Friday, March 18, 2011

A Call To Be Prepared

Well, I've held my peace for about as long as I can stand it. Watching the devastation of the earthquake in Japan, followed by a horrific tsunami, and now a nuclear disaster, it's pretty much a no brainer that it would be wise to be prepared.


Those that were closest to the epicenter, tsunami, and reactors have suffered greatly and now the possibility of hypothermia, dehydration, and starvation are very real perils looming in the horizon. My heartfelt prayers goes out to them and I hope that a hand of mercy reaches them in time! 


Preparedness, Definition: refers to the state of being prepared for specific or unpredictable events or situations. Preparedness is an important quality in achieving goals and in avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes. (wikipedia)


Grant it, you can prepare all you want, but sometimes you can still loose lose all that you've stored. But imagine with me for a minute... what if everyone in Japan had been prepared ahead of time with food and water? How would this scenario been different? Would it have been?


Is it possible that those who did loose everything could be helped by those somewhat locally that still had what they put aside. Yes, the calvary cavalry would still need to come in and lend a hand, but would they have enough to keep them alive until that time if most had some kind of food and water stored? Let's just say that the odds would certainly have been better!


Photo: USA Emergency Supply


The reality is... in our modern, disposable, consumer minded, global society, storing food and supplies is not the norm. Yes, a few cultures may still do this, but I can't think of any off hand (please let me know if you can think of some!). 


Understand that I am not writing this to be judgmental of the Japanese people! I have been duly impressed with how they've conducted themselves in their hour of trial. (Even more impressive when you know that about only one percent are Christian believers!) Sadly, I'm not sure Americans would have been as self controlled if we had been in their shoes. No looting or rioting; no pushing or shoving in lines... 
Update: I've had a reader inquire as to my statement that non-Christians should act so self controlled. Let me clarify... It is certainly possible for non-believers to act in a self-controlled manner. You're seeing proof of it when you watch the Japanese people. Without the Holy Spirit, this is very impressive, because the flesh is powerful indeed. It is to the shame of many Christians that we often do not act in a self controlled manner; but then again, one can be Christian in name only.


Let me get to my point here. I need to be more prepared than I am. There is more I could and should do. How about you? Anyone need a little push to get prepared? Maybe you've talked about it but have done very little? Perhaps you're well on your way and could encourage others to do some prepping?


I'm going to offer a simple call to do one thing each week to get prepared. Every Saturday, I'm going to put up a post to remind everyone of the challenge, but YOU get to pick what you do. To help hold us accountable, you can leave a comment telling what you've done that week or you can write a post and link up. 


Photo: Big Berkey 


Do not feel like you must do something major each week. Even something small, such as buying a first aid kit, adding some water bottles to the pantry, or buying and planting an extra packet of seeds to grow extra food - it all counts and adds up over time! All I ask is that you clearly state what you did that week. For example, "This week, for the Preparedness Challenge, I bought an extra bag of rice from the co-op and stored it in mylar bags in a bucket". Then you can expound on it more if you'd like. 


Simple enough? I'm already shaking in my boots because I know this is really going to push me to be on the ball! I don't go to town but once or twice a week, and often I'm rushed to get things done, but I need this as much as anybody. Good thoughts of storing food doesn't make it happen. Action does. 


So, are you in? We start tomorrow!



66 comments:

  1. Living in Canterbury, New Zealand - all I can say is good on you, Obviously the devestation here doesn't match that of Japan, but we've come through two major earthquakes in the last six months. The first was thankfully was at 4am, people were sleeping, we pulled through. This second one is going to take a long time to recover from.

    I live in a country prone to earthquakes, but not, until Sept of last year, one of the cities at most risk. We had the adds, the when the big one strikes, will you be prepared? message drummed into us. I always thought I'd get around to it one day....but never considered it would be us.

    Needless to say, my kits ready now. It's really far more comfortable in these times knowing that if something hits, you can look after yourself. Having not been as prepared for the first one, waiting for the power to return and making sure we had enough to eat was rather concerning.

    Thank you, for this post Amy. <3

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  2. Love it! I used to host a Preparedness Challenge, but that was a year or more ago and with a smaller reader base. You should be able to reach so many people!!!

    BTW-I had very good news yesterday....email forthcoming :)

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  3. Very good plan. I really feel for the Japanese, but you are right. If everyone had some kind of food and water storage, the immediate need would be greatly decreased.

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  4. I agree with you! I've recently started picking up at least one storable item of food at least everytime I go to the store. And me and my mom can alot of our garden vegetables and meats. Our storage is looking pretty good. I'll take the challenge with you! Tiffany

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  5. All I really want to say is, Thank-you! We have had some vague ideas about becoming prepared but were a bit frozen when it came to taking action. Your posts have centered us. We have been talking, even praying, about what we can do. Than we make a plan, set aside the money and follow through. Two weeks ago my husband and I went and bought 50 lbs of organic WW flour from a local mill, as well as 50 of organic white bread flour. Then we spent the rest of the day "price shopping" to find out what we could get, where we could get it and for how much. Last week he set aside some money to buy staples for the freezer and pantry. Black beans, garbanzo beans and red lentils are items we use often so we bought 25 lb bags of those. We found a cash and carry that sells large bags of Bob's Red Mill brand of cornmeal. We also bought a large bag of thick-old fashioned oats and a big bag of sugar. There were a couple of other things too but I'd have to run to the freezer to remember. Japan happened between price shopping and buying and shop owners gave us the stink eye for panic buying. This week we are putting in two more SFG and buying the ingredients for the soil mix. I'm growing more calories this year than salad (cranberry beans, peas, garbanzos, fava's and working on a plan to get a winter garden going on time. The guys were out yesterday measuring and taking notes for a rain water system to keep the garden going (and emergency water).

    Right now this is fun (like a date night) but serious enough with Hattie, Christchurch and Japan in the news.

    Blessed by you
    Deborah

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  6. I have thought about this for a very long time and I'm going to follow your lead. It's time. Thanks.

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  7. I think I am in. AND it's a challenge my hubby can get into as well! I already know what this week will be about for me- taking stock to see what we have; here's a hint: not much!
    thanks for doing this

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  8. We're in!! We've been kicking things up a notch or two for the last few months, but are gearing up to do even more now. Some garden work has already been done...tons of seeds are planted indoors and I have been gathering up lots of food and water. Getting ready to place a mega order for more grains/beans. I guess I'll continue tomorrow!!!

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  9. We've been preparing for who know's what -- since we were married ten years ago. Some people may think we are crazy, but who's crazy now when the price of everything seems to go up on a daily, weekly basis. I agree doing one simple thing a week may encourage people to make this a lifestyle choice -- one that can make a big difference when *stuff* happens.

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  10. Very thoughtful, Amy. Well said.

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  11. Great idea! Could you maybe do a post on getting out of debt vs. stocking up. I am trying to do both and it is a struggle trying to decide each payday which way to go. Thanks, Angela

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  12. I wholeheartedly agree! When we lived in Southern California we kept a few plastic box type containers of preparedness supplies out in our shed. In earthquake zones you should keep your supplies either outside of your home or close to an outside wall in case your house falls down. We also kept a bag in our cars with walking shoes, enough water and food to make it home. Although we have preparations set aside, we don't have a "get home" bag in our cars or a "ready bag" at home. After seeing what the Japanese people have endured, I am definitely going to add those two things to my preparations.

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  13. Love the idea of the challenge. Do you have a good, thorough list of things to prepare for catastrophe?

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  14. I think I'm pretty prepared but there's always room for improvement. For instance, what is a better way to store water than in those awful plastic bottles? I'm relying on ice in my freezer and water in my hot water heater (that is strapped down for earthquakes).

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  15. Very good post. I too have been impressed with the japanese resiliance and the lack of chaos. I was encouraged after reading this post, because I too am thinking what should we store in case the big earthquake hits here in Oregon like they predict will happen eventually. Please post your preparations as you do them so we all might get ideas.

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  16. Hey, we have a big berky!! :)

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  17. My biggest question is where to store things? I do have a supply of water & food but not sure if I'm storing it in the most accessible place in the event of an emergency. Here in the Midwest where tornados are prevalent, the basement? But we're also near the New Madrid fault, so in the event of an earthquake is basement storage a good idea? In a garage/shed, the temps would flucuate greatly in the winter & summer so I'm not sure if that's a good place either. Any insight on this concern?

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  18. I'm in. I've been thinking we need to put up some grains (rice, lentils and beans) and keep forgetting to do so. I'm going to need a kick in the pants each week, dear. Kick hard:-).

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  19. I sure am glad to see you adding a preparedness side to Homestead Revival. Preparedness is an inherent part of maintaining a homestead. Some measure of self-sufficiency and independence is what motivated many of us to plant that garden and raise those chickens. Those who came before us a couple of generations ago made preparedness a part of their daily lives because their lives literally depended on it.

    I'll be starting a batch of fertile Rhode Island Red eggs in the incubator this evening, so perhaps that will count as this week's prep activity for me - or at least one of several.

    Stephen Clay McGehee
    SouthernAgrarian.com

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  20. Are you saying that just because someone isn't Christian, that person can't conduct themselves with dignity and decorum in a time of strife? The tone of your post implies that you're surprised, because most aren't Christians, that there isn't total chaos. That's a very narrow-minded view of humanity, in my opinion.

    Also, you misuse the word "loose." It should be lose, not loose.

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  21. I'm in...we're not prepared at all...I have a bit of canned food in the garage...and a few beans...but no water, no first aid kit...etc. I keep waiting for my husband to get on board with this whole thing...but it looks like it's just me for now. SO...let's do this! Thank you for the encouragement and accountability!

    As far as Japan...the first thing I noticed, and even said to Chris, was "look how calm and polite they are being. No looting...no rioting..no freaking out! Impressive!"

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  22. This is a great idea. I've also been thinking about how we can be more prepared. I think I'm going to create a survival kit.

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  23. Excellent post! We live in the areas of the US where hurricanes frequent us...in the past few years there have been several; leaving us without power, gasoline, and such. Our family preparedness has helped not only in providing for us, but some nearby extended family and neighbors.
    God calls us to be wise, and I feel it is wise to be prepared.

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  24. I recently discovered your blog, you're living the way I dream of- and hopefully will be some time in the near future...
    I'm in too, I've been trying to do something every week for a few months now. It's a little hard for me because my husband isn't completely in the wagon with me on it, so a lot of my preps are under his radar- "Oh there was a good sale on beans this week, so I bought a few extra"- phrases like that have become common. But he's not completely against it either.
    A big part of his resistance is that there are 3 of us (soon to be 4 as his brother is moving in with us in just a couple of weeks) in a one bedroom apartment, so space is at a premium.
    Much of my prepping is information- I'm trying to learn as much as I can, make plans, and find resources like books and websites.

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  25. As horrible as it is,It's so good to see people awaken from seeing such destruction and disaster. I think events like this open people's eyes to what we all should be doing..Storing food and supplies. It's never a bad idea to have extra storage food. Some people will call you paranoid But I really love the feeling of knowing that I have a food storage just in case. Even though us people here in the states have been pretty lucky with not needing to use our food storage's.

    We have been storing food here for a year now. I try to buy a 20# bag of rice and some beans every time I go to the store. Canned goods as well. I buy batteries when they are on sale, as well as matches, lighters first aid supplies etc.. Our goal here at the farm is to try more and more each year to becoming more self sufficient. Its a good feeling to not have to rely on the stores for anything. And especially with the rising costs of food and milk. We recently purchased two milking goats and our next goal is to get some honey bee's. Honey can be used as a sugar substitute and can be stored for Years!
    Good post, happy to see other people getting prepared in these crazy times :0)

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  26. I'm in too! Hurricane season is coming up fast. Thanks for the reminder!

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  27. Anonymous, I apologize if the comment seemed offensive. Please note that I've clarified my statement by adding an update in the text itself.

    And thank you for pointing out my spelling error! I miss that one a lot!

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  28. Fantastic job Amy- I am so thankful that the Lord has instilled these organized traits in you so that it can rub off on the rest of us who aren't as much! :)

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  29. I've been BUYING stuff for a couple of years now. My weakness is organizing it! But I know you are a whiz at that, so I'm sure you will help keep us tidy, knowing where to find our stored goods.

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  30. I'm in! I had started stocking a little bit of grain and beans but it came to a halt last year when my husband lost 2/3 of his salary. W/ 2 little ones' we are thankful to make it another month w/ food on the table. I am learning to be very frugal w/ meals and such so, although, I cannot purchase a 50 lb bag of beans, I am buying a 1 lb bag every time I go to the grocery store. I may not be where I want to be but we are better off than if we had nothing stored.

    So, today I put a few things on Craigslist. With the sale of these items, I hope to buy a Berkey Light Water Filter and a canner.

    Thank you for the challenge,
    Dawn

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  31. Looking forward to it!
    Interestingly, I'm a new reader here and after reading your About page, I think that we must not be too far from you. It's fun to think about folks *relatively* nearby working towards the same goals. :)

    Birdy
    Wasco, CA (originally from Bak.)

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  32. I'm in! Thanks for the encouragement. Storage space is becoming an issue for us, so that is one we still have to figure out. I need to work on water storage - Can it stay in an outdoor storage room where it gets REALLY hot?

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  33. Im in!! I think I have a great start jsut need alittle bit of a push - I mean shove - to get me motivated.

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  34. We all need to be prepared, this is an important message. Our family began several years ago working towards getting as self sufficient as we could. I wrote a post on Tuesday called Taking Stock ~ an emergency supply list, where I share what we've done to prepare, and what we're now doing to gather food, water, and supplies.

    We need to think very seriously about this, especially now as we watch a highly developed country with people who live like you and I. If a disaster happened here, or in your area, you would want to be as prepared as possible. What if you lost a job in this economy, or were sick and couldn't work. If you have a pantry with foods you could live off of for several months, it may be the cushion that carries you through.

    Thanks for the great reminder. Here is my emergency preparedness post from our homestead. http://applegarthgardens.blogspot.com/2011/03/emergency-supply-list.html

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  35. We're in...been in for a while now. I like to keep a well-stocked pantry anyway, but I'm not up to a three-month supply which is my goal. I'll be looking forward to your weekly posts and reminders! Blessings to all, ~Lisa

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  36. I am in! I have a cold room in the cellar with some storage, but it needs to be cleaned out now and I need to do an inventory! Timely post!

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  37. It struck me as I saw the devastation in Japan, that many homes are now completely gone. I feel so smug about my storage and I'm all cozy in my house, with my food and water, but what if I had to get out of here fast? I don't know what I would take. I need to get some go bags together so I can have a little more peace of mind.

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  38. I think this is so important. I'd be in, but I'm unemployed, so I'm not sure what I can do..but I'll be praying about that. Reason being, even before the earthquake in Japan, this has been something that has been on my heart. I did request a free earthquake preparedness book a couple of days ago. So I'm looking forward to getting that and start making my list ;) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

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  39. IN like flynn....:) Looking forward this one!

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  40. Great idea! Just Wednesday, I declared it Emergency Preparedness for our homeschool day. We are also focusing on Evacuation Preparedness and Plan, looking at what we would need to grab, how quickly, etc. Looking forward to the challenge! Thank you!

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  41. I didn't read all the comments, but I heard that the Swiss are supposed to have 6 months of food stored up...by law. I'm not sure if that is correct or not. Here is a link that might shed some light on it. - http://www.thecasualtruth.com/story/switzerland%E2%80%99s-bizarre-nuclear-bunker-law

    I'm linking this post to a new page on my site.

    Thanks. ;-)

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  42. Please forgive all the spelling errors today. I'm in crunch mode for a class I'm teaching and my fingers are typing faster than my brain is processing! (And truthfully... I'm really not that great of a speller, either!)

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  43. I'm in! If nothing EVER goes wrong, being prepared can't hurt. If something does go wrong, the more prepared the better! I'm not prepared enough either, so I appreciate the challenge. I think I may even join you in blogging about it weekly. I could use that discipline, too. I'd like to link to this post when I do, if that's alright.

    Anyway, there are at least two cultures among us in the US that that I know of who store food and have all along as a life style:

    The Amish: They live as humans have throughout the ages, from the earth, preparing in times of plenty for times of lack. I may be secretly hiding Amish envy in my heart.

    The Mormons: They are notorious and expert preppers. If you are acquainted with any Mormons, ask them. They seem to enjoy talking about it. At least, that's the case for my Mormon neighbors. They are also wonderful genealogy folks.

    There may be more, but that's all I know of off had.

    Thanks, again. Be blessed!

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  44. Rebecca in MassachusettsMarch 18, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    I am so in! I live in a relatively safe area of the country, the Northeast, so we tend to be pretty complacent about preparing for disasters. "They" have been saying we are due for a big earthquake for years now, though, so you never know. Thank you for the motivation and the great ideas.

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  45. I'll be looking forward to your reminders and prompting us to be more prepared for whatever life throws at us :) Great idea! I'm all in.

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  46. We're in! :)
    I like to pick up a few things when I'm at the dollar store - bags of rice & beans, bottled water, canned veggies & meats, A CAN OPENER, antibiotic cream, ibuprofen, bandages, flashlight - all essentials that you can pick up for about $10 and stock a quick kit!
    My chore this week will be designating a great spot to store big items, and placing small kits in easy-to-access areas, like the outside garage and car.
    Thanks Amy!

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  47. I'm in!!! I've been at this for about 2 years and have a good supply, but there's always something more to do.Plus, I have run out of room and need a better organization plan. This week, I'm drawing up plans for a goat shed.

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  48. I'm in, too! I'm not quite sure how to go about it, but I at least have my can opener and a first aid kit. both my husband's and my parents live on farms near us and have a well and generator. So we have sources of water. We had our municipal water supply go out a couple of months ago and saw what a pain that was!


    As a mom of a kid with allergies, I at least have duplicates of allergy medications on hand. I should probably stock pile diapers, too.
    I'm going to get started today!

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  49. You may not be aware, but there are several web sites dedicated to food storage and preparedness. Many of them are Mormon, but they don't push their religious views in any way. You might want to start with http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/
    I have found them to be very helpful. Also, try http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/ and http://apreparedhome.com/.

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  50. I'm new here and I found you through Michelle at A girl who loves figs. Anyways, I've been thinking about this too. I did just buy a flat of water. A good sensible start, I thought.
    Dried beans and rice are next!
    Best,
    Julie

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  51. Hello Amy,
    I couldn't agree more with a hearty "Amen" to this post about preparing. This is what my hubby & I have been burdened about for a few years, and why we started Live Ready Now! which is focused on motivating, equipping, and training families and individuals to prepare. I hope it's ok that I borrowed part of this post today, linking it back to you, of course. Thanks for sharing your heart!

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  52. I'm in, I agree totally that getting prepared is a good thing, This week, we added in some medical supplies for our own use and also for the critter care chest, Got a New Sleeping Bag on sale for a excellent price, got two new huge winter coats rated for -50C and ten more pair of leather work gloves.

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  53. This topic has been on my heart for a few months now. Several weeks ago, I cleaned out and made storage space. I have a few canned goods, oats, and a bag of beans. Just stored 20 bottles of water today. I gathered up supplies for a first aid kit and put into an army style book bag. Next I will go through our camping supplies to see what we have and can use. Starting the garden will be after that.

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  54. I just discovered your blog. I'm in on this too. The past two years my husbands business struggled financially, the only thing that held us over was the food I had canned and froze. We raise our own laying hens and I now have dairy goats for our milk, plus broiler chickens, rabbits and meat goats. I do need to store more water, and grains and get together a better first aid kit.

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  55. For this week, I purchased some vegetable seeds to start indoors, a Lodge dutch oven that could be used to cook over an open fire (I'll practice cooking with it this summer), and some extra batteries for flashlights, etc. A good start! Happy preparing!

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  56. Food storage has always been a top priority in my home. A few of my motto's are, "Shop in the basement and replenish at the store", "Store what you eat and eat what you store" and most important, "Rotate, rotate, ROTATE! - Everything."

    To begin with, my biggest challenge was to know how much food I needed, for how we ate with recipes we liked - so that I could keep things rotated. Because of that I built some food storage worksheets that tailors the results to your family and their eating habits - not somebody else's. (These are not like the storage calculators that you find everywhere.)

    You will find the food storage worksheets at: http://apreparedhome.com/food-storage-worksheets/

    After completing the worksheets, a nice benefit is that you will have a personalized family cookbook by default. (An easy and inexpensive Christmas gift to your married kids.)

    Water storage is vital to survival. My husband has some serious medical issues and if he were to get dehydrated, it could cost him his life. I bought a Super Tanker that holds 250 gallons, but can be stored in the space of a 50 gallon container. It was easy to get set up, easy to get water out of and I rest much easier knowing it is there anytime I need it. I also have five gallon containers, two liter bottles and individual serving bottles. (I REALLY like water). I don't have a large house and I have found that the 250 gallon tank is the best and most efficient way to store water.

    Good luck with your goals.

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  57. Dawn, you have some great calculators there! I bookmarked your site for a time when I can work on this - SOON! Thanks for your great tips and comments!

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  58. I have been preparing for a few months now. I have a cellar and have started storing water for washing with, also have rain barrels for water for washing with, some canned goods, some grains and legumes, and kerosene lamps with matches. Limited income so takes a while to gather everything together, but like others here, each trip to the store brings home a little bit more.

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  59. I just found your blog and I am enjoying reading your older post. This one caught my eye. Ever since Katrina back a few years ago our congregation and many affiliated with us have sent out a list for what you would need for evacuation. That was what five years ago?

    I've been watching things progress around the world progress from bad to worse situations than Katrina and I realize how serious it is for all of us to be prepared. I have our "Bug Out Bag" in my hallway and I fill it monthly with things I may need for my family. I love that you have started this challenge. I look forward to getting some ideas of what I may not have thought to bring along for my family. Thank you!

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  60. I really like this post except for that one moment of Christian superiority. That was disappointing, only due to the assumption that if one isnt moved by the 'holy spirit' they're much more likely to lose control.

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  61. Hello. I live by the motto "Do unto others..." Every week, every day, I practice the prepared life. This week I purchased the necessary components to build a bicycle-pedal-powered clothes washing machine. I travel every week for work, so I work on as much as I can when I am back home at the weekend. My friends and neighbors sometimes think I am nuts. In January-March 2011, I put up a palace of a chicken coop, as well as a 30ft x 40ft pen for them to scratch around; now I have four chickens, and they lay fresh eggs every day. I also have 18 months' worth of food for two of us, and 30 gallons of fresh water stored in the basement, in addition to fresh rainwater collection. This year I commissioned a permaculture landscape specialist to design a master plan for my 4-1/2 acres of land. I spend a fair amount of money on my preparedness, but I think of it as an investment in gold, and remind myself that my preparedness will continue to produce benefits throughout the year, every year. On the other hand, an ounce of gold will produce only its market value at a moment in time. I like to think that being prepared is a better investment than money or gold can buy.

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  62. KC, I agree that being prepared is much better than gold. I'm not sure gold will buy much if there isn't even any food to buy! And since I would use my gold to buy the food, why not just skip to the chase and buy the food, plant a garden, etc.?

    I would LOVE to see what a permaculture landscape specialist would do with 4. 5 acres! That's exactly the amount of land I have, although a lot is mountainside.

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  63. Well I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we have been counseled by our leaders for 75+ years to be prepared; It is part of our 'culture'. It's still challenging to be prepared but is rewarding. And brings sooo much peace.

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  64. Great article! We are on the path to being prepared.
    Love your blog, thanks for doing it!
    FYI - you still spelled "lose" wrong in the 5th paragraph!

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