As you can imagine, writing this guide elicits a mix of emotions. It is deeply saddening that the world has come to the point where we find it necessary to compile and share this information. It is unpleasant, to say the least, to spend time thinking about and preparing for terrorist attacks, chemical warfare or cataclysmic natural disasters. We all want to feel safe in our country, our communities, and our homes.
But, let's face it. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
While it is difficult to think about events like these, our U.S. Federal Government through the Homeland Security office has advised that we prepare ourselves for many such "national emergencies". Ironically, taking time to think through and prepare for the possibility of these events actually helps alleviate our fears by empowering us with both the knowledge and supplies to protect our loved ones and ourselves.
Now seems like a good time for a quick paraphrase of a great, very old fable. It's very old (lasted so long) for a very good reason:
The Ant and the Grasshopper:
The ant works hard all summer long in the sweltering heat, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so dies in the cold.
Fairly blunt, but it's true. And given that you are reading this guide right now, we suspect your instincts compel you to follow the ant's lead. Better safe than sorry, right? We agree.
Along those lines, we are pleased to share this guide with you. Our guide is divided into four main sections.
Section 1 (where you are now) provides an overview of why we've prepared this guide, what you can expect to find inside, as well as overall planning information.
Section 2 covers emergency planning in detail. This section, along with the information on the Homeland Security site www.ready.gov, offers volumes of practical information i.e. supplies lists, emergency plans, etc., to help with your preparations. This section reiterates much of the logistical information contained in the ready.gov website, with the addition of our comments on those topics, as well as some stand-alone contributions of ours, which are noted in green.
Section 3 deals with a different type of preparedness, mental and emotional. In addition to lists, supplies, plans, etc., we cannot stress enough the effect preparation of the mind will have in a crisis. Since the tragedy of September 11th, there have been volumes written about the different emotional reactions and coping strategies people exhibit in a crisis. We now know more than ever how much the state of our minds affects not only our physical survival, but also our emotional state, and our ability to help others around us. Section 3 covers these unique, yet timeless ways to prepare your mind and body for uncertain times. We think this is a "bonus" section for sure, since these practices will pay off big in your day to day life, whether there is a national emergency or not. Good stuff all around.
Section 4 discusses long term planning and preparedness. It covers sustainability and earth-friendly ways to live, which provide survival methods in the event a national emergency runs longer than the government preparedness standard of three days. (Hmmm, what are the odds of that?) In the event your three days of supplies run out, what then? How prepared are you to live "off the grid" and get by with no electricity, running water or phones? There are volumes to cover on this topic alone, and our guide only skims the surface of this subject. But we think even an introduction is helpful and consider it time well spent to think about living under those conditions. Like we said, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and you'll probably want to spend some time researching more in depth on your own.