Emergency Preparedness with Young Children

Emergency preparedness… Unfortunately, it’s not something a lot of people think about until they’re in the middle of a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster (think hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, etc.) It’s been a hot topic for the last few years with a surge in “preppers” and “off-grid-ers.” Since I stay at home with my little ones, I have time to ponder the state of the world and my responsibility to my family as it relates to emergency preparedness.

The 4 things that most concern me in an emergency type situation are these:

  1. Will my family have enough food to eat?
  2. Will we be able to maintain health and wellness/treat any injury/sickness/chronic health problem?
  3. Can we function without electricity and/or running water?
  4. Can I make sure my family (especially my two young children) feel safe, loved, and cared for without fear of their circumstances?

All in all, these hypothetical questions serve to show me my own blind spots and allow me to think long term about what my goals for our homestead are. So, for my benefit as much as to inspire you to ask yourself these tough questions, I’ll share my answers with you.

  1. Yes, and no. Short term, my family and I have about 2 weeks of food storage. Long term, we’d be hurting. I’ve considered buying freeze dried emergency rations but I have a couple issues with that. First, it’s expensive, 2, they don’t taste great, and C, we have food allergies to just about everything in them so why bother? Solution: as of right now, I plan on growing and canning/freezing everything I can from the garden this year. 
    That means canning and freezing peas, canning and drying beans, figuring out some sort of root cellar for our carrots and root veggies, and making and canning chilis, soups, etc. Learning old-time food preservation methods is high on my priority list. If you haven’t before, check out Jas. Townsend & Son’s YouTube channel as it is entertaining and informative regarding 18th century cooking. Also high on the list of to-dos is learning to cook on wood heat (which I was surprised to find I don’t suck at and it’s a lot easier than I was told. It’s all about watching the temperature and maintaining your fire/coals.) Long term, we have invested in fruit and nut trees and bushes, but other than the wild raspberries and hickory nuts already established on our acreage, we wouldn’t have much produce for a few more years.
  2. Yes. Without a doubt, health and wellness is what led me to homestead in the first place. What I can’t fix with yoga, I can address with herbalism and essential oils. 
    What I haven’t figured out is how I’m going to maintain a supply of organic virgin cold expeller pressed coconut oil if the economy collapses and I can’t buy it anymore. So that has led me on an adventure to explore alternatives that are locally sustainable and I’ve come to the conclusion that suet (rendered animal fat) is likely my only option. Although for that to be a thing, I’d either have to make an arrangement with my neighbor who farms beef cattle, or get my own. I’m leaning towards the former. My advice here is to expand your skill set. That’s why I invested in yoga teacher training. In the event I have to care for my aging parents or maintain physical functionality for myself and my family, it’s good to know basic anatomy and how to relieve aches and pains without drugs or surgery. My husband and I are complementary in this regard- he has combat first aid training and is CPR/AED certified, and I’m known as the family’s “witch doctor​” (which actually means I’m just knowledgeable in alternative medicine and herbalism). The key: it’s far easier to maintain health than to restore it once it’s gone. We have a healthy diet and avoid over the counter drugs (and their side effects) and get plenty of exercise and rest. Avoiding lifestyle choices (like handfuls of m&ms… I had a breaking point… Forgive me…) that contribute to chronic health issues, metabolic diseases, etc. keeps us from experiencing the need for constant medical attention. For a general how-to, I have 3 suggestions: a military field guide, James Wesley Rawles’ How to survive the End of the World as we Know it, and Bradford Angier’s How to Stay Alive in the Woods.
  3. Yes, and no. Right now, we would be able to cook without electricity as we have plenty of wood for fuel, but we would have a hard time keeping the house cool/heated because of needed repairs/replacement of roof, windows, and doors. Our house was built in 1970 and there are many things that need our attention. Solution: We’re saving for all these big repairs. We don’t currently have a water source on the property either, 
    but we plan on installing a water catchment system and a way to manage runoff and collection. And we do have a Berkey filter, so we could get by for a short term natural disaster type scenario. If I really needed to, I know of a creek where I could walk to wash out our “unmentionables” and at least make sure we had a couple consistently clean clothing items. Food storage would be tricky but like I said, I’m working on planning a root cellar type of thing in our basement.
  4. This is the most important one to me. Making sure my children (and husband) are cared for spiritually, mentally/emotionally and physically is probably my top priority as their Mama. They are 2 years old and 5 months old and they look to me and their Papa for all their needs and cues. Key: keeping myself in the right mental attitude by aligning myself daily with Christ Jesus will enable me to help them do the same and to speak life into their small lives. 
    Also, we do things with them that prepare them for uncertainty and the future. For example, my son and I talk about God when we are outside in the garden; we look at His creation and consider His character. He doesn’t realize that’s what we are doing because he’s 2, but I pray years from now, he’ll have lasting foundational memories that help to keep him walking in God’s will. We pray every night. My son actually reminds me when I forget that we have to talk to God. He won’t sleep until we have :-). We also maintain their health and wellness naturally by teaching what plants are safe to touch/eat, which things to avoid, and by practical application of our skill sets. For example, this past week, Mama wanted to work on cooking on wood heat outside so we had “Cowboy campfire dinners” and my son had a blast. 

    If we HAD to live that way, he’d never know the difference because it’s his normal. I think the best way to prepare your kids is by taking every moment you have with them to teach and discipline and train them to know 1) they can trust God at ALL times (all means all, that’s all all means.) 2) they can trust YOU as parents to be there for them and 3) give them the tools they need to become little adults. 

My mind goes back to The Davinci Code where Sophie’s grandfather had taught her little rhymes or whatever that served her purposes later in life in difficult circumstances. While I’m not an Illuminati conspiracy theorist, that’s our job, really, as parents (preparation, not conspiracy theorizing). We have to prepare our kids to not be kids at some point and to be able to live in uncertain times because someday they may HAVE to. That’s what preparedness is all about; knowing how to live in uncertain times because you don’t know what the future holds, all the while knowing it’s God who holds the future.

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