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

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