The practical way to be prepared.
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been a freelance writer for over a decade. One of the topics I research and write about extensively is prepping and survival.
I took a personal interest in this topic after 9/11 and the Northeast Ohio blackout in 2003. I decided I didn’t want to be in a position where I couldn’t protect my family.
I’m a single mom of four, so investing in a bunker was out of the question and not practical.
When I first started prepping, I felt panic and fear and a sense of urgency that I couldn’t really explain.
I spent a lot of money buying things I didn’t really need. Some of the things I bought, I didn’t even know how to use!
After a year or so, I realized that living in a continuous state of fear wasn’t healthy for me or for my kids.
I didn’t have a lot of money back then so I couldn’t afford to waste any more money on things I wasn’t using. I had to be practical about what I was buying.
So, from that point on, I have focused my preps on the practical things I can do to prepare no matter what happens.
What I discovered is that being prepared in a practical way relieves my fear. I don’t have to be afraid now because I know that whatever comes, my family and I are ready for it.
When I look around me, I see a lot of people who are afraid. They are afraid for their immediate family and for extended family.
The future is unknown, the risk to our health from the Coronavirus right now is uncertain.
But we can’t control that virus, no matter how much we wish we could. All we can do is prepare ourselves and our family to ride it out when it reaches our area.
The real thing to understand is the real danger of the Coronavirus to your family might have nothing to do with your health.
In my opinion, the unknowns surrounding this virus mean even the health and science experts can’t accurately predict what its impact might be.
I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so I’m not going to debate how deadly it is or isn’t, or how much wider it will spread. I will say the experts say it’s airborne, which is why they are so aggressively quarantining.
But no matter what actually happens with the Coronavirus, there is a way you can be prepared to keep your family safe.
Step One-Start planning now
One of the most important things you can do in this time of uncertainty is to stay calm and create a plan. In life, there are things you can control and things you can’t.
You cannot control the Coronavirus and whether or not it reaches your town.
But you can make a plan, right now, to ensure that if it does, you and your family will be ready to ride it out with the best chance for survival.
I’ve included the steps to making a plan below.
Step Two-Know what you use
Start making a list of the items you and your family use on a daily basis. Just brainstorm a list, it can be several pages long if you’re into lists.
Think about food and non-food items. Think about items you use for personal hygiene, for maintaining your household, and for managing your health needs.
Add to it over the next several days as you think of other things. Consider items you need in order to perform your job, to maintain your home, and to care for your pets.
Get everything down on paper so you can see it.
Step Three-Document where you go
Make a second list of all the places you travel to and from outside of your home.
Include places you must travel to for work, for school, for healthcare, for enjoyment or entertainment, and for any additional extracurricular activities or events.
Now look at your list. If any of your regular doctor appointments or other errands can be done right now so that you won’t have to go out to do them again for a month or so, get them taken care of now.
If you can skip them without endangering your health, do it to reduce your contact with others.
Having a log of your contacts with others can help with contact tracing if you do believe you've been exposed.
Step Four-Decide what you can’t live without
Now that you have your lists, go through and circle the items your family truly must have. Only circle items that if you run out of them, your health or sanity, or that of your family members, will be threatened.
These are your must-have items, the products you cannot do without.
Make another list of things that are nice to have and will make life easier if you have them.
Manufacturing of products has already been impacted by the Coronavirus. My local rental store told me they have washing machines on back-order and can only get about a hundred at a time for all stores in the entire area.
We made it through the first shutdown or so it would seem. But the lack of supplies could become much more critical in the coming months, another shutdown has not been ruled out, so it doesn't hurt to be prepared.
Step Five-Stockpile your must have items
I believe one of the largest risks if a future shutdown occurs, especially to the United States, will be the unavailability of supplies.
If you normally shop at Walmart for your groceries and other household supplies, it’s important to know that 70-80% if the items they sell, come from China.
With the havoc Coronavirus caused in China recently, it makes sense that Walmart struggled in recent months to keep the shelves stocked. These numbers are probably similar at other stores.
Even though stores seem to be getting supplies through now, it's clear prices have already gone up.
I can’t tell you what to buy because I’m not in your household. The list of must-have items you created above will be a good start.
My suggestion is that you stockpile enough of your must-have items and make-life-easier items so if you have to stay in your home or avoid high prices for three weeks to several months, you can do it.
Items to consider stockpiling
- Bottled water
- Toilet Paper (don't go crazy but have some extra on hand)
- Personal hygiene items
- Cleaning supplies including handsoap, Bleach and Lysol
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Bottled juices (100% juice)
- OTC medications for treating fever, diarrhea, nausea, and other flu symptoms
- N-95 masks for each person in your family. (you may have to hunt to find them at their regular price-try Lowe’s and Home Depot)
- OTC medications such as Zicam, Theraflu, and NyQuil
- An extra 15–30 day supply of any personal medications (talk to doctor and ask for an extra prescription to have on hand)
If this Coronavirus threat ends soon without wreaking more havoc on the economy of the United States, I will be thrilled.
But as we wait to see what comes, I’ll be ready to shelter-in-place and do the best I can to ride it out.
If you can’t buy things all at once, add a few things to your grocery list every time you shop. Shop online and pick it up or have it delivered to avoid contact with others if possible.
Focus on the must-have items first. It’s not too late to be prepared and doing so could save you money and bring some peace of mind too.
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