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Prepared For An Emergency

  Prepared For An Emergency
by Almighty Outdoorsman - Cover
04/01/20 Driftless Area Magazine

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In the early 1900s, America was a mainly rural country where the average person could grow, make, or repair anything they would need to sustain themselves.

We were an independent country, able to endure great hardship and challenges when needed. People that lived during the time of World War 1 and World War 2, along with the Great Depression, were some of the most robust generations of people this young country has produced.

These days, most people have a GPS unit in their car or on their cell phone to travel, and we seldom give thought to what we will do when we cannot access our devices. Instead of relying on ourselves, we now rely on electronics and, in many cases, find ourselves crippled when these devices stop working. Perhaps it's time to take a lesson from this country's founders and learn to be more self-reliant, or at the minimum, better prepared should the need arise. Everyone needs to decide what their comfort level is or the amount of self-preparedness they require for themselves and their family.

Take simple actions such as thinking about what's in your vehicle if it were to breakdown when traveling. When is the last time you checked to see the condition of your spare tire or if you even have one in a newer vehicle? Do you have a warm blanket or sleeping bag available should you end up stranded somewhere cold for an extended amount of time? Are there any snacks or water kept in the car if you breakdown?

Obviously, the requirements change depending on if one is single, has family, or is traveling with children. These days, many people travel with pets, but may not have given consideration to being able to take care of the animal should one break down without help.

Over this last winter here in our house, we lost power in the evening due to a breaker outage and quickly learned from our phones we would be without power for about 3 hours. The temperature happened to be about negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but we were warm and comfy.

My wife is very well organized and quickly found a couple candles and a pair of flashlights, along with extra blankets. Within 5 minutes of the power outage, our dogs alerted us that someone was outside our front door, and they wouldn't stop barking. I peeked through the living room blinds and saw nothing but blackness on my entire street. I cracked open the living room door only to find someone trying to open my screen door and come in the house as I was trying to look outside.

Although both our male yellow labs are friendly dogs, they were growling and barking while having no part of someone coming into our house uninvited. As I held both dogs at the door by their collar, I realized our neighbor next door was trying to come in the door, and I sternly asked him what he wanted. He asked if we needed any flashlights, and if we were doing OK, to which I responded, all is well. I thanked him, and he left as I still held both dogs while they struggled to get loose.

This brings up good points as to the safety of a family in a house during a power outage. Number one, don't attempt to go into someone's house without them being able to identify you before you enter, as you may be mistaken for an intruder and shot. Secondly, if this person “had” been an intruder, what would the course of action be to prevent this intrusion or to stop someone already entering the home. These are scary and realistic situations that deserve thought before being involved in these situations.

We were still able to access the internet and within 10 minutes, friends living in the unaffected area told us to come to spend the night if the power didn't come back on and welcomed us to bring both dogs with us. It's taken me in an adult lifetime to learn the difference between an acquaintance and a true friend; those real friends are not taken for granted.
Next, what about a plan for significant or severe problems? Many of us living along the Mississippi River deal with flooding every springtime. Technically, it's seepage from the high river levels seeping through the ground, entering basements, and drains.

As a kid, I remember we lived in a house that had basement flooding, and the water was about 3 feet from coming out of the basement window. I had no idea why my dad would put on his duck hunting chest waders and play in all that water in our basement, but I got hollered at for trying to do the same thing. Seepage has 2 solutions to the problem, with the first being to move out of the house if you don't like having water in the basement, the other solution requires the prep and planning to keep everything off the floor in the basement and hope you're lucky enough the seepage is minimal and allows your pallets or shelves to keep your items dry.

What would you do if you had to suddenly leave your house immediately without knowing when you could return? A basic plan may begin with each family member having a bug out bag containing clothes and some necessities with the idea being you could grab it and run out the door. For adults, one may consider weapons or other gear deemed necessary for creating a plan that they are comfortable with.

Lastly, but most importantly, let's look our current situation with Covid-19 and what IS needed to get through this. We know that we must ALL be vigilant and patient, staying the course of action in doing our own part. Our individual adherence will bring mutual benefits to all of humanity.

  • Stay home and self-isolate from others
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
  • Try not to touch your face
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with other people if you need to go outside
This situation hits home for me as I have a brother in an Asian country other than China, where he has resided for more than 20 years. I recently learned all schools are closed for the next 5+ weeks, and necessary supplies such as health items are increasingly difficult to find in stores.
I recommend families discuss these things and create a plan they are comfortable with. In the future, we will share more information on products and planning in greater detail so you can enjoy life, the great outdoors and all it has to offer.

Stay healthy for yourself and for ALL others around you.