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Basic Preparedness Intro

Basic Preparations

Craig sands the icy path.

Craig sands the icy path.


In the normal course of our lives the provision of basic necessities sometimes fail. This is usually only for short periods of time like a few days. The question is, how do we deal with these emergencies? Although we cannot plan for every contingency, some preparations are a necessity to our lives because either they are highly probable or they are fairly probable but highly dangerous. Considering these emergencies should also prompt us to take  preventive action. There are a number of specific precautions we can take and habits we can cultivate which will totally eliminate many emergencies. There will be some emergencies which you will not be able to anticipate, so 'Be Prepared' is indeed wisdom. Of course the foundational preparations of mindset along with health and fitness are just that, foundational to all others. And "unless God guard the city, the watchmen watch in vain." 

Appropriate seasonal dress

Appropriate seasonal dress

Emergencies involving our basic needs can happen at home, in our vehicle or away from both of them. They all will require maintenance and previous preparation on our part of some sort if we are to take care of the problem ourselves. Even slightly larger emergencies, like short-term power outages and vehicle breakdown, do not need to be more than an inconvenience if we are prepared. Preparedness involves our skills and habits, but also the supplies and tools we collect beforehand.


Home problems are quite likely given the amount of use we give them. But our primary concern for our homes is with the failure of basic utilities which will take down many daily necessities. To be specific this is primarily electrical outage, whether caused by storms or something else. The value of these home preparations goes beyond electrical outages because they provide a backup for each basic necessity. Thus when any one appliance or necessity fails, these backups are there to fill in the lack. Although usable, just filling in is still inconvenient. Fixing the problem would be superior. Learning how to fix-it-yourself is more dependable than relying on a repairman. Sometimes repairmen won't be available. Providing part or all your electrical needs with a generator is also an option.

Pretrip Engine Check

Pretrip Engine Check

Away from home

Being away from home, either with or without your vehicle, increases your vulnerability. This includes most traveling. The simple fact that traveling brings you to places with which you are unfamiliar and would thus find it difficult to even find the help you need, makes prior preparation of great importance.

Without vehicle

When we are away from both our home and vehicle in an emergency we must depend primarily on our skills. Certainly how we dress and the few items we carry are important, sometimes extremely, in an emergency. Still, the main things we will have to depend upon are our habits and skill. I'm not talking about wilderness survival and provision of food and water. Those skills you may need in longer separation emergencies. Rather, how can you reduce the impact of unexpected emergencies affecting your health, safety, or simply something breaking. Probably the most important precaution we can take to prevent accidents and personal harm is by cultivating the habit of alertness - observation of what is happening around us.

Vehicular Emergency supplies

Vehicular Emergency supplies

With vehicle

Being stranded some distance from home, and thus away from the basic necessities of life, tends to make vehicle related emergencies more dangerous and troublesome than home emergencies. Something as simple as a flat tire on the way to work can cause long delays and expense. If you are prepared to change it yourself that is a big advantage. Of course, in northern climates during the winter and long distances from anyone, a flat tire could mean freezing to death before you can get help. Previous preparation could enable you to fix the problem and continue. Supplies for your climate are also critical. These and other preparations, however, must be thought through and implemented in advance, which means careful consideration of your location, climate, available help, time requirements, etc.

Sleeping bag - warmth when stranded in the winter

Sleeping bag - warmth when stranded in the winter

I have included some extremely basic and necessary preparations in this section because they really are fundamental - preparatory to all longer-term preparations. You should already have many of them. Perhaps they will give you a few good ideas. I highly recommend you change the list depending on your particular needs and knowledge. While this is far from exhaustive I think it covers the basic areas where we prepare for the unexpected.


     Equipped.com  -  Doug Ritter with Equipped to Survive Foundation has a lot of excellent information on this site.

     The government also has several websites which have some simple and useful information.
     Ready.gov The Department of Homeland Security has this website. This is not as good as Doug Ritter's website, but is still a good place to start.
     FEMA.gov The Federal Emergency Management Agency's website.

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