Great questions, answers hopefully live up to your expectations. However, my bias will show through right now. I have read a lot of preparedness manuals and visit(ed) a lot of preparedness websites, more of each than is healthy for any one individual to do. But, if I am going to claim the title of “expert” then I better know what I am talking about. However, that is not why I read other preparedness manuals or visit other preparedness websites. There is a lot of “rights stuff” out there…but I read/visit them to find out how wrong others are and try to correct that. Yeah, I know it sounds arrogant to be sure. But I have my reasons – your safety is one of them.
I’ve learned my emergency preparedness knowledge over the course of 40+ years of emergency services and military experience. I have successfully survived hundreds of large to mid-sized emergencies and disasters, maybe thousands if I took into consideration all the small ones. Some of those incidents were small, some were national and state-level record setting events. In each situation I learned such things as; 1) what to do, 2) what not to do. When I read preparedness manuals I usually find more “what not to do.”
Don’t get me wrong, I think the vast majority of those publications contain some good information. And, I believe were written with the best of intentions but were lacking in one or more areas, namely; 1) formal training, 2) no actual professional experience, 3) limited breadth/depth of experience, 4) bias. There is a fifth group, I call them “shucksters.” This is the group that puts together a preparedness manual simply to make money or enhance their reputation.
So where do I fit in this group? What is the purpose for me adding yet another preparedness website to the Internet?
I am not a complicated person in regards to my motives when it comes to emergency preparedness. I simply want you to have the knowledge to survive emergencies, disasters, and grid-down events. Yup, that’s it in a nutshell…plain and simple.
Let me share a recent experience with this…I ran out of reading material and I was looking around my home office for more reading material, preferably a novel. Bummer! I had run out of novels to read, but there sat an almost two inch thick emergency preparedness manual that I had bought over six months ago. It was time to review it.
As I was looking over it, I realized it fit a similar pattern, page after page of public domain “to-do” information. There was list after list after list of items to include in this pack, that pack, or store away in the basement, etc. I had my work cut out for me.
As I was scanning through a list of clothing to buy and store for emergencies I saw them recommend “sweats” as in sweatpants and sweatshirts. I was hooked, I had to figure out the reasoning on sweats. They went on to explain that they were inexpensive, easy to care for, warm, easy to layer, and the ideal emergency clothing. I about fell out of my chair. Had they ever worn sweatpants and sweatshirts in any type of actual emergency or disaster? I sincerely doubt it.
In my way of thinking sweats are probably one of the worst pieces of clothing you could possibly wear during any emergency or any disaster. Here’s why:
- They are too hot for the southwest United States 3-1/2 seasons of the year. You would overheat in about 15 minutes.
- They are too cold for about 80% of the population of the US for about 3 months of the year.
- They tear easily.
- They wear out easily.
- If they get wet they lose all insulating qualities.
- If they get wet, they become extremely heavy.
- They take forever to dry if they are wet.
- Sweatshirts have no ability to open the neck to allow body heat to escape.
- They are very bulky.
OK, I am not going to continue listing the reasons why they are a terrible choice for emergency preparedness clothing, you get my idea. But, as I read on they then talked about the benefits of bandanas a critical item of emergency clothing. What? Come on, seriously! And she wanted you to have 12 of them as a minimum ready to go. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. But, she wasn’t done.
There was a list of what to take if you had to leave your home, it was based for each person. I did some mental calculations and it would take about a 20’ moving van for a family of four. But the worst part was, she gave little, if any, reasoning to explain why to take any specific item.
On the flip side of that coin, there was list after list after list after list of everything imaginable. Some of it was good information to have around. But the vast majority of it was extremely painfully boring. Example: cook stoves – she listed about 20 or so different cook stoves and all of these facts about them. Why?
Really, why would she list all of that information on cook stoves? If she is an expert, she should have done the research and chosen the best cook stove for any given situation. Then present that recommendation in the book with her reasoning. Otherwise, why would someone want to buy the book just to get a list of information on stoves that is readily available via the Internet? And why would they buy a book from her if she isn’t going to evaluate what is best and what is not?
So this this website is not about lists, it is not about repeating information that you can already research on the Internet. This website is about me sharing with you my 40+ years of real-life emergency preparedness knowledge, skills, and experience in written form. A lot of it will be preparedness principles such as “Risk Management.” I will present that subject so you can know how to systematically and correctly overcome risks and threats you encounter during emergencies, disasters, and grid-down events. The I will present “practical preparedness” as well with in-depth articles on gear and equipment.
Yes, I will provide some lists in this book. I use them as examples related to a principle I will have just explained. The list would be more of a visual aid than a set in stone command. Why? It is the principle that matters more than anything else.
Learning math I remember memorizing my multiplication tables. It was simple memorization, I wasn’t learning anything other than 2×2=4. As I moved along into Algebra I had to learn different principles in order to solve complex problems. If you got a step wrong, your answer would always be wrong. The principle was the critical element. However, when performing math having memorized the multiplication tables made it far easier in many instances. This website will be some of both, principles and practical, but heavier on the principle side.
Why? I can give you a fish and you can eat today. I can teach you how to fish and you can eat for a long time…as long as there are fish. If I teach you the underlying principles of fishing, building a pond, growing and breeding fish, etc. then you can feed your family and a whole community forever.
In this website I have included topics such as:
- Identifying risks and threats, and how to deal with them.
- How to set the right priorities every time.
- How to make the right decisions every time.
- How to be an emergency incident leader.
- How to clearly see what is happening around you.
- And many “how to’s” for everything from first aid kits to bugout bags.
Let me share an example with you – first aid kits. What do you put in them? Yes, I am asking you what do you put in a first aid kit?
There are lots of preparedness manuals out there that will give you a list of first aid kit supplies. But what they aren’t explaining first is realistically what medical emergencies you can expect to face…or even how to identify the difference between an emergency and a disaster. And just as importantly, I will explain realistically how to deal with those medical emergencies. So other experts may recommend five different sizes of Band-Aids, but never list a CAT tourniquet. And that is because they don’t understand, or never thought of, the fact that you are most likely to bleed to death from cutting a large vein or artery, than die from a paper cut that a Band-Aid covers.
They also don’t understand there is a “priority order” to acquiring medical first aid supplies. They don’t understand the priority aspect because they don’t understand priority setting in emergencies, disasters, and during grid-down. Before you buy your first Band-Aid, you better have a CAT for each person in your family. Once that is purchased, then you can consider Band-Aids and triple antibiotic.
Yes, preventing an infection is absolutely necessary. However, you buy the triple antibiotic AFTER you have purchased the CATs. Why? It will take days, weeks, or maybe months to die from an infection. But you can bleed to death in minutes if you don’t get the bleeding stopped. Correctly identifying risks, mitigating those risks, setting priorities is the only way you are going to become properly prepared. I will share that and much more with you within these covers.
Another thing I won’t do in this website is teach you how to make a fire from French fries, toothpicks, or bubble gum. I won’t tell you how to gut a deer, or use a Dutch Oven. I won’t even give you 15 of my favorite campfire whole wheat recipes. What I will do is tell you when a Dutch Oven is appropriate and when it’s not. I will also probably tell you which one I recommend.
I believe in quality gear and equipment. You don’t want junk gear to fall apart when it is needed most, so I always preach to buy quality gear. However, a friend of mine has reminded me on more than one occasion that “training trumps gear.” Man, he is spot on! All the best gear in the world isn’t much good if you don’t know how to use it. And you better know how to function without any gear, or better yet, how to make or acquire gear if yours is lost or taken.
For teaching hands-on skills I will leave it up to those that know them best. They can teach you a whole host of high-quality survival skills. Some of those skills you would find really interesting and entertaining.
You want to learn to shoot, especially in a gunfight? Well, learn from a gunfighter. Makes sense, but how many of us have taken shooting classes from people that have never been in a gunfight.
What I am getting at here is there are plenty of places to learn specific hands-on skills. Go learn what you need to from an existing expert, I’m not going to use valuable website space repeating what is already available from other expert sources.
I am not a professional writer as a career. I much prefer to have an actual conversation. I would rather be standing in front of a room full of folks like you where we could actually talk about emergency preparedness. But, that is probably not going to happen. So I chose the next best option – a website.
However, I write like I would speak as if we were sitting down across from each other and just having a conversation. I think it makes it more interesting, I can make my points more clearly, and I am most comfortable with this style.
One last piece of information – I can be very blunt. I seldom mean to be rude, I just want to get my point across. I am also not afraid to ruffle feathers, sometimes it needs to happen, and I don’t shy away from it. That can lead to some level of conflict even in website form. I hope you are OK with. I hope you enjoy this website journey with me.
Finally…please give me feedback. If I am not meeting your needs than this is a waste of time. Your comments, suggestions, ideas, criticisms, and feedback help me a whole lot!!!
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