Dane Ronnow


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Be Prepared

Being prepared is
just common sense.

I learned it as a
Boy Scout. Building
a fire and cooking
over it,
finding my
way with a map and
compass, splinting a
fractured bone or
doing CPR...

Knowing that kind
of stuff is cool. And
when the chips are
down, it can make a
huge difference.


It can be a simple as having a flashlight handy when a storm knocks out the power, or as extensive as having a one-year supply of food, drinking water, medical supplies and methods to cook. The extent to which you prepare depends on what you think you may lose — electricity, the availability of food and water, the ability to cook, and, in severe circumstances, shelter — and the length of time you'll be without it.

"Thank God we were prepared."

That was the comment from a woman as she surveyed the remains of her home and dozens of others in her neighborhood after a tornado blew through on April 3, 2012. She, her husband, and their kids had taken shelter just minutes before the twister hit. When they emerged 10 minutes later, the entire neighborhood had been reduced to a pile of debris.

"We had food, water, clothes, diapers, a Coleman stove for cooking, first aid supplies, tarps, all stored in our shelter."

There are many stories like this woman's. And not just from the Dallas/Ft. Worth tornado. In the last five years alone there have been dozens of storm systems that have spawned hundreds of tornados, some of them leveling thousands of homes and businesses. Hurricanes such as Katrina, Ike, Irene and Sandy — which together caused billions of dollars in damage — displaced hundreds of thousands of people. And countless power outages have left tens of millions of people in the dark.

More remarkable to me than the stories of those who prepared, are the millions who didn't. For every story of someone who weathered a storm with supplies they had on hand, there are hundreds of those who stood in long lines for a bottle of water or a sandwich only to find there were none left when it came their turn.

The same story plays out in grocery stores, where shelves are cleaned out within hours at most, but more likely within 20 or 30 minutes of an outage or serious storm. And then those stores become scenes of mob violence.

Being prepared isn't just about the end of the world as we know it — a topic that gained momentum as we approached December 21, 2012, a date that many people thought marked the end of the world. Catastrophic global events — solar flares, electro-magnetic pulse and man-made disasters such as a global economic collapse or anti-government riots that turn into full-blown anarchy — became the focus of people that came to be known as preppers. Stockpiling food, water, medical supplies, guns and ammo, even radiation and chemical resistant suits and gas masks, preppers made their plans to survive the most extreme conditions imaginable.

The fact is, we live in an uncertain world, and the most common threats are natural disasters: tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, record-breaking snow storms and heat waves. Any of these have the potential to leave victims without food, water, shelter and access to medical services, as surely as the global events mentioned above. Natural disasters happen with alarming frequency in every area of the globe.

With that in mind, being prepared is a common-sense state of mind that begins with having a flashlight, a first aid kit, and enough food and water to last a minimum of two weeks (depending on the situation, four weeks might be more realistic). From there, your preparedness plan can grow to meet whatever emergencies you think you might experience.

Imagine the possibilities and prepare for them. It's that simple.

And it doesn't have to cost a fortune.

These pages will give you information to get your started, or supplement what you already know about being prepared. Links are provided to web sites that specialize in areas I don't, whether for products or skills.

My emphasis is learning quickly and effectively what you need to know, equipping yourself at an absolute minimum of cost, and doing so at a pace that won't overwhelm whatever else is going on in your life.

So whether you jump in with both feet and go hog-wild on this, or do a little bit each week and slowly accumulate what you need, the goal simply is to become prepared, then improve your preparedness as time goes on.

By the way, the Boy Scouts taught me the basics. Being a Boy Scout was one of the most enjoyable times in my life, certainly the most challenging and one of the most rewarding. One of the best things about scouting was camping and all that comes with it. If you don't camp or backpack, I recommend it as a means of developing and honing your outdoor skills. There's nothing you'll do that won't come in handy when the chips are down, and, once you get used to the rigors of it all, you'll love it.

And if you've got kids, get them into scouting. They won't just be prepared; they'll become model citizens. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, go to Resources.

Thanks for stopping by. I sincerely hope I'm able to help you learn the skills you need, and acquire whatever gear might be necessary to allow you to take care of yourself, your friends and family, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. It can be a rewarding experience. It will certainly leave you more confident.

Stop back by any time. And drop me a line. I'd like to hear from you.


— Dane Ronnow



This is my dad, Chris Ronnow (1915-1987). He knew how to rough it.


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