needs.

Here is a list of the basic essentials for every kit. Each category will have multiple options depending on how you answer the above crucial questions. Cheap, inadequate and poorly made provisions don’t belong in a quality kit. Prepare your kit as if you and your family’s life and comfort depended on it – because it does!

  1. Water – bottled/filters/purifiers/tablets/containers
  2. Food – ready-to-eat/bars/trail mix/freeze dried/shelf-stable/food preparation equipment
  3. Medical – quality medical kit with instructions/prescriptions/glasses/essential medications/sunscreen/dental medic/foot care/safety pins/dust mask/gas mask
  4. Special Needs – food/medical/children/elderly/disabled/pets
  5. Tools – multi-tool/knife/wire/cable ties/duct tape/rope/paracord/gloves/small axe/repair tools/super glue/aluminum foil/ /manual can opener (often on multi-tool)/bungee cords/foldable or wire saw
  6. Communication – radio/hand crank – solar – battery/two-way radios/cell phone
  7. Fire – fire starter/lighter/matches/tinder/flint starter/magnifying glass
  8. Signaling & Orienting – whistle/signal mirror/compass/maps/GPS device
  9. Lighting – Hand crank – solar – battery/headlamp/flashlight/lantern/candles/light sticks
  10. Power & Energy – batteries – regular and rechargeable/power-pack for batteries & cell phone recharged by solar and/or hand crank that charges devices directly
  11. Shelter – tarp/tent – tube or larger/plastic sheeting/insect protection
  12. Emergency Blankets/sleeping bags – emergency or larger or bivy sack
  13. Personal Hygiene/sanitary supplies/disinfectant
  14. Plastic Bags/ties
  15. Personal Security – weapon & ammo if appropriate/pepper spray/bear repellent/mace or other options
  16. Appropriate Clothing and Footwear – protection from the elements/apparel for warmth/heat packs – hand and body warmers
  17. Identification and Essential Documents – Bible/compact survival handbook/personal ID/insurance and other key documents/entertainment
  18. Spare Keys
  19. Phone Numbers and Addresses – friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
  20. Instructions on meeting and communicating with family and friends during or after an emergency
  21. Multiple evacuation routes marked on a map.
  22. Cash/credit cards
  23. Pen/markers/paper
  24. Configured Compact Emergency Kit with Essential Items
  25. Carrying Device – carry bag/backpack/suitcase/sturdy container/Food & Supply Brick™/duffel Bag (very durable and if you anticipate carrying your bag any distance shoulder straps should be available with your carry bag or duffel)

If time permits, take irreplaceable items such as heirlooms, heirloom jewelry, photographs, military/marriage/birth/deed records, computers, tablets, and personal contact information and documents not included in your grab-and-go device.

Water
This is an obvious necessity for everyone. Know what water sources are available to you during an emergency, or in the outdoors. Plan accordingly and don’t hold back preparing for this essential category.

Determine whether or not you want to purify water for viruses.  Not all water filters are designed for this purpose – look for water purifiers that specifically state that they will kill viruses.

Food
Numerous options are available. This category must be accessed carefully, and the quality and quantity of foods chosen should be appropriate to the anticipated length of time of the emergency or outing, and severity of circumstances you anticipate might occur.  For shorter term scenarios foods in most situations should be nutritious and ready-to-eat; however, you might want to consider some foods requiring only the addition of cold or hot water.  If you do need hot water, you must plan for the appropriate means and equipment to heat your water.  Options listed have a longer shelf life and are suitably packaged for kits or backpacks.

Medical
When your health and survival during a medical emergency is at stake, you don’t want to rely on cheap or inadequate medical supplies. This is an important category to thoughtfully evaluate. Don’t forget medications or products needed for those with special medical conditions.  If your pre-assembled kit doesn’t include one, make sure you get a good book on medical emergencies.

Shelter/warmth
Protection from the elements and insects is essential, especially in a harsh climate.

Tools
Numerous unforeseen situations or just routine conditions occur during an emergency or during an outdoor adventure. Be prepared and secure with the proper quality tool.

Communication/Signaling
It is essential to keep informed during an emergency with friends, family, and appropriate governmental agencies and emergency organizations. When in an outdoor environment, unsettled weather considerations necessitate weather alert radios. Avoid a sense of isolation during serious emergencies.  If you get lost or are separated from your group signaling can be crucial.  Since electronic items are included in this category, you may want to consider a small solar power device.

Lighting
This is an essential category to address when anticipating any situation where you may be in darkness. Not only for a sense of security and comfort, but to be able to see clearly and act accordingly if emergencies occur in the dark.

Personal protection
For some, this may not be an essential primary category.  Each individual must decide the extent to which they will or will not provide protection for themselves and their families from physical harm by others or wild animals.

This article provides a fundamental list of suggested items we believe are essential for emergency preparedness and outdoor recreation; especially if space, weight, and mobility are important.  For an expanded list of suggestions read our article: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Items for Automobiles – Trucks – Vans – RV’s

These items are especially necessary for long trips, family outings, new younger drivers, inclement weather, evacuation, remote area travel, and at night.

AS A FATHER OF 3 DAUGHTERS AND 8 GRANDCHILDREN, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE FATHERS AND MOTHERS TO ENSURE YOUR CHILDREN ARE SECURE AND PREPARED – ESPECIALLY IN WINTER AND INCLEMENT WEATHER – WHEN THEY ARE DRIVING!

  • Spare tire
  • Jack with a tire iron and supporting tools
  • Device to break the window and cut seat belts from the inside in an emergency
  • Tire inflation device – portable power and/or aerosol can inflator/other tire repair materials
  • JB Weld®/super adhesive
  • Jumper cables
  • Portable power unit for jump-starting and backup power
  • Tow cables/rope
  • Chains/cables/bungee cords for tightening
  • Crowbar
  • Reflectors/flares
  • Hidden spare key
  • Extra oil
  • Extra gas/funnel if appropriate
  • Siphon hose
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Extra fan belts/bulbs/hoses/additives/sealers/hard to get parts/repair kit
  • Window scraper
  • Important phone numbers/documents/insurance information
  • GPS device if appropriate
  • Empty gas can
  • Material to gain traction if stuck in snow or ice – cat litter/sand/wood shavings/old rug

Additional critical items from the Essential Checklist to carry in your vehicle:

  • Tarps
  • Blankets/emergency sleeping bag
  • First Aid kit
  • Baby supplies
  • Food and water/water purification/containers if appropriate
  • Maps
  • Pen/magic marker/paper
  • Personal documents and photo ID/registration/insurance
  • Gloves
  • Duct tape
  • Rope/wire
  • Repair tools
  • Plastic bags large and small
  • Cell phone/smart phone/charger
  • Emergency radio/hand crank radio
  • Emergency lighting
  • Rope/wire/bungees
  • Small solar/12-volt power packs for small electronics
  • Cash/credit card
  • Extra clothing in harsh and wet weather/hat
  • Hand/body warmers
  • Rain gear/rubber boots/poncho
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Whistle
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Shovel
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Matches/fire starter
  • Extra batteries
  • Personal protection devices or items as appropriate/pepper spray                                                                                                                                      
  • Refer to the Essential Checklist for other items relevant to your vehicles specific needs.

 

Is your entire family prepared for emergencies at all times?

Recent events have brought us catastrophic circumstances that have had devastating and lasting effects on thousands of people around the world.  I pray that you take this advice seriously.   Recent conversations have also motivated me to consider this important article as a Foundational Article.

I am reminded of a presentation I made some years back to a large gathering of preparedness professionals.  This convention consisted of folks who came from all over the country and of course this meant that they would be gone from their families for a few days.  Bear in mind that at my presentation there were a couple of hundred people whose responsibilities included preparedness planning and education for very large companies, organizations, and governmental agencies.

At the beginning of my talk, I asked the group how many felt completely confident that in their absence their families were prepared to deal with unforeseen emergencies or disasters – especially significant ones.  Only a few raised their hands!  Since most of these participants were the head of their households, what does it tell you about fulfilling one’s responsibility to protect and keep the family secure in difficult times?

Fortunately, over the years, the professional emergency management community has become more dedicated to personally embodying what they are responsible for in government and business.  What about the average household?

It appears that most heads of households have some notion that their presence is security enough for the family during an emergency.  This is a dangerous assumption.  The sensible attitude is to ensure that all family members – adults – the elderly – teenagers – and young children, know:

  • What to do
  • How to respond
  • Where to go – or not go
  • Who to contact
  • Where the information and supplies are located
  • How to use and operated essential equipment
  • How to access drinking water
  • How to prepare any food reserves
  • How to communicate with family and emergency personnel
  • How to keep warm in freezing conditions
  • How to have the proper attitude
  • How to pray

Instructions should be in writing, and the entire family should participate in drills and practices.  Family members – immediate and extended – should know their part during an emergency under all scenarios and given any combination of family members physically present – or absent.

  • Do your children, spouse and other family members know what to do and how to act if a serious emergency occurs and they are not at home?
  • How will you communicate with them or those in their keeping?
  • What if they are at school – what plans does the school have to communicate with parents or guardians?
  • What will the school provide for students?
  • What if they are at work – what plans does the business or organization have to communicate with other family members?
  • What will the business provide for their employees?
  • Does the business or organization have their contingency plans?
  • Do you have contingency plans for communication and provisioning for your spouse – adult children – younger children when they are away from home at camp, business trip, etc.?
  • What if an emergency occurs while a family member is in their vehicle and in transit?
  • Is your family secure, knowledgeable and responsible?

Between Learn To Prepare and numerous internet websites, there is an abundance of valuable information for the whole family.  Study this information as if your life and your families’ life depended on it – in a significant emergency, it does!

 So I ask all of you reading this post:  In your absence is your family adequately educated and prepared to properly respond and survive during a serious emergency situation?  I encourage you to have all family members read the Foundational Articles on the right column of this blog.

dilbertDisasterPlan

 

A Simple and Concise Guide to the Preparedness Process

By Denis Korn

 

It is time once again to evaluate one of the Foundational Articles.  I have presented here a simple and concise guide to the preparedness process.  You are encouraged to treat this information seriously!  You are also invited to read other articles and posts that go into detail regarding various facets of preparedness.

If you are a newcomer to preparedness planning or have been engaged for some time, the information and suggestions contained in this article will certainly help you begin or add to your experience of confidence and peace of mind and assist you with practical steps you can take.

The first step in the preparedness planning process is the acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be prepared in the event of unforeseen circumstances.  Be encouraged to continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.

It is my intention in this article to present a guideline that can be followed which will lead you on an important journey to being prepared in the event of any number of potentially unexpected events.  This process is basically undertaken in three phases – each one of which will take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you are experiencing.

  1. First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
  2. Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision making.
  3. Third, there is taking action and assembling the appropriate provisions and critical information you have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind.  This phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up your supplies and information.

The initial assessment

This consists of 6 basic questions that you are encouraged to answer that will lead you along the matrix to your destination:

  1. What is your attitude concerning emergency preparedness?
  2. What are the circumstances or scenarios and their severity you have determined may exist that will require you to rely on your preparedness supplies?
  3. What is the length of time you will be affected by these scenarios that you will be required to rely on your preparedness supplies?
  4. For whom and how many are you preparing?
  5. Where will you be?
  6. How serious are you and how much time, effort, and money are you willing to devote to research, planning, and action, and with what help?

Elaborating on these 6 questions

Attitude – Are you positive, fearful, confused?  A proper attitude during the preparedness planning process is essential and it is made more effective by exercising competent critical thinking and discernment skills. Reacting from fear or confusion can be an obstacle to efficient planning.

Scenarios – At the end of this article is a list of potential scenarios and circumstances that will help you answer this question.  The events range from mild to catastrophic and fall generally into 3 categories: acts of God that tend to be local or regional; man-made that tend to be national; and momentous earth changes that tend to be national or worldwide.

Time – Your time frames can be as little as 3 days, which provide only a brief period of inconvenience, or as much as 1 year or more (I know of groups preparing for 7 years), that require a significant change of attitude and lifestyle.  Also, at the end of this article, is a listing of various time frames and comments.

Who – Suggestions include, an individual, family, friends, neighborhood, organization, company, club, or church or temple.

Where – How you answer the “Who” question will affect the answer to this question.  In addition, consider whether a vacation/retreat location is applicable and whether there are multiple potential locations to take into account.  Also, if you need to be mobile, what transportation options are available or required?

Seriousness – This question requires your honesty not just wishful thinking.  Your level of commitment is important to the planning process, especially when it comes down to a financial commitment.  Also, be honest about what you really know about emergency preparedness planning.  Don’t be afraid to do serious research and seek true expect opinion and perspective.  Initial or additional knowledge is extremely important – and it might save your health or life.

After you finish this initial assessment, I strongly suggest that you refer to and continue to answer the more detailed questions in the article titled The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning. This will move you into the second phase of the planning process, and assist you in evaluation and research.  The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning is an expansion of the 6 initial questions, and offers more focused and detailed questions to help guide you along.

Another important article, with specific tips and vital information on food and water, and with some similar questions to other articles, is The Essential Emergency Planning Guide for Food and Water. Here is an excerpt from that article from the Where to Start section.

    • Clearly answer the key questions given in the next “Important Issues” section.
    • Determine a realistic response for your unique economic and personal situation. Be careful to avoid reacting to and with the actions of others without first determining if these actions are appropriate for you. Don’t get caught up in a “feeding frenzy” of buying.
    • Create an appropriate step by step plan of action on paper– sooner rather than later.
    • Continue to educate yourself using the vast resources of reliable information. Note: There are those with limited experience and knowledge who have suddenly appeared in the marketplace to take advantage of the situation. Buyer beware!
    • Assemble a library, data files, and Internet bookmarks; subscribe to related magazines, get tapes.
    • Go to conferences, workshops, and church meetings and talk to responsible leaders who have researched the issues you are concerned about.
    • Make a list of items you will need during your anticipated emergency situation. Prioritize it. Determine what you have on hand, and begin to fill your list.
    • Create lists for differing locations, such as home, car, RV, or work.
    • Prepare an area where you live to store your supplies.
    • Make daily life in an emergency situation real to yourself and your family- Turn off your electricity, gas, water and phone for 3 days, and don’t count on any local stores or services. Don’t wait for a sunny, warm day to try this- emergencies can happen in the winter!
    • Think quality- as if your comfort and life depended on it! You must discern between economy and reliability. All too often the cheapest is the least dependable; especially in an emergency situation, and even more so if the emergency is long term.

As you reflect upon and answer the questions in phase 1 and 2, you may choose to wait until you feel confident about the next phase – action – or you may begin (or perhaps you have already began) to gather your supplies.

Summary of Action Steps

  • Answer the 6 questions in the initial assessment.
  • Answer all the questions in The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning.
  • Write down – on paper – the answer to as many of these questions as you feel are necessary to formulate a written preparedness plan.
  • Write down and complete any lists, inventories, important points, insights you have received, or anything else suggested or inferred in the articles that will help in your preparedness planning.
  • Distribute and discuss your easily understood and complete preparedness plan to your family, company, or group.
  • Discuss and request feedback about your plans and supplies with others, as you feel appropriate – friends, experts, suppliers.
  • Continue doing research and evaluation.
  • Create an appropriate place to store supplies.
  • Add to, or begin accumulating and organizing, your provisions.
  • Experiment with the items you have.  Know how to use them – or in the case of food – know how to prepare them and what they taste like (especially if they are unfamiliar).  Emergencies are not the time for surprises.
  • Pray – if you are a religious or spiritually committed individual or family this would be the most important action to continually practice.

Additional tips to consider in the preparedness planning process

Many folks are reluctant to plan ahead, or they assume that the government or others will take care of them, or they are just too busy, or they just don’t think it is necessary.  As an option to doing nothing or to enhance some other level of preparedness planning you have chosen, consider the following:

As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.”  Ask yourself, what are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?  What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur?  If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the lookout for possible immediate action.  While it is always desirable to plan ahead and have provisions in place, it is better to react at the last minute than not at all.  Obviously, some scenarios may offer some prior indications, such as hurricanes, storms, or economic/political issues; while others can occur without warning (see the list of scenarios).  You are responsible – you must choose to act or not.

After you have evaluated the questions and points in this article, a helpful point of view may be the idea of an “extended pantry program,” or what might be considered as a building and expansion of your normal food usage and supplies. Start with a program that is compatible with your needs, assumptions, circumstances, and finances. You may want to start small and keep building.

Scenarios

Scenario Scenario Scenario
Acts of God Man Made Earth Changes
Local – Regional Regional – National National – Worldwide
Earthquake Government regulation/control Catastrophic Weather
Flood Martial Law Asteroid/Comet
Fire Food Shortages Pole Shift
Hurricane Societal Breakdown Solar Flare – CME
Storm/Ice/Snow Civil Disobedience/Riots Tribulation/Religious
Tornado Medical Emergency Severe Earth Changes
Drought Economic Emergency/Collapse Planet X
Power Outage Major Accident
Mud Slide Terrorism Attack
Tsunami Biological/Chemical/Radiological Attack
EMP – Electrical Magnetic Pulse Attack
PERSONAL ISSUES Bombing
Job Loss War
Illness Cyber Attack – No internet
Emergencies Water Source Contamination
Financial Loss

Time Frames

3 Days to 2 Weeks

Minor to moderate inconvenience and disruption of the daily routine.  Basic supplies in the first 3 days would be valuable for comfort but not essential.  An adequate amount of basic supplies after 3 days are important.

3 Weeks to 2 Months

The inconvenience is very noticeable and the routine disruption can be significant.  Supplies required may or may not be on hand and stockpiling some supplies will be very important.

3 Months to 6 Months

Preparedness planning is very important and a serious disruption to the daily routine is inevitable.  Mobility and location to wait out the emergency is important in your planning.  Proper supplies will be critical.  Medical and other special needs must be planned for in advance.

6 Months to 1 Year

Unless you are very prepared and are committed to self-reliance, in this time frame your lifestyle will definitely be impacted.  Serious attention to your preparedness planning is required.  The questions covered in the foundational articles must be answered and a realistic plan created.  Action and provisions are essential.  You will be dealing with serious issues during this time period, and you must be prepared.

1 Year or More

Scenarios actualized in this time frame are the most serious and catastrophic and will require a serious commitment to lifestyle changes.  You will be dealing with national and worldwide calamity.  The extent of the impact on everyone’s life cannot be over emphasized.  Significant and detailed planning is required, and even with this an emergency situation of this duration will be wrought with uncertainty.  This will be a time for community togetherness, sharing, and mutual support.  Skills not normally possessed by folks will be required.  Gardening and other self-reliant skills will be essential.  Books, tools, and other valuable resources will be vital.

Fear and its Influence on Emergency Preparedness

By Denis Korn

This is a post on fear and its influence on emergency preparedness planning, actions and being self-reliant.  The purpose of this post is not to give you some magic formula on how to live without fear.  I simply wish to point out some insights for your reflection.  It is my belief that understanding the affect of fear on one’s attitude and actions before – during – and after a disaster or catastrophe is essential to right action, peace of mind and survival.

Fear is natural and instinctive – it has a purpose for our life.  The issue at hand is: Can we control it and use it to our advantage?  Can it so overwhelm us as to be an obstacle to proper action? Can we understand its influence on our behavior?  Can we discern when it is appropriate or detrimental?

Fear can be valuable tool and assist the planning process – or it can adversely affect the decision making and evaluation process causing one to act and think ineffectively and inappropriately – it can also prevent us from acting at all.

I have recently read articles that deal with the uncertainty and anxiety of the times, and specifically address this last point.  Many people are so afraid of the truth or reality of a situation and what responsible action or attitude would be required of them, that being in denial is preferred to being enlightened.

Definitions

While most of us have a pretty good idea of what fear is, here are some definitions and synonyms relating to this post for reference:

–noun

1.  A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

2.  A specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling

3.  Concern or anxiety; solicitude

4.  That which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid

—Synonyms
1.  Apprehension, consternation, dismay, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation. Fear, alarm, dread all imply a painful emotion experienced when one is confronted by threatening danger or evil. Alarm implies an agitation of the feelings caused by awakening to imminent danger; it names a feeling of fright or panic: He started up in alarm. Fear and dread usually refer more to a condition or state than to an event. Fear is often applied to an attitude toward something, which, when experienced, will cause the sensation of fright: fear of falling. Dread suggests anticipation of something, usually a particular event, which, when experienced, will be disagreeable rather than frightening: She lives in dread of losing her money.  The same is often true of fear, when used in a negative statement: She has no fear she’ll lose her money.

Attitude

For those of you who have read other posts and articles I have written, you know that I consider one’s attitude as an essential factor in both the preparedness planning process and during the emergency or disaster that could possibly occur.  I highly recommend you read my post on attitude and that you be inspired and educated by the insights and experiences of Viktor Frankl in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” that I mention in that article.

I realize how difficult it can be to address and examine one’s fears – especially in light of the suspicions, apprehension, insecurity, and dread so prevalent today.  We deal not only with the anxiety concerning real and potential negative events and the economy, but also with a media obsessed and consumed with the need to promote fear at every opportunity – and when there isn’t a problem, their agenda requires that they create one for you.  Yet as distressing and challenging as it may be, introspection and reflection on your thoughts and feelings can provide an opportunity to overcome the crippling effects of inaction caused by irrational fear.

Honestly confronting your fear in non-judgmental reflection and without allowing it to overwhelm and disable you is the first step to right action, peace of mind and survival.  This takes time and commitment.  Surround yourself with loving and supportive people.

Questions to consider:

What are your specific fears?

What are your worst fears?

Why?

What would happen if the circumstances you fear should occur?

Why do you fear that outcome?

Is there anything valuable to learn if that outcome happens?

(Can you make lemonade from lemons?)

Is there another emotion that can be substituted for fear?

What are the positive implications should your fears come to pass?

What do you fear losing?

What is your attachment to the material issues surrounding your fears?

Do you have friends and family available to help you examine your fears?

Can you acknowledge that you are fearful and still move forward?

Can you transform a fearful thought into a positive thought?

Can you focus on constructive thoughts and not dwell on fearful or negative thoughts?

Do you want to control your attitude?

What is it about a fearful or negative attitude that makes you feel in control or secure?

Can you see in yourself the inappropriate fear that takes over because of conditioning and unconscious patterns?

Have you considered using affirmations and positive thinking to help combat fear?

How do you reconcile the  fear that is felt when discerning the issues surrounding us all – the lack of leadership, the death of common sense, selfishness, corporate greed, hatred, immorality, deceit, utter stupidity – and a media, educational system and entertainment industry obsessed with negativity, blame, self-righteousness and propaganda — with the importance of a positive and life-sustaining attitude that supports peace of mind, mental health and security for ourselves, family and community?

Fear and preparedness

In the 43 years that I have been involved with educating and supplying folks with preparedness information and products, I have been acutely aware of the methodologies used by those in this field.  Promote an attitude of fear or promote an attitude of empowerment.  Some think fear will empower – and with some people it might work.  I look at it differently.

The events that occur during a disaster or catastrophe are indeed overwhelming and devastating, and require a great deal of cooperation and discipline and maintaining focus and purpose.  I will say again – being motivated and guided by fear can work to your disadvantage.

In my opinion, an attitude of fear while preparing for and during trying times distorts the more important issues at hand and can negatively impact decision making, relationships and action.

Your thoughts will determine your perceptions, emotions and actions.  You are encouraged to make decisions regarding what products to buy, what actions to take, who to believe, who to turn to and what to communicate – not from a reaction to fear – but from a place of critical thinking, conscientious evaluation and discerning judgment.  Think before you mindlessly react.

Essential Food Reserve Questions for Yourself and Your Sources

By Denis Korn

Peace of Mind through honestly answering the relevant questions!

Peace of Mind through honestly answering the relevant questions!

 

As I continue to evaluate the websites of many current providers of shelf stable emergency foods, I am once again motivated to stimulate the due diligence and research I feel that is necessary for my readers so they may be adequately prepared.  I have updated and combined these food reserve questions from two previous posts regarding this issue, and I continue to be angered and saddened at the ignorance and deception that is still rampant in the preparedness industry. 

In the last few years many hundreds of websites, blogs, webinars and food companies have appeared on the scene, and while many are legitimate and sincere, there are too many instant experts.  So many of these folks are simply badly informed and just continue to pass along misinformation and are too lazy to due serious research, or they simply don’t care what information they put out as long is it sells their products.

I have written a number of articles dealing with trust, honesty, reflections, guidelines, questions to ask and recommendations concerning the purchasing of food reserve products.  While the food you rely upon in an emergency is vital and life sustaining, unfortunately few preppers and planers do the valuable research they should for this essential category of provisions.  This post is written to help educate and inform the serious preparedness planner.

This post focuses on food, and as I have indicated in other articles, a dilemma arises – Who can you trust?  How accurate and truthful is information and advice regarding foods for emergency preparedness?  The purpose of this post is to encourage you to ask and answer relevant questions, use common sense and to question the reliability and advice of what you hear and read about foods for preparedness.

What stimulated me to revisit this subject was a blog I recently read that gave a recommended list of foods they thought was needed to be prepared for a long term emergency – it was for a one year period.  This information was a rehash of outdated recommendations and had little relevancy to the realities of food preparation, dietary needs and food preferences in 2018.  This is not the 1800’s.  Do you need 400 pounds of wheat – 150 pounds of beans – many pounds of milk powder, sugar, flour, etc. – per person?  Are you going to spend much of your one year baking and boiling?  Do you have the resources to prepare these core ingredients – water, fuel and time?  Bulk commodities can be valuable in certain food reserve planning, however over reliance on these foods can be detrimental.

I have always been an advocate of a diversity of foods for emergencies because of the numerous set of circumstances that can arise. We just don’t know with certainty what the scenario will be, or the duration and resources available during an emergency.  Finances play an important part in our planning and the cheapest is often not the best nor the appropriate choice.  Determining the foods to store requires serious evaluation and critical and informed thinking – do not be misled by slick advertising, instant experts, endorsements by celebrities and talk show hosts, exaggerated shelf life and taste claims, inadequate serving sizes and foods that once you have read the ingredient declaration you would normally never eat.

While there are many legitimate and quality emergency food companies and true experts, many others are content to profit from foods that – to put it frankly – are truly “survival foods” – foods that might prevent starvation, but are mediocre, have an inadequate caloric value, filed with questionable ingredients, unfamiliar, rely on sugar and other fillers, and might actually cause nutritional problems if consumed for long periods of time.

The first part of this article deals with questions for suppliers, the second part lists food reserve questions that are of value to your personal planning.

For over 40 years now I have personally witnessed, heard and read many conflicting, misleading and outright deceptive claims and information regarding foods for long term storage, and while many food reserve companies are honest and reliable, many are intentionally or unintentionally ignorant and deceitful.

You are highly encouraged to take the following questions seriously and require that the food reserve companies you buy from know what they are doing, and they need to answer these questions honestly and to the best of their ability.  If they can’t – then buyer beware!  In my opinion – there is something immoral, appalling and disgraceful about companies who take advantage of people who may not be adequately informed and are vulnerable to misleading promotion.  Unfortunately many people are more motivated by fear and mindlessly react, then carefully evaluate the facts and make informed decisions.

Spending thousands of dollars on deceptive advertising, hyperbole and exaggeration, being all over the internet with ads, getting high profile talk show hosts and websites to hawk your foods, creating shelf life figures out of thin air, telling folks how nutritious the foods are when they are filled with questionable ingredients, packaging foods in pouches and in a manner that does not assure a long shelf life, and tricking people into thinking they are getting an adequate quantity of foods during an emergency by creating arbitrary “servings” – does not guarantee you are buying value, quality or an adequate supply of vital foods!  The high cost of advertising, endorsements and commissions has to come from somewhere, and all too often it comes from the value of the food products themselves while compromising quality and quantity.

As I am sure you can tell, I am very disappointed and concerned with the state of the “truth in advertising” regarding such an important facet of the preparedness planning process.  The food you eat is life sustaining – and I believe preparedness food companies have an obligation to be honest and provide quality, nutritious foods.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. If the company promotes their food reserve assortments by number of servings, you need more information to determine what you are really buying and whether the quantities are adequate.

A common marketing tactic used by many food companies today is to promote a given number of servings in an assortment, and sometimes to even state that an assortment is good for a given period of time with a given number of servings.  In the preparedness market place today, where people may have to depend on daily food rations for their nourishment, only knowing the number of servings in an assortment is close to meaningless and the information insignificant .  Why?  Because a “serving” quantity and quality can be anything the company wants it to be.  You need more information.

2. What are the calories in each serving – the ingredient source of those calories (white sugar, non-nutritive calories or quality calories) – and what method, or source of information, was used to determine the calories in their products?

The standard for comparing one reserve food product with another has traditionally been to compare the number of calories of similar products or meals.  This is done by comparing the calories by either: knowing the stated calories and the weight in a given serving of a product; or the number of calories of a food product in a comparable sized pouch or container.  This enables comparisons of similar items from different companies – comparing apples with apples.  Even the government on their mandated nutritional information requires the calories be listed – and the source of those calories.

3. How many calories does the company recommend one should consume per day, and how many of their servings will it take to achieve this number?

Now you can do the math and compare the real cost and value of one companies products to another.  What is the true cost per quality calorie?  What is the cost for supplying the proper number of calories for the time period in your emergency scenario?  Don’t forget it is the quality of the calories that is critical.

Here is the important issue: The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for the average adult person is 2,000 calories a day (reputable companies generally allow 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day in formulating their assortments).  There are companies who promote a 500 to 1000 calorie per day allowance!

4. If a company uses names for their meals that sound like they contain real meat or are similar sounding to meat recipes – is it real meat, soy or gluten?   

This is a common deception among many companies who either do not have the legal authority to pack real meat products because they do not have USDA inspected facilities, or they try to make their products as cheaply as possible.

5. When a company claims a shelf life of between 20 and 30 years, how was this determined?

I know of only three USDA inspected companies (disclaimer – one of those companies, AlpineAire Foods, is a company I founded in 1979) who have been in business longer than 30 years with a diverse selection of blended meals and individual items for long term food reserve products who can verify shelf life, use the proper packaging technologies and have their own testing facilities.

6. What experience does the companies customers have eating their foods exclusively for extended periods of time?   

If a company is selling you foods that you may have to rely upon for weeks, months or possibly years, how did they determine that their foods have the necessary nutritional value to sustain a person for an extended length of time?  This includes children and adults.

7. How does the foods taste and are they formulated to digest properly if consumed for a lengthy period of time?  What about ingredient quality?

Many of today’s preparedness food companies are primarily marketing companies that don’t emphasize quality and nutrition.  Their foods must be made cheaply to support the margins required for their extensive marketing budget, commissions and dealer costs.  Study the ingredient declarations – often very difficult to find if not unavailable on many websites – for artificial flavor enhancers, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, fillers and white sugar.  Unfortunately, many deceptive companies and stating their meals are “freeze-dried”, however upon reading the ingredients declaration, there are none.  Are there any reliable independent testimonials about the foods you are considering for a preparedness investment?  How long has the company been in the food reserve business?  As happened after Y2K, how likely is the company to go out of business if there is a dip in demand?

NOTE: MRE’S (meals-ready-to-eat – military rations) were formulated by the military for combat soldiers to be eaten for no longer than one month at a time.  They are high fat and high sodium and some people could have digestion issues if eaten over too long a period.

8. What about preparation?

Those of us in the camping/backpacking industry used the expression “just add water” to indicate that to reconstitute your pouched meal just add hot water, let sit and in 10-15 minutes your meal is ready – no cooking required.  Many of the current pouch food companies use the same expression “just add water,” however what is really means is add water and boil/simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are some important questions to answer when considering what foods to store for emergencies or serious disasters:

  1. Do you know how to prepare the foods you are considering?
  2. Are the foods you are considering compatible with the scenarios and time frames you believe will occur?
  3. When you invest and purchase your food reserves, will it be – or has it been – an emotional reaction stimulated by fear advertising and paid celebrity/talk-show host endorsements, or will it be motivated by a critical thinking and evaluation process?
  4. Where and under what conditions will you store them?
  5. If you are going to pack your own bulk foods, do you know the proper methods and have the proper packaging?
  6. Are you properly informed as to shelf life issues?
  7. Do your foods contain a proper balance of nutrition?
  8. Can you properly digest the foods you are considering if they differ from you normal diet?
  9. If you store grains, beans and seeds do you know how to sprout them for additional essential nutrition?
  10. Do you have the proper equipment and appliances to utilize and prepare your stored foods?
  11. Have you stored the required foods to handle the scenarios you have considered will potentially occur?
  12. Do you have a adequate quantity to feed yourself, family, friends and anyone else who be relying on you?
  13. Do you or others have medical issues, special requirements or a food intolerance to consider?
  14. Will you be storing supplements?
  15. Have you considered comfort foods?
  16. Will you have access to the water you will need to prepare your stored foods?
  17. Can you grow foods if necessary?
  18. Will you be relying on any frozen food?  What if the electricity goes out?
  19. If you have to be mobile, are the foods you are considering easily transportable?
  20. How trustworthy is the manufacturer or source of the the foods you are considering?
  21. Do you plan to incorporate your food reserves into your normal diet?
  22. Will you be like many who say, “I hope I never have to eat these foods for any extended length of time?”