Image courtesy HenryUSA.com
When an emergency strikes, the first thing most folks ask themselves is, "Are we ready for this?" As I look back over more than two decades of marriage to the love of my life, it's surprising to realize just how many major scares and emergencies our country has weathered. We were struggling through college during the Y2K panic, just launching our careers when the Twin Towers fell and were geographically close enough to Hurricane Katrina to see the shelves of our local stores stripped bare.
As of this writing, the world is suffering through the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has already caused thousands of deaths. Even before we saw news of travel restrictions, facility closures and panic purchasing, we knew it was time to take stock of what we already had on hand to support us and our kids through this event. And while writing this story, our community was struck by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake, just to keep things interesting!
Were our in-place preparations perfectly complete and ready to go? No, they weren't. We had places to go, people to see and things to buy just like everyone else. However, we had many of our bases covered thanks to a lifestyle that includes a love of the outdoors and participation in shooting sports.
As a member of the shooting community, you may be better equipped to face an emergency than you might think. Here are five areas of preparation that may be in great shape already, or may need a bit of attention:
Camping Gear & Supplies
Plenty of shooting enthusiasts are also outdoor enthusiasts. If that's the case, then you know how to rough it. Sturdy clothing, flashlights, sleeping bags, a portable stove and non-perishable food stuffs that are convenient for recreation are downright useful to have in an emergency. Depending on how often you update and refresh your camping supplies, now would be a good time to go through them. Flashlights, coolers and tents last for years, but batteries, first aid supplies and gas canisters can run low or need replacing.
Every Day Carry Set (EDC)
At some point during an emergency, people will have to leave their home to check on family and friends or retrieve supplies. Those who have concealed-carry permits are already familiar with an Every Day Carry set, or EDC. It consists of the pocketable equipment you carry with you tucked away in your pockets or purse that can be brought into action in an emergency.
A suitable concealed-carry handgun, with the means to reload it, is just one facet of EDC. When I asked my wife what she thinks belongs on this list, the first thing she mentioned was a quality edged tool such as a pocket knife, Swiss Army knife or multi-tool. These are handy to have for all kinds of everyday problems. Bright LED flashlights are small and easy to carry these days and almost everyone packs a cell phone, just make sure to keep it charged. There’s a wide variety of other items that could tag along. For those times and places where a firearm cannot be carried, alternative defensive tools like tactical pens and pepper spray are a good fit. Bandanas are cheap, light weight, compact and infinitely useful, and so on. The point is that even though it’s not possible to prepare for every contingency, a few simple on-hand tools can be most helpful in a pinch.
Improved Home Security
It’s not uncommon for individuals who choose to own firearms to pay closer attention to the security of their homes. If you opt to stage a firearm for personal protection, then it’s only natural to consider other security measures: keeping doors and windows locked, installing and using a security system, bright lights placed around entry ways and paying attention to your surroundings as you leave and return. Although the current emergency has yet to inspire much in the way of civil unrest, other emergencies have in the past. Take a look and see if there are any places around the house that could use some improvement. If your security measures are already in good shape, then make sure to use them.
For more information, see Activating the Home Security Mindset.
The Preparedness Mindset
Self defense practitioners have a good deal to say about the importance of mindset, meaning, how we mentally and emotionally approach a defensive situation. Whether they espouse the use of firearms for personal protection or some other method, one’s mindset can make all the difference when confronted by an assailant.
At the foundation of this mindset is the principal of acceptance. One must accept that things can go wrong, that they do go wrong and that they may go wrong in the blink of an eye. Once we reach a place of acceptance, then we can see clearly to sort out those things we can control from those we can't control and take the appropriate actions.
Can I make every driver on the road behave safely behind the steering wheel? No, but I can put on my seatbelt and drive safely myself. Can I halt the onset of a cold and snowy winter? Of course not, but I can buy warm clothes and firewood before the snow flies. Is it possible to keep my children from ever getting hurt while playing outside? Try as we might, we can't. But we can clean scrapes, apply bandages and give comfort as needed.
So when you think about it, you already practice the acceptance mindset to some degree or another in your daily life. You've already got this one in your toolbox, so go ahead and apply it to this situation.
It can be challenging to get emergency preparations in place because it seems like there’s never enough time or people to get the work done. But right now, many children are staying home from school and extracurricular activities (dance classes, scouting, etc.) have been canceled. We’re also seeing adults staying home either to work remotely or take care of the kids. The majority of public venues have been closed down, including sporting events, restaurants and public libraries. There’s not much to do away from the house at the moment, so what should we be doing right now?
This is a great time to put all of those idle hands to work. Dive into your annual spring cleaning with a purpose. Scrub, sweep, clean out and get your on-hand resources organized. Work on your 72-hour kit, make sure your firearms are all clean and lubricated, replace the batteries in the flashlights, and so on. Do the best you can to make the most of what you have. And once the work is done, break out the board games, pump up the tires on the kid’s bikes or head out to enjoy nearby hiking trails. Take good care of each other and keep your chin up. Remember that we’ve weathered many emergencies in the past. We will make it through this one too.