Readiness: Readiness Watch for the Week of 21 March 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 21 March 2011

Previous Readiness Watch posts.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Readiness Watch for the Week of 14 March 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 14 March 2011

Previous Readiness Watch posts.

DLH

 

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: When will you be ready?

If an emergency were to happen today, what would you do? What if the power went out? What if you could not buy gas or groceries?

What is your plan?

We live in unsettled times. Riots aren’t just for the Middle East anymore. Financial uncertainty, inflation, and shortages of critical goods are spreading. History tells us that it is exactly at times like these that you need to be ready because disasters happen quickly.

You don’t have to listen to me. There are plenty of other people saying the same thing, but the message is the same. Get ready. Be ready. There is danger ahead.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: The looming currency collapse

UPDATE: For those who find the linked video too painful (that is badly done) to watch, if you browse away from it, then click “Stay on this page” from the resulting pop-up” it will take you to a transcript of the video.

I’m not much for investment research firms for the most part, so I am skeptical when they give advice for free or as part of a thinly veiled promo for a product or service they provide. It is with that skepticism that I viewed Porter Stansberry‘s apocalyptically titled “The End of America” video.

Most people find the subject of the video boring. Many people who actually watch it will see the video as a scare tactic designed to frighten them into using Stansberry’s products or services and will ignore its message.

I believe they will do so to their own detriment.

Whatever Stansberry might be selling, his analysis of the looming crisis with the American dollar and everything it could mean for our way of life is dead on. And, he only focuses on one narrow aspect of looming problems that threaten to create the perfect storm that could bring the American and world economy to its knees.

Again, it is easy to ignore what people like Stansberry or me are saying because it sounds so impossible, yet it is only impossible if one ignores the inevitable lessons history taught past nations and civilizations who thought the same things.

Now is the time, more immediate than ever before, for you to get ready. Get out of debt. Make sure you can provide for your own basic needs without the need for constant infusions of cash. If you live in a city, have a plan for how to get out and where you are going to go. Have supplies and means of self-defense on-hand.

I grant that I could be wrong and that these things may never come to pass. History is quirky that way. Yet, I cannot miss the fact that it can and does happen and that the United States is not exempt from that reality.

The signs are all there. Are you going to pay attention?

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: A readiness challenge from FEMA

Do you have ideas about how to help individuals, families, and communities be ready? If so, the Preparing our Communities Before a Disaster Strikes challenge from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is the thing for you.

According to the challenge, the goal is to: “To come up with ideas on how we can all help prepare our communities before disaster strikes and how the government can support community-based activities to help everyone be more prepared.”

The deadline for entries in this challenge is 29 January with the prize being your idea being showcased on the FEMA website.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Readiness: Will you be ready in 2011?

I believe being ready is more than having a stockpile of supplies just in case something happens that deprives me of the modern comforts I have come to expect. Readiness is a state of being; a world view focused on the art of living and a lifestyle adaptable to whatever circumstances might present themselves at the moment.

I want to inspire other people to pursue being ready the way I want to be ready myself, hence this weblog. Yet, over the last year, I have discovered just how much of a task readiness is and how hard it is to convince other people it is worth doing at all.

That last statement is not despair of trying. To the contrary, it is an acknowledgement of the difficulty of the task at hand and an acceptance that it is not going to happen quickly or easily.

I plan to be more ready when 2011 ends than I am now that it has started, and I hope you will join me in the quest.

DLH

Read more at my Readiness site...

Worldview: This is what you get from $14 trillion in debt

Most Americans have no idea why the world switching from the dollar to the euro as the global reserve currency, just like they have no idea why excessive government intrusion into their personal lives in the form of mandated health care is bad or why $14 trillion and growing in national debt is bad.

Yet, Vladimir Putin, de facto ruler of the worlds 12th largest economy is warning of the fact that Russia may abandon the dollar in favor of the euro and eventually join the Eurozone.

“So what?” you might say.

Well, the so what is that almost everything you probably think of as being part of your standard of living and current way of life derives from the fact that the rest of the world currently views the dollar as the standard for international trade. Oil, food, and industrial commodities are all bought and sold in dollars, and it is the strength or weakness of the dollar that determines the ebb and flow of international markets.

In short, it is the dollar, and therefore the United States, that dictates the rest of the worlds economy, up to and until the world switches to another standard. The other standard most likely to replace the dollar is the euro, and the moment that switch takes place, it will be the EU dictating terms to us.

Now, I know that there are people who think this is a good thing; who think the US needs to be brought down a peg. Unfortunately, those people do not consider the consequences of their thinking. The euro replacing the dollar will not mean that we suddenly will live in a more egalitarian world. On the contrary, such a change will simply mean that the powerful nations of Europe are calling the shots instead. The last time I checked, Europe’s record of calling the shots was a pretty bad one.

DLH

Read more at my Worldview site...

Readiness: Immediate readiness

The simplest part of immediate readiness is assembling a readiness kit. The government website Ready.gov has a good list for a basic kit, and a quick Google search can reveal hundreds of variations on the theme. That said, everyone’s kit is going to contain different things based on each person’s views, approach, and the kind of changes the person might be planning for. I tend to follow the advice presented by Laughing Wolf in his “Readiness Week” posts at the blog Blackfive because he has assembled quite a bit of information and experience all in one place. Whatever list someone might use, it should contain, as a minimum, the following:

  • Three gallons of water per person involved in the plan.
  • Enough preserved food to last each person involved in the plan for three days.
  • Flashlights and batteries (a hand crank radio with a built-in flashlight is really the better way to go).
  • A portable radio with batteries (a hand crank radio with a built-in flashlight is really the better way to go).
  • Weather appropriate clothing and footwear for each person.

In addition, some other things to consider as part of immediate readiness kits that do not always come up in lists:

  • A good quality multi-tool. I prefer multi-tools from Gerber, but brand is not so much of an issue as quality, but it needs to have pliers, a knife, and a flathead screwdriver as a minimum.
  • At least 100 feet of rope. I prefer military grade 550 cord because of its versatility.
  • A length of malleable wire (such as electric fence wire or steel ground wire). Wire can be used for all sorts of purposes, and even a short coil can prove to be infinitely useful.
  • A roll of duct tape.
  • A backpack big enough to hold all of your immediate readiness supplies.

The previous two lists are far from complete, but they are a good place to start. In my opinion, the best way to start an immediate readiness kit is to buy one of the ones someone else has already put together. There are as many kits as there are places that sell that kind of thing, but my personal preference right now is the Personal 72 Hour Emergency Kit with MREs from Emergency Essentials, to which I would add a Pocket Survival Pak (or a Pocket Survival Pak Plus when they become available), an emergency blanket, an emergency sleeping bag, a multi-tool, a 100 foot coil of 550 cord, a 100 foot coil of wire, and a roll of duct tape. My kits also tend to collect a variety of other things along the way, but pay attention to how much you put in the bag because they can get really heavy really quick.

I also take my kits one step farther by trying to stock one kit for each person in my house and another in my car, that way, even when I am away from home, I know I have at least a three day kit nearby. I also always carry a small pocket knife with me and will probably add some sort of survival key chain to the mix at some point so even if I cannot get to my kits, I am not without resources.

An important part of a complete immediate readiness plan is having an evacuation plan. Some sudden changes, like a natural disaster or a political upheaval, may require people to relocate, sometimes very suddenly and very quickly. Evacuation plans should include the following considerations:

  • Make sure there is enough fuel on hand for vehicles that may be used in an evacuation.
  • Make sure that some part of the readiness supplies are easily portable in case evacuation means walking.
  • If evacuation means walking, make sure you have appropriate clothing and footwear available. This idea is especially important if you find yourself needing to evacuate from work where you might not be wearing walking appropriate clothing and shoes.
  • Make sure that portable readiness supplies include supplies to weather being outdoors, possibly for several days.
  • Establish several rally points at increasing distances from the sites of potential changes and discuss those rally points with anyone involved in your plan.

Immediate readiness can be a lot more complicated than these simple considerations depending on the specific events someone might plan for, but starting at this simple point is a good way to establish a baseline from which more complex plans can be built.

DLH

    Read more at my Readiness site...

    Readiness: An aside: who the hell is Dennis L Hitzeman and why is he lecturing me?

    At some point, someone is going to ask who the hell I am and why I think I can lecture other people on readiness.

    Frankly, I’m nobody more important than anyone else. My readiness experience is average and some of my qualifications are tenuous at best. A lot of what I am repeating here, I have learned from other far more qualified people, and to them we all owe a debt of gratitude.

    Yet, while I am not some sort of super-secret-squirrel-ninja-ranger survivalist, I am a halfway intelligent person who can read and learn and observe the world around me, and what I have read and learned and observed over the past several years leads me to believe that it is very likely that you are not ready for whatever comes next at all. In fact, I used to not be ready at all too, and frankly, I still have a very long way to go to be ready in the way I think being ready should work for everyone.

    So what makes me think I’m qualified to be saying what I am saying and doing what I am doing? Mostly, because I care enough to say something even as I do the something I say.

    Five years ago, I was part of the Ohio National Guard’s assistance task force to the state of Mississippi as part of the response to Hurricane Katrina. One of the images that sticks in my mind more than most is the clear difference between people who were as ready as they could be and the people who plainly weren’t.

    Among those memories was a sign tacked over the door of what was otherwise an innocuous ranch style house in Waveland, Mississippi. It read: “We’re fine and don’t need help. We are armed. Please help those who actually need it.”

    Later, I discovered that there were as many as 10 people in that house: its original residents and probably family, friends, or neighbors who banded together for common survival. As far as I know, those people never took more from the relief workers than some water and ice.

    That image and those people changed me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Then, just two years ago, the freak windstorm caused by Hurricane Ike knocked power out to the area I was living for almost two weeks. While not everyone lost power, many, many people did, and I was without power for ten days.

    So, I began planning in earnest and have learned quite a lot along the way. And what I have learned is that, even if I do manage to get ready the way I think I should be, in all likelihood you won’t be, and what good will that do me? I want everyone to be ready because, if we’re all ready, then even if something bad does happen it won’t be as bad as it could have been.

    Hence this blog. I may not be an expert and I may not know everything, but I do care enough to try to get you to think about something I think is very important. If I succeed, then we will all be better for it.

    DLH

    Read more at my Readiness site...

    Readiness: Getting ready Part 4: What does readiness look like in the end?

    For me, the end state of readiness is that my everyday life won’t change much if local, national, or international circumstances suddenly change. Of course, that kind of readiness is almost impossible to achieve, especially in the face of an event like a natural disaster, but I believe it is possible to come close, and that closeness is what readiness should look like in the end.

    This end state will look different for every person based on each individual’s outlook and priorities, but I think that every ready person’s end state will share several things in common.

    First, true readiness is local. Even if someone is not growing his own food, building his own house, or making his own clothes, if he is getting those things from people geographically near him, it is far more likely that those things will continue to be available if circumstances change than if those things are coming from far away. What local might mean is different for every person, but everyone must consider things like the availability of fuel and personal fitness when considering that range.

    Second, true readiness is sustainable. If someone needs something now, he will also likely need it after circumstances have changed. Of course, identifying needs is the tricky part, but once someone has identified them, then he must also identify how to keep having them. Developing sustainable systems for everything from food production to energy generation must be a central theme for true readiness or someone is not truly ready.

    Third, true readiness is flexible. An old military axiom is that no plan survives the moment of first contact, and readiness plans are no different. If someone is ready, then his plan is flexible enough to be able to adapt to a variety of contingencies.

    Now, applying these standards can mean a lot of different things to different people. How I might plan and implement readiness might not work for someone else, and someone else’s plans might not work for me. Yet, if everyone is working toward readiness, then we can establish the kinds of networks that allow our plans to be local, sustainable, and flexible.

    DLH

    Read more at my Readiness site...