Recent events in the world have shown us all how people react to situations that may disrupt or even cause them to change their way of thinking. The current situation in Japan is a prime example of fear dominating the lives of persons throughout the world.
Here is my personal philosophy regarding fear behavior. Fear leads to panic, panic leads to possible tragedy.
Most people are afraid for the simple reason that they don’t know what to do in a situation. Fear is one of our strongest emotions because we have an instinctive will to survive that overrides almost every other thought when we are in crisis situations. We tend to forget that it is fear that makes us do things that are either incredibly helpful or stupid in regards to survival. I have read and talked to many people about preparedness and I was overwhelmed by the amount of fear that people have about the unknown or uncertain times ahead.
This article is meant to help others to leave fear behind (for the most part) and instill confidence in your abilities to be able to survive and possibly, even thrive in times of doubt and uncertainty.
But first, let me say that you can’t prepare for every possible situation that may arise. Let’s look at things from a logical perspective. Being prepared for most situations is our key to success. These are things that I look at when making preparations. I also want to say that I am not an expert in the field of survival skills. I am just like you. I am looking for answers from as many sources as possible. I just want to share what I have learned with others so that they can be better prepared than most.
With that said, I will say this. I do have many years of preparing under my belt and I have spent many years of my life in the woods as a hunter, fisherman, and as a backwoods camper. My experience has shown me hard times and real life scenarios. I have been ill equipped, almost froze, ran out of water, been lost (almost), had my camp stove blow up, ran out of fuel for my lanterns, not had warm enough sleeping gear, improper shoes and clothing, and been afraid too. But I have also learned much from each experience. You will also see that I don’t include items in here like back up generators or power supplies, water filtration equipment, and mechanical devices. I also will not get into the gun thing because that is better left up to you. My personal opinion based on people and how they react in crisis is that firearms are an essential part of my personal plan. But I also have a bow and arrows.
The main reason why I say this is because I am well trained in firearms, and I understand human behavior well from personal experiences, and I know for a fact that there are people in this world that use guns to take away things from other people at the point of a gun. They are usually the ones that are willing to kill you to get what they want or need for whatever reason they think is right for them. The reasons regarding not having mechanical devices are many. The main reason is because most of these type items require many things to keep them operating in one way or another. Plus, they take up a lot of room if you are on the move. They are great if you are never going to have to take them with you when you have to choose what items you can “actually" carry on your back.
I do recommend that you get as many things that you can get to be somewhat comfortable in times of crisis. This helps immeasurably in your overall mental health. Because one of the keys to survival is having a positive outlook on your situation at all times. Things as simple as a fire can not only be used to keep you warm and cook food, but fire has a way of making us feel safe in the darkness. I believe this goes back to the earliest days of humans. Learning to create fire with simple tools is not easy though. But I believe it is essential to learn how to do it.
Do YOU have a WRITTEN PREPAREDNESS PLAN ALREADY? You don’t need to be a survival expert to know that common sense mandates that you have a plan.
Does every member of your IMMEDIATE FAMILY have a copy of the plan? Just in case you or your family are all separated for any reason. I personally have a plan that every member of my family has, and we actually practice certain scenarios just in case an event is to arise.
If you have children, this may be a little or a lot harder for them depending on their age and maturity levels. You also need to discuss with school authorities what kind of plans they have for the just in case scenario. You will probably find out as I did that most schools will rely on Government to tell them what to do in major crisis situations. That’s just scary stuff if you ask me. Your children may be separated from you and sent to undisclosed locations. Oh, just so you know, the schools actually have the authority to do that if they cannot contact you, or if they feel that the emergency dictates that they do this. But here is the scary part to me.
Are these people any better prepared or trained to deal with a crisis than the average person? Yes and no would be my answer. Is the government better prepared than most of us that are prepared? I would say that history tells us that they are not. They may have equipment and manpower, but mobilizing that equipment and manpower in the right time and in the right way is essential to saving lives. Anyone remember Katrina? This is a historical fact. This makes your personal plan even more important for you and your children for that very reason.
I have taught my children to stay with the school authorities until I come to them. At least I have a starting point to look for them. I don’t like it, but if I am not there, it’s better than nothing at all. I don’t know about others, but I really don’t want my children striking out on their own and possibly getting in a situation where I cannot find them, they get lost, or where they can be hurt by some not so nice people that really do exist out there.
The written plan should be with each member of your family at ALL TIMES. Obviously, it doesn’t help to have a plan, if you or your family doesn’t have it with them.
You may think that just telling your family certain things are good enough. It really isn’t. Our minds play tricks on us all the time in the way we perceive what someone says. That is why it is much better to have it written down in hard copy. What if someone is not thinking clearly? Even the best plan won’t work if they are out of their mind and don’t use it. But I am talking about people that are frightened and not thinking clearly as far as good judgment skills, or too young to know any better, or can’t remember what you told them. This happens more often than not in crisis situations, even to trained people in stressful situations.
Another thing that I think is just as important is this. Just as most of us practiced fire drills in school as we grew up, we need to practice preparedness drills too. That means actually discussing with your family that YOU are going to spring a false disaster on them just like a real disaster would. NO family members should actually know the day or time that it will happen but YOU. Letting your family know that you are going to do this ahead of time will ease the pain of you waking them in the middle of the night from their cozy bed to go into action. The reason I personally choose the middle of the night is because that is the time most people are going to experience the shock of suddenly being awakened and having to think clearly.
This will let everyone (including you) see what they did right or wrong in case of an actual incident without having to find out the hard way in real time.
Ok, this is what I call the meat and potatoes of the plan. If nothing else, you can copy this and make and refine the plan to fit your personal needs. Some people will recommend everything from A to Z. I try to keep my plan simple as possible, yet have what I feel is essential for my families needs for short and long term situations and immediate needs.
- Every member has a copy of the plan.
- Each member has their own duties. If you are all together, it is a lot easier to give specific jobs to each person so that no extra time is wasted and things are forgotten.
- Only one person is to check that all items that are listed on the list are there after all items are gathered together. (If you are at home and don’t have to leave the area, you may still need to gather items).
- A chain of command just like in the armed forces so there isn’t too many chiefs and not enough Indians so to speak.
- Always have a plan “B”. Just in case Plan “A” isn’t going to be able to be done.
- Do you have a place to go to be safe?
- Do you have an alternate place to be safe?
- Do you have plenty of stable items that can supply you in case you can’t get food or water for at least a couple weeks if not longer?
- Do you have water storage? The average person in an emergency needs at least 2 ½ gallons of water a day.
- Do you have adequate shelter?
- Cooking and food preparation gear?
- Do you have adequate food? By the way, canned goods are usually only good for about a year if they are retail store bought items. Also, weather affects all food items regardless of the type including MRE type foods.
- Do you have first aid kits?
- Do you have any regular needed medications?
- Special emergency medications or supplies such as bandages, gauze, etc.
- Is all your emergency gear easily accessible and in one place for you or to your family members? This is extremely important because you don’t want to be going on a search for essential items in times of crisis.
- Prepare ahead of time for climatic conditions for the area that you live or may have to go to.
- Do you have a way of communicating to each other besides cell phones and two way radios? Remember that simple things such as a whistles or a signal mirror were used before electronics were invented. They are durable and they don’t require batteries. I’m not saying electronics aren’t great things to have. I have them! But as most will find out sooner or later, they usually fail you when you need them most or if there are no batteries for them, they are just paper weights.
- Durable compasses and topo maps of you area as well as street maps are essential items too. But they don’t help unless you know how to use them or read them.
- Do you have what everyone likes to call “Bug out Bags”? Just in case you have to leave everything but the shirt on your back so to speak. These should have all the really essential items for survival for each person for a few days plus communications devices of some sort. They should also be kept in your vehicle at ALL times. There are many expert people that give advice on this subject if you don’t know what to put in your gear. If you want to get more information regarding this you can go to Youtube or Google and search there. I personally recommend looking at as much information as possible and fitting that into your personal idea of a bug out bag. Here are a couple of well known and recognized experts in survival that I recommend you to look up.
The honest ones teach you that it is not easy, but it can be done. I have even seen where they have had made mistakes and they are not afraid to let you see them make them. I would rather trust them than some guy that edits out all the hard stuff or does things that in reality you are never going to have to do. That’s my personal opinion.
Different types of fire starting gear should be simple and compact. But you need to practice using them too on a regular basis before that big event comes so you won’t be disappointed because you have not become proficient in how to use them.
Last but not least, get as much information in book form from real true survivalists that are well recognized in this type of skill so that you can refer the books, in case you don’t remember how to do certain things. Army field manuals are small and compact and full of information too. You can usually get them at any survivalist website or surplus store.
Remember, the key to surviving any crisis in knowledge. The more you have the less fear you will have. I could go on in more depth on certain things that I think are essential, but I will save that for another article in the future. If you have any questions or comments, please register and comment on this article. I will try to answer as many questions as possible when I see that there is enough interest in the subject matter that I feel it is necessary to address it.