Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Practical Prepper
As I mentioned previously, my schedule has changed and I am unable to write new posts at this point. While I'm on hiatus, we're re-running the earlier posts from The Practical Prepper. Thank you for your patience and your continued readership!
So, after explaining a bit about me and my path to preparedness in my inaugural post, I thought I'd start with a couple of building block posts on preparedness. Today's post is my "Google Maps" post — we need to figure out where we're going before we jump in the car and start driving.
The most practical way to get prepared is to plan out your activities, that is, what supplies you'll need, and so on. To do that, you must know just what you're preparing for. In learning about preparedness and figuring out my own plans, I first started by thinking through what emergencies might happen to me and my family.
In simplest terms, I started by figuring out what's most likely to happen, especially for events that will have a tremendous impact on my family's existence. In considering potential catastrophes, I also look at how long the problem might last and how much assistance could be available to help (if any). "What could happen?" is a very open-ended question, so it's more useful to start off with things from limited number of perspectives.
Perhaps the easiest way to start is to make a list of what weather-related events could occur near where you reside. I live in the Midwest, so tornadoes, blizzards, and ice storms are pretty likely, so I plan for them. While floods are also common enough in this region, my home's specific location is far less likely to be flooded, so that's not on my list. What's more, earthquake, wildfire, and hurricane are not something that list, since they are far less likely around here.
Next, it's worth listing specific, but more generic personal possibilities, like losing your job, house fire, robbery, etc. The likelihood of these things will vary, depending on where you live. For instance, fire and crime may well be more of a risk for an apartment dweller in a high-crime area than those in a single-family home in a rural area.
Finally, you need to consider what major, widespread events you think may be likely to impact your family. This category includes things like civil unrest, war, economic collapse, terrorism, pandemic, and so on. Any of these are possible, but for now, you can start with just listing those you think seem to be a credible threat in the near future.
After compiling an initial "threat list," I've found it helpful in my planning to consider the scale of each possible emergency:
Why does the scale of the event matter? Mainly because it's a measure of how quickly (or likely) things could return to normal. The scale also gives you an idea of what kind of support/assistance might be available. Note that I'm not necessarily referring to government assistance here; help may be provided through family, friends, churches, insurance, etc.
At any rate, in a short-term/personal disaster, various kinds of assistance should be available. As the type of emergency gets larger, help may be possible, but resources will be stretched thinner as more people are impacted, especially early on. For truly large catastrophes, could likely be on your own. If any help was available, it would be from other nations, and would funnel through some bureaucracy, and could thus be a long time coming.
Therefore, I look at the scale of possible events to help gauge how I should prepare for each event. For example, I prepare against a house fire by having appropriate insurance, keeping irreplaceable valuables in a fireproof box or in a safe location off-site, and so on. That's considerably different from my preparations for a snow storm, which involve auxiliary heating, a generator, additional food supplies, and snow removal equipment.
Likewise, I consider the duration of the event too:
I'm generalizing with many of the above examples — you can probably come up with examples of these events that might be in a different category. However, the key thing I do is to figure out how long I need to be able to fend for myself, without the infrastructure I normally enjoy. The main point is that the anticipated duration of an emergency has a bearing on both how I prepare and how much I prepare for it.
For example, having a 72-hour kit that allows me to survive on my own for 3 days will probably be adequate preparation for a tornado. However, that kit's inadequate to deal with losing my job. I'm far readier to deal with that if I've set aside enough food and money for 6 months. Of course, neither of these levels of preparedness will probably be enough for a super-catastrophe like nuclear war, economic collapse, CME, etc., which represent The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI). Yes, preparing for TEOTWAWKI involves storing supplies, but it also means that I have to learn to be self-sufficient and self-reliant.
If you spend just a half-hour thinking about these things and making your list, you'll be well on your way to becoming a practical prepper. Although it will seemingly be just a list of problems, it will help provide direction and clarity to your preparedness planning.
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