There’s a movement gripping the nation. Some have said it is a movement of nutbags and whackos. The movement is the Prepper movement and it has become more and more accepted as mainstream. Without knowing it or having a name to tack to her condition, my mother was a prepper. She lived through the depression and her parents and three children lived in poverty. My mother remembered vividly going to bed hungry and moving from apartment to apartment, often in the middle of the night because they couldn’t afford the rent. Her experiences during the depression shaped the rest of her life.
She was obsessed with having enough food and stored extra food in her pantry. She canned vegetables from the vegetable garden and put up preserves from the fruit trees. My father was a hunter, so the freezer was always full of deer meat and other wild game. Her favorite saying was “Waste not, Want not.” As children who didn’t grow up hungry, we got a little tired of hearing it. She wanted to see clean plates at dinner time. If we didn’t want everything that was on our plates, she would remind us that there were starving children throughout the world that would love to have those leftovers.
My mother’s siblings had similar obsessions. Her brother hoarded clothing and shoes, having had little but rags during their childhood and her sister … well, she just hoarded everything from daily newspapers to linens and gourmet food items in her fridge, all in unopened packages and unused, even the food in the fridge. She was a bit of an oddball.
There was no movement to attribute their hoarding tendencies. It was a byproduct of hunger and poverty during their childhood. There was no organization or method to their hoarding. Each had different things that they valued and stored away for a rainy day.
Today, Prepper fever is more organized. There is a lot of literature available about prepping and many products that make prepping for disaster really easy, even if you live in the city and don’t have the means to raise your own vegetables and animals.
Being raised by parents that had endured so many years of hardship undoubtedly influenced me as well. I still feel like I should “clean my plate” and do not like to waste even small amounts of food. I also like to build a life that is as self reliant as possible in this modern world. We live in the country, have well water and grow and can our own vegetables. Much of the meat we eat is still wild game from my brothers’ hunting trips. We have chickens for eggs and fruit trees all over the property.
While we have canned goods and other supplies for the short term, we also have long term food storage supplies that last as long as 25 years. Unfortunately, most canned goods will not last that long. The long term food supplies are packed in durable buckets and are freeze dried. Easy to store and easy to prepare in a disaster, they can sustain a family for a long time and also last long enough that they are edible whenever a disaster strikes.
You never know when a disaster will strike or what kind of disaster will strike. It could be a earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, floods, pandemic, bioterrorism, nuclear meltdown, an economic/government/societal/financial meltdown, or even the Zombie Apocalypse (ha ha). You won’t have the luxury of knowing when it will happen or what kind of disaster it will be in advance. That’s why you need to take steps to be prepared for the worst so that you and your family are safe, no matter what is in store.
You only need to be a victim of an enormous hurricane like Katrina or Sandy, live in an area where a nuclear power plant has a meltdown, or to live where earthquakes and/or tsunamis are likely to appreciate the value of advanced preparation for disasters. Why wait till it happens and then wish that you had prepared for such an event? If you have the power to make your family safer, well fed, and more comfortable in a crisis situation, wouldn’t you do it? You buy homeowners and auto insurance, hoping that you’ll never actually need it. Survival prepping is the same thing. You prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.
There are actually two types of survival preparation. One is “bugging out” or evacuating when a disaster happens, taking with you the supplies that you can easily carry (bug out bag) to ensure that you have emergency supplies to carry you through until it’s safe to return home.
You might be in a situation where a natural disaster has occurred and you need to stay in your home for some time until help arrives. Your area may have been struck by a earthquake, tornado or floods, blocking all escapes routes and preventing you from “bugging out”. You don’t always have enough advance notice of a disaster to get out of dodge. Staying in your home may be your only option.
I’m sure most have had simple, temporary power outages and know how uncomfortable life can be if you’re not prepared to live without electricity for days or weeks or even longer. It’s a completely different story if you are prepared. Without electricity, you can’t cook and the fresh foods in your refrigerator spoil. I live in the country and we have a well that is powered by electricity, so we don’t even have water when the power is out, but even if you have city water, a clean water supply may not be available after a natural disaster. What if you can’t get into town to buy safe, bottled water?
Without power, you won’t have access to a computer and phone lines could be down. You may not even be able to communicate with the outside world during a disaster. If you’d like to know how you’d get by during a disaster that disabled electrical power, gas, clean water and communication with the outside world, just turn it all off for a few days. That should give you a pretty good idea of some of the challenges you’d have and how well you are prepared for it.
With the right preparation, you and your family could be eating well balanced, nutritious meals, drinking clean water, and if you were really prepared with a backup emergency generator, you could have power.
Natural disasters are the most common disasters that people might encounter in their lifetimes, and in some areas, more than once in their lifetimes. Some areas are regularly hit by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, and typhoons. Other areas are subject to crippling blizzards in the winter. In fact, last June, I was caught in a super derecho, and I had never even heard of a derecho.
A derecho is a fast-moving storm that tears through an area and flattens trees and power lines. This one left millions of people without power for days and in some places weeks. This was combined with a record breaking heat wave which made living without air conditioning nearly unbearable.
We were without power for five long, very hot days. Everything in our refrigerator and freezer was spoiled and our well didn’t work without electricity to power the pump. Because of all of the downed power lines and trees, we were unable to get out of our road that leads to town. It took several days before the trees and power lines were cleared from the roads.
People in New York and New Jersey were severely affected by Hurricane Sandy this year also. Most of us saw the devastation Sandy hit southern New Jersey and there was a massive amount of flooding, structural damage and disruption to both travel and peoples’ lives. New York City was also hit hard. This storm system was around 1,000 miles wide at times and caused around $30 billion in damages and 100 deaths in the US.
No one will ever forget the devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought, nor the catastrophic nuclear meltdown after a tsunami hit Japan. These are extreme cases, but they happen and you never know when or where they will happen.
Will you and your family be safe if one of these deadly natural disasters occurs where you live? The only way to get through a natural disaster safely and more comfortably is by preparing in advance of the event.