Really. Do you need a strategy for preparing for a disaster? Fifty pounds each of beans and rice should do the trick, right?
If this is your answer, we really need to talk.
It may seem trite, but Ben Franklin hit it on the head when he said,
“By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.”
So, we agree that we need to prepare so that we don’t set ourselves up for failure.
What your strategy will look like, however, truly depends on how God leads you to answer THE Three BIG Questions –
- “Who am I preparing for?”
- “How long am I preparing for?
- “What standard of living do I want to maintain?”
Let’s break this down, because there are several things that need to be considered under each of these questions.
“Who am I preparing for?”
Make a list. If you have a desire to minister and serve through the crisis, think about who you’ll be able to reach during whatever crisis may come to your area.
Will you be helping your neighbors?
Will you be taking in friends in the area?
Once you’ve established your list, you need to break it down into some specific categories.
What is the age range of those you’re preparing to help? Children, teens, adults, elderly – there’s quite a range there on dietary needs and energy level.
How can you divvy out the chores of everyday life?
Is everyone able to work? If you have more children than adults, that’s going to put more stress on the adults in day to day life. (Yes, children should be helping with day to day life, but there are some things that I would train a teenager to do that my four year old is not going to touch, thank you very much. Keep those things in mind.)
Another thing to consider is if any of those individuals have special needs.
Infants will need a backup plan for feeding should they be formula fed or if Mom’s milk dries up due to stress or whatever. (Anyone have a goat?)
Does anyone who is going to be helped by you have a chronic illness where special supplies will need to be on hand? (Diabetes comes to mind, but there are so many more.)
Finally, in answering this question, you need to look the expectations of those who are coming and will be helped by you. I know. They should be grateful and pitch in, working “as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3:23b) Unfortunately, not everyone operates that way. Granted, I think Paul had it right when he said, “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” (2Thessalonians 3:10b) There are extenuating circumstances…like my 11 month old daughter, but even my wheelchair bound Mima can snap beans or fold small laundry. So, Paul’s statement sounds like decent motivation for those who might be otherwise inclined.
“How long am I preparing for?”
As short and sweet as your answer may be to this question, this is going to determine so very much for the structure of how you prepare. Storage for FEMA’s recommended five days looks so very, very different than storage for three months.
Finally, “What standard of living do I want to maintain?”
How many meals do you expect to eat a day?
What kind of protein do you expect to have and how often?
How often are you going to use flashlights? (Do you have enough batteries? Using them for hours at a time, which you very well could if you don't have another source for light at night, will eat through batteries. Consider some solar charging lights and hand crank flashlights.)
Do you have a way to maintain running water, if you need it?
How about electricity?
How can you set up things for sanitation?
The details that need to be considered under this are beyond numerous. And, perhaps, you would want to answer this question before the other two. Make a list of things you use moment by moment. How can you live without those or make adjustments so that you can have those in a crisis situation?
Let’s just say that after living off-grid in third world conditions for nine weeks with three kids 3 and under (with our menu out of our hands), we learned that:
- the same food, day after day wore on our psyches, and we chose not to eat instead of having mutton stew for the 10th, 13th, 15thtime in a row. Not the healthiest choice, but we just couldn’t face it again.
- spices and hot sauce make all the difference!
- we craved protein like we couldn’t have imagined.
- only having flashlights after dark really strained our eyes,…especially for reading.
- headlamps are a lifesaver! (Ones with common batteries are better, as well as ones that you can change or replace the lamps.)
- one small piece of dark chocolate a day gave a bit of normalacy to me, and I was able to soldier on, even when it was really hard.
Please ask God to guide you through these questions as you discuss this with the other people that you will be preparing with. Once you know who you will be aiming to help, then you will be able to know how you need to start planning, what you’ll need to gather, as well as the essential skills you will need to cultivate.
We're here to help you walk through your preparation. It’s an adventure. Let’s get going!
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