by Jim Jones


Why be prepared?
Anyone who can read a newspaper or watch the news on television should already know the answer to that question.

We see the effects of local emergencies such as criminal assaults, fires, floods, and accidents routinely.  Storms, blackouts, terrorist attacks and chemical accidents happen with alarming regularity.

“These things always happen to other people” is a poor strategy for preparing for emergencies, at least if you don’t want to be dependent upon others for your family’s well-being. As Dr. David Grossman, a retired West Point instructor says, “denial has no survival value”.

While government agencies and emergency services may do their best to prevent and respond to catastrophic events, it is obvious that the responsible citizen must be ready to provide for his or her own life-sustaining necessities in an emergency.  After all, proper planning can turn a life-threatening incident into a mere inconvenience.

We at Live Free USA offer the a proven five-step program for the citizen seeking to achieve a very basic level of emergency preparedness and short-term self-reliance for emergencies.

STEP 1:  Face the facts of life.
DON’T be in denial about the potential hazards to your life, safety and property posed by local and world conditions

DON’T put off preparing for emergencies until its too late for you and your family

DON’T put your safety and survival in the hands of others.

DO face the facts and recognize your vulnerabilities and hazards

DO determine to reduce your risks and increase your options and survivability when emergencies and hard time occur

DO make plans and establish goals to improve your preparedness every year.

STEP 2: Identify Your Hazards
No two people or families face the exact same combination of hazards, depending on your location, age, economic condition, occupation and many other factors. You may be fairly safe from some catastrophes but very vulnerable to others.  Doomsday is the day your survival emergency plan fails.  If you don’t have a plan, you’ve already failed.

1.  Do you live, work or travel through areas that have high crime rates, or are potential targets for terrorist attacks?  [   ]
2.  Are you located in a potential storm, earthquake, flood or fire zone?  [   ]
3.  Does your lifestyle or occupation put you in contact with the public where you could be vulnerable to epidemics or biological terror agents?  [   ]
4.  Are you located near or downwind of locations where chemical, nuclear or biological events could endanger your life?  [   ]
5.  Do you know the emergency plans and signals for your community and place of employment  [   ]
6.  Could your family cope with an interruption of fuel, electricity, water, groceries and emergency services?   [   ]


STEP 3: Make Your Emergency Action Plans
Think about what the effects of that emergency event (e.g. storm, blackout, bank “holiday”, epidemic, etc.) would be. Think about where you and your family members might be (home, school, work, etc.) when it happened. Think about what you would need to do and what supplies (water, food, first aid, cash money, etc.) you would need to have. Consider how long you might need to get by without outside help or sources for water, food, medical aid or protection.  Plan to meet these challenges.

Think about “what if?”  If something goes wrong with your plan, have a backup plan.

1.  Identify events and warning signs that would trigger activation of your plans.  [   ]
2.  Make sure everyone in your family knows (especially young people) what to do to survive the first 5 minutes of the emergency. Such as: taking shelter, escaping, stopping bleeding, grabbing essential supplies, defending yourself.  [   ]
3.  Be sure everyone knows what they are expected to do. Identify safe meeting places out of the danger areas if the family is separated when the emergency occurs. Don’t depend on cell phones.  [   ]
4.  Know when you will stay in place and when and how you will evacuate. Know your routes. Don’t depend on using your motor vehicle only and don’t depend on your Garmin or Tom Tom.   [   ]
5.  Consider what supplies you will need for each situation and how they can be stored, used and carried if you must evacuate.  [   ]


STEP 4: Prepare To Survive and Recover
Establish a systematic program to build up emergency supplies, survival kits and learn skills that will help in emergency situations.

Checklist (minimum supplies)
1.  Water.  Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for a few days and have the ability to filter water after.  Add 6-8  drops of unscented bleach to each gallon and store in tightly closed plastic containers.  [   ]
2.  Food.  Store enough food for each person for a week to ten days. Canned goods, pasta, rice and dried beans (rotate annually) are good for home stocks.  Have some dehydrated camp meals or MREs in case you have to carry food in an evacuation.  [   ]
3.  Have at least one good flashlight per person with extra batteries, along with battery or gas lanterns and/or plenty of candles. [   ]
4.  Have at least one 10# or larger, ABC chemical extinguisher.  [   ]
5.  Have a well stocked first aid kit including extra prescription medications.  [   ]
6.  Have a good chemical (camp) toilet or have heavy-duty plastic bags and unscented bleach  [   ]
7.  Have a propane gas stove and a kerosene heater (and fuel). Be sure of ventilation when using indoors. [   ]
8.  Have a battery or crank powered weather band radio to get emergency information [   ]
9.  Have heavy-duty plastic, rope and duct tape to cover damage and/or make shelter.  [   ]
10.  Be sure and have a wrench that fits the gas valve to your home.  Also have leather work gloves, shovels, hammers, hatchets and crowbars for rescue, etc.  [   ]
11.  Be sure you have enough blankets or sleeping bags to survive without heat for some time.  [   ]
12.  Consider a shotgun or other firearm to defend against predatory criminal attack.  Get trained in the proper use of your firearms as well. [   ]
13.  Learn first aid, and other skills related to the situations you are preparing for.   [   ]
14.  Have a small backpack in case of evacuation on foot.  [   ]
15.  Have a few hundred dollars in cash in small bills secured at home for financial emergencies.  [   ]


STEP 5: Maintain and Improve Your Preparedness and Self-Reliance
Don’t let your skills and supplies deteriorate and your plans become forgotten or out of date.  Old plans and old supplies can give a false sense of security.  Review upgrade and update as needed annually.  Maintain home safety first. Keep in mind your plans and equipment for the “big one” will be of no use if you are killed in an accident or your house burns down.

1.  Inspect your home for hazards (tripping, electrical, fire, poisoning, etc) regularly.  [   ]
2.  Check your smoke and CO detectors often and change batteries annually.  [   ]
3.  Check the shelf life on food items and medication and rotate often.  [   ]
4.  Be sure firearms are inaccessible to unauthorized persons but available and ready for you.  [   ]
5.  Check fire extinguishers monthly.  [   ]
6.  Quiz children on emergency action (e.g. fire escape, etc.) regularly.   [   ]
7.  Rotate stored gasoline annually and always use a fuel preservative (Sta-bil or PRI-G) as directed.  [   ]
8.  Check batteries in flashlights and radios often.  [   ]
9.  Read books on emergency preparedness and self-reliance. [   ]
10.  Become more self-reliant by purchasing a generator, adding solar panels, starting a vegetable garden, adding rain barrels and network with other responsible and prepared citizens. [   ]

If you have completed the above checklist you have achieved a level of basic emergency preparedness that will go a long way towards making your family more safe and secure.  Your act of responsible citizenship makes both your community and America stronger.  You are now in a position to take care of yourself and help your neighbors.

While this is a great first step towards self-reliance there is always more that can be done.

We recommend continuing to gather equipment, supplies and skills for longer-term emergencies.