Preparedness is a process

(Geograph photo.)

“We’re nervous about the economy, so we’re buying pillows and blankets.”

That’s what one of my local clients told me recently. They’ve already got plenty of ammunition, and other supplies. “I think we’ve got enough food,” she said, “but my husband isn’t so sure. I guess we’ll buy some more.”

Preparedness is a way of life in Utah: Mormons have practiced it at least since the 1858 Utah War, when the U.S. Army went into Utah to put down a Mormon “insurrection,” and many Mormons hid out in the mountains.  The Church teaches that people should have enough food and supplies to last a year.  But many of my non-Mormon friends, including this client, also believe in preparedness.

My wife and I have worked to become more prepared for an emergency— or for tough times.  We’ve got a year’s worth of food in storage and plenty of ammo.    And we have sleeping bags and cots or air mattresses for 8 extra people.  (Reserve your place now!)  We have a 72 Hour Kit, and we have backup power (solar).  We have sutures for stitching up animals, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be used for people in an emergency.

But I can’t say we’re completely ready for anything that might happen.  We don’t have the means to feed our goats for a year, for example.  They can browse in the summer, but in winter they’ll need hay to survive.  We don’t keep a year’s worth of dog food on hand, either, though we should.  And I haven’t taken a first aid class since I was a Boy Scout, more than 35 years ago.

Preparedness is a mindset and a process, not a destination.  There’s always at least a little more that can be done, and everything we do improves our odds of survival if an emergency happens.

One comment

  1. Winter forage — I seem to remember this from my several years in Colorado — that ranchers and farmers would grow forages and not harvest them, so they’d have winter forage. Found this on the internet:

    “Forages that remain palatable and succulent under snow include orchardgrass, tall fescue, and turnips. Poor choices for winter grazing are plants that do not hold their quality after a freeze, such as alfalfa, reed canarygrass, and kura clover. Grasses need to be at least four inches, but preferably six to eight inches tall prior to snowfall. With normal rainfall this requires 30 to 60 days of stockpiling. While tall forage may seem to have advantages, many grasses (such as orchard) will be squashed flat by heavy snows if they are allowed to get beyond 8-10 inches tall. ” From

    Perhaps there are winter forages that would work in Utah, and that could be part of preparedness for the goats.

    Bob and I are getting rice, beans, canned tomatoes, water, orange juice powder, trash bags, and a gas camp stove. We already have a crank-powered radio, flashlights, battery charger, fairly complete camping gear, and a first aid kit (thanks to Sandi).

    I’m contemplating taking nursing courses at night at the local community college, in part to help with family members who are getting older, and in part to be ready for emergencies.

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