4 Questions to Ask When Prioritizing Emergency Preparedness Goals

photo by john.shultz
photo by john.shultz

Originally posted on my blog last January.

A new year is starting and that means the traditional time of making new goals for yourself. Hopefully you’ll add a few goals to be better prepared this year.

I keep an ongoing list of things I want to learn, do, and purchase for preparedness. I call it the “Big List” and keep it in a notebook in my purse. It keeps me working toward a goal and learning and preparing. But sometimes looking at the “Big List” is daunting. There is a lot on there! And it seems like every time I cross something off the list, I add two more things. How will I ever accomplish it all? And for sure how will I ever purchase it all on our little income?

This could be a cause of great anxiety and even bring on “preparedness panic shut-down” where you decide that rather than tackle that huge list, you’ll just put your rose colored happy glasses back on and do nothing. Because really, there’s no way you can get it all done and it’s causing stress just thinking about it.

Know anybody like that? Yeah, it happens.

So here are 4 questions to ask yourself to make prioritizing your goals easier when your preparedness to-do list seems a bit overwhelming.

1. “Is this item/skill/etc. going to keep me or my family alive if the stuff hits the fan and all heck breaks loose?” Focus on those things that will keep you and your family alive first. Having a supply of clean water, short term food supply, medical training, and maybe firearms along with the training to use them should be on the list above things like “learn to can my own food”. Food preservation is absolutely a skill you want to have in your arsenal, however, if you can’t live through the first few days post disaster due to contaminated water, your food preservation skills will do you no good.

2. “Which items/skills on my list will be of most use to me?” For example, you want an alternative way to cook food if the power is out. Before jumping in and purchasing a Sun Oven, make sure you get enough days of sunshine without clouds and/or strong winds to make that option more useful than a rocket stove or some other means of off-grid cooking. Or maybe you have a special situation in your family like a baby, medical condition, or special needs family member that needs to be taken into consideration before making decisions. Just because something is a good choice for your neighbor, friend, or favorite blog author, doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for you.

3. “What is the most cost effective way?” If you have tons of money, go ahead and spend whatever you want on preparedness. However, most of us have limited funds and budgets. As much as I love the Country Living grain mill and because of quality, flexibility, and warranty would recommend it if you have $429 for a grain mill, if you only have $429 total to spend on preparedness and you need a grain mill, you can purchase a less expensive, but still quality built, mill like the Wonder Junior mill, and still have money left for a little water filter, a stove, a CPR class, an inexpensive rifle off your local classifieds, and/or some canned goods from the case lot sale.

4. “Do I need that?” This kind of goes along with number 3, and can help manage your money and time as you work toward being more prepared. I’ve been wanting a gravity fed water filter like a Big Berkey filter system. Clean water is extremely important, but the filter is kind of pricey. It hasn’t made the “Buy Me” cut yet because I have a few smaller water filters (water bottle filters, hiking size pump filter, and LifeStraw), lots of water stored in jugs, and methods to purify water from iodine type tablets to heating water on a stove/fire or in my Sun Oven. Same with training opportunities. If you are CPR certified and a CPR class comes available, you could take it again, but do you need to? Could you use that time to learn something in an area you don’t already have skills in?

Keep an open mind with your prioritizing. If a pressure canner is on your list after 5 other big ticket items and an opportunity presents itself to buy one at a yard sale for cheap, by all means take that baby home with you! But in general, asking these few questions will help you figure out where on your list of preparedness goals to begin and hopefully you’ll stay out of the panic shut-down and be on your way to becoming better prepared for whatever may come.

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