The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life
For those of us who find nature to be both aesthetically beautiful and life-sustaining.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So, You Want to Be a Prepper? How To Decide What You Should Be Preparing For

Preparing for disasters, emergencies and catastrophic events that "end the world as we know it" is a philosophy and lifestyle that is slowly becoming more mainstream and gaining in popularity. So, you've been reading the world news in the newspaper, watching the survivor shows, looking over prepper blogs and have decided that maybe it's a good idea to delve into this prepping world a little more seriously. You may have thought when you first heard the term "the end of the world as we know it" that this was extreme thinking and categorized all preppers as just a little odd. But, what you didn't know is that "the end of the world as we know it" is not only possible, but highly likely.

The term doesn't always mean the Apocalypse or complete devastation of mankind. Although none of us can know for certain that things will ever be that dark in our lifetime, what we can know is that our odds of our current state of circumstances (the world as you know it) are at risk of change on any given day. Any traumatic change in your circumstance can equate to "the end of the world AS you know it." 

While prepping is gaining mainstream steam and popularity, it is producing a wide array of philosophies, beliefs and opinions and a phenomenal amount of information available in all types of media. This can be overwhelming to someone new to the idea as well as to a seasoned prepper. Here is a list of just "some" of the things that people prepare for:

Political Collapse
Electromagnet Pulse (EMP)
Economic Collapse
Job Loss
Severe Weather
Death, Divorce, Illness, disability and Health Issues
Natural Disasters
Man-Made Disasters
Civil Unrest
Nuclear Attacks
Power Outages
Water Shortages

Again, that is not an all-inclusive list. But, it gives you an idea of how many things could go wrong. And, don't forget the possibility of a combination of the above list which is which is also a possibility.  For example, Hurricane Katrina is frequently cited as an example of how a natural disaster came together to meet up with a man-made structural disaster to culminate in riots, civil unrest, water shortages, power outages and many more devastating problems.

Another example of a possible scenario that affects multiple categories from the above list is also from our history. In 1918, an H1N1 flu spread like wildfire throughout the world. The epicenter was eventually pegged as a town in Kansas where soldiers were stationed. The soldiers likely spread the virus back to the states from travel abroad and from living in very close confinement together. That pandemic killed as many as 100 million people around the globe. Now, almost 100 years later, we are even more globally connected than ever before. The current increased travel and modern, global interconnection makes the entire world extremely vulnerable to pandemics and we would lose a lot more lives today than what we did then.There are more of us today as populations have exploded in the last 100 years and we are more connected and living in closer quarters globally to each other. One epicenter can globally infect the entire world. There is a huge risk from bio-terrorism as well. But, a pandemic would cripple our economy as no one could or would go to work. Trucks would not be able to transport food and supplies. The shelves would all be empty in stores in 2-3 days at best. And, eventually, if long-term enough, this scenario could domino into an economic collapse and then obviously you would no longer have electricity or a McDonald's to go to.

So, the question that arises time and time again is "how do I decide what I should be preparing for?"

First, get together with your family or your like-minded friends or your group and create a "priority list." Prioritize all of the emergencies, disasters and catastrophic events that you, as a group, believe are the most likely scenarios. The idea is to eventually be prepared for whatever tomorrow may bring. But, when you are starting out it is best to confine your philosophy to one or two areas so that you can keep your focus and begin prepping. Once you are feeling amply prepared in one category, you can begin to move through the other ones as well. 

Meet regularly with your group and evaluate the current state of circumstances again. Remember to keep your list fluid, because things change and as things change, you need to be able to improvise and adapt. It's a good idea to re-order your list as circumstances dictate. Next, you might consider placing different people in charge of different duties. Part of meeting to re-evaluate your list, is to discuss the changing state of things. So, your team needs to follow the world news, national news, local news, weather alerts, world economy, national economy and local economy, online CDC (Center's For Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) research and anything else that you can think of as a group. 

Once you've determined your priorities, begin preparing three lists. One list of the "absolutely necessary" items, one list of the "it would be a good idea to have" items and one list of the "you'd really like to have" items and begin prepping. You might label the lists "Alive," "Survive" and "Thrive," or you can label them however your group decides. 

Having an idea of your group's philosophies on the most likely scenario, gives your group a direction of travel, a vision and a mission. Prepping is wise even if all that you are preparing for is for the possibility of losing your job or having a health issue. As always, continue to read, research, plan and prepare.
Prepping is going mainstream for a reason. Because being prepared utilizes our higher end thinking capacity, we know that it is something we should be doing. The ability that we, as humans, have to plan ahead and imagine "what ifs" has protected us and kept us out of harm's way for eons. If you've ever played Chess, Stratego or even Battleship, you've used these thinking skills. The ability to imagine that bad "stuff"  happens and that it's possible that "this stuff" could happen to you and then having a plan in place is part of being human. Survival skills and a survival mindset will naturally lead you to preparing in terms of both skills and supplies. We can hope for the best as we prepare for the worst and we can live happily in the now knowing that we're prepared....just in case. 

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