Preparedness refers to a set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters. Whether that means it's a personal disaster such as a job loss or a loved one's death, or a global event such as a meteor impacting earth. Preparedness also involves mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of a disaster to your daily routine such as having solar power and batteries in case the grid fails. With at least some electricity during an outage you reduce your dependency on others while somewhat going about your typical day. There's a lot to comprehend relating to preparedness so this should be your first section to read after this introduction.
"Preparedness refers to a set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters."
John sits in his beloved red couch, sipping a steaming hot cappuccino. His feet gently warmed by the fire as the pitter patter of snow falls outside. Flicking through the news channels he is taken aback by the category 5 hurricane disaster currently unfolding in Cuba. However he's glad that it's far from his home in Minnesota, blissfully thinking he can't get hurricanes here.
Angela, a prepper also in Minnesota, looks at the situation a little differently. She knows that there's always the chance of a disaster occurring no matter how small and actively take steps to reduce or negate the perceived potential effects of it to ensure her peace of mind and continued survival if the worst does happen.
She also sits in her comfy red couch, but instead knows that if the same, or a similar disaster occurred in her area she would be ready for it. She glances around her home at her larder full of long-life foods, her bug out bag and INCH bags ready to go. Glancing out her window she sees the emergency generator and fuel in her shed, the lake in the distance and the shadow of solar panels on her roof. Not only are preppers perpetually ready for any disaster with resources and supplies stocked up, but they actively try to further their knowledge through experience and practise. A good way to accomplish this is by researching disasters that have previously occurred in your area while looking for ways to mitigate any risks that occurred because of it.
Ask yourself why you want to prep. Is it to help protect and feed your family in times of disaster? Do you not like the way the world is headed? Do you want the peace of mind and knowledge that comes with being prepared? Do you not trust the current system or government in place? Or do you just want to be more self-reliant without being dependant on anyone else? Any of these reasons are perfect to get you started - as long as you have a goal in mind and a bit of spare cash.
Unfortunately many people today don't worry or care about disasters until they're right on the doorstep. They naively believe everything will be fine and that the shops will always be open. This lack of judgement is what causes panic buying and a lack of resources in the first place, because the majority of people who are unprepared do their regular shop, compounded by those who buy a few extra items and finally those who buy insane amounts of the staple ingredients stripping the shelves clean and attempting to become 'instant preppers'. The obvious difference with preppers is the timing of the purchases.
You can't expect to simply 'buy' your way into becoming a prepper. You'll be lacking all the essential skills required to make the best use of the gear and food you have. This type of individual will likely: fumble with their water filter, they'll have to read the instructions on their headlamp before they can use it, they'll make mistakes when bugging out and most importantly they won't know what to do when their resources run out.
Prepping is a choice that occurs before disaster
Prepping is a choice that occurs before disaster. They purchase supplies when a disaster is the furthest thing on peoples mind and the shops are stocked full of everything imaginable, not to mention they can wait to get items on sale to pay even less. However this doesn't stop those who are unprepared for a disaster labelling preppers as selfish hoarders when a disaster DOES occur. This is just spiteful jealousy talking as anyone has the opportunity to be a prepper, but most people choose to enjoy life in the moment rather than worry about the future and an event which 'might' not happen. The difference between these people is that preppers spend time, money and effort getting ready over many years with the knowledge that there will always be another disaster.
In a disaster, anyone who's unprepared, whether that's a family member, a friend or a stranger may even try to forcefully take what preppers owns if the situation gets bad enough, therefore the need to defend oneself with force (or the threat of force) if required. But keep in mind that they're still human and have families to feed, so some preppers take the time to create mini survival kits for friends, family and neighbors to help appease their utter unpreparedness in the moment.
In many ways non preppers are prepared for all sorts of situations. The only reason why someone would buy home and contents insurance or car insurance is the chance that it may burn down, be stolen or destroyed in any freak accident. The difference here is that preppers are insuring their own life by taking control back fromthe external entities such as the government and utility companies. Some other ways that the general population prepares is by buying food for the week or putting away spare money for emergencies. Preppers just take the everyday concepts of preparation and push the boundaries even further, such storing food for a year or converting their spare cash to gold and silver to use for bartering and as a hedge against inflation and economic crashes.
Another way to look at it is that we're only 3 meals away from anarchy. Three meals because generally shops only have a 3 days supply of food for their local populations, and if this runs out or there's a disaster, it puts a strain on any nearby shops who have to compensate for it. However during disasters this chain reaction keeps proliferating outwards until the desire for food or the ability to get to the shop drops.
For example if a major earthquake in central U.S.A. cuts off the roads between the east and west, shops won't be able to restock their supplies. In response people will start to panic, rushing down to the shops loading up their car with as much food and water as they can carry which will further destabilize the delicate "Just In Time" methodology of shop deliveries. As shops run out of essentials people will begin travelling further and further just to get a meal and eventually some of them will become violent over a can of food. This is exactly the situation preppers try to avoid by planning ahead and having food, water, medication, weapons and more on hand. We try to look ahead at all the possibilities for interruption to our daily routine and reduce dependencies to outside companies and organisations whether it's food, gas, fuel, electricity, internet or even entertainment.
People often cite a lack of money as a reason for being unprepared or unable to prep, this is largely inaccurate as you can slowly build a stockpile of food even if you buy 1 additional long life item per shopping trip. Due to the relative rarity of disasters you can achieve quite a large supply by doing this over many years... because eventually a disaster will hit your area. The only reason why you wouldn't be able to prep is if you have a debilitating health condition or you're living on the streets and don't have an income. Start a prepping fund or bank account and slowly put money into it to help pay for the resources you, and your family need to survive. The rest of this document will help you to get started on this journey and will guide you on the best purchases to make.
If you're getting started with prepping you might not have someone available to offer support and answer your questions when you become stuck or you aren't sure of how to proceed next. This is where the internet comes in. You can find endless knowledge on websites, YouTube, podcasts, blogs and so much more. To get started I recommend taking a look at YouTube, typing in any questions you have and getting answers instantly. If you want recommendations on channels and websites take a look at the MEDIA section in this guide where I outline a lot of the highest rated content producers for preparedness. It's not as fun to prep alone, so if you find yourself needing some interaction with other preppers try looking up some prepping forums or even better some prepping events and take a friend along. You should always be careful when meeting people on the internet, particularly when you prep because there's always the chance they're after your money, supplies or your life. Therefore prepping is a hushed kind of hobby - not because people will think you're crazy, but because all those who aren't prepared will come knocking down your door during a disaster if they (even family members) know you have food and supplies when they don't.
Prepping is best done in a family situation where everyone can learn and prep together which makes it so much more enjoyable. Unfortunately there's a lot of people who begin prepping without a spouse on their side, and some who are even against it. As much as they offer their reasoning for prepping, their partner simply can't see a plausible future in which the earth comes to a cataclysmic end. It's not their fault, everyone is different and has different priorities in life. One thing that is certain however, is that once a person has gone through a disaster without being prepared, they will absolutely be prepared from then on.
We're dependant on so many complex systems in our fragile society, most of which we forget even exist such as the on-time arrival of food trucks, the power grid, fuel trucks and gas stations, water purification grid and the garbage removal trucks. If you're prepping correctly you should be becoming less reliant on these government assets and more self-reliant every day. If the water system fails you should have a way to acquire water from the surrounds or have it stored up in your house. If the rubbish trucks stop coming you should either be consuming a small amount of waste or have a way to deal with it hygienically to avoid illnesses.
It only takes the threat of losing something
for people to panic buy everything
I challenge you to begin prepping today if you aren't already, because the more people that are prepared - the less panic and chaos there will be during disasters. Not only will you be able to sustain yourself and your family through periods of hardship but the peace of mind is unbelievable as you know that you'll have a hot meal no matter the circumstances.
For the next part in this series, head to: Essentials
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