Being prepared is more than a kit. We've all seen a of of gear over the years, but gear can actually be a liability in the wrong hands. The most important piece of gear anyone brings to a crisis is themselves, and the most important thing you can do for a crisis happens well before the crisis occurs.
The right mindset is not difficult to understand or adopt. It's boils down to your ability to ask good questions. If you can sit down for five or ten minutes and think about what might happen and what might I need, you're more than halfway there!
Crisis can be tricky. It doesn't follow any prescribed set of rules. It doesn't happen when it's convenient and it really doesn't care if you're prepared or not. It just happens.
- A prepared person thinks a few steps ahead. Before they run off to the mall, prepared people think for a moment about the weather. They may take the extra step to check the weather forecast online if there is any hint that it may not be pretty. That open their closet and tuck away a rain coat or an umbrella is it looks like rain. They think about where they might store their cell phone so it doesn't get wet. They consider the road conditions and remember that oils come to the surface when rain first starts and run through what it means to drive safely in those conditions. They scan their family and friends to see if they have their umbrellas or rain coats. They scan for anything they left outside before they leave. They do all of this in the blink of an eye.
- A prepared person has good habits. They keep their gas tank more than half full at all times. They sweep the locks in their home before they leave and before they sleep at night. They take the dog out before bed so it doesn't pee on the floor during the night. They use gloves and bandaids from their portable kit instead of from their home so they can always be rotating their portable stock. They ask the two questions above on a regular basis.
- A prepared person sees possibilities. No matter what situation a prepared person finds themselves in, they are always asking the same questions: What might happen? and What might I need? When they go to the theater: what might happen (fire, earthquake, terrorist)? What might I need (to know where the exits are, to have a family plan, to make sure everyone knows who to call and how)? When a crisis happens the prepared person responds proactively. The unprepared person reacts instinctively - which rarely works out well.
- A prepared person prepares. Being prepared is not a condition, it's a process. It's a lifestyle. It means staying fresh with training because knowledge expires. It means talking with family and friends because you may be their only source for the preparedness message. It means bringing a thermos of hot drink to a cold and wet soccer game. It means wearing clothes that dry quickly when there will be wet conditions. It means learning how to shut the gas off to your home before it needs to be turned off. It means reading stuff like this from time to time and using it as a stimulant to take some of the rust off.
The differences between a prepared person and an unprepared person are not based on the size or shape of their gear bag, but by the way they think. When things go wrong, the prepared and the unprepared are sorted.