Being prepared, “prepping,” and you

Wait, wait! Hang on a second before you go. I know, if you’re like I was that as soon as you see anything that talks about “prepping” you immediately start picturing wild-eyed individuals who are stocking underground shelters, stockpiling ammunition and supplies, and just waiting for the day when the government/aliens/zombies come to end the world because, by guess and by God, THEY’RE going to be READY.

That’s not what I’m talking about, here. Trust me. Sorry, Discovery Channel, Histeria – I MEAN – “History” Channel, or whomever else may put out shows like that, there’s a lot more to prepping than that, which is a lot less extreme. What I am not going to cover today are things like whether or not you should concealed carry, how to barricade your home and make it impregnable to the people beating your doors down to get your supplies, or how to survive what is commonly called TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). What I want to have us consider today are the common sense things that all of us can do to prep – to be prepared for the events that can and do occur that can disrupt the “normal” lives we are all used to. I also intend to give some ideas of why I believe it’s a good idea to do so, and then let you, the reader, make your own call on the situation.

First of all, why? That’s the most common question? Why should I? After all, we live in an age of convenience. There are grocery stores, supermarkets and mega-marts within easy traveling distance of almost everyone these days. With that being the case, why bother? Well, let me give you these ideas to chew on and, while you do, remember that I chewed on them first, so this isn’t me preaching to you 🙂 I’m right there WITH you. 

  • Most people (myself included, for a very long time) have a habit of what is called “just in time” shopping. You need something, and you go to the store. Most stores stock their shelves the same way. In an emergency or a disaster, stores generally only have enough stock in the store to keep the store supplied for 2-3 days, and in most cases it is shown that the stores will empty long before that – especially of the essential items like water, canned goods and many perishable items (not to mention batteries and the like!). By prepping (i,e, having a pantry of food in your home) you can avoid being one of the panicked people rushing the stores when something happens. From my own experience, I have seen boil water advisories in our area empty the shelves of bottled water in a few hours. I’ve seen stores packed with people, elbow to elbow, getting food simply because a large winter storm was coming. I can’t imagine what it would be like if a serious disruption occurred.
  • Peace of mind comes with being prepared. Whether it’s being trained in first aid (see my previous post on the subject – yes that’s a plug!), or knowing that you have a supply of food and water in your home, each step of being prepared for the unexpected helps fight down the panic response that we are conditioned to feel by the media and 24 hour news networks every minute of every day. (This has, unfortunately, even translated to The Weather Channel, since they started naming winter storms; a practice which is not supported by the National Weather Service) When a storm is coming, or you suddenly find that there has been a disruption in some service you are used to, knowing you are prepared will help to keep you calm.
  • It makes sense, economically. The biggest crisis facing most people today is the economic downturn; loss of job, loss of livelihood. By slowly and surely building a stockpile of food in your home, you will have one less thing to worry about should you suddenly be out of work, be unable to work for a time, or have your hours cut. It also allows you to pick up items and store them while they are on sale, and then know that when the prices rise on those same items, you bought them for less and saved yourself money.

The next question is, “how?” There are as more “prepping” sites on the internet than you can shake a stick at, and they run the gamut from common sense, “take it slow” sites to the wild eyed “THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING!!!!” sites. Rather than regurgitate all of the information that is out there, let me give some suggestions that I, personally, found helpful:

  • “The Prepper’s Cookbook,” written by Tess Pennington. An excellent resource not only on prepping and building a pantry in general (as well as how to do it step by step, and why) but also how to store and preserve food, with recipes and other information. I highly recommend it.
  • www.theprepperjournal.com is an excellent site, in my opinion, and has many articles dealing with getting started, and how to do so sensibly
  • http://survivaljoe.net/blog/preparedness-tips-for-apartment-dwellers/

So there you have it. Remember, in every disaster, the day before was a normal, average day – just like today.

To close, I leave you with a quote from the old G.I. Joe cartoons – “Now you know – and knowing is half the battle!”

God bless today, my friend!