Readiness: Run to where? Taking an honest look at getting out of Dodge.

One of the central themes of a lot of readiness thinking and training is the notion of bugging out when a disaster strikes. There are a lot of reasons for that fact, mostly driven by people living in urban and suburban areas that are critically unsustainable in a crisis situation. That said, one of my major misgivings about the notion of getting out of dodge, and I think one of the major failings of that kind of readiness, is that it often ignores where someone will run to if they run away.

This isn’t a question of standing your ground, but rather it is one of figuring out how not to be a refugee. Why is avoiding that state so important? Because, as a refugee in a crisis situation, you become dependent on whatever aid someone else can provide, and in the worst cases, those providing that aid triage it just like medical care. Unless you have a plan for how to get somewhere that can support you and alternative plans for what happens if you cannot get there, it may prove to be the case that it’s a better call to stay where you are, even in a worst case scenario.

Consider the standard planning for a so-called bug-out kit. A single kit usually contains enough supplies to support one person for three to five days, and with proper care, rationing, and a little luck, could probably last two weeks. What happens after that? Keep in mind that, if you’re in a situation where there is a crisis bad enough to warrant leaving home, it’s likely there are going to be many other people, often far less prepared, doing the same exact thing. If the refugee crises of the past few decades have shown us anything, mass migrations of people fleeing a crisis usually end badly for everyone, even for people who were prepared for short term fleeing.

So, again, what happens after that? If you want to avoid finding yourself in the middle of exactly the kind of secondary disaster a large-scale crisis is likely to create, the only real answer is to have a known destination that you know will be well-supplied and, unfortunately, well defended, along with secondary options for how to get to that location if the primary way is blocked and places to go, at least temporarily, if you cannot get there at all.

Of course, this kind of planning becomes very unique and depends on all sorts of variables, making it far more complex than stocking a backpack with three days of supplies, but the fact is that readiness is a state of mind and a constant practice. The best bet is to add the, “Run to where?’ question to your readiness planning so that you don’t find yourself just trading one disaster for another.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Being ready no matter what happens

When I sat down to write this post, I intended to write about what I see as the disconnect I see between the demands for firearms control and readiness and how so many people who demand such regulation are also the least prepared for when that regulation fails. Then, I realized to doesn’t matter.

The fact is that the people who are going to be ready are going to be ready irrespective of whether an overbearing government imposes firearms control or demands that people submit to any other kind of forced dependency. History is replete with examples of people being ready no matter how horrible the government restrictions levied against them might be. For some people, the instinct to survive and carry on is stronger than what any government or group can do. We owe our very existence to those kinds of people.

If you consider yourself one of those people, then I am talking to you.

It is very easy, in the face of the trials of our time, to lose focus on the one thing that drives being ready for whatever comes next: life goes on. Life will go on if the government takes all the guns. Life will go on if the government takes all of our money. Life will go on no matter what until the moment life ceases to exist altogether.

But if life is to go on, it requires certain things. For humans, that is, as a minimum: water, food, clothing, and shelter. Without those things, no other preparation matters.

That’s why it’s important for those of us who are ready no matter what happens to remember that we are ready no matter what happens. Eve if the government takes all the guns. Even if the government takes all of our money. We will be the ones who endure because we have dedicated ourselves to being the ones who endure.

I am not suggesting that we should not be concerned about what is happening around us. If we were not, we would have no cause to prepare. I am, however, saying that we should not lose sight of what we are preparing for.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: December 31st, 2012

Have you been putting of getting yourself and those you care about ready? Have you been looking for evidence or incentive to start? Well, look no further.

On December 31st, 2012, most of the nation’s current tax benefits are scheduled to expire. Overnight, every American who pays taxes could see a significant increase in what the federal government takes from his or her paycheck, to the tune of hundreds to thousands of extra dollars a year.

Further, capital gains taxes and estate taxes will skyrocket, crippling the income of retirees and the ability to small business owners to pass their hard work on to future generations.

The result could very well be an unprecedented collapse in the US and, therefore, global economies.

You don’t think it could happen? You think the government will do the right thing before then? Have you been paying attention to what the government has been doing up until now?

Take this potential as a warning. Get ready. Now.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Worldview: Farming: MENF 2011: It takes a village

While it is possible to do, there are very few people who manage to establish complete self-sufficiency, and it is my belief that such an effort is counter-productive and, in many ways, wrong. Perhaps a better term for the effort I advocate is “local-sufficiency” because I believe that it really does take a village to make things work the way they should.

In our efforts to establish things like sustainability, resource sovereignty, and long-term readiness, we have to realize we cannot do everything. Part of what we must do is build communities of people all working toward those common goals; communities that build on individual strengths and buttress individual weaknesses.

Unfortunately, Americans are a stubbornly independent lot, and we tend to think the pinnacle of success is “going it alone.” It is my experience that such thoughts are often a recipe for failure at the best and for disaster at the worst.

Instead of trying to make ourselves independent from everyone, we should be working to pick who we are dependent on and to develop relationships that can sustain us regardless of circumstances. In order to do so, however, such an idea requires us to rethink how we approach almost everything we do.

We have to identify the things we are good at, the things we do well enough to help others, and the things we won’t or can’t do ourselves. We have to identify that there are things we do right now that don’t work and find ways to do them better.

Once we do, we will realize how much of the way we approach life right now is inefficient, wasteful, and just plain wrong. It is at that point that we can look around us at our relationships and communities and start building the kinds of networks necessary for sustainable, sovereign, ready lives.

And once we do so, we will discover that we will have freed ourselves from so many of the problems that have dominated the last half of the 20th and first part of the 21st centuries. Such liberation should be something we all strive for.

DLH

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Readiness: Some thoughts on Irene

Hurricane Irene has come and gone, leaving a swath of destruction in her wake. The latest reports indicate 21 people died, millions are without power, and the high winds and flooding have probably caused hundreds of millions if not billions in damages on the densely populated East Coast. Yet, it was not as bad as it could have been.

What strikes me about this event is the combination of media and government hype versus the backlash by many people because this event was not as bad as it could have been. Both the hype and the backlash prove that virtually everyone involved failed to get the real point: you should have already been ready before the hurricane came and you should still be ready now that it is gone.

Readiness is not piles of canned food and bottled water collected in advance of a known emergency. Readiness is not panicked preparations just before a disaster. Readiness is not falling for the hype then returning to apathy after it has passed.

No, readiness is being ready for whatever comes next both when things are calm and when things are in chaos. Readiness is a way of life, one that is so different than what most Americans live in 2011 that the mere suggestion of this kind of readiness seems alien and apocalyptic.

Nevertheless, the kind of readiness I describe is the only way to be ready. It means establishing a certain kind of autonomy from the very society that encourages us to be unready then panic when something bad seems about to happen. It means doing hard work for yourself and establishing local networks for what you can’t do yourself. It means being ready to feed, clothe, shelter, and defend yourself when no one else is able to do so. It means being ready to be a leader when all the so-called leaders have abandoned everyone.

My hope is that people will see Irene as a warning instead of an arbitrary occurrence. Be ready because you never know what will happen next.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Establishing self-sufficiency

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Establishing self-sufficiency

  • Immediate: Make a list of all of the things you depend on in order to provide yourself and the people to depend on you with necessities. Such a list will likely include things like your source of income, where your food, clothing, and shelter come from, and similar things. Next, make a list of how you could provide for the same necessities if one or more of the things you currently depend on become unavailable. Finally, make a plan for how to implement each change will take place.
  • Intermediate: Consider replacing things you depend on others to do for you by paying them with things you do yourself. If you are unable to do them yourself, seek out the most local source for the thing you are paying for. Pay special attention to the sources of your most basic necessities.
  • Long-term: The best way to establish self-sufficiency is to surround yourself with people trying to do the same thing. Typically, such people gravitate to small, rural farm communities, and they do so because of the lower population density, the access to arable land, and the general tendency for rural people to be more self-sufficient than city dwellers. Before undertaking such a task, carefully consider what you can add to such a community–that is, what are you going to do to be self-sufficient yourself that would compliment what others are already doing.

 

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact meabout ways you can support this effort.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Readiness Watch for the Week of 13 June 2011

Readiness Watch is a weekly publication intended to provide current, relevant, and actionable readiness information to people determined to be ready for whatever comes next, and especially for those people who are just starting their journey down the road to readiness. Readiness Watch will include observations, commentary, advice, links to resources, and related news.

I always welcome input from my readers, especially tips on information or ways to make this publication better. Feel free to contact me with information, advice, or tips or for ways you can support this effort.

Readiness Watch for the week of 13 June 2011

Previous Readiness Watch posts.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Minimum skills

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Minimum skills

  • Immediate: At a minimum, everyone involved in your readiness plan should be trained in basic first aid, CPR, and rescue breathing. Other useful minimum skills can be fire-starting, use of basic clearing tools such as saws, chainsaws, and breaker bars, and orienteering.
  • Intermediate: At least one person involved in your plan should have some level of training in the following areas: medical care, knife sharpening, sewing, shelter-building, skinning and butchering game animals, small engine repair, large engine repair, and weapon repair.
  • Long-term: Long-term readiness skills include raising food and livestock, construction of weatherproof shelters, finding sources of fresh water, negotiation, and self-defense.

 

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact meabout ways you can support this effort.

DLH

 

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Readiness: Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Transportation

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Transportation

  • Immediate: Maintain a fuel reserve for every vehicle you own. Optimally, your reserve should include enough fuel to refill each vehicle’s tank once. Take care to store fuel in proper containers and in safe areas. Keep each vehicle’s tank filled to at least a quarter tank, with a half tank being better.
  • Intermediate: How will you transport yourself if fuel or vehicles are not available? If you intend to walk or bike, are you physically fit enough to make the trip?
  • Long-term: Consider owning alternative forms of transportation, such as bicycles, quad-cycles, or ridable animals.

 

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact me about ways you can support this effort.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Be ready now: 3 things you can start doing this week to be ready for whatever comes next: Clothing

Be ready now is a weekly post about things you can do right now to get ready for whatever might come next courtesy of Dennis L Hitzeman’s Readiness Weblog. You can find other posts in this series in the “Be ready now” category.

This week’s theme: Clothing

  • Immediate: Put together a clothing kit for each person who is part of your immediate readiness plan. The kit should include, but is not limited to, at least one change of underwear, at least one pair of good quality socks, a pair of work pants or jeans, a shirt, a sweat shirt, a pair of sweatpants or long underwear (That can be worn under the regular pants), a pair of work gloves, a pair of winter gloves, a stocking cap, a scarf, and a good pair of walking shoes. Other items to consider could be sunglasses, dust masks, simple tools (a Leatherman or equivalent would be a place to start), a winter coat, a rain coat, etc. Pack all of the clothing in a waterproof container or bag and store them in a central location that everyone involved in the plan knows about. If you wear dress clothes to work, consider packing a smaller version of this kit into your car or carry it with you in a backpack. If you carry nothing else, carry walking shoes.
  • Intermediate: How much of your clothing is appropriate for an enduring emergency situation? Do you have the capacity to repair your clothing? How will you keep your clothing clean? Consider all of these factors for a period lasting as long as a year. Consider stockpiling extra clothing for everyone involved in your readiness plan.
  • Long-term: Do you know someone who can make clothing? Do you know of a local, non-commercial source for fabric and supplies? Consider stockpiling raw materials.

Do you find this information informative and helpful? Feel free to contact me and let me know. You can also contact me about ways you can support this effort.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...