Here in Florida, it's "Spring Break" week and our family is taking the time to expand our self sustaining, survivalist lifestyle into practicing the skills that take longer than the average 30 minutes we spend at dinner discussing the subject with the kids.
Living on the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State, and through more hurricanes and hurricane scares than we can remember, we've always been 'prone' to doing things to prepare for natural disasters during certain 'events.' During Daylight Savings Time, we always change the batteries in our smoke detectors, and Easter Weekend we buy canned goods, flashlights, batteries, candles, and lighters to stock up for any impending doom our coming hurricane season may bring.
This has always just been 'par for the course' for us, but as we've grown older and wiser, and lived through more and more, we've seen our shortcomings in this plan. When our state was ravaged by four hurricanes in six weeks time back in the late summer of 2004, one county was dead center in every storm. Friends of ours lived in that county found themselves without power for six months, and that's the least of what could have happened if it had happened to us, and if it had been some other type of 'disaster.'
Preparing To Prepare- Survival Skill #1
With a hurricane, there's usually a fair amount of advanced warning, and most likely, if your area is in the projected path of destruction, you'll know it well enough advance and if you have kids, their schools will be closed. But other types of disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, or worse would not necessarily give any warning that might keep the kids home from school that day. Preparedness 101- prepare for what is 'most likely,' and once that is done, or habitual (because it's never actually 'done') then move on to preparing for what you don't know.
Have A Family Reunification Plan
One thing we've learned in Florida, is that the event itself does little damage in comparison to the damage that people suffer after the event. The loss of power, interruption to the food and water supplies, contamination of natural bodies of water, and more are responsible for the devastation that comes 'after the storm'. If you know you live in Earthquake Country, prepare to survive the time without power, water, and food, and also prepare a plan to 'reunite' your family and get it to wherever it is your preparations are, whether that's at home, or a bug out location.
Make sure you study maps and routes with your kids. Make the kids keep copies of the family reunification plan in their backpacks, and with their teachers and other school administrators. This will not only making finding your kids easier, it will also help them to achieve the 'self assuredness' that will keep them from panicking or being scared should something happen and they need to wait patiently until you arrive.
The Top 3 Preps- Survival Skill #2
Water, Food, Supplies
It's always best to have as much 'on hand' as your budget and space limitations will allow, but regardless of what stage of 'self sustaining you're at', once you learn some 'skills', you can overcome any shortages. Of course we have our garden, chickens, and eventually plan on rabbits, quail and fish, a hurricane could destroy our crop, and possibly our livestock, so it still makes sense to keep the canned food on hand, in case we need it for 'transition food' until a new crop can be grown, and new livestock can be procured.
Two Important Survival Skills
Water Desalination/Distilling and Hunting/Trapping
Water Desalination and Distillation is not hard at all and can be easily done with containers and saran wrap, using nothing but the process of evaporation. It's difficult to produce 'a lot' of water with this process, unless you have very large equipment, which most people won't have, but it can make enough to keep dehydration at bay. Use collected rain water, stored bath water, and other water stores and natural water resources for bathing and washing clothes.
Hunting and Trapping may become necessary, just as water purification may, if you have just started prepping or if your disaster has the long lasting effects our friends saw in 2004. You'll need to familiarize yourself with your states seasons, laws, hunting facilities and game lines, as well as invest in some equipment which you can consider adding to the beginning stages of your preps. Although we 'prep' so that we don't have to resort to acting like cavemen if the event of a disaster, supplies run out, but skills and the equipment to use them don't.
As we've attested on this blog, as taxi drivers with no 'set income', we never know just how much we'll be able to devote to our own preps from week to week, but we aim for $30-$50, and if we don't make it in our 'jobs' one week, we employ some 'creative financial skills' (see this post) to make at least the $25.00 to invest in our preps.
We scan the newspaper classifieds, the coupons, and sales flyers for 'deals,' and we know that we can usually get about 4 cans of canned meat or 8 cans of fruit or vegetables for $10.00 each, and a case (24 pack) of water for about $5.00.
If all we have to work with is the $30.00,1 store of water, one store of canned meat, one store of canned fruits or vegetables, , and 'supplies.'
Lighters, candles,knives, flashlights, batteries, soaps, toothpaste. As we begin to build up these stores, we'll add things like fishing equipment, trapping equipment, and hunting equipment.
One important thing to note, is that people give stuff away or sell it dirt cheap on Craigslist and at garage sales all the time. If you are growing a garden, or micro farming small livestock you may also need to change the way you allocate funds for other things like canning jars to preserve your garden food, feed and shelter for your livestock and
Find some stuff for 'free' on Craigslist, we'll take the money we allotted for that and apply it to something else, trade it, or sell it for extra money to apply to our preps.
Make any amount over the $30.00, we'll apply it to something else.
Don't make the $30.00 minimum, do what we can, and try to make it up the following week.
Mindset- Survival Skill #3
The most valuable assets we have for ensuring our survival are our minds and our knowledge. The 'prepared' mindset that comes from the knowledge of survival skills allows us not only peace of mind, but the pliability to know that while we can't prepare for anything and everything, we're knowledgeable enough to overcome whatever life may throw at us.