Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for disaster survival

How to come up with your list if needed items for an “event”.

Hopefully you know what Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is, if not, here is a link to a great article that goes through it

What I want you to consider is using that hierarchy in your preparing for a disaster. Whether you are preparing to bug out for a hurricane, forest fire, TEOTWAWKI or staying locked down due to an ice storm or riots in the street, using the principles presented by Maslow, you can pretty well be sure you get what you really need and don’t stock up on what does not matter to you or your family.

You can see from the pyramid above that while being part of the cool kids (Esteem) may be important to you now, if you don’t have food or shelter, that club will mean little to nothing. Some lower needs can be unmet while other higher needs are being fulfilled or both can be done at the same time such as food and friendship.

No matter what event you are preparing for, start at the bottom of the pyramid and buy and prepare (mentally, physically, spiritually and financially) from there.

Let’s start with food. If you have no food that can be eaten when the power is out, you have a problem. However, if you have 12 cans of beets you bought on sale and a manual can opener, you have food. If you hate beets (and only have beets), you have a preparing problem. Only buy food you will eat. Don’t plan on trying new foods during an emergency. Just because you can choke it down does not mean your body will react well to it. The most common thing I run into with friends and acquaintances that decide to buy lots of dried foods is constipation. Not something you want during a personal, local or larger disaster. Diarrhea would be even worse. Please don’t forget about food allergies!

If you have dehydrated or dried goods for a disaster and you don’t normally eat them, it would be wise to make one meal a week out of the food to help your system (gut) be prepared for more frequent doses of what ever it is. This lets you know if a food is not for you and you will be better prepared by only buying what is right for you. Even if you used to eat that way 20 years ago, does not mean you can now. I ate MRE’s for years and years almost every day for lunch, a snack and some breakfast (one MRE split up). I haven’t eaten them on a regular basis for about 6 or 7 years. This last fall I had one week of my annual training for the guard and decided to bring only MRE’s. We were “camping” and had to provide our own meals. By day three I had enough of MRE’s for a while and found some guys who ordered a pizza (yes they delivered it) and the fifth day went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Lesson learned, “used to could” does not mean “still could”.

Whether preparing for 3 days or 3 years, have food you will eat.

On that same physiological needs level is clothing. I strongly suggest your prepper or survival clothing be things you wear, not store in the closet. I would also suggest that while camo is cool, it may not be the best depending on the circumstances. The clothes must meet the needs of fitting you (especially shoes) and the environment. No need for thermals and down jackets in Mexico City and probably not much of a need of cargo shorts in Alaska. I could go on for pages about clothing. You must decide what to wear from styles to cotton, wool. Blends. Thick or thing socks et al, just be sure they are appropriate for you and the environment.

Let’s talk about air. If you live near a factory, especially a chemical factory, or a railroad, you could have an immediate survival situation. All it takes is a plant blowing up as occurred near Houston Texas this fall, or a train derailing and spilling chlorine. You better have some form of air (gas mask, scuba tanks, fire fighter type oxygen tanks, I don’t care) and some way to protect your skin from chemicals. If you have not fitted yourself (and each member of our family) with air devices (and kids every quarter, they actually grow up) and some form of protective clothing there is no need to have 32 firearms and 15,000 rounds of ammo. Blistered skin or vomiting up your lungs will over ride the weapons (Safety) need.

One physiological need often overlooked is sleep. Since most of my readers will be men, I have a shock for you. You are not as good as you think you are. You cannot realistically go four days without sleep and still protect your family or be productive. The military proves it with Marines and Navy SEAL training by pushing bodies to their limits. If you are tired from not sleeping or only napping or sleeping uncomfortably (because you had the wrong clothes, in appropriate shelter or no security) you will make bad decisions. You may snap at your spouse about something trivial and 13 years later still be hearing about it, don’t ask me how I know. That would be the best result. A bad decision while driving, walking out of an area, where to stop, or who to argue with could be life ending. Make sure you prepare for how you are going to sleep.

I could continue on, but hopefully you will use the referenced article and this information to give you some guidance on what you should do when preparing for a negative life event.

Until we meet again, keep your booger hook off the bang switch until on target and ready to fire.