I write the way that I think. For good or for bad, I think in technical terms. I like clearly laid-out instructions and I like to read technical manuals. I get a kick of knowing how stuff works even if I don’t have any practical or plausible need to know.

My wife tells me that’s pretty much how I’ve written most of the posts here: Like an instruction manual. Today, she reminded me that blogging is, at its foundation, based on personality. I, for better or worse, don’t tend to write that way, but I’m trying to put at least one personal post per week. After all, I do that every day on Twitter, right? No reason to not do it here, too.

To tell the truth, I am more of a behind-the-scenes guy. I’m a little uncomfortable being front and center, and would rather be getting things done than talk about getting them done. That’s kind of funny, though, since I want to get into Emergency and Disaster Management. That’s more of a “talking about” field, as opposed to being a first responder (Police, Fire, EMS). I know, goofy, right?

I really hope that this blog and website turn into a conversation, with readers talking back to me and me responding to them. I am smart enough to know that I really know only a little bit about this emergency preparedness stuff. The field is wide and deep, and covers a whole lot of different demographics. My goal is to make this useful for the everyman, especially those who are in similar circumstances to my own.

I currently have six people in my household: My wife, my best friend, myself, my wife’s just-turned-adult daughter, my wife’s teen son, and my wife ’s and my almost-teen daughter. On top of that, we have two dogs that keep us company. We live in a small single-family home, in the middle of town, in the third largest city in the state. People would look at me really funny if I tried to install a 6000 gallon water tank on the property in which we live… Assuming that I was able to talk the wife and my friend (who owns the house) into it! I just don’t see that happening, regardless of whether or not the city would allow it.

I don’t have the room to store hundreds of #10 cans of dried food. They measure about 6 inches by 7 inches, and a years’ supply of cans for 6 people who like to eat comes out to about 168 cans per person. Total storage area, not counting shelving and rotation system? 252,000 cubic inches, or 21,000 cubic feet! Again, that even assumes that I could talk my family into switching our diet to that in order to adequately rotate the stock, which I have been told (in no uncertain terms) “just ain’t happenin’!” Oh, and the cost? About $16,000 total, if purchased all at one time from Emergency Essentials. There may be other, less expensive places or ways to buy food this way, but this is the one that I am familiar with.

I also don’t have room to store a whole lot of water. It takes up a lot of space, about 12 cubic feet per 55 gallon barrel. Assuming that everybody only uses the minimum suggested by FEMA at their Ready.gov site, that’s one gallon per person, per day, plus an extra gallon for the dogs together. So, 7 gallons for three days is 21 gallons. Assuming reality sets in and people use more than their allotted one gallon per day, I would store at least 2 gallons per person, per day. That gives me about one 55 gallon barrel for the family for every three days. I’m something of a pessimist (or is that realist? I dunno), so I want to plan for at least a full week. 7 days by 14 gallons is 98, so I could probably get by relatively well with only two barrels. Still, there is not a lot of usable room in the basement, but I might be able to finagle them in.

On top of that, we are planning on moving in the next 3-4 years, to a new city and probably into a smaller space (not sure the older two kids will stay in the same unit with us). Sure, I’d love to have enough supplies to survive in a Mad Max world, but that’s just an idle fantasy. I need to base my preparations in actual reality.

I guess that what this is all saying is that I am looking at this whole disaster preparedness thing from perspective of an urban family man, rather than a homesteader with cows, chickens, goats, and acres of land to raise farm crops.

I hope that you join me as I explore the whole preparedness thing for the average guy, as we talk, learn, and laugh together. There is strength in being able to take care of yourself.