Historically, the biggest killers of humans have been diseases. Until recently, diseases like mumps, measles, polio, and others hung like a Sword of Damocles over the heads of children throughout the world. During the last century though, various medicines and vaccines have all but wiped-out these diseases in modern countries. However, certain diseases are making a comeback in the US because not everybody is getting vaccinations. It seems crazy to me not to get immunized given the historical efficacy of vaccines, but vaccine refusal is becoming more popular in America. What’s ironic is that the ostensibly intelligent, wealthy, and politically liberal are the ones eschewing vaccinations for their children.

Then again, maybe there is something about the mentality of those who drive their Volvos to Whole Foods. It could be a disconnect from reality that is manifesting itself in health choices that endanger others. Even though vaccines have saved hundreds of millions of people from death, the science and history of immunizations is ignored by bourgeois bohemians. The upshot of this from a preparation perspective is that some people will steadfastly refuse to take prudent actions even where there is ample evidence to do so. Some people will not learn (ex. re-electing Barack Obama in 2012) and the population as a whole suffers because of it. Given the elevation of emotion and erosion of logic in decision-making, this trend is likely to continue and more people of all ages will get ill from preventable diseases.

Confession time, I haven’t been feeling good over the last day or so.  That puts a damper on both thinking and posting, which is why the blog has been a bit quiet lately.

Weapons-grade Vitamins

I rarely get sick, mostly because I take good care of myself by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising.  However there are times when stress as well as other factors overwhelm the immune system and force you take a break in order to recover.  For me, that time is now.

In a larger sense, this bout of illness (head cold) serves as a reminder about how important good health is.  If there was an emergency now, I’d be suffering and operate at a lower performance level than if I was well.  Illness makes everything more difficult so its best to take steps to avoid it.  If you get sick, its important that you return to health as quickly as possible so that you will be physically ready.

For me, that means taking a few days off from writing so I can get more rest and drink lots of fluids.  If you get sick, I suggest you do the same.  Illness is often a sign that your body needs a rest, so listen to it and take time to heal.

When bad things happen, first responders can become overwhelmed during the initial phase of a mass casualty.  As we saw yesterday in Boston, a horrific terrorist attack injured over 170 people in an instant and left several dead.  There will be times when police, fire, and rescue personnel will be delayed in coming to your aid if you and others are injured, meaning you are your own first responder.

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

This means taking steps to prepare for unlikely yet traumatic events like a terrorist attack.  I wrote yesterday that disaster can strike Any Time, Any Where so you need to plan accordingly.  What steps can you take?  Well, consider the following and see what you can apply today.

Your Person – Items you carry with you or on you:

Your Office – Some things to have at work:

  • Food
  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone charger
  • Change of clothes
  • Athletic shoes and socks
  • Reflective tape
  • Extra cash and coin ($20 should be enough)
  • Water bottle
  • Paper towels or napkins

Your Home – Products you should have where you live:

Your Car – Keep these items in your car:

  • Food (MREs, Datrex rations, granola bars)
  • Water
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow rope
  • Spare tire (inflated and in good working order)
  • Chemlights
  • Electrical and/or duct tape
  • Lighter
  • Signaling mirror
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Space pen
  • Pad of paper
  • Batteries (fully charged)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Extra wiper blades
  • Tools (screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, pliers, etc.)
  • Quart of oil (get the correct viscosity for your engine)

Other useful items to have handy include:

  • Applicator-less tampons (read this for reasons why)
  • Maxi-pads (see above)
  • Tape (athletic for non-waterproof, duct or electrical tape for waterproof)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hard hat
  • Leather gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Lifehammer
  • Respirator

In time, I’ll go into greater depth on how to prepare various kits and what each one should contain.  Consider this post a quick and dirty starting point, the key is to begin today because you may need these items tomorrow.  I encourage every reader to do what I do, search for information from a wide variety of sources and make adjustments over time.  This is an ongoing process and will never be “done” since new information will emerge over time.

The good news is that most of us will never experience a terrorist attack, massive earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, or other catastrophic event.  However, bad things can happen unexpectedly so its wise to prepare to mitigate the damage they can cause.  Take steps now to increase your preparedness and remember that the journey you embark upon will reward you even if you never have to employ what you have learned.

Quick question, who is better equipped to handle a stressful situation?

This fella?

Or this guy?

With that in mind, which one are you closer to right now?

Be honest with yourself…

If you are out of shape, overweight, in poor cardiovascular condition, have high blood pressure, or have other diseases of affluence, you need to change that.  Your body is a tool that will enable you to survive a wide range of stressful situations.  However, if that tool is dull (ex. obese) then its much more difficult to overcome adverse conditions.  You can have the best preparation plan out there but if your body isn’t able to execute, it won’t do you any good.

Some quick and easy steps to improve you preparation fitness are to reduce or eliminate eating fast food, packaged meals, and sugary drinks.  All of those harm your body and hamper your fitness efforts.  Just look at the label on a typical frozen meal, if you have difficulty pronouncing the myriad of synthetic ingredients and additives in it, you probably should not be putting it into your body.  Ditto for fast food, it may taste good but most of those “meals” are full of sodium, saturated fats, and artificial ingredients that don’t offer your body the nourishment that it needs.  And unless you are a hummingbird, your body does not need the empty calories of a sugary drink.  Reduce these unhealthy inputs and you will loose fat and gain fitness.

You can start getting into shape by simple physical activities like walking, riding a bike, or climbing stairs.  Getting in shape does not mean an extreme exercise regimen, the best fitness activities are the ones you can do for the rest of your life.  The main objective is to get off your butt and move.  Before you start any fitness program though, talk with your doctor and discuss options to find the right activities for your situation.  Everybody is different and is starting from a different fitness level, make sure you take this into account when creating a fitness plan that compliments your preparation plans.  Increase healthy outputs and your fitness level will improve, making your body a more effective tool.

The principle is simple, tune-up your body so it can be ready when things go wrong.  Being fit and healthy will enable you to perform your best and increase your odds of success in all situations.  Better health will translate into better performance at your job, on the playing field, and around the home with your family.  So get healthy now, its a critical component of your preparations!

Let’s say things really go wrong, you are knocked out and can’t talk.  Oh, and your cell phone and wallet aren’t on your person.  Luckily, somebody finds you but does not know who you are, what your blood type is, if you have any known allergies, or who to contact in an emergency.  All this could cause delays in administering proper medical care and notifying family members.

This happens more often that you think, with serious consequences.  Thankfully, there is a product that you can buy that will help lessen the likelihood of this happening.  Its called the Road ID and one of them looks like this:

They make a lot of products in different styles and formats but the common feature is all of them can give a first responder critical information during an emergency.  Its similar to dog tags that military members wear or driver medical information sewn into the Nomex™ suits of race car drivers.  Having that information handy saves lives, so you should get one today.

I’ve had mine for several years now and wear it when I am hiking, biking, or doing other outdoor activities where I don’t have my wallet or cell phone handy.  Its a great back up to have too in case any of your other ID sources are stolen or destroyed.  Take a look at the Road ID website and see which one is right for you but I urge you to buy one of these today.  The life you save could be your own…

Click here to order your Road ID today

Hopefully your only addiction is to love.

When things go wrong, supplies of common items get interrupted.  Look at what happened during Super Storm Sandy or the recent snow storms that impacted most of the Lower 48 states.  Bad weather means trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes can’t operate normally and deliver the goods we normally buy.  The result is stores run out of everything within a few days and even after conditions return to normal, it can take a week or more before inventory levels return to normal.

This happens from time to time though and can be planned for, however supply interruptions can be a big deal if you can’t feed your addictions.  If you are physically or psychologically dependent upon certain things (ex. smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco, recreational drugs, hard drugs, caffeine, chocolate, junk food, gambling, porn), an interruption in supply can become painful within hours.  This can seriously compromise your ability to handle a stressful situation.

So what do you do?

The solution is to free yourself from your addictions, after all its a matter of survival.  A healthy body and a sharp mind are the two most critical tools you have to overcome challenges.  If you have addictions, ask yourself this question…what would happen if you had to suddenly go without your “fix” for a day, a week, a month?  How would you handle yourself and cope with a stressful situation without being able to feed your habit?  Being dependent on something puts you in a vulnerable position, both physically and financially when your supply is interrupted.  You could try and stock up to get you through, or you could decide to get healthy and not be a prisoner to your addictions anymore.

My suggestion is if you have an addiction, get help from a medical professional.  Breaking bad habits is difficult, both physically and mentally, so you will need help to help you overcome.  You will also need a support network to get you through the difficult times, there are organizations and resources for all manner of addictions so consult with a medical professional to determine which one(s) may be appropriate for your situation.

The main goal is to get help and free yourself.  This will allow you to sharpen your body and mind so you can be prepared for adversity.  It will also enable you to live a longer, healthier, more full life.

Get healthy, get clean, get ready.