Sunday, January 16, 2011

:: Be Prepared Challenge :: Introduction & Join Us ::

Being Prepared is an important issue to think about, and I am sure it is in the front of alot of people's minds right now. Those of us not directly affected by the flooding are watching the happenings on TV, horrified and concerned, and thinking, "What if that was us?" and "That could be my family". The recent Queensland Flood Disaster brings home the need for me to step up the preparations I have been working on for over 2 years now. These could affect the comfort, safety, protection, and survival of my family in an emergency situation. It's one of those important things that somehow still seems to get put aside, for the other priorities we have in life. But the time has come, and what better way to get motivated, get organised and actually spend time & energy doing it, than to have a Challenge! And Gavin, of The Greening of Gavin fame, agrees with me.

Helping yourself & your family, helps your community.

Together we are hoping to help other people, and ourselves, to increase our preparedness for short term emergency situations. Everyone is welcome to join in this challenge! We hope you will let us know you are joining in, by commenting here. If you have a blog, feel free to use the logo & blog about your progress. We will be blogging over the coming 4 weeks, covering plans and preparation we have made, things we need to do, and learning more together. Gavin will be blogging about it on his blog, and we will be covering similiar things, so head over & keep up with his posts too. Please feel free to spread the word to your family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours! The more prepared everyone can be, the less stress on emergency & welfare services in an emergency situation, and the more we can also help out those unable to get prepared for various reasons.

What does Be Prepared mean?

It's just like the Scouts motto! But for more information about what being prepared means to me, please read my blog page, Be Prepared. Please note, in no way am I, or my husband, an expert of preparedness. We have done alot of reading and research, we have made some plans already, and my husband is Team Leader of our local Community Fire Unit. I will be linking to websites and blogs, and referencing books as I go. Please feel free to offer your advice or links too, in the comments sections. Go ahead and ask questions too, so we can all find out the answers together! I like the method set out by Kathy Harrison in her book "Just in Case - How to Be Self Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens", and will be basing my plans on the OAR method. I have added an S, for Spread the Word, as building resilience in our communities is so important too. OARS - Organise, Acquire, Restock (or Rotate), and Spread the word!

Step 1 - O for Organise

In Week One (Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd Jan), we will cover Organised. This is the time to get organised, in physical and mental terms. You might need to declutter an area to set up for your storage (of stockpiled food & water, grab bags, emergency gear, important documents etc.). You can make evacuation & emergency plans, along with lists of emergency contact numbers, and community resources. You can also think of what skills & resources you have/ need.

Organise - Step One (Task 1 - Organise Yourself, Task 2 - Declutter)
Organise - Step Two (Task 3 - Organise an area for storage)
Organise - Step Three (Task 4 - Gather Your Important Documents, Task 5 - Household Inventory)
Organise - Step Four (Task 6 - Evacuation Planning)

Organise - Step Five (Task 7 - Emergency Communication, Task 8 - Gather information)

Step 2 - A for Acquire

In Week Two (Monday 24th to Sunday 30th Jan), we will talk about Acquire. This means emergency gear, food & water, equipment like 'hand powered' tools & alternate means of cooking/ heating. We will cover the in's & out's of stockpiling. It is also about acquiring knowledge and hard copies (printed pages in a folder, or books) of How To's, including those website guides put out by emergency service organisations.

Acquire - Step One (Task 1 - Consider what you will need)
Acquire - Step Two (Task 2 - Set up your Storage area, Task 3 - Gather & Make an Inventory of What you Have)
Acquire - Step Three (Task 4 - Gather Items for Stay at Home supplies)
Acquire - Step Four (Task 5 - Put together Emergency Kits for Evacuation)
Acquire - Step Five (Task 6 - Stockpiling Food)
Acquire - Step Six (Task 7 - Refine your Lists, Task 8 - Sort out your budget)

Step 3 - R for Restock (& Rotate)

In Week Three (Monday 31st Jan to Sunday 6th Feb) we'll talk about Restock & Rotate. How to create a schedule to keep supplies & food up to date, including Store what you Eat, and Eat what you Store.

Restock & Rotate - Step One (Task 1 - Ways to Restock & Rotate)
Restock & Rotate - Step Two (Task 2 - How to keep your stockpile safe)
Restock & Rotate - Step Three (Task 3 - Keeping your skills & knowledge up to date, Task 4 - Maintain Emergency Kits & Gear)

Step 4 - S for Spread the Word

In the last week, Week Four (Monday 7th to Sunday 13th Feb) is Spread the Word. Aimed at encouraging your family, friends, neighbours & colleagues to all Be Prepared, which helps everyone out when an emergency actually occurs. It's about making 'preparedness' acceptable, and 'commonsense' again. Alot of people already do the things I've mentioned above, but most people I know would look at me like I was crazy if I mention words like 'stockpile', 'grab bag' or even 'dynamo flashlight'!

Spread the Word - Step One (Task 1 - Get neighbours, family, friends, loved ones involved)
Spread the Word - Step Two (Task 2 - Building community resilience)
Spread the Word - Step Three (Task 3 - National Preparedess Program)

Think you cannot do it?

You might be thinking by now, "But that does sound crazy!" or "I live in a safe area, nothing will happen to us!" or "I can't afford something like this!" or "I have too many other things to deal with, I can't do it". No one can make you 'be prepared' but please know, this preparation thing has been done for years & years now, and all the excuses are covered! Crazy is not being able to help ourselves and our families in times of a crisis. There are ways to do it on a budget, or for those lacking in time, or suffering illness/ disability. There is no such thing as a 'safe area or region', esp. not in Australia. You know, I hope an emergency doesn't happen to you, or to me. I hope the things we do in the next four weeks are only ever 'just in case', but the reality is... bad stuff happens.

Join Us

If you read my Be Prepared page (or plan on doing so) you will see that it's not just about immediate emergency situations, but being prepared for longer term changes too. I am not going to cover these aspects specifically in this Be Prepared Challenge, though I may refer to some longer term things we are doing that can def. help short term too. They go together, in so many ways, but for now, I am focusing on the OARS method for immediate emergency situations. I hope you will too, by joining us in our Be Prepared Challenge for 2011.

To find all the posts for this challenge, go to the Be Prepared Label.