If we’re honest, none of us are 100 percent prepared for every emergency.
Let me go first: If a tornado were to strike tonight, my gas tank is only a quarter full, only 2 of our 5 gas cans are full, I’ve dipped into our food storage to supplement the pantry, and I do not think there are shoes for our youngest in our shelter area.
Disaster will strike and you will not be completely prepared. You will have to make do with what you have at that moment.
So, what can you do to be truly prepared?
You can train your mind.
1. Be situationally aware, always.
Take a minute when you get in your car to go anywhere and think about what you will do if you are stuck in your car for several hours, or if you have to walk home from where ever you are going.
When you arrive, check for exits and think about what scenarios could happen while you are there and what you would do. It only takes a few moments, but I find that it also lets me enjoy what I am doing. I have prepared my mind for what could happen and this preparation lets me focus on what I am doing instead of worrying.
2. Learn to improvise.
You won’t always have the right tool for the job. Instead of asking where you can find a shovel to dig a hole, ask what things you can use to dig a hole. Before you go to bed tonight, ask yourself what you would do if disaster struck tonight with just what you have in the house. What could you use to substitute for the things you haven’t bought yet? What options do you have for cleaning? What options do you have for cooking? How creative could you get with what you have?
3. Keep learning.
Keep learning new skills. Make a list of skills that would be valuable and that you want to learn. You don’t have to learn them all right now, but you can gather books and materials on the topics so you can learn about them whenever you want (or need) to. The Survival Mom Mini-Guides are a great place to get started with this!
Consider printing out anything electronic so you can have the references on hand in case of prolonged power outages or an EMP attack and creating your own Preparedness Binder. For example, I am an amateur gardener, so I have several gardening reference books on hand. You could create individual binders for cooking, sewing, medical preparedness, homeschooling, woodworking, etc. in addition to one more general Survival Mom binder.
4. Develop muscle memory.
Bug out now and see how you do. Or, for something more low-key, go on an impromptu picnic to see how well you can do with what you have on hand. I did this once with a friend and our children. We brought peaches, but forgot the knife to cut it up. What to do? The children could take turns taking bites or we could use a pocketknife from my purse. We needed to sanitize it, so we put some hand sanitizer on it and wiped it down with a baby wipe.
We improvised and came up with a solution. You can train your brain to improvise by practicing scenarios. You can do this with family fire drills, tornado drills, intruder drills, etc. Your brain will remember the actions you take and then, if a real emergency happens, you can react quicker.
5. Avoid complacency
It’s human nature to get complacent. Once you think you are fully prepared, you may stop thinking and planning. However, being prepared is a lifestyle, not a checklist. You can always be more prepared. A good way to not get complacent is to pick a topic every month to work on.
Check your food storage one month – is it stored correctly? Will you actually eat it? Does anything need to be replaced? Do you like your inventory system? Another month, update your Grab-n-Go Binder – walk through your house and look through your computer files to see if there is anything else to add that you wouldn’t want to be without. Another month, you can sort through your ammo, clean your firearms and make sure they are in good working order. When was the last time you practiced firing them at the range?
There is always something to do to be prepared. Don’t forget the more mundane tasks like reducing clutter and keeping on top of your finances! The more you stay on top of, the easier it is to enjoy day-to-day life.
I have now filled the gas tank and stashed some shoes for our youngest child in our tornado shelter. I still need to re-supply a few items in the food storage and fill the gas cans, but I keep going day by day. I know where my weak spots are and keep trying to make them stronger. I think about it a lot and keep training my mind. Now I need to go find some shoes….