Why should you "Prepare?"
What does that word mean, anyway. A lot of negative connotations have
been attached to the concept in the past. It used to be called Survivalism.
Survivalism has its roots in the cold war. People all over the country
built shelters to protect their families from fallout. The Federal government
encouraged these activities as a part of civil defense.
Nuclear war or the The End Of The World
As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) are not the only reasons to prepare, however.
Other, smaller, everyday reasons exist to prepare. Let's look at these:
(Click on the Bullet Point to read more)
This is likely the most frequent emergency for which to prepare, and can
be the cause of other related emergencies, like power outages, wildfire,
and vehicle breakdowns. Heavy snow can block roads, causing you to be
stranded in your vehicle or in your home. Even when the snow is not local,
it can cause issues. For example, in 2008, the Colorado Rockies were slammed
by a series of winter storms right after the Thanksgiving holiday, closing
mountain passes for several days. Since all of the food for Colorado's
grocery stores is trucked from warehouses in Denver, and grocery stores
no longer stock more than about three days worth of product, AND those
stores had low stocks anyway, thanks to increase grocery buying for the
holiday, many shelves in Western Colorado grew bare. If you didn't have
your own storage pantry, and instead relied on stopping by the store every
day or two, you'd be in bad shape. Especially if the storms would have
lasted several days more. Hurricanes can cause widespread devastation.
People faced hunger and, especially, dehydration. And those who tried
to go to shelters were worse off. The Superdome was designed to handle
significantly less people than actually showed up looking for refuge.
Joining the crowd is definitely not the way to go.
After an earthquake, emergency services are going to be stretched to the
limit. You better know how to take care of yourself, because it could
be several days before help arrives. A serious earthquake could disrupt
services long-term as well. Electrical and gas, water and sewer, could
all be unavailable for days or weeks. A store of food and fresh water,
means to cook, as well as alternative heating and lighting could save
your life. If the earthquake damage is widespread, shelters will be full,
and supplies short.
- Power Outages
This can happen on its own, and last an evening, or it can result from
another emergency, such as adverse weather or an earthquake, and it may
last weeks. Depending on the time of year, a power loss can be a greater
emergency that others. In winter, you are faced with keeping warm without
your thermostat, and in the summer, there is a chance of dehydration and
heat stroke, without air conditioning. Power outages also help determine
your storage supplies. Without electricity, frozen foods will not last.
- Disease Outbreak
Diseases are all around us and can produce a serious epidemic or even
a pandemic. Diseases like influenza, West Nile, bubonic plague, and Hanta
virus could surface in pandemic form at any time. HIV/AIDS and malaria
are already epidemic in parts of the world. Also, new antimicrobial-resistant
strains of diseases are surfacing: turburculosis, staff infections, typhoid
fever, various forms of strep. The problem with these resistant strains
is that we are causing them ourselves. Frequent over-prescription of antibiotics,
frequent failure of patients to complete their course of antibiotics,
and excessive use of antibiotics in Confined Animal Feeding Operations
(CAFOs) all contribute to various bacteria developing resistances to treatments
that have now lost their efficacy.
In this tough economic time, many more of us have experienced unemployment
than before. Having a storehouse of food will help you get through lean
times. Besides have a store of food, knowing how to garden and put away
food. Even if you can't grow all of your food, like this
family, you can reduce your food bills (and get great tasting food)
by learning to garden. But food isn't the only place where prepping will
help you. Cutting your own firewood for a fireplace will help you keep
the house warm without paying more in utilities. (My Dad always said cutting
firewood warms you twice...first, while you're cutting it, and second,
while you're burning it.) Also, being prepared means doing more with less,
fixing things instead of buying new, finding new uses for old items. These
tactics also help with the final way you'll be prepared for unemployment...no
debt. I don't quite have that one figured out, yet, but I'm shooting for
As more and more of our houses and neighborhoods expand into open land,
the danger of wildfire increases. You never know when or where wildfire
will strike, and if your home is not prepared, it could be devastating
The best preparation for wildfire is to have a defensible space around
your home, and materials (shingles, siding) that will resist fire. Having
a bug-out-bag with 72 hours worth of food and supplies will help you weather
- Vehicle Breakdown
A vehicle emergency kit is essential, especially if you have an older
vehicle, you travel long distances on a regular basis, or you drive. Even
with newer, modern vehicles, there is always a chance of breakdown: poor
quality fuel; electrical problems; road hazards; adverse weather. Having
some basic tools, emergency items, and food and water in an emergency
kit can make a bad situation tolerable or even save your life.
- Labor Strikes
Truck drivers, grocery workers, pilots, railroad workers, nurses, police,
fire fighters, longshoremen, air traffic controllers, miners, utility
workers. All of these vital professions are represented in some capacity
by unions. At times, these unions will feel their members are being mistreated,
and will call for a strike. For some groups, the effects may not be immediately
felt, such as miners and longshoremen, and for others, there is not a
life-or-limb threat, such as pilots and air traffic controllers (unless
you happen to be in the air at the time), but they all have the potential
to cause a disruption in our fragile, modern, everyday lives. Food supplies
are affected by truck drivers and grocery workers; energy supplies are
affected by miners (mining coal), railroad workers (hauling coal), and
utility workers (burning coal); the very fabric of society could be affected
by police, fire fighters, and nurses (as seen here).
And that leads us to...
- Social Upheaval
This can be riots, political demonstrations, or, depending where you live,
gang wars or even coup d'état. Riots can cause damage to property
or cause injury or death. These can occur for any reason, varying from
labor strikes (as seen above), the outcome of a trial (Rodney King), a
won/lost sports game, natural disasters, or food shortages. Anytime average
people feel they are not being heard, or they are not getting what they
feel they deserve, they gather together in groups. These groups can start
peacefully, but can quickly turn violent. Political demonstrations are
more likely to be peaceful, although fringe groups can cause trouble within
the larger demonstration. This happened recently in Egypt when state police
dressed in plain clothes Also, competing demonstrations can create fiction
when those groups come together.