Monday, February 17, 2014

Becoming Demoralized Regarding Disaster Preparedness


    There are quite a few very bright and well educated people who try to teach preparedness in some form or another to Americans, or to any nation, or anyone who will listen.   Preparedness is not about Americans against Syrians, Egyptians against anyone, or any particular race or creed against another.  All preparedness does is recognize that people live in families and that when the inevitable minor or major inevitable disasters occur, that we all have common needs.  When an earthquake comes to China, or a bombing to an Israeli or to a Syrian town, or a tornado wipes out a town in Kansas, we all need water, some food, first aid supplies, emotional support, and a warm and safe place to sleep later that night.  True preparedness has no agenda.  It is the simple recognition that challenges will come, and that we'd all best be ready.

                      Lately, a couple of people who are well known high achievers in the survival business have become demoralized.  They are tired of repeating the same things again and again to people mesmerized by their iphone.  One of them, who shall remain nameless told me that he thought he would give up relating the message of preparedness.  "It's too late", he said.  " Too many people have missed the chance to prepare." Needless to say, I don't share that view.   Whether you believe that a world or an American financial collapse will come, or whether you believe there's a hurricane coming later in the year, we all need to take reasonable steps to prepare our families.   We need to analyze what the most likely emergencies at our location might be. We need to establish an excellent home first aid kit.  We need to establish a strong evacuation kit.  Then, we need to make plans for anywhere where we spend a good deal of time.   Our workplaces, grandparents homes, a cabin or a recreational vehicle if we have one, are all places where we should consider some secondary preparations.

                     My book, Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness  is an attempt to take people who have not made plans with regard to preparedness, to having a very clear picture as to how to prepare for normal issues in the space of one weekend.  It is a starting point, but a good one nonetheless. There are also some great ideas for seasoned preppers.  From the starting point of the book, families, not extreme preppers, need to refine and add other items and other learning.  For example, if you have young children, you and your spouse should learn CPR and include infant and child CPR to that training.

                     No, I don't believe that it's too late for reasonable attempts at disaster preparedness.  You can prepare for thirty years only to find that the item you need to save a loved ones life, just isn't there.   You can take a weekend to prepare and find that you were blessed with exactly the right supplies to do the job to not only promote comfort but to save a life.  You see, no one really knows where that tipping point is.  We can't stock a hospital, but we can keep reasonable amounts of first aid supplies, and hope that we are not hit with a challenge that is too advanced for our skill set.

                    Once we have taken steps to prepare reasonably, then we need to reevaluate our preps every six months to a year.  This should include rotating stock.  You should also use some of your supplies in order to keep some familiarity and actually know how to use freeze dried food, for example.  Then, go out and live a life.  Preparedness is not all there is, but preparedness may someday make the rest of it possible.  When that fails, then stop, and listen to some music.



Linda said...

I don't think it is ever too late to prepare. It may be too late to fully prepare, but how many people ever find they are completely prepared? They may be farther ahead than the next person. Half prepared is better than none at all. There will always be those who do not listen to some doctrine we believe.

You spoke of a medical problem that the prepper could not handle. Let me ask you--if someone had appendicitis and you were the only person who had any medical knowledge, could you operate and possibly save that person, would you try?

BBC said...

Why help others prepare when there are too many people on this rock? Other than to sell books that is, I don't care if a lot of them die so the rest of us can go on.

JaneofVirginia said...

That's a fascinating question. First, I would like to say that most preppers, physicians and nurse practitioners included can do a great deal out of the hospital in order to manage or even medically stabilize a patient. HOWEVER, MOST physicians could not expect to do an appendectomy in a non-medical setting, without the benefits of an operating room, a hospital, a recovery room, and nursing care afterward. The clinical skill necessary to open the correct part of the abdomen and extract the appendix and then repair the multi-layer incision is only one part of the job. The sterile environment, the drugs necessary to prevent infection and to induce anesthesia, the services of an anesthesiologist during the surgery, lab back up, bloodbank services, and the nursing care peri-operatively and post operatively are all essential parts of the patient's survival. Without these things, the potential for the loss of the patient is much higher than it would ordinarily be. I would not attempt to do such a procedure, because I am not prepared for it, or licensed to do it. Most of the physicians I know would also not attempt this in a home setting. There are a couple of surgeons and trauma surgeons I know, who would try.
The irony is that primarily for the animals, I have intravenous capability here, and I stock human grade supplies in the event that a physician ever ordered me to administer a liter of Lactated Ringers or something on someone. However, the one time I really needed medical backup before the medical helicopter arrived, I did not have the one item that might have saved my young son's life. I did not have an AED I had no reason to believe that I needed one. When the helicopter and the AED arrived, it was too late. The AED did not return him to us. Immediate CPR had not been enough. I own one now, but the annual maintenance on the battery and software backups are expensive. My point is that although it is important to have whatever complement of medical supplies you can afford and know how to use, that the possibility always exists that what you might need in the future, for a gunshot wound, surgical emergency etc. will not be what is needed for those usual circumstances.
So, we supply what we know how to safely use, and we pray that we won't encounter an emergency in which our skills and supplies are wholly inadequate.
As for those who don't accept my beliefs, I don't usually share my beliefs, because they are not important, and because they are only the beliefs of one person. I try to help those who wish to prepare for ordinary anticipated natural emergencies to direct their assets in the right direction.

JaneofVirginia said...

I will do whatever I can to help those who wish help in surviving natural and man-made emergencies. Sometimes, that alone is enough.

BBC said...

Past sewing up an open surface wound I wouldn't be helpful to anyone, other than to administer last rites.

JaneofVirginia said...

Fortunately, a lot of wounds don't really need suturing, and should be left open the heal from the bottom up, especially if the correct antibiotic is not available. However, I think you sell yourself short. In an emergency, another human being, who is simply being supportive to another is worth the world to that person. You certainly are a Godsend to your neighbor in all situations. Best wishes,

lotta joy said...

Because I do not produce platelets, I bleed profusely over just jabbing my finger to check my blood sugar. So I bought something that actually should be in everyone's prepared kit. QUICKCLOT.

I'm NOT great at food storage. In fact, I'm on the food storage short bus. But for everything medical, I'm in a good place.

JaneofVirginia said...

Quickclot is a good thing to have. I have a couple of syptic pencils which can stop small bleeds, and we also stock the Quickclot version for nosebleeds. It IS possible to treat nosebleeds (epistaxis) without Quickclot, but if you are one of those people who gets fairly frequent nosebleeds (and two of the people here have superficial nasal vessels, and have allergies also) then it's a great thing to have. Thanks for posting, Lotta Joy.