I have been privileged recently to attend some emergency preparedness classes being taught by David Sayre and Jo Ann Freeman. “James Wesley Rawles” said David, “tells us to prepare for emergencies by collecting the three B’s: Beans, Bandages and Bullets. Tyler Woods, a preparedness instructor from Texas, tells us to store the four F’s: Food and Water, First Aid, Fuel and Firearms.” So let’s look at these areas in order of importance:
Water—It is often said that people can survive on just a gallon of water per day. This is true for a VERY short period of time. In an emergency situation, and especially in our area where the heat and humidity tend to be very high, each individual in the family would need at least three, and preferably five, gallons of water per day. If you have a well, put in a storage tank. Consider installing a rainwater collection system. It will surprise you how much water can be collected off the roof of your house.
Food—This one is really easy. Store a 90-day supply of your normal everyday food. Each time you go to the store pick up a few extra cans of food and set them aside for a rainy day. Rotate them to keep them fresh. Once you have the 90-day store, start on a long-term supply of rice, wheat, beans, dried milk, oils (such as cooking oil or even peanut butter), and finally salt. You can put away a year’s supply of these basic types of food for less than $400 per person. There are several competent and trusted suppliers of long-term food storage that can give your family peace of mind for years to come.
First Aid—Buy a basic first aid kit and get some first aid training, such as Red Cross CPR or EMT training. You can add to your kit the essentials you learn in the classes. One very important thing to remember in this area is to acquire a supply of the medications that you and your family use on a daily basis. This might be expensive since insurance will not normally reimburse you while stockpiling medicines. However, if you must have medications and nutritional supplements to survive, in an emergency you will be glad you made the investment.
Fuel—The easiest emergency energy supply for a home is to purchase a generator. However, you must consider that a generator is only as good as its fuel supply. Storing large quantities of fuel may not be the best solution but it is the easiest. When we installed central heat and air conditioning, we purposely left the old wood burning stove intact. We still use it during the cold months to save on utility bills, and there’s nothing like the comforting warmth of a wood fire. We cook with propane and top off the tank on a regular basis. If the electricity goes out, we can still cook our meals. Other alternatives include the installation of wind and solar systems, but these renewable solutions can prove to be expensive to acquire.
Firearms—If you purchase or own firearms, please get adequate training to ensure the safety of your family and neighbors. Shooting is a skill that should be practiced on a regular basis. I wish that every competent adult would obtain a Concealed Handgun License, even if they do not intend to carry a weapon. The training provides valuable information about local firearm laws and safety practices and enhances shooting skills.
George Washington said, “A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”
Preparation for emergencies should include acquiring critical skills such as learning how to build things, weld, and to plant and cultivate a garden. Learn to bottle or otherwise preserve what you produce. It is good to have some basic livestock such as chickens, goats or cows.
Books have been written about emergency preparedness and there are many fine sources of information including government publications, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and from folks like David Sayre and Jo Anne Freeman, who are residents of Blanco County.
“…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30)