When general people think of prepping, it is often associated with people on the fringe of society that many consider “fringe.” Popular television shows like Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Castle on National Geographic Channel often help contribute to this stereotype. However, that stigma is really preventing the rational thinkers among us from considering the practical purpose being prepared serves.
I’m not a boy scout. I don’t think the world will end tomorrow. I live my life normally like everyone else. I take precautions like locking my car door when I go to the store to minimize the chance somebody will steal it. I pay my bills on time so it won’t impact my credit in case I need to open a new credit application. I make sure I have proof on insurance and my vehicle registration in case I get stopped by the police. I make sure to wear my seat belt to (hopefully) minimize the injury caused if I were to be in a collision. Of course all these normal things I do on a daily basis are all predicated on an uncertain future but I choose to do things to hedge my bets should un-foreseen events take place. I don’t expect my house to burn down, but I certainly pay for insurance just in case.
Prepping is the same idea. It’s like insurance for future events, whatever those may be. On Doomsday Preppers for example, the people profiled are always preparing for one specific event, such as biological attack, super volcano eruption or zombie apocalypse. I see this logic as flawed. I don’t prepare for one event, I prepare for any event.
It doesn’t matter what event transpires, I know I’ll be prepared for it. I break down different potential scenarios into 3 main categories: short-term, mid-term and catastrophic. The types of preparations for each category also very quite differently.
Temporary interruption of normal life activities. Maybe you lose power for a day or two. Maybe a really bad snowstorm hits and roads are impassible, or there’s a flood that leaves me stranded at work. These events are all temporary in nature, with possible temporary interruptions in public services like power, water and sewer.
The types of preps I include for short-term situations would be food and water to last several days, flashlights, extra batteries, a change of clothes and shoes in my car, weather-appropriate gear and a bug-out bag in my car. So we lose power for a day or two, big deal. I have a book, a flashlight and plenty of supplies to not be worried and would only be slightly inconvenienced.
Longer duration interruption of daily life with possible short-term utility interruption. I would include a tropical storm, tornadoes, job loss, moderate flooding, terrorist panic or anything else that has effects that last a week or more. Maybe power and water service are interrupted, maybe not. The rest of the country (and world) are fine, as the effects of this disaster are localized to a particular geographic area or to your family specifically.
In addition to the short-term preps, I include having a larger stock of food and water, DC to AC power inverter to allow using devices with standard AC plugs by connecting the device to a car battery and medical supplies to treat minor to moderate injuries. I also have firearms for home protection and short-wave radios for communication with friends and family if I had to leave the house. Things like tape, tarps and candles can come in handy if utilities are disrupted for longer than a week. I also include a propane grill as well as various other cooking utilities that operate independently to allow me to make hot, delicious meals.
Catastrophic event would seriously impact daily life and standard utilities, making travel and procurement of supplies extremely difficult if not impossible. Events could include: super volcano eruption, massive hurricane, widespread flooding, collapse of local government, large-scale rioting, foreign invasion, infections pandemic. People in a large geographic area are impacted, with the event lasting more than a week or two. Local governments are overwhelmed or otherwise unable to respond to the crisis. People are panicking. Looting and vandalism are prevalent as are crimes against people an property.
These types of events are un-likely to happen, and can involve quite a bit of potential supplies. I try to augment my Mid-Term preps for the catastrophic event by including more specialized medical supplies, much heavier outerwear to deal with possible extreme weather conditions, concealable body armor and a few locations within walking distance that have greater access to resources. Obviously these catastrophic events are difficult if not impossible to completely shield yourself from the effects, but having some basic, more specialized supplies make dealing with the after-effects easier.
I have managed to prioritize my preparations by beginning with the short term contingencies and working my way up to catastrophic. It has taken a while, but I know that whether I’m at home or away in the car, there isn’t anything that could happen where I didn’t have the supplies and forethought to handle. Not just for me, but for my family and even strangers.
Prepping isn’t about being selfish, it’s about being prepared. Part of being prepared is examining your mental composure and anticipating the potential aftermath. I don’t want to feel helpless if myself or anyone around me is placed in a bad situation. I try to carry extra of everything to help those who didn’t have the hindsight nor the initiative to prepare for whatever situation they’re placed in.
At the end of the day, I am a normal person. A normal person with an extra insurance policy: self insured. I know that no matter what happens, I’m ready. Anywhere, anytime. Hopefully I’ll never have to use my preps, but I can guarantee you that if something did happen, I won’t be the one in the grocery store at 11:30 PM fighting over the last gallon of water and a loaf of bread.