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By Kellene Bishop

Debt can weigh you down  Photo c/o usoge.gov

Debt can weigh you down Photo c/o usoge.gov

“I’ll start getting better prepared once I get out of debt.”  This statement makes me cringe, frankly. It’s a myth—a deceptive rationale—for SO many reasons. 

For starters there’s the misconception that being out of debt has “everything” to do with being better prepared. And yet there are countless aspects to preparedness that don’t require ANY money for success. Instead, they require an appropriate amount of willingness, a constant quest for knowledge, and a positive attitude. You can’t buy any of those things with money. In fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve had to pay to go to the library and get books that educate me. I’ve also never had to pay for a CPR class or perusing the internet for additional information. Neither have I had to shell out a dime to a shrink to be better mentally prepared for a “what if” scenario. 

The other misconception about financial preparedness is that it’s a “top priority.” It isn’t. In fact, out of the 10 Keys to Preparedness, in order of priority, financial preparedness comes in at number 9. That’s right. There are 8 other more important aspects for you that will aid you in being better prepared for a disaster than having your mortgage and credit cards paid off. That’s not to say that getting out of debt isn’t important. But it’s not as important, for example, as making sure that you have food, water, shelter, and medical supplies in the event of a disaster. I assure you, your mortgage payment is the last thing on your mind if your child comes down with cholera, or the ground opens up all the way down your street due to an earthquake.

Overwhelming Temptation  Photo c/o southdacola.com

Debt Temptation Photo c/o southdacola.com

Also, as I’ve written about time and time again, it doesn’t always take money to increase your food, shelter, medical, and water supplies. There’s so much that’s simply given away at garage sales or by friends and family, and I can’t even begin to list all of the quality goods I’ve received for free or dirt cheap via coupons.

Another reason why financial preparedness mistakenly gets overrated is that folks tend to forget about the viable “fit hits the shan” scenario. One of the developing scenarios that I’m watching very closely is the possibility of an all out financial collapse—meaning that your money isn’t worth anything any more. And yet, if you had the necessary goods of sustenance in your home, regardless of what you paid for them, they will still be worth a great deal to you and your family. A case of tuna, regardless of whether you paid top dollar for it or got it for a steal will still give you 12 quality servings of protein in a pinch. I firmly believe 100% that there will come a time when a bucket of wheat is worth more than a bucket of gold. Why? Because currency will forever have its REAL place in the pecking order amidst a survival scenario—and that place is secondary to almost all others. You can’t feed your family on gold. You can’t even exchange gold for vital supplies if those supplies are limited in households across America. If you have a savings account plump full of money but no necessary supplies to survive an emergency it does you little good, right? What if there’s a serious power outage? How do you expect to access that hefty savings account, IRA, or checking account so that you can buy supplies? Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that thousands of other people will have had that same idea just before you get to the store. (Going to the store at the first sign of trouble isn’t a plan. It’s a suicide wish.)

BXP27956

Just groceries or bargaining tools? Photo c/o motherjonesfoodpantry.com

When things go south, yes, some cash on hand will serve you well immediately—like in the first 24 hours if you’re lucky–but expect to see that acceptance quickly disintegrate into a non-currency environment. Commodities such as food, ammo, tents, diapers, etc. are what will be worthwhile. Having said that though, remember that being prepared has a great deal to do with being INDEPENDENT regardless of what comes your way. So, yes, being out of debt is a worthwhile goal for you to be focused on. Just don’t let the other aspects of preparedness suffer as a result. When compared with all else that’s more vital to your family’s survival, financial independence just doesn’t hold a candle to spiritual, mental, physical, medical, clothing/shelter, fuel, water, and food preparedness.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

germ-cartoonSalt and pepper shakers, currency, and microwave touch pads are the enemy—at least if you’re trying to keep your family healthy and well—especially during the flu season.

We really do take cleanliness and sanitation for granted, folks.  I think the only reason why some things are on my radar is the result of my time spent living in the Philippines. So for that, I’m grateful!

Let’s talk about some major germ spreaders we encounter in our home and out in public.

  • Public—Salt and pepper shakers. Think about it. Have you EVER seen someone cleaning them? I’ve worked in restaurants plenty in my life, including as a manager, and I can tell you that I’ve never cleaned the outside of those. Refilled them, yes. Sanitized the outside, no. You’ve got artifacts younger than the germs on those things.
  • Public—Condiment jars. Same with the salt and pepper shakers, although errant kids are less likely to stick their dirty fingers inside and play with them. So if you do use the jars at your table, use a napkin on your hand to protect yourself from the germs. And please, don’t use the same napkin to wipe your mouth.
  • Public—Door handles. Again, you simply don’t see those ever get cleaned. Sure the glass gets wiped down periodically. But the door handle to any mall, office, etc. is a festering pool of germs just waiting for you to
    Photo c/o dsc.discovery.com

    Photo c/o dsc.discovery.com

    give them a good home. So, what do you do? Well, ideally make use of someone else opening the door whenever possible. If that’s not available, I always tuck my hand under my shirt and grab the door handle that way. Yes, I did say “always.” I am especially adamant about doing this in the restrooms as well, even when I go into a stall. I KNOW what someone was doing before they touched that handle. I’ve never seen someone clean the handles specifically. And even if they did, they get nasty each time they are touched. (Am I starting to sound like a germ-ophobe?) So, when I go into a stall, I use my shirt to close/latch the door. When I leave the restroom, I use the paper towel that I just dried my hands with. In those pesky restrooms which only give you the option of “blowing your hands dry” I still use my shirt on the handle.

    Speaking of restrooms, when a sink has handles that you have to turn on and off yourself, it kind of defeats the purpose of cleaning your hands when you have to touch the same handles that everyone has touched right after they’ve done their business. So if it’s not an automatic water flow, then use a paper towel or your elbows if necessary. (It’s not quite as bad as being a contortionist.)

  • Public—Shopping Carts. I’ve started seeing more and more grocery stores offer sani-wipes at the entrance of the store for customers to use to clean off their shopping cart. Question: Do you take the time to use them? Even if all you’re going to pick up is a few things, don’t lift that basket handle without cleaning it.  I’m all for cute babies and kids. But I’ve seen what they put on their hands. This gets on the handles. You wouldn’t pick up someone else’s poo with your bare hands, so why would you put your bare hands on that shopping cart? Sorry folks, but yes, it is indeed very much the same thing.
  • Photo c/o esquire.com

    Photo c/o esquire.com

    Public—Currency. Believe it or not, money is the WORST offender in spreading germs. I’ve heard of money launderers, but I don’t think they are actually cleaning the money. Your only defense is to make sure that you sanitize your hands whenever you touch it. This is one reason why I prefer to use my debit card instead of cash. I rarely have cash in my wallet. Now my husband knows why.

  • Public—“Sign here, please.” Those pens and signature utensils that are used at the check stands are rife with germ invaders. Again, have you EVER seen those cleaned? This is why I always have my own pen with me to sign documents, etc. And yes, I do clean it regularly. For the credit card processing machines, I either use my own pen with the ink retracted, or my finger on the screen.

Whether you’re a clean freak or not, you still have a great deal of germ farms in your home. Be mindful of keeping the cupboard handles, door handles, microwave touch pads, table edges, and toilet lids clean.  Ignoring that pesky bathroom carries more with it than just seeing the dark ring develop in the tub. That dark ring is also full of dead skin particles and old germs that are living it up in a warm, wet location. If nothing else, spray your tub down regularly with a daily bathroom cleaner. And by all means, wash your hands before you eat–pah-leeze!

Germs Are Not for Sharing illustration by Marieka Heilen

Germs Are Not for Sharing illustration by Marieka Heilen

While this all may seem excessive to some, keep in mind that germs grow and become more powerful when they are allowed to flourish. Yes, some germ exposure for our bodies is good in order to build up our immune systems. But unfortunately, a lot of the germs we’re exposed to nowadays are from feces. (I know. Gross, right?) I have yet to find even a back jungle culture that exposes their members to feces germs in order to make a man stronger. It’s great if you are mindful of sanitation. But unfortunately others simply are not. Even if they wash their hands after using the restroom, they are still inevitably exposing themselves to the germs of others who do not. I’d much rather be safe, rather than sorry, wouldn’t you?

As you may have guessed by now, I carry with me hand sanitizer as well as my own pack of sani-wipes for those instances in which they aren’t available. Start thinking like a germ and you and your family may actually ride out the flu season unharmed.

Well, gotta go. I just had a sudden urge to go clean the handles all over my home.

Germ Warfare – Part II

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

Natural Disaster photo c/o history.com

Natural Disaster photo c/o history.com

Typically when I mention emergency preparedness to someone they automatically think of “food storage” or “the Mormons.”  Unfortunately, a focus on either will not save your family in a time of crisis.  There are actually ten vital areas to being prepared for an emergency whether it be a natural disaster, act of war or financial collapse.  Food is only one component that we’ve addressed recently.  So let’s take a look at all 10 areas of being prepared.

I’m listing them for you in the area of importance.

  1. Component of Emergency Preparedness #1: Spiritual. This category has everything to do with your belief system.  It’s where you draw on peace even in the midst of chaos.  It’s also where you draw on knowledge and understanding of that which is to come.  Your spiritual preparedness needs to be fed on a regular basis.  It will be incredibly invaluable in a time of great need, such as a catastrophic emergency.  If your spiritual preparedness is lacking, not much else you focus on will be of benefit to you.
  2. Component of Emergency Preparedness #2: Mental. This category has to do with your knowledge level, skills, and mental rehearsals for chaotic scenarios.  This area requires constant nourishment, education, and deliberate thought.  Unless you mentally prepare for a situation such as self-defense, or mass chaos, or the fact that all hell can really break loose, then you will be physically and emotionally paralyzed from being a leader and a protector to anyone, let alone your family and loved ones.  The mental preparation is what prepares you in spite of the crazy looks and comments you get from friends and loved ones.  Immerse yourself in movies, books, and conversations relevant to emergency preparedness (see #5).  Expose yourself to as much learning experiences as you are able.  Work that mental muscle as much as possible.  It will serve you well in a time of crisis as well as long-term survival.
    The key to your mental preparedness is Attitude, Skills, and Knowledge. Fortunately all three of these aspects can be obtained without monetary cost as there’s so much available through classes and online.
  3. Component of Emergency Preparedness #3: Physical. This area covers a great deal.  Physical preparedness has to do with your physical strength and ability to maximize your physical strength, such as the
    Exercise photo c/o healthspablog.org

    Exercise photo c/o healthspablog.org

    use of wagons or wheel barrels, your ability to protect yourself and your family, as well as planning for any necessary travel needs.  Keep in mind that your physical strength will be your primary asset when it comes to travel.  Since most of us aren’t trained extensively in military tactics and maneuvers, firearms are a key consideration for physical self-defense.  Make sure you have tools like small wagons, bikes, wheel barrels, etc.  You can strengthen your physical preparedness by adjusting your diet now to avoid foods that impede your performance or you won’t have access to later.  And no, I’m not going to rattle them off because you already know what you’re doing wrong in that regard.  Exercise is critical for your physical preparedness as well.  You will inevitably be called upon to be more physical in your survival efforts in an emergency.  Perhaps you will need to trek 30 miles.  Or perhaps you will need to do some heavy lifting to create a suitable shelter.  You will also need to function without air conditioning or heat like you’re accustomed to.  Take precautions now so that you are better physically prepared later.

  4. Component of Emergency Preparedness #4: Medical. This includes having what you need for first-aid, solutions for your existing medical needs, as well as sanitation.  First-aid needs includes bandages, a field surgical kit, pain relievers, herbs and essential oils, as well as the knowledge to use such items.  Your existing medical needs will be a challenge since most individuals can’t get a year’s supply of prescription medicines.  If I were you, I would make sure to study up on alternative options available, such as herbal nutrition, essential oils, homeopathic care, etc.  Recently, as a result of my goal to be more prepared medically, I set a goal to eliminate all of my prescription drugs.  I started the New Year with seven prescriptions on my nightstand, and I’m now down to one.  The most recent I was able to get rid of was my thyroid medicine by incorporating quality nutrition products into my diet instead of my thyroid medicine.  While my doctor wasn’t happy with the approach, he did acquiesce just this last Friday that my blood tests showed that I was no longer in need of my thyroid medicine!  I feel much more independent and capable now.  While I can’t supply a years worth of pharmaceuticals safely, I sure can keep a year’s supply of various nutritional products.  (Just FYI, I elect to use Reliv products.  No, I don’t sell them but you can locate them easily online.)
    As far as sanitation is concerned, you have to be sure you’ve thought this one through.  Digging a hole out in your back yard will not do.  You’ve got to have the chemicals on hand to break down the waste.  I assure you that if the hole in the back yard was everyone’s strategy, everyone within a 50 mile radius will be dead within 30 days!  The holes have to be dug deep.  Plan on using some type of a disposal breakdown chemical regularly.  Disposing of the waste, keeping it covered, and minimizing its location and effect on everything else around you will be critical in a time of emergency.  Understand that this aspect of preparation will not be simple.  You should expect a lot of diarrhea initially as a result of stress, different foods, and drinking less liquids.
  5. Component of Emergency Preparedness #5: Clothing/Shelter. This category is a higher priority than food and water.  Many folks really overlook this critical area.  While being able to survive in your own home is ideal, it’s not necessarily possible for a myriad of different reasons.  Be sure that you’ve got SPARE clothing available for all of your children’s ages and have it readily accessible.  This may mean you need to go to a local thrift store and purchase clothes for a year in advance of your children’s sizes right now.  Sturdy shoes will be critical—especially if you have to walk long distances to get to safety.  Also, be mindful of your clothing and your shelter accommodating either warm or cold weather.  Be sure to have hats and gloves for everyone—spares so that there’s no chance of them “getting lost” in the event of a crisis.   Even if you are able to survive in your present dwelling, be sure you have tools on hand to reinforce it, such as hammers, nails, sheeting, duct tape, and even some plywood.  (My preferred sheeting is purchased at Costco.  It’s twice as thick as others, you get twice as much, and it’s less expensive.)  Be sure that you don’t have to rely on electricity and batteries for the use of your tools as well in the event of a solar flare or an EMP attack.
  6. Component of Emergency Preparedness #6: Water. Let me be perfectly clear on this.  A two week supply of water is NOT sufficient.  That’s short-term.  I hardly EVER address short-term preparedness in my articles, and am almost always focusing on long term.  As overwhelming as it may sound, you need one gallon of
    Water Barrel Storage photo c/o homelandpreparedness.com

    Water Barrel Storage photo c/o homelandpreparedness.com

    water, per person, per day.  That’s 365 gallons per person.  Yes, that’s a lot of barrels.  But that’s just the MINIMUM.  You’ll be using water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, sanitation, and bathing.  There are a myriad of different ways to conserve water, but you’ll want to employ those even if you do have the 365 gallons per person.  Water is the only thing that will keep your organs functioning properly.  You need water just as much in the cold as you do in the heat.  Your kidneys process hundreds of gallons worth of water each day.  You do not want to treat your kidneys like a teenager treats their oil filter, right?  You’ve got to continue to give your organs new water in order that they will not shut down.  Your body uses flavored water very differently than it does real water.  You use more energy to benefit from the flavored water than you do just straight water.  In addition to storing enough water, I also store a lot of paper goods that I can use that won’t require cleaning afterwards.  I also store cleansing cloths.
    You don’t need to treat your water before storing it if you’re using tap water.  Plan on treating it afterwards if necessary (8 drops of Chlorox for each gallon of water).  You can rotate your water once every 5 years and be just fine.  Stale water can taste a LOT better if you simply aerate it—such as pouring it back and forth from one container to another before serving.

  7. Component of Emergency Preparedness #7: Food. As I’ve shared in the last 8 part series, be familiar with the food that you’ve stored, be prepared to cook it without electricity, and be sure that it’s nutritious.  90 days of food is SHORT-TERM.  It’s not the end result.  One year of food supply for your family is absolutely necessary.  Also be sure that you have all of the tools on hand you will need that don’t require electricity.  Be sure you have nothing in your equipment stores that you have not used yet.  (In other words, don’t just buy that solar oven and put it in your basement.  Use it.)
  8. Component of Emergency Preparedness #8: Fuel. Your fuel should be usable on as many tools as possible, and every responsible member of the family should be familiar with its use.  I store butane for my small oven, propane for the grill, and kerosene for my lights, heaters, and another stove.  I also have some
    Butane Stove photo c/o manventureoutpost.com

    Butane Stove photo c/o manventureoutpost.com

    charcoal and some wood for other forms of cooking.  I’ve experimented with my cooking fuel coupled with my pressure cooker and have learned that I can cook 2 meals a day for 3 weeks on one can of butane.  It’s critical that you know how much fuel you need for your family.  It’s also critical you know that the lights you’re relying on can actually put out enough light.  We bought these “100 hour candles” only to discover one night that they barely put off enough light for us to see the match and the wick so that we could light the next one.  I recommend to all of my clients to try a day or two without electrical lighting.  I also recommend that they go a whole week without using any electricity to prepare their food—including the refrigerator.

  9. Component of Emergency Preparedness #9: Financial.  Financial preparation isn’t just about having debt.  Most of us will have a mortgage if nothing else.  I recommend my clients pay their utilities and their taxes in advance whenever possible.  It’s also critical that you have goods with which to trade such as wheat, sugar, and other stores that will be in high demand.  Anything more than $500 cash on hand is a waste, in my opinion, as a crisis will quickly make money worthless.  If you don’t already have what you need, you will NOT be able to buy it amidst a mob of crazy people who are unprepared. 
  10. Component of Emergency Preparedness #10: Communication. All of the other areas of preparedness I discussed are focused on you and your family.  This is the only area of preparedness that focuses on reaching out to others.  In order to be prepared for communication in an emergency, you should have a very specific plan of communication with you family and friends.  You should have a specific point of gathering agree upon for everyone to meet in the event of a disaster.  Additionally, plan on other forms of communication such as a HAM radio, accompanied by the license and skill to operate.  Also plan on good old fashioned message delivery.  (Another good reason to employ physical preparedness.)  Being able to coordinate with the outside world will become important during and after your initial crisis reaction.

Don’t get overwhelmed with all of this.  Just put it on your radar and start chipping away at it.  Look for opportunities to learn and strengthen your spiritual and mental preparedness first and foremost.  Everything else will appropriately follow.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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No, You’re Not Crazy
By Kellene Bishop

Do you have a skeptical spouse?

Do you have a skeptical spouse?

How to influence that skeptical spouse when it comes to emergency preparedness efforts is a query I hear frequently in my line of work.  I affectionately call it the “$64 million dollar question.”  Surprisingly, the question isn’t dominated by one particular sex or the other, either.  I guess both men and women are equally skeptical when it comes to this topic.  Obviously, it is tough to have one member of the family focused on something so important without the support of knowledge, enthusiasm and additional expertise from the other.  Being on the same page for this sort of thing boils down to more than just being able to “share in a hobby”—it’s literally lifesaving.  That’s why I address this query with some very specific and deliberate strategies.

  1. Money.  Money is usually the number one reason why a spouse is not on board with food storage acquisition.  The minute you go out and put a bunch of money on a credit card to obtain some emergency preparedness supplies, you’ve created a valid barrier.  Even if your spouse was on board with preparedness, that shouldn’t be an acceptable action.  Be just as prudent in acquiring your supplies as you are in the fact that you DO prepare for a rainy day.  I assure you that when you come home with a couple bags of emergency preparedness supplies and are able to tell your spouse that you got them for nearly free or cheap, you will have successfully taken down one of their most strident objections.  Just as many divorces ultimately end as the result of a disagreement about finances, emergency preparedness efforts are thwarted the same way.  If you are prudent and consistent in your preparedness efforts, you’ll be able to prepare without starting World War III in your home.
  2. USE and Familiarity.  Any spouse would be understandably frustrated to have their partner bring home a relatively large or significant investment such as a solar oven, a pressure cooker, a Glock handgun, etc., only to have it collect dust and take up valuable space.  No purchase you make for emergency preparedness should be disconnected or “foreign” to you.  You should incorporate it in your life on a regular basis.  It’s really not so much about “emergency preparedness” as it is just plain “preparedness.”  For example, I have a lot of folks who attend my “Bring on the Sun” solar oven class and tell me that they have owned one for ages but never knew how to use it.  Obviously they bought it “for emergencies.”  Argh!  That makes me cringe.  I have to wonder how their spouse felt about tripping over this big lug of inconvenience that was purchased “just in case the aliens attack.”  If you don’t use it folks, it’s no help to you and it doesn’t get attached to a realistic scenario in your spouses mind.  When you can present a delicious meal that was prepared in your pressure cooker, for example, the doubting spouse will simply see the meal as a yummy, simple, and efficient way of cooking—not another expense for a “fantasy ‘what if’ scenario” that they don’t believe will actually occur.  If the use of your tools and preparedness supplies is sporadic, it sends the wrong message to the doubters in your life about your level of commitment to preparedness.  If you’re committed enough to use money out of your family budget to acquire it, then you really should be serious enough to utilize and be familiar with the item as well. 
    Pressure canner for canning meat

    Pressure canner for canning meat

    I have the luxury of being equally yoked with my husband in our emergency preparedness efforts, but I can assure you that if I were to ask him to get me something that costs more than 50 bucks, I darn well better be prepared to show him the WHY I would like such a tool, and then immediately use it when it comes into the home.  For example, he bought me a large pressure canner for our anniversary recently.  I made sure that I was canning meat that very weekend, showed him how easy it was, and then followed up with making a couple of yummy meals from the results of that canning.  You can bet that he didn’t feel like the purchase was a waste.  (Especially now that I brought home over $50 of FREE steak to can this weekend. :))  If you bring home that handgun, be prepared to practice with it and participate in as many classes as you can.  If you purchase the Food Saver, start using it.  I think you get my point.  (By the way, I’ve discovered that the best bang for your buck on a Food Saver is ONLINE at Costco.  The Food Saver comes with all of the necessary attachments, plus the bags for only $78 bucks, including shipping.  Even in comparison to Ebay, that’s a great deal.) 

  3. Education.  Use every opportunity to factually educate your spouse—not preach to them.  For example, make a scrumptious casserole or brisket in your solar oven.  When you present it to your spouse and family for dinner, tell them how easy it was and how it didn’t require any electricity.  You don’t even need to mention the word “preparedness.”  The dots will get connected eventually so that you don’t have to translate everything into plans for an emergency.  If you aren’t able to spend the money on something until your spouse is “converted”, then borrow someone else’s and demonstrate it for them.  You’ll be better off mentally for having used it successfully, and you’ll be better for putting your mind in the position of a student, then a teacher.  It’s a win/win situation with this approach.  In order to properly educate those around you, be sure to be fully educated yourself so that your “teachings” aren’t just theory or supposition.  They are much more readily accepted when delivered this way.
  4. Patience.  Your own preparedness efforts take patience and faith.  The same holds true in educating the doubters in your life.  Patience is usually only fortified by consistency.  If the doubting spouse in your life sees a crack in your resolve, they tend to go after it mercilessly.  Make your plan and then execute it with the resources that you have available to you.  Be patient and faithful that those around you will receive their own enlightenment about preparedness little by little as well.  Your example will go a very long way in helping them to understand and internalize for themselves the importance of this mindset.  
  5. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

    Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

    Immersion.  A lot of folks believe that “doomsday” will never come.  They have heard about it for so long that they are just plain tired of hearing it and being beat up by it.  In other words, it’s not a reality to them at all.  To the unbeliever, it’s just a fantasy created by the makers of bottled water, camp stoves, and generators.  One of the easiest ways to educate someone on the reality of preparedness is to help “immerse” them in a world in which such may be needed.  Movies, books, and even “hypothetical questions” like “what do you think we would do if…” are very helpful in educating the mind of someone who may not “get it.”  As I’ve shared previously, I loved the books Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, One Second After by William Forstchen, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse by James Rawles, among many others.  These are enjoyable books but also enlightening, causing even the most educated “prepper” to consider the reality of areas or possibilities that they may have missed previously.  I also have found the right movies to work towards this purpose as well, such as “Independence Day,” “Twister,” “Outbreak,” “Red Dawn,” etc.  These tactics are beneficial to those who need to mentally expose themselves to the possibility of unexpected events, but they are also great ways to strengthen your mental preparedness, too, as you find yourself mulling over what you’ve read or viewed and ask yourself “What would I do if…?” kinds of questions.

    Clearly I wouldn’t be a preparedness pro instructor if I didn’t also encourage you to take advantage of various classes offered to help you and your family better prepare for disasters.  CERT training for example, doesn’t have to be about handling “the end of the world.”  It can simply be about being a better asset to a community.  But it will also go a long way in helping to transition the mind and the heart of resistant “preppers.”

     Obviously, getting those you love and care for on board with preparedness is an important task.  Unfortunately there isn’t a quick fix for it.  Your efforts will need to be informed, consistent, prudent, and patient.  But I can assure you that by using these efforts, you have the best chance of being successful.  Good luck!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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A Case for Food Storage
By Kellene Bishop

In the matter of

One Year Supply of Food Storage (Plaintiff)

Vs.

Disbelief and Ignorance (Defendant)

“Plaintiff asserts that Defendant is guilty of unlawful endangerment, attempted murder, infliction of emotional stress, theft, criminal harassment, perjury, vandalism, disturbing the peace, racketeering, and fraud upon the citizens of the world.”

A Case for Food Storage photo c/o localwin.com

A Case for Food Storage photo c/o localwin.com

While many may have a tough time believing this when considering the case in favor of a year’s supply of food storage, I can assure you that the facts present themselves so abundantly in favor of food storage that were such a case to be brought before a court, this would be a slam dunk WIN for the “plaintiff.”  In my opinion, anyone who tries to convince you that you don’t need to be prepared with a year’s supply of essentials is plagued by some serious mental impairment.  I don’t say this coming from any position of religious belief regarding “the last days,” “Armageddon,” or “plagues, pestilence, and famine.”  The physical evidence is clear that we cannot continue to be oblivious to what’s going on around us and we must individually take action to prepare for a long-term interruption in our normal way of life—specifically when it comes to food and water.

Evidence #1: Worldwide food shortages.  Believe me, I know talking about food shortages sounds crazy, but I assure you that it only sounds foreign to us because it’s simply not a part of everyday life for most Americans.  I have written two pieces solely about food shortages on this site and provided ample evidence of such.  But in case that’s not enough for you, go to your favorite search engine and do a search on “food shortage.”  There are news articles from all over the world discussing this reality.  It’s not just restricted to 3rd world countries like you may expect.  Nations which have previously been top exporters of various food products are now IMPORTING food due to weather and natural disaster occurrences.

Photo c/o irishelection.com

Photo c/o irishelection.com

Evidence #2: Financial instability.  When an economy is in turmoil, it’s not just about consumers being able to afford to make purchases.  It’s also about manufacturers being able to afford to produce goods for consumers.  Consumers aren’t the only ones going without right now.  Companies are cutting back drastically everywhere.  Even flourishing food manufactuerers such as Proctor & Gamble have had to shut down plants, offer small amounts on their consumer coupons, decrease benefits packages, and freeze pay raises in various areas within the company.  P&G is one of the lucky ones.  Many others have had to completely shut their doors after decades of successful business.  The financial dance of the economy is a complicated tango. 

Right now the value of currency all over the world has been drastically reduced due to the financial meltdown within our nation.  We keep printing money to fund “stuff” without abiding by any consequences as to the actual value of that money.  In fact, the Federal Reserve has gone so far as to no longer produce the M3 report, which used to tell us just how much money was actually printed and in circulation at one time.  Let me share with you why that’s dangerous. 

mcdonalds-mealSuppose you ran a McDonald’s restaurant.  And suppose you elected to give out a coupon for a free McDonald’s meal.  Obviously, there has to be a limit to the number of meals your company can give to the community for free.  Even if you had a large budget for the campaign itself, you would still have logistical restrictions on the amount of beef, bread, manpower, and space that you would need to execute the coupon offer.  But what if one of your employees decided to make thousands of copies of that coupon and sent out stacks of them to everyone in the community?  Naturally you’re busy all day long making burgers, cleaning the restaurant, paying the employees and their benefits, and yet at the end of a month long campaign, all you’ve got to show for it is a stack of coupons that were exchanged for real meals.  Ultimately, you don’t have a business any longer—only the coupons are still in circulation.  So, tell me what those coupons are really worth to you—or more importantly how much they really cost you? 

Such is the case with our present financial condition in our nation.  We don’t have enough to back up the value of our “coupons.”  The gold is gone in Ft. Knox.  We have no idea how many “coupons” are in circulation.  And at some point (in the near future, I predict) it will be the “end of the month’s campaign,” and we will see that we’ve got a whole lot of useless paper in circulation with nothing but our last meal to show for it. 

So what happens?  People stop accepting your “useless paper” in exchange for your meals.  Instead they want something of “real value” such as gold, silver, or some other kind of “hard asset” trade in exchange for the goods you desire.  So how will you be able to feed your family for a year (or much more in order to provide enough time to fix such a mess) on what you’ve got in the form of “hard assets?”

This is exactly why I say that there is no better investment right now than FOOD.  Your money, or the value thereof, may be dwindling, but it can still be stretched a long ways in the form of coupons, rebates, combined with the “just plain cash” that we have now.  No matter what you pay today for it, it will still represent lifesaving nutrition for you tomorrow.  In fact, it will actually be worth MORE in the near future once an all out financial collapse occurs, because it will now represent a life saving asset that many will find themselves without.  

However, if you are smart and invest in a year’s supply of food now, you won’t regret it regardless of what happens on Wall Street. 

Evidence #3: Vulnerabilities.  The primary way that 98% of Americans receive some form of the nutritional needs is through technology and transportation.  ONE major earthquake along I-80, I-70, I-40, or I-20 in the United States and our nation will noticeably cripple our food and medical supplies.  A quarantine will cripple our access to emergency services, and depending on how long it lasts, even our access to running water, sewage, and electricity services.  Our nation runs pretty darn good when everything works well.  But it wouldn’t take much to put a major wrench in the flow of things.  One minor incident can cause a “food shortage” at your store within 30 minutes—no exaggeration.

Dragon Skin Body Armor

Dragon Skin Body Armor

Just as Dragon Skin Body Armor protects the wearer from a myriad of firearm hits (look it up, it’s AWESOME), food shortage protects from other ailments as well.  In the event that a particular staple becomes tainted in the market, you won’t have to “do without” because you already stocked up.  When prices sky-rocket because of rumor or natural disaster (just as rice and wheat have done over the last year) you’ll be a “foodlord” because of what you have already stored.  Your money will go further because your meals will be created as a result of what’s in your storage, not what you happen to pass by at the grocery store.  And a very definite sense of peace accompanies that storage in knowing that you have indeed provided for the well-being of your family and those you love.  

To summarize, food storage is every man’s defense against inflation, famine, pestilence, government regulations, financial instability, war, terror, natural disasters, and just plain market manipulation.  Why would you be without it? 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

 

Should you save money in this economy in preparation for a disaster?  If so, how much?  What kinds of currency denominations should you have on hand?  Should you buy gold and silver?  These are questions that readers frequently e-mail to me.  And while I will address several of these questions in this article, understand that ultimately the best monetary preparedness you can practice is to first prepare yourself mentally for the consequences of unforeseen events.  Doing so will inevitably provide you with logical actions to prepare accordingly.  Overall this topic actually requires extensive discussion, so we’ll explore it in more than one piece.  For today we’ll discuss the most broad “monetary” recommendations in order to prepare and to AVOID making disastrous monetary mistakes in anticipation of an emergency.

 

money-wheelbarrow-depressionAn economic collapse or a natural disaster will obviously have an effect on the acceptance, issuance, and availability of money.  Think about it.  If all of the sudden your community, state, or even nation is disrupted due to an EMP attack, do you really think that anyone is going to give a flying flip about a useless piece of printed currency?  The real question is, “how do you appropriately prepare for such events and possess mutually valuable wares to ride it out and survive?” I believe in a two pronged approach to preparation.  Store what I know I will need, and then store items that I know others will need so that I can obtain the items that I didn’t foresee. 

 

Should you put some cash aside in your home in preparation for a sweeping emergency?  Yes.  But don’t go overboard.  Within days, if not hours, of a national disaster or an economic collapse, your money will be useless.  Absolutely useless.  (And in the event that currency is ever recognized at that level of insolvency, then hoarding it during a crisis in hopes that it will rebound is also unrealistic.)  I would not recommend you having more than $1,000 cash on hand and be sure that you have it in small increments of 10’s, 5’s, and 1’s.  Don’t have this money on hand with the intent to use it to save your bacon once the disaster has actually hit or in lieu of storing what you will need now.  If you need that cash to purchase emergency supplies because you were caught unaware, you’ll be hard-pressed to actually spend $1,000 successfully as there will indeed be a rush on the stores.  Mark my words.  You can plan on there being insufficient amounts available in the stores or limited acceptance of cash in the event of either of these two disasters, suitable for you to spend $1,000.  The $1,000 cash recommendation is for unforeseen circumstances in which you are fortunate enough to still have it accepted, not to correct your lack of foresightedness in the face of a disaster.  

 

silver-coinsYes, you should indeed have some gold and/or silver on hand.  This currency has never been recognized under any circumstances as being useless.  However, if you are going to invest in such, I would recommend you acquire smaller coins and pieces instead of “dollar-sized” coins.  You can also collect regular U.S. coins that are pre-1967, as they were still made with some “real” metals in them.  These will ultimately have trade value in an emergency situation.

 

“Currency” as you know it today is NOT what you should be focusing on for an emergency.  Food items, skills, and other hard asset wares are what you should be accumulating if you truly want to be prepared for an emergency.  With the exception of a job loss, and striving to eliminate your debt overall, I am 100% convinced that the best way you can “save” for a rainy day disaster is to have useful preparedness items on hand. Items such as wheat, rice, water, ammo, clothing, shelter, diapers, and fuel will be more valuable than anything the Federal Reserve could ever print out.  I am so convinced of this, that I would blatantly recommend that those who are saving a set amount of money each month in a bank account to instead actually lower their monthly savings amount and increase the purchase and acquisition of emergency preparedness wares.  If you find yourself in need of an item or food you can either trade for it or work for it.  Educate yourself on skills that are not common in our society now as the result of the abundance which we now enjoy.  The skills of a seamstress, carpenter, cobbler, blacksmith and cook will be much more valuable in a time of distress.  With such skills you can always acquire that which you need in exchange for your labors.

 

Bottom line, currency is not what you want to focus hoarding for an emergency.  Rather it is a much wiser choice to store that which currency can presently obtain.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

 

There are many who I share my expertise with who inevitably ask me, “Come on, Kellene.  Your practices are good in the event that there’s a cataclysmic event, but what’s to say that all of your food storage won’t just be destroyed with the catastrophe?”

 

And so, in appreciation of those who require me to work harder and speak clearer, I dedicate today’s article.   

job-lossFirst of all, it’s a myth for you to believe that your food storage is solely for the purpose of surviving a catastrophic event in nature.  Emergency preparedness of food stores is indeed useful for such an event, but it is not isolated to such.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s heard stories of individuals who lived off of their food storage as the result of the loss of a job in their family or other hard financial times. While this is a common occurrence I hear in today’s economic climate, it is still not the primary reason why foods should be stored.  It’s merely a scratching of the surface. And besides, even that isn’t reason enough for many because hundreds of thousands may rely on food stamps or help from their church in the event of a job loss anyway.  So such motivation may not be enough to actually initiate food storage action.  Let’s see if the following considerations do the trick for you.

 

Chemical Tainting or Recall:  If you have ample supply of food, then in the event a food has been recalled suddenly or is known to have chemical impairment, you won’t have to do without.

 

Rationing: Recently big warehouses and grocery stores were rationing the purchase of wheat and rice.  Such a ration has not been implemented in our country since the days of the Depression.  This is in part because many foreigners have been buying up our supplies in order to feed their struggling nations as well as the fact that we have been exporting a significant portion of our wheat and other staples due to the famines which have affected 3rd world countries.  If you have a years supply of food, then you are impervious to the effects of such rationing actions. 

 

Diminishing U.S. Food Production: Over the last 5 years we have lost over 90% of our farmers to exorbitant costs of farming, farming regulations,  bankruptcy, bad seed crops, and many more who have stopped growing food and instead are growing “fuel.”  Fewer members of our population even know how to garden for themselves, let alone the number who actually do.  The small farmers are now under threat with a new intrusion on their way of life, bill HR 875.  This bill threatens to eliminate over 90% of the small farmers and to heavily regulate where they can sell their goods and how.  Again, if you have a years supply as well as some accompanying knowledge of sprouting, then your dinner table will be unaffected by these awful intrusions. 

 

devaluation-of-dollarDevaluation of the Dollar: In addition to the cost of food increasing in the nation, (due to the diminishing supply of it) the money we use to buy the food is becoming worth less.  It boils down to supply and demand.  Since the Federal Reserve is mindlessly printing up trillions and trillions of dollars without any accounting to the public just how much currency is in circulation at one time, the value of the dollar is taking a nose dive.  In fact, thanks to the inflation rate which has been controlled by the Federal Reserve since 1913, the value of the 1913 dollar has now been diminished to a mere four cents today.  So, if you purchase your food now, then when there is finally an economic reckoning in the future, your family will still survive.

 

Food for thought, folks.  (Yes.  Pun intended)

 

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.  

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