How do I get prepared while working full time, having small children, and taking college classes?
First, the question in this post's title is where I started with my family. The answer to that question is a big reason for this blog. It's the reason I wrote my book Earthquake: What, Where, and How to Prepare
Everywhere has multiple threats that can instantly change your life from normal to emergency. Many places have an overriding threat. For example, along the east coast and Gulf states most would probably see the biggest threat as hurricanes. In the midwest states tornadoes might be the threat.
Where I live, along the Wasatch Front in Utah, the biggest natural threat is an earthquake.
But my logical brain and experience with the outdoors told me the emergency preparedness packs/kits you can buy aren't enough and often have poor equipment with them.
Prior to being married and having children being prepared for myself was fairly simple.
Then I met a beautiful woman who I married. Six years and three kids later I was working full-time and was almost halfway through a bachelor's degree in information systems. Life was (and still is) busy. Demands of family, lack of sleep, keeping up with classes, and barely making ends meet in most months were stressful.
Add to that the nagging realization that I, now we were not very well prepared. With just me and my wife, maybe. With three little kids, we were not prepared.
At that time there was a lot of hype of dreams and visions of an impending earthquake striking the Wasatch Fault (which is a series of multiple faults that run along the base of the Wasatch mountain range).
While I didn't really think an big earthquake was really about to strike, the anxiety and stress was getting to me.
I know what earthquakes are. Unlike a lot of preparedness "experts" I've actually felt a lot of earthquakes. From age 10 to 16 I lived in Chile and felt dozens of quakes through those years. Most were small. A few were bigger. And one quake, which struck about 65 miles away, was a magnitude 7.9 (some sources recorded it as 8.0).
Yes, I know what an earthquake feels like. Especially when it lasts for over 3 minutes (the actual time was about 3 minutes 20 seconds).
So, I began doing some research into preparedness to find better options.
I researched earthquakes. I wanted to know what the earthquake risks are for my area.
As I started getting my home and family better prepared (future posts will go more into this) an opportunity to share a presentation on earthquake preparedness came up.
I realized that most people don't really understand what earthquakes are. They see earthquakes as how the news and Hollywood portray them.
My presentation revolved around three questions.
- What are earthquakes? Which is like an earthquakes 101.
- Where are the earthquake risks and hazards in the United States? And,
- How does one get prepared for an earthquake?
It was around these three questions that I wrote my book, Earthquake: What, Where, and How to Prepare. And it's those same three questions that are the primary focus of this site.
While this blog will contain a lot of information about earthquakes, it will not be exclusive to them. The great thing about earthquake preparedness is it can actually help you become better prepared for all kinds of disasters and emergency situations.
Back at the time it felt like getting prepared was an undaunting task. It felt overwhelming, like I couldn't get prepared fast enough, because I didn't have time or resources to put into getting prepared. After all, how do you find the time when you work full time, you have a young, growing family, and you're taking classes towards a university degree?
So I started doing something. I figured something was better than nothing.
That little something became a little more. I kept preparedness in mind, but I didn't obsess over it.
I I looked for deals on emergency equipment that I had identified would be beneficial. I had made some lists of supplies I tried to keep the list in mind as I was out.
I bought a little extra food when I was shopping. When I was in retail outlets with outdoor or camping supplies I'd take a few minutes to walk through the aisles to see if something was on sale.
Being short on money, we would go to thrift stores and yard sales a lot, looking for clothes for quickly growing kids. I managed to get some good equipment through these second hand sources because I kept preparedness in mind.
What I discovered was within a year we were decently prepared, at least for a short-term emergency.
And I began to realize that the little pangs of anxiety and fear that I had previously felt --over the increasing natural and manmade disasters, and us not being prepared--were being replaced with peace.
But I didn't stop. Continuous little efforts built on each other.
I'll add here that it wasn't just physical preparedness that I was working towards. I had learned true preparedness involves mental, emotional, and spiritual preparedness as well.
Do I want a disaster to happen? No. And I hope for the best and try to see the good in things.
However, should an earthquake strike, or another disaster, I feel confident that I can provide safety and security for my family.
And that is the purpose of this site. To share some of the knowledge and experience I've gained, and continue to get.