Mapping a Road to Self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency is defined as being able to take care of one's self without the assistance of others. This does not mean that self-sufficient person does not need other people, it means that they take their present and futures into their own hands as much as humanly possible. They accept responsibility for their own well-being by working, planning and saving for the future.
Mapping a road to self-sufficiency and developing an attitude of prepared
ness begins early in life with encouragement and teaching by family and others who care about children. Getting a good early education and preparing for the future by getting training or a degree that will lead to gainful employment are both strategies that help ensure self-sufficiency. There is also another side to self-sufficiency that people sometimes take for granted until they have no choice, and that is being prepared for a disaster, whether it is natural or man-made.
Being self-sufficient during an emergency situation requires some strategic planning sense no one is certain of when a disaster could strike. There are some plans that can be put in place which will work in any emergency situation whether a disaster or periods of unemployment. The following recommendations can help those who want to be self-sufficient when unexpected circumstances arise.
Food is a major concern whenever there is an emergency. Planning for emergency food is one of the most important aspects of thinking ahead and being self-sufficient during a disaster. Typically, about three days of emergency food should suffice. However, emergency foods should be those with long shelf lives, such as canned foods, dehydrated or freeze dried foods and similar non-perishables. These are best because they can be kept in a disaster supplies kit for longer periods of time. Such food should be kept in a cool, dark and dry place to maximize shelf life.
When planning an emergency food supply, keep in mind foods for babies and those on special diets and if pets are part of the family, they will also need food.
It is also important to choose foods that are not high in salt because these will increase the need for water, and water might be rationed during an emergency. Water is essential for survival. Each human and pet needs about one gallon of water each day and if the climate is hot, more water should be stored. Clean potable tap water can be stored for around six months. Water should be stored in clean and sanitized food-grade containers. Commercially bottled water can be stored and used in accordance with the expiration date on the container.
Other supplies that should be kept on hand for disasters and emergencies are paper products like cups and plates, disposable knives, forks, spoons, paper towels and manual can openers. Unscented liquid household bleach for disinfecting and sanitizing, batteries and cooking utensils round out the list. Baby diapers should also be kept on hand if their are babies or toddlers in the family. A first aid kit, flashlight should be a part of the emergency supplies kit. It is also important to save money and keep some cash on hand since ATM machines and banks will be affected by long-term power outages. Budgeting and saving money will also help when a family suffers a job loss.
Generally when cooking is done, it is on a charcoal grill or other non-electric source. Charcoal or gas grills should never be used indoors.
Planning for self-sufficiency not only helps the family that does the planning. It frees up resources to help others who for whatever reasons are not able to prepare. It also provides more time for an individual or family to attend to other important tasks since for the first few days they will not need to worry about finding the essentials.