So, you might be asking yourself what exactly is a Prepared Home? Well, to be sure it is a loose definition. But to my way of thinking, it means simply that you have set yourself up to be prepared for whatever untoward events may come your way. And when I say home, I don’t necessarily mean house or homestead. It doesn’t matter if you reside in a house, apartment, condo, RV, Yurt, tent or even some sort of hand-built primitive shelter – for all intents and purposes of this site, your home is where you “hang your hat”, where you bed down at night. It is your primary base of operation.
No matter what part of the country you are in, or what size, shape and composition of your home, there are some common denominators that apply to us all. We all need water. We all need food. We need shelter. The thing is, preparedness isn’t a linear list of things you need or skills you must learn. Most everything in life is intertwined and preparedness is no exception.
For example, you might wonder; what does a Prepared Home have to do with, let’s say automotive repair? Well, if you are like most people (Americans anyhow) you depend on your automobile for darn near everything. If you rely on your car to get you to work and you rely on your job to pay your mortgage or rent, when your car is out of commission it puts your very livelihood at stake. I realize that sounds dramatic but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. This is especially true if you are like me, on a very tight budget and just getting by as it is. “Well… cars break”, you might say, “there is nothing you can do about that”. True, but not entirely. You might not be able to prevent every breakdown, but with proper preventative maintenance you can reduce your chances significantly of this happening to you. Even if you have to have the work done in a shop it will cost you less nearly every time to have something fixed before it fails completely, not to mention the possible added costs of towing and/or car rental costs. And then there is the stress factor. I don’t know about you, but being stranded on the side of the road with an auto that is not mobile is one of the most stressful situations I’ve ever found myself in.
Cooking is another example of something most people don’t associate with preparedness but it absolutely is a preparedness skill. If your town is under siege due to a weather event, do you want to eat cold cereal until you can get to a restaurant days later? Or perhaps you lose power for a few days. If all you ever do to “cook” is throw something into a microwave you are pretty hosed until the power is restored. Everyone should know how to make some basic meals from actual ingredients, not just heating something in a frozen tray.
On most of the “popular” prepping/survival sites everyone talks about needing to know how to hunt and fish and survive with nothing more than a fixed blade knife and your wits. While those are certainly valuable skills to have, for a lot of people that is a totally unrealistic approach to preparedness. I could be a highly skilled and seasoned hunter, but a fat lot of good that will do me living in suburbia with a million other people in close proximity. Same goes for fishing – the nearest potential fishing spot from me is nearly 30 miles away. In a true emergency situation, even if it is drawn out for days on end, I wouldn’t try to get myself that far away from my home base for the chance of catching a fish. Learning how to trap a squirrel, as unappetizing as that may be to most people, would actually be a far better skill for me to learn than traditional hunting for no other reason than squirrels are abundant in my neighborhood. And yes I know, “… during the Great Depression squirrels were hunted nearly to extinction, blah, blah, blah,… “. Don’t care. Because I’ve assessed where I am and what is (and what is NOT) around me and I know I have a much better chance to get a squirrel than a deer or feral hog or what-have-you. We simply do not have those critters anywhere around here. Maybe you do, and if so hunting is a GREAT skill to learn.
There are many, many things in life that can be great preparedness skills and tools, but before you can determine what you need moving forward; you need to figure out where you are. What I’m talking about is a full blown assessment of your life and everything in it that you have control over.
This means looking at your home to determine its strengths and weaknesses, and the same with your transportation. How is your food and water supply? What can you do to prevent fires? How about general accident prevention? What kind of resiliency is in place for you and those you provide for, should something happen to derail your normal, everyday life? What types of emergencies is your area generally prone to? The U.S. is chock full of potential natural disasters, but what might affect someone in Silicon Valley will most likely not be the same thing that affects someone in the Great Plains, which will not be the same as you’d face in Florida along the coastal regions.
Nobody can prepare for every eventuality and thankfully there is some overlap; in other words preparations for one type of emergency will also be useful for others. A First Aid kit is a prime example. But you need to be focused on probability, not possibility. Because lets’ face it, the possibilities of calamities are infinite, from a rogue nation launching an EMP attack to an alien invasion from outer space to whatever else your imagination can conjure, but those things are NOT exactly probable. Tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes – those kinds of things are probable everywhere in this country, but depending on where you are one or two of them are highly more probable than others. If I lived in NYC, I wouldn’t worry myself too much with, or prepare for wildfires. Likewise if I’m in Lincoln Nebraska, I’m not going to be really concerned with hurricanes or tsunami events.
In upcoming articles I will be breaking down assessments into bite-sized pieces and go more in depth. This piece here is really intended to set the frame of mind and hopefully calm some of the panic that a lot of people seem to be consumed with lately. There is a famous line that says something along the lines of; “The easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time” and that is what I plan to do here. We will dig into how to and what to assess, how to put a plan together and how all these seemingly unrelated topics will actually help you become better prepared for whatever life throws at us. Stay tuned!
Thanks for reading,