Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Being a Prepper - Don't Laugh Too Hard

Modern day survivalists, known as preppers, get a lot of heat for the lifestyle they choose. I mean, who really needs a year supply of food or so many extra batteries?  And why do you need so many flashlights and candles?  What's with the water barrels?  Afraid your water is going to get shut off?

I've heard it all when it comes to being prepared. From some come scoffs and laughter over taking the time to store up just a little more than you need. From others come the "Oh yeah, that's a good idea," and that's about as far as that goes. Then from others comes the "tell me more" conversation.  That's what I want to address today.

It's been awhile since I have had any good ideas for my entries. Most have simply been reviews of some pieces of gear here and there or just me talking about random stuff. However, in light of recent events, it seems it is a good idea to start up the conversation of emergency preparedness once again because right now, there are people who are suffering big time due to Hurricane Sandy.

I have taken a bit of an interest in actually listening to the news as of late because of the reports of devestation, and the potential for more, due to Hurricane Sandy, which at the moment is pounding the East Coast. Notably speaking, it is pounding New York and parts of new Jersey. As water swells its way into lower Manhattan, floods the subways, which has probably killed hundreds of homeless people we'll never know about, emergency shelters have been set up, and hotels have been filled to the lobbies because people have nowhere else to go. One thing I found of interest was that a hotel manager said they were already out of food.  Another report showed a picture of a grocery store. The bread aisle had been completely cleaned out. If you were one of the unlucky ones who got to the store a little too late, you're in deep shit.

In a past blog entry of mine, entitled Should I Stay or Should I Go, I addressed the need to evaluate your personal situation, and look at the area you live in order to be prepared for certain continencies. The people in the Northeast likely aren't as prepared for a hurricane as someone who lives in Florida. Due to the culture of New England, chances are that many people aren't prepared simply because many have this idea that the government will help, or that it won't happen to them.  I call it denial.  Many people, no matter where you happen to be, live in denial everyday.  It's a defense mechanism against the idea that they might not be able to control their situation, and they may be hurt or worse.  It's much easier to go about living your life if you do not have to worry about what could happen down the road.

Not only will denial get yourself killed, it will get other people killed.  When the crap hits the fan, people tend to get desperate.  Reference my blog entry on Civility Breakdown and Total Anarchy.  When your own neighbors live in denial for so many years, it can put a strain on you and your family because you have taken the time, invested the money, and have learned the tricks needed to survive in less than ideal circumstances.

In past entries, I focused primarily on the Bug Out Bag.  In fact, I dedicated an entire series to talk about all facets of it.  From water purification, food, medical supplies, etc, I spent a good deal of time putting together entries that would help anyone who wanted to learn about how to assemble a 72 hour kit without any prior knowledge. Just search "bug out bag" in the search bar above, and you'll find everything I wrote on the matter.

As my creative energy begins to rekindle, I think it is an appropriate time to address prepping for most anything that might come your way, not from the perspective of a hard core survivalist, but from a guy who has been through enough "rainy days" - so to speak.  My goal isn't to convince to to sell all your belongings and move the middle of the Rocky Mountains to live solely off what you grow or kill.  I don't prep that way.  Some view preppers as folks who have 10+ acre farms out in the country and have a root cellar full of goods and closets full of supplies.  You'd be correct.  But not all folks can, or choose to live like that.  I'm no farmer.  I certainly don't have the resources to plow 20 acres to drop seed and wait an entire summer to feed myself and my family.  If you are, and do, then more power to you.  But most people in this world live and work in cities.  A good portion of those folks live in suburban neighborhoods and drive 10+ miles to work everyday.  Do we just abandon them and say "well, if you don't have a bunker in the hills loaded with supplies, then kick rocks?"

Chances are that the hard core solo preppers are going to find themselves overrun when desperate people start knocking at their doors in droves.  The best chance you have at survival is to form a community where everyone has a skill set, supplies, and the big picture in mind.  But let's be honest.  How many of you actually know all your neighbors?  Yeah.

Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't plan for the worst contingencies or try to buy land far away from the city.  No.  I'd love the opportunity to live in small town, far away from major population centers.  But it's not for survivalist reasons.  I just like rural areas where the population density is small enough that you know many of your neighbors and actually rely on one another instead of just going to Wal Mart or whatever.  There's something to be said about small town life that I can really appreciate.  I digress.

Being prepared doesn't mean a complete lifestyle change.  It's about taking little steps to insure your safety.  It's not a government program and it's not about sitting down and waiting for someone else to help you.  It's about empowering yourself.  Preparedness is a mindset more than anything.  It's not about having the most expensive toys or the latest gear.  It's about getting yourself into a position that will allow you to overcome adversity and keep your family safe.

Emergency preparedness is about survival. It's knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake or hurricane, or any other natural disaster.  It's about knowing how to administer first aid to a choking victim or providing life saving CPR until paramedics can arrive.  It's about staying fed when food supplies run out and staying hydrated when the water becomes contaminated.  Think it won't happen to you?  Think again.  There are many people on the east coast right now who didn't think it would happen to them either.

I've been through a few earthquakes.  I've seen my fair share of power outages.  I've witnessed car accidents.  I've lived through floods.  I've seen first hand the power of water and what it can do.  I know what it's like to have to boil my water before drinking it.  Living out in the unforgiving Pacific Northwest for so many years has exposed me to many types of natural disasters.  All of my experiences have helped me learn the skills needed to get through the very crucial first 72 hours of any catastrophe, and has taught me what works and what doesn't.

Nowadays, I'm living somewhere else, but that doesn't mean the lessons don't apply.  Rain is still rain, snow is still snow, ice is still ice, and flooding is still flooding.  Some things have changed that I will really have to adapt to (living in the desert vs the rain forest), but the overriding need to be prepared turns those new challenges into opportunities to continue learning and honing my skills, as well as developing new networks of people, suppliers, and other mediums.

Over the next few weeks (perhaps months), I will dedicate a series of blog entries for those interested in prepping, but who may not have a ton of resources.  No, I will not be digging a bunker in the back of my rental house, and will not be harvesting plants for medicinal purposes.  As I said before.  Most people live in cities or in suburbs.  I'm no different.  My job is in the city.  So I will focus my efforts on the urbanite, or suburbanite prepping methods that I have used, and as I adapt my techniques to my new location, I will bring those to the forefront.  It is my opinion that if we can get as many suburban and urband dwellers prepared, the need to use guns to defend our supplies will be diminished.

I have already taken some pictures of this new food storage system that my wife and I are trying out.  After I have collected some really good data, I will include that because food and water are your most critical assets.  Without it, all the batteries and toilet paper in the world won't matter.  Stay tuned.


1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to this series very much James. You are very lucky that you have a wife that supports you on this. Mine can't seem to be bothered. You are 100% correct about neighbors. Sharing responsibilities is the only way to go.