Before you get started, let's first debunk some common misconceptions about a prepper. The fact that you are here, means you have already come to the conclusion that you need to be prepared. You acknowledge the fact that there are many things to be concerned about, and not being prepared if/when things get out of hand (SHTF), is not a good place to find yourself. However, that does not mean you have to move to rural Montana, become a homesteader and stock five years' worth of supplies. While this does describe some of our readers, there are many stages of preparedness, and you only need to concern yourself with what is relevant to you and your family.
So, forget the stigma of a zombie apocalypse or doomsday prepper that comes to mind when you think about prepping. Most people don't desire to live in that horror movie anyway. Instead, just think about being a generally more prepared person, so you can handle emergency situations.
There are advantages to keeping your head in the sand in regard to the threats and dangers that preppers prepare for. People start preparing for eventualities because they have come to accept the reality of the dangers. Knowledge and acceptance of the many threats that could upset our current way of life empowers a prepper. However, many people would like to avoid acknowledgement of these threats and just live life.
Do you watch the news or avoid it? There are many reasons to avoid the news and there are benefits to staying informed, If you avoid the news because you don't want to constently be reminded of the ugliness in the world, you may want to reconsider becoming a prepper. I am not saying you need to be glued to the news to be a prepper, I am just noting that those who prefer to ignore the ugliness might want to reconsider the journey of prepping.
Fear is typically the catalyst for preparation. While your fear can be supressed by being prepared, you have to have it to make the effort. Getting in tune with dangers in order to prepare for them does inately generate some fear. Once you start the journey of becoming a prepper you will be introduced to many potential dangers and threats, which is an enlightenment some would prefer to not to gain. So, just consider this before you pull back the curtain.
Life needs to be balanced, you need to have a healthy amount of fear as motivation for preparation, but you don't want to get overwhelmed by the doom and gloom of potential threats. If you feel you can manage the balance of being aware and being prepared while living a mentally healthy life then please continue. If you have concerns about impacting your mental health then you may want the bliss the blue pill provides.
Living with your head in the sand has it's benefits. Who wants to worry about potential dangers every day? What's wrong with living a happy go lucky existence, living in the moment and taking life one day at a time? Nothing. In fact, many may think that preppers are doing it wrong. Stressing about threats, spending money on supplies that may never be necessary and training for scenarios that may never occur could be a big waste of time and resources.
Before you begin your journey to become a more prepared person, you need to ask yourself if that is really what you want. Granted there are many stages of preparedness and I recommend that everyone get prepared for at least 3 days of survival just to accomodate mother nature and infrastructure system failures. Evaluate the reasons for preparedness and be selective about what to prepare for. Draw a line in the sand that helps you reach a goal of preparedness for one concern at a time.
Evaluate the different types of preppers and determine if any of them sound like the definition of prepper you would like to be. I would advise at least becoming a casual prepper. Covering the basics is recommended for all.
What concerns are you worried about the most? What preparations are most valuable to you and your family? Many people live in locations at risk of natural disasters. If you are one of these people, then that is a great place to start. We cover many types of potentials threats and dangers that could happen, but natural disasters are guaranteed to happen.
Find common threats that are related to the scenarios that are mostly likely to impact you and make preparations for those eventualities first. Most scenarios have similar outcomes, like power outages, water shortage or supply shortages, so prepare for those outcomes first. By preparing for inevitable outcomes to likely scenarios, you can reach the stage of acceptable preparedness; and for many people that is enough. Evaluate your life and make the proper preparations to protect you and your family against scenarios that are more likely to happen to you. Start by making changes that are meaningful to your lifestyle and leave preparing for large scale disasters to the advanced preppers or later stages in your prepping journey.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help define scenarios that are relavant to you.
These are situations that could happen to anyone, so start by preparing for these scenarios first and then move on to the less common scenarios. Just going through the motions of defining your potential scenarios, making a checklist and completing the prep will earn you some prepping experience.
Once you have acommplished a basic level of preparedness, you can consder more uncommon scenarios. As you move into these phases of preparedness you will be facing more long term and dire disaster scenarios.
You don't have to go from novice prepper to doomsday prepper, you just need to take a closer look at Your potential risks and make some plans to mitigate them. Regardless of the threats you prioritize as more likely, you will find that many scenarios require very similar preparations. Next, we will go over baseline preparedness.
Let's start with the basics:
Most people stock extra water, this is not a revolutionary concept. But for most people, there is more to learn in regard to obtaining water in disaster scenarios. For water-based preparations, check out our Water Preparedness articles.
Storing extra food is an acceptable level of preparedness for most, but there are best practices that can be learned for reducing waste and costs in regards to food storage. Additionally it is a good idea to learn how to acquire food when your stocked food does not last. For food-based preparations, check out our Food Preparedness articles.
There are so many ways to have power without the grid these days. Power is a creatue comfort that we take for granted, and one of the conviences we that impact our daily lives the most when it is not available. For power-based preparations, check out our Power Preparedness articles.
Water, food and power make sense, but bags? Yes, bags! Also referred to as survival kits, there are many types of bags that can be prepared for emergency situations. Having these survival bags or survival kits prepared and ready to go can make all the difference. From every day carry bags to first-aid kits, there are several bags, to prepared. For more information on preparing survival bags, check out our Survival Bags and Kits articles.
Obviously, having the right supplies is a basic foundation of prepping, but there is much more to becoming a prepper. Learning survival skills, creating plans and running emergency scenario drills are also important.
When was the last time you had a fire drill in your home? Have you ever done a fire drill with your family? If a kitchen fire occurred does everyone in the home know how to handle the situation? Would they know to smother it with a fire blanket or use an extinguisher? Do they know where these supplies are? What if the smoke detectors went off in the middle of the night, how would our family respond? These questions are only related to a house fire, but there are many drills that can be practiced for better preparedness.
When I was in elementary school, we ran fire drills and tornado drills, nowadays they have even included active shooter drills. A sad truth, I know, but a truth none the less. Schools run emergency drills, and so should families. Running a drill once will make a major difference, but don't stop there. Schedule your drills on the family calendar. Practice makes perfect. For more information on emergency drills, check out our Challenges and Drills articles.
In order to run drills, you need to establish some plans and then practice those plans. Running drills will help you solidify your plans, because it helps you discover challenges and determine alternate courses of action. Some drills force to leave the comfort of your home, but then what, where do you go? What if you are out in public, you get separated and the scene becomes chaotic? How will you find each other.
Your plans should be designed with and without supplies. Finding each other in public might not be too challenging if all parties have a cell phone, but what if that is not the case? Smothering a kitchen fire could be a quick resolution to dangerous emergency, but what if you can't find the fire blanket? Creating plans, means establishing plan A, B & C. For more information on creating plans, check out our Emergency Preparedness Plan articles.
Handling some situations requires having survival skills, especially if you lack the proper supplies. Survival skills range from knowing how to cleanse water for drinking to fending off an attacker. From long-term sustainability to surviving physical altercations, there are many survival skills one can learn to be more prepared for uncomfortable or dire circumstances.
Some survival skills include the ability to identify dangerous situations or react instinctively to spontaneous threats. Panic and fear are your enemy when threats become reality. Knowing how to handle the situation can be the difference between life and death in some circumstances. For more information on learning skills, check out our Survival Skills articles.
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