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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.


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