Assessing your level of preparation isn’t exactly the most exciting or headline grabbing topic to discuss, but one that is necessary if you are to be truly prepared for anything. Start out by asking yourself, if something happened right now, how long could you last without the need to venture outside your safe haven?
Look at the basics; food, water, light, security – how well are you prepared on each of the 4 basic needs. I have recently been piling up the canned goods at an almost frantic pace so I starting to feel pretty good on that side. However, we have to ask ourselves, am I storing the right foods, foods we will use over time before they expire? Are we storing foods that we eat on a regular or at least semi-regular basis? Is it organized and rotated properly? Is it balanced with my other preps.
Water is our most critical need for survival as we can goes days without food, but without water we will perish rather quickly. Have you also stored enough water for washing or flushing the toilet? Have you secured an alternative source of water such as a stream, well or rain barrels? Can you filter it to make it safe to drink?
Light, though not absolutely necessary for survival, is difficult to live without. Most preppers obsess on this one; generators, fuel, candles, flashlights, LED lanterns, batteries, etc, whatever choices you make in this area be sure to have more than one option. If you plan to use a generator as your primary backup be sure to have plenty of fuel and fuel stabilizer. Look at different scenarios, could you start and run it in a heavy storm? If you are using battery operated devices try to stick to a couple of battery choices to limit the variety you have to store. We have chosen to focus on C and AA operated units for simplicity, cost and availability. Solar powered chargers can also be a good option for longer term events.
Security seems to be one of the most written about topics within the prepper community so I won’t go into great detail here; simply assess your risk factor vs. your ability to respond to those threats. An AR-15 hanging on your bedroom wall won’t help you a bit if you’re stranded at work. Similarly, a compact .380 Auto in your pocket or purse isn’t exactly the ideal choice if several assailants are kicking in your back door. Again, assess your prep. A firearm is useless if you can’t access it when you need it, and just as useless without ammunition. I tend to lump First Aide supplies in this category and is one area that is often overlooked. Can you self treat most common injuries or ailments without access to a doctor? Is your supply balanced?
Self assessment is something we’ve been trying to do on at least a monthly basis and if you really take a hard look at yours odds are you will find some areas lacking. Look at what you stop to buy regularly, what forces you to make unplanned stops? At our house it was always dog food, cat food, and Diet Coke. I’ve addressed the pet food issue and currently have about a 40 days supply, so what about those 2 liters of Diet Coke? According to Eatbydate.com Coke will last 6-9 months unopened. So instead of stopping at the convenience store twice a week (and paying twice as much) we’ve started storing some with our preps. How much time a week could you save just by eliminating those extra stops at the store? So now assess your own preps; where am I good, where am I lacking? Balance in life is truly a key to happiness, and balance in your prep can contribute to your sense of well being and confidence in the future. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.