Emergency Preparedness

I used to be a scouts -- my home country doesn't distinguish between boy scouts and girl scouts -- and have done endless drills in first aid, tying knots, building shelters, starting fires, more knots, rescuing drowning people, digging latrines, identifying and eating eatable plants, decoding ciphers. Ok, the last one was probably one of the less useful things, but I was good at that so I thought I might mention it.

The first aid was of the gruesome kind, learning to apply tourniquets to wounds liberally covered in ketchup. The fire starting was of the lots of hard work kind, flint and steel, actually rubbing sticks together (you coil a rope around it to make it spins faster), while trying to shelter the fire pit from the wind with ours bodies. The knots were of the practical kind, stuff that would work for building shelters and mooring boats. We ate the eatable plants because what good is identifying them if you a) don't know what they're supposed to taste like and b) you don't trust you identification? There are competitions, international ones, where scouts pitch their skills against each other.

(The Christian aspect of scouting is annoying but at the time I was rather taken by god anyway, but I digress, as always. Let's move on.)

This no nonsense, practical approach to surviving without running water, electricity and housing was sort of imprinted on me. I feel more powerful for knowing. Or, in this case, imagining myself knowing. The scouting business took place a long time ago. The skills I learned are rusty at best. The only knot I can tie is the one that attaches me to the harness in the rock climbing gym. I am fairly certain that some of the first aid stuff has been superseded by modern science.  So, let's say that it's something I feel very strongly I should know and I have and am considering first aid certification, basic survival skills, etc. I have an emergency preparedness itch

There is a way to preparing without knowledge though: the emergency kit. In an emergency you need water, food and shelter, and generally emergency kits cover this and so much more! The prepacked ones come with all sorts of exciting goodies, everything from flares and emergency sleeping bags to radios powered by solar or dynamo. This self sufficiency appeals to me like an oasis to a lost and thirsty wanderer and.


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