Meeting focuses on being ready for big disaster

Published 6:36 pm Friday, July 2, 2010

It could be a hurricane, it could be a massive tornado. It couldbe anything that forces you to fend for yourself.

Whatever the event that causes the grocery stores to run bare andgovernment services to cease, the knowledge of preparedness couldbe critical to survival. The Mississippi Preparedness Project isfounded on that knowledge, the knowledge of self-sufficiency, andseeks to disseminate it.

“We focus on carrying forth the knowledge that has been forgotten,”said MPP council member Mark Williams. “As human nature takes usfurther down the road into civilization, we get comfortable. Wedepend on the Wal-Marts, the K-Marts, getting cash out of the ATM.(Hurricane) Katrina taught us some things.”

Speaking to a 100-plus meeting of the Southwest Mississippi TeaParty Thursday night, Williams gave a crash course onself-sufficiency, discussing with the group the many tools andstrategies of the MPP’s five pillars – communication, water, food,medical and security. Though amounts and types of each vary, thefive pillars are essential when an individual or family is forcedto turn to self-reliance to survive in the event of adisaster.

Williams had the components of every pillar in his “bug-out bag,” apersonal kit holding everything needed to survive if one has topack up and flee from a natural disaster or other event.

But the first of the five pillars – communication – must be takencare of early.

“You are your brother’s keeper,” Williams said. “Venture back tothe 13 colonies, when all the little communities were stretched outby 20 miles. They had to communicate and work together. Fastforward to today – someone may live their entire life in one spotand not speak to their neighbor. What if something happens? Do youknow them?”

There are several ways to handle the water pillar. For worst-casescenarios, Williams recommended storing up water in food-gradeplastic drums. But true self-reliance necessitates finding othersources, and he recommended a few tools for that job. His bug-outbag contains a Katadyn water filter, which can be purchased foraround $70, and a supply of water purification tablets.

“The water won’t taste good if you use those tablets, but it’s safeto drink,” Williams said. “A man will trade his soul for a cup ofwater if he’s thirsty.”

For food self-reliance, the easiest answer is to store. The MPPrecommends a three-year supply of dehydrated or freeze-dried foodand teaches how to properly store it. Food foraging strategies arealso taught for extreme situations.

“You can pick up a year’s worth of food for under a grand,”Williams said. “You can buy three years’ worth of non-hybrid seedsat a co-op store for $20. And it’s amazing how much of the thingsyou need can be found at Wal-Mart. If you can put a year’s worth offood and water back for your family, you’re ahead of thecurve.”

Everything needed to treat common medical maladies can be found inWilliams’ bug-out bag, including an assortment of antibiotics,topical painkillers and bandages.

The final pillar needed to survive in a disaster is security -weapons. Williams said firearms have been a part of the nation’sculture since Day One, and he encouraged people to get familiarwith their use.

“If you’re not used to it, it’s going to rattle you,” hesaid.

Williams said people should take the pillars one at a time.

“It is up to you to be prepared,” Williams said.