Gaye Levy, Contributing Writer
Sitting around the holiday dinner table, my guess is that at some point the conversation turned to the economy, natural disasters and the need to prepare. And, it is also my guess that there were a lot of roll-eyes as your companions thought, “Oh boy, here we go again”.
Okay, perhaps I assume that you live and breathe preparedness like I do, but even if you don’t, I am certain that you have run in to people that are in what I like to call “Disaster Denial”. So what signs do these people display? (And no, I am not referring to the “I am blindingly stupid to reality” sign.)
Listed below are some common excuses for not preparing.
It is what it is. If my time is up, so be it.
The problem with this is that if there is a disaster of any type, there is a strong likelihood you will survive. And if you are going to survive, you might as well be safe with food, water, first aid and a way to defend yourself and your property.
Bottom line: Just because a disaster occurs does not mean it is time for your to “go”. You will likely live through it, so why not live through it safely and with adequate supplies and gear to sustain and protect yourself.
Planning for a disaster will be a jinx and if I do it, it will happen.
Now this is silly, especially when it comes to natural disasters.
For the most part, hurricanes, earthquakes, winter storms and volcanic eruptions happen on their own schedule. There is nothing you can do to prevent them so why not be ready? Not only that, but people who have prepared and who have taken steps to plan ahead often come through the experience feeling like it was not such a big disaster after all.
Bottom line: It is the people who fail to plan and prepare that are caught by surprise and are least able to cope when the inevitable disaster occurs.
I refuse to live in fear of the unknown.
The key here is to educate yourself so that you do not live in fear. Assess the risks in your area and for someone in your particular financial condition. There is a saying, be prepared not scared. That definitely applies.
Bottom line: Take steps to prepare for the specific disasters that may occur in your geographical area. Then do your best to educate your loved ones so that they too can live without fear.
I can not afford to prepare (or I am not rich like you).
With careful planning (and perhaps one less pizza a week) it is not difficult to take small steps toward building up your preps bit by bit, week by week. Some cans of food, some water purification tablets, some pepper spray – none of these things are overly expensive, especially if acquired slowly over time. In addition, the pursuit of knowledge is free and simply knowing the risks is half the battle.
Bottom line: Gradually increase your back-up supplies over time and as you can afford them. Even if all you do initially is prepare for a short-term power shortage (flashlights, batteries, glow sticks), you are still doing something. You will be surprised at how quickly the items in your survival closet build up.
The government will take care of me.
What rock have you been living under? Has the government taken care of the health care debacle in this country? Nope. Has the government restored a healthy economy and jobs to the populace? Nope. Has the government effectively and efficiently provided disaster relief in the past? Not really. As a matter of fact, I just read today that FEMA is seeking to recover more than $385 million it says was improperly paid to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. And that is the fault of the victims? Give me a break.
What you can count on is the government spending billions of dollars on wars that we have no business waging, and, of course, billions in taxpayer dollars on big company bailouts that ensure that the top CEOs of this country have multi-million dollar compensation and bonus packages. This is the same government that will go after some poor taxpayer for what they perceive to be a $100 shortfall on their annual tax return.
Bottom line: Do not believe for a moment the government will be there to bail you out and provide relief in an emergency. Quite the contrary; expect to be on your own.
I am too old to start.
Taking care of your personal needs has no boundaries age-wise. Yes, you may be on a fixed income and you may be moving about a bit slower, but hopefully you still have the will to live and the will to survive. Whether you are in your 60s, 70s, 80s or beyond, take the time to prepare a disaster communication plan with contact names, phone numbers, and a potential escape plan should an earthquake of other natural disaster occur. Enlist the help of your children or younger neighbors and share your concerns with them.
Bottom line: Preparing a communication plan does not cost a dime in dollars, nor does it take any physical strength. All you need is time. Do not feel that you are too old. If you have made it this far, chances are you still have some great years left. You are never too old to begin to prepare for the unexpected.
My faith will carry me through.
Yeah, maybe. But I would rather go halfway just in case the big guy is busy doing something else when a disaster or crisis hits. Your faith will not hydrate you with sufficient drinking water, nor will your faith feed your starving body. Being spiritual and having faith is a good thing and will help you mentally to overcome a dire situation, but it is your stored food and water that will sustain you.
Bottom line: Facing reality will go a long way in helping you deal with a disaster. Having the insight to know the risks and prepare for them will demonstrate to your family your willingness to provide and care for them. That, coupled with your faith, will be a powerful and unbeatable combination to get you through.
The Final Word
Procrastination is defined as the act of putting off, delaying or deferring an action to a later time. Alas, that time often never comes. And so I say: procrastination is not your friend and might quite possibly be your ultimate downfall. If you have friends or loved ones who scorn the preparedness lifestyle, please share this article with them. Encourage them to take make a plan, to build a kit and to get involved in ensuring that their future will be safe.
Let us work together to stamp out disaster denial.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye Levy, the SurvivalWoman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. SurvivalWoman speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us. Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!