26 November 2011

Make a List

Despite the fact that these are lines from a supposedly happy Christmas song that makes me feel like Big Brother is watching me, making a list and checking it twice is not a bad idea. As an example, if I were to make an inventory to be prepared for a catastrophic event; what would be on the list?

I am a fan of lists. I am not, however, one of these people that will make a list of my lists to check my lists against other lists, but I have friends that do something similar. It’s kind of weird I guess. My wife of 18 years was not a big fan of lists either, until recently. “Oh, the thought of sitting down to make it just to strike the item off does not seem worth it,” she would often retort every time the discussion came up. That is until she saw exactly how beneficial lists can be if done in the right way.

Let's start with why you should make a list. The reason is fairly simple: to be (more) organized. It is a proven fact that if you write something on a list it is 90 percent more likely to be accomplished than if you did not have that item posted somewhere. This is also a proven factor for most successful people throughout the world. With that being said, this makes your chances of preparing very successful.

What goes on my list? Another great question. If it is something that you are preparing for, then it should be on your list. An example is what is considered a BOB (Bug-Out Bag) or GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag. This bag is what is to be packed should you have to leave your home in a hurry for one of the events mentioned in my post Preparedness. Another item that you might make a list for is for an EDC (Every Day Carry) or GHB (Get Home Bag) that will tide you over until you can make it to your destination or home. Yet another list is the focus of the rest of this blog, which is your preparedness inventory.

A preparedness inventory is the list of items that you would need for you and your family to survive for 36-72 hours should a catastrophe happen. An example that I used in a previous post was the normal winter ice storms that we have every February. If the power goes out, would you and your family be able to survive for 36-72 hours until the power gets restored? The recent snow storm in the upper northeast was an example of how that could happen and how some were not prepared. I have friends in the Boston and New Jersey areas that did not have power for 2 weeks. They were not prepared for that length of time, but luckily with their family's help they all made it through, including the 18-month-old that thought it was fun to make a tent in grandma's living room.

Let's get into further detail by looking at some items you may actually write on the list. Now, I say "write" because it is easy to find and use paper and pen or pencil. Some folks actually use spreadsheets on a computer, while others have made applications to do this for them. Whatever works for you is what you should use.

I will use an impending power outage as my list example, and hopefully, you will be able to “fill in the blanks” with things that would help you be more prepared.

  • Glow sticks – taped to the inside of two cabinets in case we cannot get to other light sources immediately
  • Flashlight – alternate light source while lights are out
  • Batteries – to power flashlight 
  • Matches – to light candles and grill
  • Candles – alternate light source so we don't blow through the batteries
  • Blankets – warmth and put at bottom of doors as a draft protector
  • Fuel for grill – I use both charcoal and propane
  • Various Soups – we’ve gotta eat
  • Crackers – to go with the soup, of course
  • Beans – this is for when we run out of soup
  • Beef Jerky – homemade and great source of protein
  • Cards – for when we get bored and have to entertain the children

Keep in mind this is not a complete list, but I think you see where it is going. As you gather needed items they get added to the list. For instance, if I need an alternate heat source, I will add it to the list as well.

“My list is made. Now what?” The answer to that is fairly simple. If you have everything on the list then store it in an easily accessible place. Mine is in a Rubbermaid container sitting on a shelf in the garage. As seasons change, I will move the container(s) somewhere a little less or more accessible depending on the priority of what's in the box. My winter box is moved to the forefront at the moment so it is easy to retrieve as opposed to one needed during hurricane or tornado seasons.

If you don't have everything that you need or want on the list, then work towards getting the items to complete your list. Keep in mind; you might not be able to get them all at one time due to budget constraints. This is for you to decide.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what a list is for and what is to be included on the list. Maybe in a later post, I will share with you my full list or even point you to someone who does have a List of Lists.

Until then,

Use your instincts to survive!

1 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie

A special thank you to SelfReliantinfo for his help with this blog

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