Prepping: Thoughts for Beginners and Skeptics

First off, I’d like to are you for the opportunity to write a guest piece for Prep On A Dime. In honor of National Preparedness Month, I thought it would be a good idea to write about some of the basics of being prepared, also known as prepping. Having a “month” for something usually brings some awareness to those who had never looked into a subject before. When one is just beginning to learn about prepping, it can become quite overwhelming very quickly. I hope this will help guide you to a good starting point for your goals.
The first thing everyone should think about when beginning in prepping is the basics: food, water, and shelter. For any scenario, those are the first things you typically need to think about. Why? Those are the basics to stay alive. Staying alive is the whole premise in prepping. As you move forward from those things, you have to ask yourself what kind of scenarios are you preparing for. What I mean by this is, if you are preparing for a potential localized natural disaster such as an earthquake or perhaps flash flooding, the amount of food storage needed, for example, is going to be much different than if you are preparing for a longer term scenario such as massive financial collapse or electromagnetic pulse.
If you are new to this, talking about major long-term scenarios might make you think that it is just the ramblings of fear mongering, profit-seeking people. I would have to disagree. Prepping is not only about TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) scenarios. It has to do with being prepared for even small disasters. I mentioned earthquakes and flash flooding earlier. Does your home experience these things? What about wildfires? Floods? Blizzards? Hurricanes? There are all kinds of natural disasters that almost no place in the U.S. is safe from.
I live in Colorado where our summers are synonymous with either fires or floods. There have been whole towns isolated for periods of time from flooding. Cut off from the usual transportation supply chain. Will you be able to get to a store for food or other supplies? Eventually, the grocery store won’t have the items you want. The town is isolated…meaning that the food truck won’t be getting in either. Are you willing to let your family wait for who knows how long for the next meal? I recall the National Guard flying in supplies by helicopter. You have to wonder, though, the normal supply chain to keep a town of about 75,000 people fed is more than several helicopter loads. Also, if the ominous weather that caused the problem in the first place is still happening, will government support be able to get to everyone in a timely manner? What if it is more widespread than only one town? Will the resources being utilized be enough?
Flooding also creates problems with the water. Boil warnings usually come with flooding. What if you don’t have electricity or fuel for a fire? Water filtration becomes a key asset. How many people die around the world each year due to poor water quality? Don’t be so naive to think it doesn’t happen in the U.S. during natural disasters.
In the winters we have blizzards. People get stranded in vehicles every single winter. Sometimes for days before the plows make it to whatever off-the-beaten-path road they were traveling on. Do you always have a store of food and water in your car for this type of scenario? Do you have extra clothing layers or blankets? Even large cities such as New York City have dealt with these same issues. It’s not always some unfortunate person on a back country road.
As you can see, I keep relating all of these situations back to the basics. It’s the lack of basics that ends up being the surprise ending for many each year. I am normally a fiction author but relating it to real life events with real people such as family and friends is no different than when I come up with the scenarios with my fictional characters. Depending on each disaster scenario, you have to ask yourself a few questions. What things do I need to survive this situation? How much do I need? Can I stay here or should I go somewhere else? If I go somewhere else, what other items might we need?
Asking yourself these questions and researching them online will usually lead you to what is known as a ‘go-bag’. There are other names that it can be known as but they are all talking about the same thing. A ‘go-bag’ could be used to get home or it can be used to get to a safer location. Typical things that can be found in a go-bag are several days supply of food & water, weapons, printed pictures of family/people in your party, first-aid kit, cash, camping supplies, fire starter, water filtration..etc. The lists people come up with are basically endless. The items that go into your go-bag will also depend on your goals. I personally always have some of these items kept in all of my vehicles. Any prepper will also tell you that they always want more.
The next thing I think is good to discuss is the major events. This subject can often make people think that we who consider these things as a possibility are just crazy and paranoid. You have to remember, our own government considers a lot of these major scenarios as a possibility and they also prepare for them. One of the top places that underground long-term survival bunkers are built is in the Washington D.C. area. There are congressional committees for many major disaster scenarios. EMP (electromagnetic pulse), a war on home front territory, major financial collapse..etc. Major disaster planning typically involves having a place to stay long-term. The place is usually isolated and securable. There should be plenty of food and a water source. Planned and practiced security is typically considered a necessity. Long-term planning also involves learning skills that aren’t typical in our daily lives anymore. Books on living off of the land and homesteading can be great resources to have for long term survival and planning. As with a go-bag’s list being endless, the list for long term planning is just as endless.
In my own novel, I have a more major scenario take place. I researched quite a bit of history, that is recent history, to help make things more realistic. The horrors people had to deal with during World War II and some of the other more recent wars wasn’t all that long ago in the grand scheme of things. Within the last decade, there have been people around the world that have had to deal with some of these scenarios (except EMP – I am unaware of any country having to deal with this problem yet). The fact you might be asking these questions has put you a step ahead of the majority of people in this country.
Whether it was questions about minor or major scenarios that brought you here, I hope I have helped guide you to a good starting point. Perhaps some of my questions posed are the first you’ve ever thought of any of this. Or, perhaps you’ve thought of these things many times but have never considered where to start. Either way, I hope you have a decent starting point. This website, Prep On A Dime, has a good online store to begin looking into things you may want to better prepare your family. Education is also a wonderful asset when it comes to being prepared. Always discuss and plan with those that you love so everyone is on the same page.
Remember, even the most advanced of any civilization throughout all written history cannot escape natural disasters. It’s about having a plan and being prepared for the next step after the disaster hits.
Brian Delaney is the author of the dystopian fiction novel, ‘From Within’. The novel has spent most of its published life on Amazon’s Hot New Release Top 100 Best-Seller list in the Dystopian genre. You can find it at www.amazon.com/author/briandelaney  On sale Thurs. Sept 1st through Sun. morning Sept 4th.
Stay connected with Brian on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorbriandelaney and on Twitter: @authorBDelaney

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