17 November 2012

Knowing and Using Your Resources

      In the last post, I talked mostly about learning what you might need to know, which leads right into this post. Did you check to see if you have a spare tire? Well, we need to work on that, which is why today, we're talking about knowing and using your resources. Eventually we'll get into some specifics, but I think it's important to lay some groundwork so I know where to go. This way, I can build on some sort of principle so each of our ideas we can come up with, and everything we try, can have a reason behind it.
A lesson learned from Hollywood 
     So there is a movie, "The Day After Tomorrow." It's pretty good. It's about the world going into another ice age, so there are some crazy storms and stuff. Well, there's a group of people that the movie follows, and they're stuck in the New York City Library. It's getting really cold outside and it's going to get worse. They find a fireplace and want to keep warm, so they decide they are going to start a fire.      Okay.... Imagine you are in their situation. You have to find something to burn. I want you to take a look at this picture to see if you can come up with something:

             I know it's tough, but keep looking. Try to use your imagination. Anything? Anything at all? Oh, you say there are wooden tables, chairs, and shelves all over the place?? I must have missed that. The people in the movie must have missed it, too, because they just decided to burn the books. That's right, the books.
     Now these kids are supposed to be straight up geniuses, in New York for a scholastic competition. The main kid who decided to burn books in the first place turned out to be at least a little smart later when he brings a couple wooden chairs into the room and breaks them up to use parts of them to fashion snowshoes for himself so he can venture out to find medicine to save the girl he hopes will become his girlfriend. At least he understood that there were resources available nearby and he knew how to get to them for this situation.
      Here's what I'm saying. These people had everything they needed to make fire. They had all the resources to keep themselves nice and warm, but they misused those resources. I've certainly done this a few times; I come up with some idea that I think is brilliant, and it's not very effective, then someone walks into the situation and asks why I didn't try such-and-such thing. Then a light bulb turns on above my head. "Why didn't I think of that?" Well, other than my own mental limitations, it's because I didn't understand my resources.
      Later, we'll talk about 72-hour kits. During an emergency, this may be one of the resources you will need to use. One of the most important thing to know about your kit is what's inside of it. I've thrown together a lot of different things in my kit and I have to go through sometimes and clear out all the stuff that I really wouldn't use, or that I don't know how to use(then I make a mental note to figure it out).  Walk through your house or garage and think of what you have that can be beneficial(Then you'll have an excuse to keep it when your spouse or parents or whoever says you should throw it out).
Stuff other than "stuff"
     Some of our greatest resources aren't even tangible things(I'll give you a hint, they're in your noggin). We need to use what other resources we have available now that won't necessarily be available in an emergency, like the public library. I'm not talking about burning the books, I'm talking about reading them. There's lots of information there. If we come across a topic that you want to know more about or want to learn how to do better, you can go check out a book. ...or you could Google it. We can look anything up that we want, but learning it so it can stay with us when we're not online is the key.
     I recently attended training for a Community Emergency Response Team(CERT). I went down to Idaho Falls once a week for a few weeks. It was a lot of fun. I'll post more on that whole program later and what I learned, but basically, we learned the basics of first aid, putting out small fires, light search and rescue, and stuff like that. Most of my class was a bunch of nice old ladies, so don't think it's not for you. It's for everyone. Great resource. I know a lot of church and community groups do emergency preparedness classes or activities. Those can be good resources, too.

     So, during a disaster, knowing what resources you have can mean the difference between life and death. Do you have water or know where to get it? What food do you have on hand? Do you have anywhere safe to go if you can't get home or you're forced to evacuate? Do you know how to use what you have? Can you light a lighter?(I'm not going to name any names, but you know who you are)   If you have to leave, what do you bring with you? When the power is out, carrying your laptop with you "just in case" isn't going to be very beneficial.
"Stuff" you may or may not have(or need)
      Sometimes, we have resources we don't need, and other times we need resources we don't have. First, on the resources we don't need. These are typically the things we get that we don't know how to use or aren't trained to use. You don't need to stock up on medicines that should only come from a doctor's prescription. A disaster doesn't mean you won't be held responsible later for your actions. You won't need IV needles and fluid if you haven't been trained to use them. You probably won't need an armored vehicle. You don't need to go buy fancy or high-tech survival stuff if you don't plan on learning to use them. Just like changing a tire, hopefully you can figure it out, but why not learn now? For all of your resources, make sure it's something that you could actually use and that you know how to use it.
    Second, however, are the people who need those things, but don't have them. A brain surgeon can't do his job without the proper resources. If you're a mechanic, having some of your tools on hand makes your job a lot easier. Whatever your jobs or abilities are, if there is something you can contribute, then be ready for it. It would be a great regret of mine if I were in a situation where I could help someone, but didn't have the means to do anything.
    Sometimes you will need to make a decision on whether or not you will have to extend your resources. You don't want to assume everything will be alright tomorrow and eat all your food. You may need to get more water from collecting snow or going to a nearby stream. Can you extend the use of your resources or will you need to acquire or produce more?  One of the great blessing of being human is our ability to improvise. If you don't have the tools you need, is there a way you can make up an acceptable alternative. You see this all the time in movies when someone is hurt(Another lesson learned from Hollywood). What's the first thing everyone does? They start ripping off their sleeves. That must be a rule or something: if someone gets hurt, rip your sleeves off. Well, they all make up some sort of bandage. Often that's what we'll need to do. If there's a way you can use something you already have instead of buying something else just for that one thing, why not use it? 
          Not only should you become a resourceful individual, but you should surround yourself with resourceful people. If you decide to take a CPR or First Aid class, or participate in CERT training, or if you're having a family night about preparedness or something like that, invite some friends. Learn skills that your friends know. Go camping if you haven't been in a while. Challenge yourself and see how you can best do things without the modern easy ways, and do it all with other people if you can. It's no fun preparing all on your own. You'll end up a lonely blogger. 

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