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Friday, March 20, 2015

Normalizing Prepping

& is used with permission.
It's been my experience that a lot of non-preppers look at us like we're crazy... or at least foolish. Since we preppers want to normalize prepping (If everyone is prepared for a disaster, then no one will be hurt or go hungry when one happens!), I asked a non-prepper friend to ask me a handful of questions to help her understand why I do what I do. She agreed, and this is what happened.


What made you specifically get into prepping?

A number of factors:
  1. I live in a state where hurricanes regularly cause evacuations, so prepping for them seems just as natural as wearing my seatbelt when I drive my car. 
  2. When you think about it, everyone preps: Smoke alarms are preps against fire. Car insurance is a prep against an accident. Health insurance is... you get the idea. 
  3. All the men in my family are Eagle Scouts, so it's in my blood. And the Boy Scouts say "Be Prepared" and society looks at the BSA as a good thing, so why is it bad for me to take it to the next level?
  4. It gives me something constructive to do instead of worrying. Proactive preparedness is healthier, both mentally and physically, than reactive worry. 
  5. Besides, it's really cool to have just the tool or medicine or solution that someone needs. It's a rockstar moment for me to go "Hey, don't worry, I have just the thing for that in my bag."

Do you really think all this apocalypse talk is real?

Do I think some folks really believe the world will end? Sure. 

But what I think you're asking is, "Do you believe an apocalypse will happen?" And that invites the question of "Well, that depends on what you mean by an apocalypse." I don't think that there's going to be an ebola pandemic, or that the poles will catastrophically shift. 

However, I do think it's possible that some nasty stuff can happen. An electromagnetic pulse, either caused by the sun or by a rogue nation detonating a nuke in our upper atmosphere, is possible if unlikely. The New Madrid fault could go live and mess up the country's infrastructure. 

There are also some disasters that could happen because they've happened before, and if they do there's really nothing we as a species can do about it:
So yes, I do think an apocalypse is plausible. I don't spend my time worrying about it, though, because 
  1. It's unlikely
  2. If it happens, I'll likely die immediately. 

Where do you think the safest place to go is if there's an emergency? 

The safest place to go in an emergency is wherever there isn't an emergency. I know that sounds flippant, but it's true, and that's a very open question. 

A more specific answer requires a more specific question. Sometimes it's best to get out of town (such as with natural disasters); sometimes it's best to shelter in your house (such as with disease or loss of infrastructure.) This is something you'll need to answer on a case by case basis, as you gain experience with prepping.


How are you different than those crazy people I see on TV with their escape routes and underground bunkers?

For starters, I'm not crazy.  I can't speculate as to the TV folks' mental state (Doomsday Preppers is a show that makes everyone look bad), but I can tell you that I've had my background checked multiple times, both at the state and federal level, and nothing jumped out at them to have them say "Hey, this chick is crazy."

I don't think it's crazy to have an escape route, though. Again, I live in a place where natural disasters happen -- back in 1998, the state was so dry that during the summer every county but one (the Keys) was burning from a wildfire. My family and I escaped the fire by knowing where to go. So why is it crazy to have an escape route?

"Underground bunkers."  I have friends in the Great Plains states (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, etc) who have underground shelters where they can ride out a tornado and store their survival gear. These locations are called "basements" and are commonly built for houses in that part of the country. 

Now, if you want to make the differentiation between a basement and a $50,000+ bomb shelter for long term habitation -- yeah, that's kinda crazy in the "fiscally irresponsible" sense. But what does it hurt you for them to have one?


Let's say I'm interested in getting started, but on a very small level, like preparing for an emergency situation and not a SHTF kind of thing. What are your top three things you think I should do?

Look at you, using "SHTF" like a prepper!
  1. Realize that emergencies can be personal rather than catastrophic: losing your job, having your house burn down, getting in an accident or contracting a long-term illness can be just as devastating. Get that part of your life in order first. 
  2. Prepare for the most likely disaster first:  an earthquake if you live in California, a hurricane if you live in an Atlantic or Gulf state, a tornado in the midwest, an ice storm in a state with bad winters, etc. 
  3. Read David Blackard's posts on this blog. He started off with having no preps, worked his way up to having 72 hours of supplies, and is now working on longer-term preps. 

I invite any non-prepper reading this blog to ask me further questions; I'm happy to answer them. I also invite my prepper readers to share why they got into prepping. 

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