Your Family

If you're in this section, then it's a fair bet that you are married with at least one child. You might not have children, but much of this section still applies. Whatever the case, it's not simply you, and that means that it's a whole different ball game.

Consider: A single man or woman can prepare an emergency system without much expense and be pretty sure that it will be there when they need it. A family, on the other hand, has to multiply everything in their kit times the number of people in their family. If you have six kids, this can be a real problem. Most of us can spring for a few extra cans of beans every time we go to the grocery store, and it's enough. It's not going to bust our budget. But a big family can't just add a couple of extra items on to the bill. What good is a three month supply of water if you only have two days worth of food? If you need to cut back on something in your budget so that you can put more into "dad's crazy survivalistic hobby," they're going to resist.

So what do you do? Step one is simply, talk to them!

Try to let them know what you want to do. Get their opinions. Get their ideas! Kids especially, see things in a completely different light. They will point out stuff that makes you go, "oh yeah, duh..." Also remember that your kids may be going through their own stresses (junior high school... remember the jungle of teenage life?) and may be highly resistant to anything that poses a threat to their carefully orchestrated lifestyle. Be patient. Try to get them involved, but don't be angry with them if they don't want to help. To do so is to acknowledge the horrible possibilities that you are presenting. If you can't get them to participate directly, get them to help as though it were part of the household chores. "Don't forget to wash out that Coke bottle, dear..." Once it's routine, you can step up the "education."

One major point that you need to work out early is to agree as a family on how "fanatical" you are going to be about this whole fatalistic business. Everybody has to have a fair vote (with mom or dad carrying veto power of course) and no complaint should be ignored. No teenager wants their dad to be known at school as Mr. Y2K. Decide if you are going to talk to others about your "survivalist attitudes," and maybe even give the whole thing a code name so that your kids don't have to say, "Mom, can we get some of this cereal for the Y2K food stockpile?" Personally, our family uses the word, "Stuart", taken from the movie entitled, "Stuart Saves His Family." That way we can say, "Hey, how about a couple of cans of this for Stuart..." Get it? It works to take some of the edge off as well.

Once you have your kids accepting the idea of emergency preparation, work in some practical applications. These are things like:

Individual Family Member Needs

These are things like diapers and formula for your baby, or candy for the kids (or yourself for that matter). Below are a few things that you might also want to consider.

My wife takes several medications that may or may not be available for quite some time in an emergency situation. If we can, we will try to get a three month's supply. With some medications, such as blood pressure moderators, you can sometimes get by with "homeopathic" remedies and "stress reducing exercises." But as was recently pointed out to me, you must be very careful not to abruptly cut-off the use of certain medications, as the side effects can be quite damaging.

Also, many doctors may be hesitant to prescribe more medication than is immediately needed, which means that you can either switch doctors until you find one that's more lax with their prescriptions, or "order out," which is to say, order over-seas. Neither option is a very good one. To make matters worse, most insurance companies have caps on how much and how often you can get prescription drugs. For the budget-minded individual, this could pose a real problem. As of this writing, I have yet to find a good solution.

Glasses and Contacts
Obviously, if you wear glasses or contacts, you should try to have an extra pair around just in case you set that 50 pound bag of wheat down on your primary pair. Contacts are a little more difficult, especially of you use the disposable kind. Again, cost is a real issue here. If your prescription is so strong say that without your glasses you are legally blind... then getting an extra pair is quite an investment. In the end, however, it seems to me that it would be a good idea no matter how you look at it. (Doh!)

Hearing Aids
Get a couple of extra batteries for that hearing aid now, while they're as easy to pick up as dropping by your local drug store. Even getting to a store during an emergency might be impossible, and Murphy's Law dictates that your hearing aid will fail on you precisely two minutes after a major earthquake or tornado.

No personal experience here, but it sounds to me like you might want to have an extra stock of all the necessary cleansers and whatnot.

Yup, that's the end alright...