by Theresa O’Donohue
What happens if the money in your pockets is worthless overnight? The future of the Euro is not looking too bright, nor is our relationship with it. Whether it crashes, we leave it or we are asked to leave – it is something worth preparing for. Are you ready for life without the Euro?
Unless you have another form of currency – gold or precious metals, it is not a good time to go shopping. The shops will be swamped with desperate people vying for whatever they can get. People consumed with fears for themselves and their families.
What happens if international trade stops because the credit upon which that trade depends is withdrawn? How will the shops be restocked? What happens if our energy supply cannot be purchased? What will power the electrical grid? Who will the government decide should get the emergency back-up – hospitals, prisons, government buildings, schools, water treatment plants, waste services, pumping stations, care homes? It will most likely be up to individuals to fend for themselves and their families as the authorities struggle to cope.
When faced with shops stripped of food, taps without water, cables without power and empty fuel pumps what could you have done to better prepare? The currency is in crisis, the government is scratching its head, panic trade is setting in. What can you do NOW to ensure that you can remain calm? How confident are you in “the system” to return to business as usual? How long do you think it would take – 3 day, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years?
To prepare you need to consider your family’s basic needs – food, water, heat, shelter, health, security. Here is a list of considerations, some you may have, some you may have inherited and need to root out. There is no definitive list – each to their own but there are definitely shared basics. How much you prepare depends on how much you trust the system as it stands.
- Staples – at least a months supply but anything up to a year is a good bet.
- Tinned meats, fish, fruits, beans, peas etc
- Grain, wheat, corn, spelt, oats etc
- Nuts, dried fruits, lentils, soup mixes etc
- Corn for popping
- Powder or condensed milk
- Honey, sugar
- Rice, pasta and other dried carbohydrates, however if they require a water supply to reconstitute them don’t depend too heavily on them.
- Seeds – to grow your own food. Purchase organic seeds which allows for you to save your own seed the following year.
- Salt, yeast, oil plus any other condiments you need or wish to use such as soy sauce, stock powders, soup base etc
- Pots, pans and kettles suited to open flame or hot plate heat – cast iron
- Knives, utensils and sharpening tools
- Livestock with adequate feed. This depends greatly on your space. Hens are relatively easy. Goats and pigs may be worth it if you have the space and ability to feed them.
- Gardening tools and reference books. Spades, forks, hoes, secateurs etc
- Working boots and gloves in various sizes to fit everyone
- Fishing rods and nets
Manual preparation and preservation tools – grinder, miller, muslin, pulper, juicer, storage jars, bottles, lids, wax, brewing kits etc
- For now you could invest in some organic seed with a good shelf life, a greenhouse of some sort if you can, start reading up on how to and practice grow your own food. It is the one skill your family will thank you for AND everyone CAN do it.
Grow It Yourself Ireland
- 1 Gallon per person per day
- Bleach – plain unscented. 8 drops per gallon of water
- Manual pump
- Install rain water barrels now if you can
- Seasoned firewood
- Saw and hatchet
- Thermal wear – hats, vests, tops, leggings and socks
- Sub zero sleeping bags for added warmth
- Blankets, scarves, warm coats, hats, gloves
- Plant trees now for a sustainable supply
- Take steps now to insulate your home
- Essential repair kits and replacement materials if required
- Basic tool kit
- Durable clothes and footwear
- Scissors, sewing kit, fabric, wool etc
- Rainwear – rubber boots. coats, trousers
- Keep all clothing and start collecting up sizes for your children from family, friends and charity shops
- Likewise for shoes, boots and rain wear.
- Substantial first aid kit and reference manual.
- Toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash
- Bottled water for babies
- Soda, vinegar, natural hygiene and sterilising plant products
- Washable sanitary protection
- Reference book on natural, herbal remedies from everyday plants, lavender, geranium etc
- Do a first aid course
- Locate a natural remedy practitioner in your community and keep their details to hand
- Dog and adequate supply of dog food
- Blackberry or thorny gorse hedging
- Wind up radio
- Wind up torches
- Surplus food – there will be plenty of hungry people looking for yours
- Mouse and rat traps
- You could start a community alert or neighbourhood watch in your area now.
- Look at on-site toilet solutions such as a reed bed system or compost toilet
- Aim to generate as little waste as possible as waste collection and landfill systems may be curtailed.
- Compost as much as possible especially when growing your own food.
- Water containers in case you need to source clean water
- Camping stove and gas
- Board games
- Toilet paper
- Batteries and solar charger
- Candles and more matches
- Bicycles, carts, trailers, sleds, spare wheels
- Timber, nails, screws, tools, string, tape, nuts, bolts etc.
- Tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate
- Solid bicycle tyres
- Spare can of car or generator fuel
- Fuses, light bulbs
- Writing materials
- Art materials
- Craft tools
- Bicycles and repair kits
- Reading glasses
- Musical instruments
- Manual can opener
- Shoe polish, laces
- Fabric nappies
- Flint and learn to light a fire without matches
- Self sufficiency reference library including books on growing food, crafts, repairs, electrics, cooking, making vinegar, growing yeast and self medication etc.
- Children’s education – encyclopedias, geography, science etc
Here is a list of items you may also start gathering now that could make life a little easier if they become unavailable for any extended period and things that may be lying around which could be worth having to hand.
It is all well and good for you being prepared but the ideal would be that everyone have some level of preparation. As a community we have to depend upon each other in a crisis and this is no exception. Go to community meetings, become involved in local activities now and you will have a base for future communications. Get discussion going on crisis preparedness. Propose community resilience planning. There are many agencies, courses and groups supporting local initiatives. Contact Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland for information on communities taking steps toward resilience or for support in introducing resilience to your community.
For further browsing here is the US Department of Homeland Security website for disaster planning and here is a link to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Governments disaster planning page.
Theresa O’Donohue, a systems analyst, has turned her focus from computers to community. A mother of 5, she has been considering family crisis preparedness ever since discovering the challenges posed by peak oil, climate change and economic collapse in 2006. Through this she has become involved in community resilience and the role of the wider community in a crisis. Like any mother she wants to best prepare her children for their place in life as mature, proactive respectful adults.
Featured image: old fashioned canning jars. Author: Nils Thingvall. Source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1133973