By Eve Gonzales,  Trading Post in the Woods

Human nature is such that many times we kid ourselves into believing things that just may not be true. We tell ourselves that something is true when in fact, with evaluation; it is proven to be nothing but a glorious thought of hope and deception. The sad part is the only person we are deceiving is ourselves and possibly those we love. This article is to help you determine if you fall into the category of people who kid themselves into believing they are better prepared than they really are.

 If you have been listening to the news at all over the past several months, people (maybe not you) have had to endure, floods, tornadoes, mudslides, earthquakes, fires, rioting, and even terrorist attacks. These incidents are not on the decline but on the rise.

Recently, a part of our county was under an evacuation order due to a massive forest fire. Though I have responded to disasters around the world and have prepared for similar type events I can emphatically state we were not prepared for a fire that jumped a 3 mile firebreak. However, I can also tell  you that we immediately addressed the “what if’s” in the event it made it to our neck of the woods.

 With every disaster we see people make the same mistakes over and over again that renders them into a state of being a victim. Two big mistakes people always seem to make is that they convince themselves that they are more prepared then they really are and that they will be able to handle things with ease when they happen. These lies we tell ourselves are the most crippling lies and can cause great devastation to families who find themselves without relief supplies or shelter after a crisis or evacuation occurs.

Many people plan on the goodness of others to provide for them during times of disaster, or worse yet, on the government to provide for all they need. We can not emphasize enough that this mindset is not a preparation game plan and it WILL cause great distress in your hour of need.

With more and more bad things happening in the world it is time for you to sit down and really evaluate your game plan and determine whether you are kidding yourself into a false sense of security. A false sense of security can become your downfall and will risk the well-being of your family.

If you are reading this and saying to yourself that you do not need to be prepared because God will provide for all your needs during a crisis I would like to share these thoughts with you. I am a missionary and have loved God all my life. I have seen the miraculous happen time and time again but I can also assure you that in the Word of God he shows us that we need to be prepared.

Am I saying that God will not provide – no – but does He want you to do nothing but stand there with your hands out – no. I have spoken with pastors who believe it is our responsibility to be prepared and those who do not. So let us look at the what He says in His word. When Noah was instructed to build the arc (I can not even imagine the labor that was required of him to do this) God gave him clear directions – but what He did not do was to say to Noah – “Noah, on a specific day I need you to stand and wait for me as I will be delivering to you an arc which I will build for you and your family. All I ask of you Noah is to be at the designated point. I will have in the arc all you and your family will need to live on along with all the animals I shall bring forth to ride with you”. On the contrary, Noah (instructions given by God) had to build as well as follow all the other directions given to him because God was going to spare his life and his family – but he had work that was required of him.

Let us also take a moment and look at Joseph whom God told in advance that there was to be a great famine. Specific directions were given and followed which resulted in many lives being spared. For those who did not have food though they first paid money for supplies and then as the famine continued they paid with their livestock, property, and then themselves.

Having seen all that we have seen during the disasters we have responded to or supported, I can tell you that if you want to have the best possible results after a disaster then you must be prepared.

 I urge you to take time and really evaluate the reality and potential success of your game plan. Evaluate your skills, your supplies, your evacuation plan, your water, shelter, meet-up location, etc. Ask yourself – “Do I really have a sound plan or am I just kidding myself into thinking I do”?

 I will ask you these questions to guide you in evaluating it truthfully:

1 – Do You have an evacuation plan (A,B, and C in the event roads or locations are closed) or do you plan on making it up as you go along. Is your plan to just follow the evacuation signs posted on the road and to go where ever they direct you?

2 – Have you put together relief supplies for all categories you need in order to survive and do you have a way to get them to where they need to go if you must evacuate? A 2-3 day supply of food and water is not enough when you are preparing for a disaster. If something happens and organizations provide relief supplies how much or how long do you think they will last especially when there are hundreds or thousands of other people who also made “others providing for them” as their game plan?  (We have been in areas were supplies did not arrive for over 2 weeks and people still did not get items such as hygiene, baby items, medication, clothes, etc. and – yes- people were irate.)

3 – Do you really have a meet up spot and does each person know when and how to get there? (Do not become a picture on a make shift billboard of loved ones searching for each other).

 I had the great pleasure of working with a couple that at first the husband did not feel he needed to talk to an expert about preparedness due to the job he held. I asked him to give me 5 minutes of his time and I presented him with this scenario: A disaster occurred while he and his wife were both at work and a no return order was issued; meaning they could not meet up at home. They had 100 miles to get to their evacuation point which they planned to do together. However, they had no meet up point (both these were facts they told me in regards to their actual plan). I then asked him what he thought his wife would do since they had no meet up location and then I said to him – ‘oh, I forgot to tell you– you died in the disaster’. So now how long do you think it will be before your wife becomes a victim and potentially perishes as well?” He looked at me and said – “I died”? and I said, “yes, so what is the plan for your wife?” – he said to me – “You have my attention, what do we need to do.

 You may think you can handle any situation but like with most things in life – if you want to succeed you need to have a plan!

  4 – What skills do you really have in order to survive?

I had someone tell me once that he was a great hunter and could provide food for his family if need be.  I asked him when was the last time he had hunted and cleaned an animal and he responded that it was about 40 years ago. It is important you understand that just because you did something ages ago does not make you skilled in that area any longer and just because you attended one class on a topic does not mean you are skilled or will be successful unless you are practicing it.

I meet people all the time that tell me they can suture – yet they only took one 45 minute class and have never practiced. When they tell me that I inform them they do not know how to suture and should not attempt to do it unless they get a refresher course and practice weekly.

Do not fall into the trap that moves you into believing that you are more skilled then you really are. Be honest and truly evaluate each of your family member’s skills and knowledge and then improve on them.

5 – Do you have a plan in the event of your death or the death of a loved one?

This is a topic that most people never want to think about but if a plan is devised before such an event occurs it will make it easier to deal with for you or your loved ones. People die everyday and they do die during times of disasters so please talk about this with those you love and have a plan set in place. You buy life insurance just in case it happens so make a plan for them to follow as well. I had the gut wrenching experience to be the first one to come upon a young girl who had lost all her family during a disaster event. There was no plan for her. A plan was devised after the fact but how much easier would it have been for her if a strategy had been formed before hand. 

When I was a child my parents had made a plan in the event they both died and they told us who we would be living with if such a crisis occurred. Then they made sure that we spent time with them and got to know them since they were not immediate family members; but all of us children came to love. Praise God that plan never had to be put into affect but I am grateful that my parents loved us enough to make a plan and helped us become comfortable with it.

 6 – Do you have a long term recovery plan?  Long term might be 1 month, 1 year, or longer.

For people during Katrina, those in Japan, Haiti, and so many others where major disasters have occurred, life did not return to normal quickly; it was a long painful process. Have you thought about what you would do if your home was destroyed? Have you thought about what you would do if there were no doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, auto repair shops? What if there is no electricity or sewage plants in operation? Have you really taken the time to think about how you will feed your family, have clean drinking water, provide safety and shelter, how you will communicate? Have you really taken the time to think about the unthinkable happening and how you will all respond? Or have you, like so many others – kidded yourself into believing everything will be ok? After all it usually works out in the end –right? What you have to understand is that during times of disasters things usually do not work out perfectly because there is usually some kind of loss and a lot of need.

If Noah had not listened to God and built the arc as instructed but sat around waiting for God to do and provide it all for him he probably would have died. If Joseph had not followed God’s plan and stored up for the coming need that had been revealed to him – how many would have starved? God did not rain down manna for the people during the famine nor did He give the people the food for free – they had to pay for it all and it became costly  – but it did save their lives.

Please be honest with yourself, be responsible, be diligent, and be prepared!

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As heard on The Hagmann Report