Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Next Steps

(Graphic:  )

      The perception of a lot of people here in the US is that despite the fact that mainstream media tells us that "the economy is getting better" that it continues to deteriorate.  More houses are currently being foreclosed upon.  Local newspapers remain full of foreclosures.  Many banks still have large portfolios of foreclosed homes that are up for a fraction of the funds actually owed on them. Many large companies are cutting entire divisions and closing stores. More people are being left without jobs when most of the people here who lost jobs in the last two years have never been able to regain one.  Fast food restaurants are able to hire people with Bachelor's degrees, and they are. Many of my kid's friends who have shiny new Bachelors or Masters degrees now, still can't find jobs and have choking student loan debt that will only be deferred for so long.    From my vantage point, what I have called The Depression of the Digital Age still seems in full swing. In some ways I wonder if it actually might be broader and deeper than I had realized.

                With this in mind I created the last two posts which aren't designed to scare you, simply to have you assess your own situation and make some smart plans which would stand you in better stead for everything from an earthquake to a tornado to a financial collapse.

                 In the original post I listed , with detail, that we should consider:

1. Contain our expenditures  (shooting for a savings of ten percent over present levels.)
2. Begin storing emergency food that is palatable to your family  (if you haven't been already.)
3. Diversify your savings.
4. Correct known medical or dental issues now.

Full post with detail can be found at:

                In the second post, I detailed the following additional activities:

5. Establish a Home Medical Kit
6. Establish a Family Evacuation Kit which also contains an Evacuation Medical Kit
7. Gather, protect and store important family documents.

This posts detail is found at:

Items 1-7 would take most families a couple of weeks to complete, even if one of them were committed and had portions of these activities completed in advance.   However, if you are ready for the next activities, we can move on.

Begin a Family Disaster Procedure Manual

A plain three ring notebook works best.   In one section, include plans for family evacuation, and in another section include your plans for sheltering in place.    Keep in mind that if Dad knows where the water shut off in the house is, but Mom does not, and Dad is in Atlanta on a business trip when a disaster occurs, that Mom is going to need the disaster notebook and such information should be there.

This is one of my prior posts concerning an Evacuation Manual for your Family:

Again, my book Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness goes into much more detail.
Some families benefit from a couple of different notebooks.  If you have any family members with medical issues, or who are on regular medications, you might wish to create a medical history notebook with pages for each family member containing medical history as you understand it, physicians names, phone and fax numbers, address and e-mail if you have it. On other pages you should list their medications and doses.
If you had to evacuate your state for some reason, and a rescue agency had a physician prescribing for refugees and a pharmacist filling such orders, then the information you have could be invaluable.  At a later date you could photocopy pharmacy bottles or receipts furthur proving these meds. The difference between doing this and not, could be a hospitalization in another city for your loved one, while another physician you don't know mulls over what their maintenance meds should be.

At my house we have a notebook for Medical Evacuation as mentioned above.  We have a notebook where half is devoted to procedures for sheltering in place at our farm, and the other half of this disaster notebook is devoted to Evacuation from the farm, including animal evacuation.  The primary advantage to this is that if the person who created the notebook with others is away, ill, or gone, then the remaining family members have a prescribed path to follow even during periods of extreme stress or duress.

My point is that we should prepare for both sheltering-in-place emergencies and Evacuation Emergencies as a family or at least as a spousal unit, quarterly anyway.   As for frightening children, if they realize that you and your spouse are making reasonable plans for reasonable potential weather emergencies then they should feel a measure of security from this planning, rather than a sense of terror from the exploration of all the potential possibilities.

        It is extremely important that your preps are not too dependent upon cellular phones, computers or the internet.  Hard copies on paper in notebooks should exist because anything from a protracted power outage to your not being able to afford a cellular phone anymore could derail your electronic dependency.  Anything important should be printed and kept in acid free sleeves and in three ring notebooks.

 Gather Reasonable Amounts of Tools for Your Household and Your Region

       This statement means many things to different people.  If I lived in a townhouse, then a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a snow shovel, and a set of flashlights might be as self sufficient as you might want to get. If you are moving fairly soon or you  have very limited storage space, then your focus might be spent on evacuation plans and your sport utility vehicle or car.    In a suburban home, then an axe, saws, some power tools, and more snow shovels might be more appropriate.  On a farm where there is no snow removal on the farm roads, then a tractor with a snowblade becomes a more reasonable consideration.   Only you and your spouse, if you have one, can properly evaluate what you need in terms of hand or power tools for your region and in consideration of your budget.   You want to have the tools with which to weather reasonable emergencies, without creating a starvation emergency in your home by overspending !
       Make sure that you and your family members at least consider the tools you might need for emergencies.

These are some of the posts in which I discussed the gathering of tools: 

Establish Some Safe Hiding Places in Your Residence

This can mean for valuables, should you need to evacuate your home and leave your valuables.   It might also mean a safe place to hide during tornadoes or severe thunder storms.

In the next post in this series, we will discuss some of the aspects of :

Moving Toward More Self Sufficiency Given Your Own Setting and Location.


Linda said...

When I was married, my husband only bought Dollar Store tools that would not do the job and broke. He never kept me apprised of his location when he was out of town. When there was a medical emergency, he was not where he told me he would be. I was alone in taking care of any emergency. He did not believe any sort of emergency would ever happen. Yes, and he would wreck his car all the time and never have it fixed, just collect the insurance. I digress. I was so much better off without his input which was to do nothing to prepare, not even have food on hand. If I bought one can too much or what seemed to him like too many apples for our three kids, there was HELL to pay.

I am quite sure there are others who live with a spouse who would have nothing to do with ordinary life precautions. If I crossed him, the children paid the price for my "disobedience." He always called someone else to take care of our home and car. Often, I could fix the problem. For instance, the little screen on a faucet that gets particles in it was a reason to call a plumber. He did not want me to unscrew the thing that hold the screen in place and shake out the particles. Do you think he could handle anything?

Ordinary, every day problems, like a clogged drain were catastrophes for him. Yes, I was a woman who could use a plunger. That was beyond him. Sorry to complain here on your blog, but there are people who would just be a drain instead of a help.

Oh, fortunately my father gave me some of his tools, spares, so that I had something decent to work with.

I know there are people in the same position I was in!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I would add that anything you might want to look up on the internet, well you may want it on paper as I suspect that the internet will be shut down as an "emergency" precaution as in a major emergency the government will be scared of any one organizing to take control of the situation and get rid of the biggest problem.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank you for this constructive comment. I had intended to mention that as I did in my book, and I have amended the post above. You are absolutely correct. In any number of true emergencies the internet, the computer or the cellular phone won't help. The information will need to be in a book or on the printed page, or you simply won't have it.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, there are. Most people of that type do learn to cope a bit over time. Sadly, during a genuine emergency is not time for them to rise to the occasion. Sometimes being single is far better than having a place-marker spouse who can be a draw. Sadly, there are placemarkers as both wives and husbands too.

Laurel Nguyen said...

What a great post! I am working on most of the items on your list, but you've given me a few more things to think about. Thank you!

BBC said...

I'll save some money by not buying your book being as I'm doing just fine without it. :-)

JaneofVirginia said...

Good plan. The books are great, but if you have everything managed without them, then saving money is always a good plan. The books are especially good for those with children, pets, a farm, or who are caregivers to those with medical issues, or to those who simply have grown up in a more recent generation who haven't focused on coping during harder times.