Posts Tagged ‘Readiness’

The looming currency collapse

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

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

A readiness challenge from FEMA

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

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

Will you be ready in 2011?

Saturday, January 1st, 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

Immediate readiness

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

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

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

    Monday, October 11th, 2010

    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

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

    Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

    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

    Getting ready Part 3: Being realistic about your plan

    Thursday, September 30th, 2010

    Let’s face it: even for those of us who are very focused on getting ready, there are still practical limitations on what we can do. Often the time and cost outweigh the resources we can dedicate to readiness, and we can’t really be thinking about getting ready all the time.

    Those facts are why having a realistic approach to readiness planning is so important. Being realistic about your plan will help prevent you from getting discouraged and will help you actually be ready when the time comes.

    As I have alluded to on previous posts, part of realistic readiness is having good priorities and a plan. The first step toward establishing those priorities and that plan is knowing what you already have going on. The second step is knowing what you want to accomplish. The third step is gathering the resources to do it.

    For most people right now, simply having an immediate readiness plan and resources is more than what they already have. Certainly, it would be great to be able to establish complete readiness, but even being a little ready is far better than not being ready at all. Once someone has established a complete immediate plan and gathered the needed resources, then he can move on to establishing intermediate and long term plans.

    And even for those who are able to establish a full range of readiness so that, whatever comes next, their life goes on, there will be compromises, things they didn’t consider, and things the didn’t prepare for. While this may be the case, some amount of readiness is always better than no readiness, and working toward the goal of being ready is being realistic.

    DLH

    Getting ready Part 2: Items to consider in a readiness plan

    Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

    One of the aspects of readiness that separates it from what most of us consider normal life is that it forces us to look at our priorities and reduce life to the several items that are really necessary for our everyday existence. While I argue that these several items are the only items one should really focus on once they are identified, I understand that not everyone is at the same point. As a result, that is where readiness planning comes in.

    Almost every readiness plan consists of the same several items of consideration. I will present each of the items here as a general overview, and I will discuss each of the items later in detail and in discussions of the various aspects of readiness planning. Also, the order of the list of these items is my own priority set. Each planner must determine what priorities work for his or her individual plan.

    Water

    Lots of people have readiness plans, but I think too many people overlook how hard it may become to get potable water if modern water delivery systems fail. The general rule for readiness is that you there should be one gallon of water per person per day covered by the plan. Keep in mind that having this kind of water available probably means storing it and rotating it over time. Also, having the necessary tools to access, move, and purify water is a must for intermediate and long term readiness planning.

    Fuel

    Keeping extra fuel on hand can mean the difference between weathering a crisis well and not weathering it at all. While how much extra fuel should be kept on hand is a matter of significant debate, the fact remains that there should be some.

    Communications

    Cell phones are notoriously unreliable forms of communications during times of crisis and may become unusable if the crisis lasts long enough. Establishing reliable alternative forms of communication with the people involved in your readiness plan is essential for that plan to function.

    Protection

    No one really wants to think about it, but let’s face it: during a crisis the need to protect yourself and those involved in your plan may become very high. More than likely, especially if the crisis is widespread enough, the police and military will be delayed or unavailable to provide protection. Having sufficient means of protection on hand, knowing how to use those means, and having the ability to resupply those means are an integral part of any effective readiness plan. These means may also be help ensure there is enough food available for intermediate and long term planning.

    Food

    Many people will protest that food should be far higher in the list, maybe even at the top. I think that there is far more food available than most people realize, and unlike water, people can survive without adequate food for quite a long time before bad things start to happen. That said, having adequate plans for food is an essential part of readiness planning, even if it may not be the most important.

    Power

    Especially if a crisis is an enduring one, having the means to provide power is an essential consideration. Providing power when regular electricity delivery is not available can be one of the most expensive and time consuming parts of readiness planning, so how that power will be provided must be carefully considered and implemented.

    Medical

    If the crisis is intense enough, providing medical care for people participating in your plan may become a necessity. Providing such care is more complicated than just having medical supplies on hand. Someone has to know how to diagnose what needs done and use the supplies effectively.

    Shelter

    It is entirely possible that the crisis that activates your plan may involve the destruction of your shelter. Having a plan and the means to provide for shelter is then and essential part of readiness planning.

    Mobility

    It is entirely possible that your readiness plan may have to involve leaving where you start. The means by which that might occur can be highly variable, but they still must be carefully considered.

    Caching

    Along with having a cache of supplies where you live, maybe at work, and maybe in your main mode of transportation, you should also consider caching supplies other places.

    I know this can be a daunting list, especially if someone is just at the beginning of their readiness plan, but these things must be considered in order for a plan to be effective and complete. I will discuss each of these items in detail in future posts and as part of future posts on planning.

    DLH

    Getting ready Part 1: Coming up with a readiness plan

    Thursday, September 16th, 2010

    From my point of view, if someone is ready for whatever comes next, then having a readiness plan isn’t really necessary because not much will change from times of normalcy to times of crisis. Unfortunately, most of us are far from being in that state of readiness, so having a plan is a necessity.

    The most effective readiness plans consist of three basic parts: immediate readiness, intermediate readiness, and long term readiness. Each of these parts take different kinds of resources and planning in order to be effective. While I will discuss each type of readiness in this post only in generalities, I will discuss them in detail in future posts.

    Immediate Readiness

    Immediate readiness refers to being ready for sudden changes like power outages, natural disasters, or political upheaval. Such plans usually consist of ensuring that someone has the basic resources to weather such a change for periods ranging from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the change. Immediate readiness plans tend to be specific to the kinds of changes the planner might expect to experience. generally, most immediate readiness plans involve preparing for a few days.

    Intermediate Readiness

    Intermediate readiness refers to being ready for changes that last longer than just a few days or weeks. Intermediate changes can last from months to years depending on the change and may require planning for relocation to places distant from the change. Intermediate readiness planning often involves establishing fall-back points, supply caches, and identifying people with whom to share such a plan.

    Long Term Readiness

    Long term readiness really refers to preparing for the changes to be permanent in some fashion. Long term readiness planning should be the guiding force behind all other forms of planning and should help the planners transition from a lifestyle that is not ready to one that is.

    Over the next weeks and months, I will discuss aspects of each element of these kinds of plans in more detail.

    DLH

    Being prepared for whatever comes next

    Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

    For many people, hearing about readiness evokes images of a small cache of bottled water and energy bars in the basement or of wild-eyed survivalists in western states hunkered down in caves with a year’s supply of dried foods. While both images have some elements of what readiness might entail, they both miss the fundamental point of what being prepared is really all about.

    From my point of view, readiness is about living the kind of life and lifestyle that means, even if the power goes out or you can’t buy gas or the government is no longer around to help, you can go on doing what you were doing before with few or any modifications.

    Of course, most people have a far different view of readiness. They think of readiness as being able to weather some kind of abnormal time until things return to normal. But, what if things don’t return to normal? We all like to believe that such catastrophic events cannot happen, yet history shows us that they can and do with surprising regularity.

    I already know that my view of readiness means significant changes in life and lifestyle for most people, so the goal of this weblog is not to be just another source for hardcore survivalist mumbo jumbo that most people will have no use for. Instead, it is my goal to present practical and actionable steps that people can take to be ready.

    In doing so, it is my hope that, along the way, more people will see the things I have come to see about modern society and readiness and will be willing to make the changes they need to make to be truly ready. The payoff for all of us will be that we will be able to weather future storms on our own terms and will be able to help other people weather them too.

    Are you prepared for whatever comes next? If not, let’s get ready together.

    DLH

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