Most of us have lived with the freedom to make daily choices about what and where we eat. We’ve had the freedom to turn on a tap or purchase a drink when we’re thirsty. I would like to introduce the principle of Provident Living which can help us preserve these and others of our most basic freedoms, even in adverse conditions.
First, a couple of definitions:
An emergency is something that overwhelms you – you need help to avoid further harm or damage. For example, a kitchen fire that you can’t put out on your own is an emergency. A broken arm needs medical attention to prevent further damage to the limb or to keep you from going into shock.
A disaster, on the other hand, is something that overwhelms a community or larger area. Natural disasters like flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, etc. come to mind. There could also be something man made like a chemical spill, a structural collapse, or a terrorist incident to name a few.
The whole idea behind provident living is to reduce the likelihood that events in life will overwhelm us and take away our freedom in some way. I live in a mountain valley with four points of entrance and exit. Those 4 points are an example of provident living. If one exit is blocked by an avalanche of snow in the winter, it is likely that the other 3 exit points will continue to be stable. If severe flooding blocks one or two roads, the other two higher roads will still be passable. Even an earthquake that could cause damage to all 4 roads will do less damage to some roads than others. These options help my valley’s communities keep running during various circumstances and provide us with the freedom to move about for business or pleasure. Provident Living is about providing yourself with options to preserve your freedom.
Food and water are basic necessities. We can only go about 4 days without water. However, it’s as simple as picking up a flat of water bottles at the grocery or convenience store to be able to have a 3 day supply of water on hand at your home or work place.
We all like to eat fresh food, but having some canned or bottled food with which to prepare meals helps us have some food stored for later. Most canned goods have a shelf life of 12 months and need no refrigeration if an extended power outage comes along. Pasta and cereal also have a long shelf life, while whole grains store well for upward of 30 years!
what other areas can we prepare so we can preserve our freedom?
Water and food storage are ways in which we can preserve our freedom to drink and eat as needed, to preserve our health and strength. Are there other areas in which we can prepare to preserve our freedoms?
Shelter is an essential for life. While we can go 3-4 days without water, 3-4 hours in extreme temperatures, either hot or cold, can kill a person. If something was to damage our home or we had to evacuate for some reason, it would be necessary for us to provide some kind of shelter. A tent or simple tarp can provide shade and a cooler temperature, as well as keep rain and snow off us. Extra winter clothes can help shelter us from freezing temperatures. Having a sense of privacy can also add to our well being in adverse conditions.
A full tank of gas for evacuation can usually get you 200 miles away from the disaster. Some areas are prone to severe weather in which, at times, it is necessary to evacuate. Other areas could be subject to a man-made disaster such as a chemical spill. Residents who have available transportation, including at least half a tank of gas, also have the freedom to choose where they will go and when.
Health and Safety can be addressed by each of us when we learn First Aid and home remedies for common ailments. If there were a large disaster in your community, such as a hurricane, community resources of police, firemen, EMT’s, etc. would be overwhelmed and focusing on the worst cases. When we know first aid and how to remedy common ailments like colds and flu, we free up those resources to help those facing more life threatening situations. We can even come to the aid of others when they are in need. Knowledge of health and safety brings us freedom to preserve our own health and freedom to serve others, as well.
Finances – Would having a financial reserve help us in emergency situations? Could having some money set aside for financial emergencies such as unexpected car repairs or even job loss forestall a financial disaster? Financial experts recommend having 3 months living expenses saved up in case of job loss or other financial interruptions. It’s also wise to keep some cash on hand in your home to help you be able to get through (or drive out of) a disaster since power could be out and ATM’s and electronic transaction methods may be down for a time.
Small changes in our habits can help us better prepare for life’s small, as well as large, emergencies and preserve our personal freedom.
When shopping for groceries, purchase the shelf-stable ingredients to make one extra meal each week. This plan helps you build your food storage gradually and affordably and it will be made of things you already eat.
If you normally go through one tank of gas each week, make a point to fill up midweek as well as on the weekend so your gas tank is always above the half mark.
Learn a new skill. Whether it’s how to dress a wound or splint an arm or treat a cough with home remedies, learn how to help yourself and others with health and first aid.
Setting aside even the smallest amount of money each week will help build a financial reserve that can help smooth out the bumps that come in life. A little spare cash at home and 3 months expenses in a savings account go a long way to bringing you a sense of peace and the actual means to help yourself in an emergency.
Small preparations add up to make a big difference in our overall freedom. Living providently by planning for things that can and will happen can not only help you avoid disaster, but can help us find peace on our path to personal freedom.
The root word of emergency is emerge, which means to rise or come out of. Emergencies are events that could happen at any time, just by the fact that we are living life. The problem we have is that these events don’t arise very often, so they catch us off guard or unaware. Thinking about different events that can emerge like an earthquake, chemical spill, or even job loss, however unlikely they are, can help us prepare for them. If we are prepared and the event doesn’t happen, we have nothing to lose. If we aren’t prepared and the event does happen, we could lose our freedom to take care of our self and our family, our freedom to move about, and possibly even our own life. These emergency preparations only serve to protect us and our freedom.
Calculate how much food you have stored right now. If the stores shut down for some reason, what would you eat and how long would it last you? Would your meals be very balanced and healthy? Would they leave you feeling strengthened or weak and shaky? Click here for more specific recommendations about food storage and some tips and recipes.
What kind of emergencies are you prepared for? Will you be better off during a disaster at home or at work/school? What if you are stranded in your car? Click here for more specific recommendations on emergency kits, first aid kits, cooking without power, etc.
More about Freedom and Food Storage
More about Freedom and Emergency Preparations