As part of our mission to help our readers become better prepared for disaster, we will post Weekly Challenges. Essentially, they are reminders for things you should be doing on a regular basis to keep you moving toward self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Obviously, participation is voluntary on your part. No one here is going to come and check up on you, making sure you’re doing what you should. But, participating in these challenges will do nothing but help you.
We’d love to hear how you’re doing with the challenges. Please stop by our message board and fill us in!
For the time being, we are suspending the weekly challenges due to a perceived lack of interest. We love doing them but there were only two entries in our contest for Week 8, leading us to believe these challenges aren’t of interest to the majority of our readers. If you’d like to see them continue, please let us know on our message board or shoot off an email to Jim@SurvivalWeekly.com.
Weekly Challenge #8 (04/12/2010 – 04/19/2010)
Let’s see how many people are actually following these weekly challenges. Everyone who reads this challenge and sends me an email to Jim (at) SurvivalWeekly (dot) com with the words Challenge Test in the subject line will be entered into a drawing to win a grab bag of survival-related fiction books. You have until this Friday, April 16, to send the email. Good luck!
Weekly Challenge #7 (04/05/2010 – 04/12/2010)
Plant and Plant a Garden
This is the time of year when gardeners begin drooling over the seed catalogs. Growing your own veggies is not only fun but can cut down your grocery bill. Plus, you have the confidence in knowing exactly where your produce came from.
Your challenge this week is to start planning your garden for this year. If you’ve never grown your own produce before, start small. You don’t need acres and acres of land to make it worthwhile. Research square foot gardening online or at your local library. That is a great system for gardening in limited spaces. Look into what you might need to do to improve your soil and start acquiring the necessary supplies. Make a list of what veggies your family likes to eat and see if they can be grown in your area. If at all possible, buy heirloom seeds. These are not hybrids and thus you’ll be able to save the seeds from your veggies and plant them next year.
Weekly Challenge #6 (03/29/2010 – 04/05/2010)
Plan B (or C, or D, etc.)
Famed survival expert Ragnar Benson mentions his Rule of 3s in much of his writing. You’ve likely heard versions of this rule many times in your life. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” is one way to put it. The US Navy SEALS say, “Two is one, one is none.”
While these axioms should apply to all of your preps, from emergency lighting to methods of cooking in a crisis, today we’ll focus on your overall disaster plans.
For every plan you make, you should have at least one backup plan, preferably multiple backups. If in the event of major disaster your plan is to hightail it out of Dodge and get to your retreat, plot out several different routes to get there. Know ahead of time what options you will have if your primary plan doesn’t work out.
Your challenge this week is to examine your disaster plans. Go through the most likely scenarios for your situation and devise backup plans for each. Practice them if feasible.
Weekly Challenge #5 (03/15/2010 – 03/22/2010)
Family Communication Tree
In the event of a crisis, it can be critical to get in touch with family and friends as soon as possible. First, to make sure everyone is ok. Next, to determine how best to follow through with any applicable plans you’ve made.
The old-fashioned phone tree might help facilitate both goals. For those not familiar, you make a list of all family members and friends with whom you might need to get in touch in an emergency. Each person is assigned two people who they are to call. The tree starts with one person calling two people. Those two each call two more, so on and so on. In addition to providing for (hopefully) quicker communications, this helps eliminate duplication. You won’t have eighteen people all trying to call Grandma while no one is remembering to call Cousin Jim.
The challenge this week is to get in touch with you family and friends and hammer out a communication plan. Draft up a phone tree or use some other method that will have the same goal. You might go so far as to make a chart for each person, complete with phone numbers and email addresses, and mail it out to them. Remember though, in the event of a power outage, most people won’t be able to access the Internet or email. Therefore, that method of communication should be secondary to telephone.
Weekly Challenge #4 (03/08/2010 – 03/15/2010)
First Aid Kits
How prepared are you for a medical calamity? A couple adhesive bandages and a decade old tube of antibiotic ointment just might not cut it. Your challenge this week is to inventory all of your first aid supplies and begin filling in the missing components. An excellent article on what should be included in a first aid kit was posted a couple weeks ago right here on Survival Weekly. Bear in mind too that one could have every medical item in the world and it wouldn’t do them any good without the knowledge on how to use it. In addition to putting together a first aid kit, be sure to pick up at least one good manual and read it BEFORE you need it.
First aid supplies aren’t cheap and it is understood that many families aren’t in a position where they can just go out and purchase all they need at once. Best advice would be to examine your own situation and prioritize the needed supplies and purchase them in that order.
Weekly Challenge #3 (03/01/2010 – 03/08/2010)
Water, Water Everywhere….
Various sources, such as FEMA and the Red Cross, instruct folks to have on hand a minimum of one gallon of potable water per person per day in the event of an emergency. They also tell you to plan for a minimum of three days service outage. So, for a family of five, you’d need to have stored away at least fifteen gallons of water. Sounds like quite a bit of water, right?
Your challenge this week is to pick one day and track how much water your family uses. Try and account for everything – toilets flushed, laundry washed, showers/baths, cooking, and drinking. If you’re not sure of the exact amount, you can estimate three gallons used for each toilet flush and five gallons of water per minute in the shower (if filling a bath, time how long it takes to fill the tub and use five gallons per minute). Your clothes washer likely has written on it somewhere how much water it uses per load. If you’ve not done this before, the results will likely shock you.
Once you’ve added up all those gallons of water, revisit the rule about one gallon of water per person per day. You just might want to rethink it.
Weekly Challenge #2 (02/22/2010 – 03/01/2010)
Debt Elimination Plan
Let’s face it. Many of us are carrying way too much financial debt. Credit cards are the big one most of us could probably tackle and see results in a timely manner. Lack of financial resources is often the number one reason people give for not being able to better prepare for disasters. So, instead of griping about it, do something constructive!
This week, sit down and go over your entire budget. See where your money is really going. Make a plan to get out from under those credit cards. Take the one with the lowest balance and budget as much as you can each month to get it paid off quickly. Once it is paid in full, go to the next card. Take the money you were paying on the first one and add it to what you’ve been paying on the second one. Keep this pattern going and don’t stray from it. If you get a little extra money in a given month, put as much as you can toward those credit cards.
See where else in your budget you can trim. Maybe you don’t really need all those premium movie cable channels. Instead of renting DVDs, check your local library. Is that $5 coffee every day really worth it?
No, you won’t get out from under your debt in only a week. The challenge here is just to make the plan for doing so, then committing to that plan.
Weekly Challenge #1 – Bug Out Bag
You should have a bug out bag stocked and ready to go for each member of your family. If you’ve not put them together yet, this week your challenge is to do so. Gather the necessary supplies and have them positioned such that if there is an emergency, you can grab them and go. If you’ve already taken the first step in putting your bags together, your challenge is to inventory the contents. Make sure none of the food or meds are expired. Check packaging to ensure nothing has been torn or is wearing thin. If you have batteries in any devices, check to make sure they are charged and not leaking. Water supplies should be rotated to ensure freshness.