Like most of us, I am not a one-trick wonder. We all wear lots of hats. (Hey, a good string of cliches on a weekday morning gets them out of my system; don’t judge.) One of the hats I wear is EMT. This past week I wore that hat to attend a 3 day EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Conference. Attendees were from at least 14 states.
Some things I learned from the Conference
We were taught and entertained by some amazing people who have ‘walked the walk’. They have lived what they teach. Of the 12-15 classes I attended, three stood out as exceptional. Two of those were so great that I felt compelled to reach out through Thank You notes I handed them on Day Two. One replied and granted me an interview for a post I wanted to write.
The next day, we talked about my article topic for about 30 minutes. This man was the Incident Commander in charge of all immediate medical response efforts during the 48 hours immediately following a major Natural Disaster in the Midwest a few years ago. He saw devastation, destruction and death far beyond what our eyes should ever see. In his presentation, he shared lessons they learned while responding to this disaster.
I had to consciously keep myself from letting my jaw hit the floor when, in the course of our conversation he stated, “You know, I don’t really feel the need to store any food, there’s enough stores in our area and the surrounding areas that it isn’t a problem.” I asked how much he had on hand for his family and his answer is what stunned me. “Oh, we’ve got 2-3 days worth.” A man with a front row seat to one of the decade’s major natural disasters says he doesn’t see the need to store more than 2-3 days worth of food in his home. This floored me.
I expect that people who have regular, non-emergency-services jobs might feel this way until they are taught why they should care about food storage, but this sentiment coming from him surprised me.
If he can’t answer the following question, how can we convince other people who haven’t seen disasters first-hand?
Why might you want to consider starting to build up the food storage for your family?
Why I Disagree
So for a minute or two I just want to share several scenarios that might make you want to rethink your strategy, if you don’t already have food storage.
1. Buffalo, New York – 7 feet of snow. Can you get to the store in 7 feet of snow? Do you even want to try?
2. Ferguson, Missouri – Violence, Looting, general civil unrest. Is your favorite grocery store even still there, or is it a pile of smoldering ashes on the ground? If it is still standing, do you want to risk your safety for a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and some Oreos? Did you have to think twice about the Oreos? I won’t say if I did, but I digress.
3. Frigid cold temps across much of the country – Will the car even start to get to the store? Can you find your car under all that snow? I vote instead for a nice cup of hot chocolate, a warm fire a pot of cream of something soup simmering on the stove and a great book to cuddle up with instead of venturing out in that frostbiting weather.
4. Family-related expenses. A teenager in a hood-crumpling car crash, and the car has liability-only insurance – Guess where the food budget is going instead of the grocery store?
5. Unexpected car repair. Since ours are all paid for older cars, I count these as my ‘car payments’ but they don’t come at regular intervals and again, the food budget is my slush fund for things like this.
6. Health problems. In our case, knee surgery for one child, an ER visit and 4 days in the hospital for another, and kidney stone for the dad…all in the same month.
These are just a few of the ’emergencies’ that can keep you from being able to get food and other supplies for your family. We might not have any experiences with any of these…and to that I say, thank goodness! But that doesn’t mean they won’t happen in the future. Only one gave any real warning.
Why You Should Just Get Started
Food Storage IS NOT HARD. Yet, so many just won’t even ‘go there,’ for whatever reason. The rest of this article is for those ‘not in the choir’, the ones who haven’t ever thought about needing a supply of food in their home.
There is no perfect food storage program, but there are many that are super organized and tell you exactly what to buy, including a schedule.
Honestly, the best food storage program around is the one that works for your family, the one that increases the amount of food you have in your pantry. Please JUST START. Just buy an extra can or case of Ready to Eat Soup or Just add water muffins or Macaroni. Do that EVERY TIME you go to the store. Before long you’ll be shopping out of your cupboards instead of running to the store every few days. When that happens, you can increase your shopping interval and buy things by the case when they are on sale rather than 1 can at a time at full price. Pretty soon you’ll be able to prepare a meal for your family from what is in the pantry and you’ll only need to go to the store for fresh things.
Dave Ramsey is a financial guru, I totally recommend his teachings. One of the things he talks about is that women, in particular, have a ‘Security Gland’. If we don’t have an Emergency Fund, we get ugly. I’m here to tell you that although an Emergency Fund is super important, having an Emergency Food Fund is equally, if not MORE. important to that sense of Security.
The last three ‘Emergencies’ listed above were my personal ones and they all happened in one period of 30-ish days. Please share the emergencies you’ve had where you wished you had some food on hand, or were grateful you did.
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