I was sitting at a basketball game the other night. I have a habit of scanning my environment the moment I walk into a room. Maybe I’m a freak. Maybe I’m still trying to hone my ninja skills. Maybe I’m just paranoid; or maybe I’m Jason Bourne and I still have not found my identity but whenever I walk into a room I pay particular attention to the following things:
1) Where are the closest exits? This is a result of being in too many airplanes, movie theaters, rap concerts, rock concerts, beauty contests and at too many sports events that eventually escalate into a violent fracas. This is also a result of watching, reading and listening to the media all day every day. For at least a decade now our media has been saturated with ‘doom and gloom’ coverage and very little in the way of uplifting news. Whether it’s political jousting, another shooting rampage in a mall or school or the death of another innocent child at the hands of incompetent parents one can no longer live without wondering where the exits are in life. Sometimes I just want out of this cesspool. Point me in the direction of the countryside, a mountain meadow or a secluded beach and I’m there in a heartbeat.
2) Are there any threats? Disclaimer: I have no formal training like Jason Bourne and I do not use racial profiling but this refers primarily to people. I’m not sure when this suspicion of people began and no, I was not abused more than the average, every day Polynesian kid who could not do my chores and retrieve the remote fast enough but I do have my reservations when walking into a room full of unfamiliar faces. This is situational and environmental. If I’m in a gym and some dude is staring at me with a glint in his eye this is both scary and uncomfortable and that dude is definitely someone to keep an eye on. If I’m at a USA Sevens match in Las Vegas and a pint-sized woman in an All Blacks jersey is yelling obscenities at me, that is someone to keep an eye one – true story. So generally speaking, a threat in my world is someone who makes me uncomfortable or someone who appears to pose a physical, menacing presence to me…oh and yeah, my family.
3) What will I do if something happens? Again, its situational and trust me, I’ve been in a lot of situations in my life. Some of them were a direct result of my own actions, other times something happened that was out of my control and necessitated an action on my part. I try my best to be prepared in any given situation. Working with Boy Scouts has made me ultra-sensitive about these things which is both good and bad. I confess, there were times when I was in the right frame of mind to react accordingly, but there are some circumstances that mitigate any amount of advanced preparation.
Why am I saying this? Because for many years people have been saying that the world is coming to an end. I’ve never been much of a dooms-day theorist and I certainly do not read into all of the apocalyptic predictions of street corner preachers. On the other hand, I have been advised by my church leaders to be prepared for difficult times, natural disasters and other catastrophes.
If I were a single guy, this advice would have no effect on me. Why? Because when I was a single guy I had no one to worry about but me. But as a husband and father, there is a lot more at stake so I take that counsel seriously because I have a responsibility to care for and protect my family. So it’s imperative to be prepared and here are some things that we do as a family based on that counsel.
- 72-Hour Kits: Everyone in your home should have their own personal 72-hour kit. Why 72-hours? Because on average that it is the amount of time you will need to survive on your own during a natural disaster before emergency services and basic utilities are restored. You will need to place the basic necessities inside a backpack such as food and clothing to get through that time period and possibly more. For an example of what to place in your personal 72-hour kit, check out this wonderful information from Self-Reliant Sisters.
- Food Storage: I’ve been laid off from my job three times in my adult, married life. The very first time it happened we were in no way prepared as a family to overcome the trial of joblessness. I’m happy to say that the second and third times that this happened we were better prepared and our storing food when we had the funds to do so helped relieve a huge burden. Some things to do to prepare for an untimely catastrophic event are:
- Buy extra at the store when you can. Build up your food storage, especially things that your family eats on a regular basis for these ‘rainy days’. Note: Remember to rotate your stock.
- Be sure to have a full propane tank and a propane stove. You can use these items in the case of a catastrophic event to prepare and cook your meals.
- For more ideas on food storage, check out these ladies who seem to have this stuff down to a science: Food Storage Made Easy
- Emergency Fund: Just like food storage, putting aside a little bit of money for a ‘rainy day’ is critical in maintaining and paying your bills and staying afloat. Building an emergency fund is no simple task but it is possible and trust me, if you prepare now you will be thankful that you did when your kids’ braces, sports, broken bones and more start adding up and pulling from your resources. One of the best debt guru’s out there, Dave Ramsey, has a “Nine Ways” to help you build your emergency fund.
In conclusion you now realize that I’m a large bundle of nerves, paranoia and skepticism but for good reason. There are so many variables that we can never anticipate but if we are prepared, when tragedy or catastrophe strikes, dealing with the issues that happen after the fact puts us in a better position to overcome those trying times.