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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)

  • Adverse Weather
    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.

  • Earthquake
    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.

  • Unemployment
    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 it.

  • Wildfire
    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 (story, video). 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 a fire.

  • 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.