There is a logical, simple, common sense idea behind preparedness that 90% of people, for whatever reason, don’t seem able to grasp.
It is this:
“If you put off preparing until a storm looks imminent, you’ll find everyone else will have had the same idea, so the demand for whatever you need to survive will most likely have outstripped supply.”
Preparedness is having sufficient food, water and equipment to see you through in an emergency, when these items are not readily available through conventional methods.
It is a simple and logical insurance policy based on sound, practical, common sense principals. In fact, in some countries, governments make it a legal requirement for their citizens to have at least 3 weeks of food and water supplies in case they are faced with natural disasters.
I can talk about the practicalities, joys and pleasures of preparedness later, but first; a serous warning to anyone who is thinking of taking it up.....
“How far to take it?”
The whole subject of preparedness can be contentious if allowed to become that way, and there are certain approaches and mindsets that anyone tackling this for the first time needs to be aware of.
There are “preppers” out there ranging from the housewife who buys an extra couple of tins each week when doing her weekly shop, just in case there is a minor disruption to supplies, to those who take preparedness to levels beyond belief, where these people are, quite literally preparing for Armageddon.
The thing to understand about preparedness is that it’s not an easily quantifiable subject; there is no right or wrong amount of preparedness that you can do. There are no rules, checks or balances in place to say “yes, that is a sufficient amount of preparation”, or “no, that’s not enough”, and as a result of this, it’s surprisingly easy to fall into a mind set where no amount of preparedness will ever be sufficient.
“Beware the ‘Internet forums’!”
No doubt, one of the best places to gather information about all aspects of preparedness, whether you are a total newbie, or a seasoned pro, is on the various preparedness and survivalist forums scattered across the Internet. However, caution must be exercised whenever frequenting these places, especially if you are doing so regularly. You will receive good hands-on practical information and advice on your own preparedness questions from a lot of well-grounded, well-meaning people, BUT, you will also likely be exposed to a steady feed of subtle paranoia, religious fears, warped delusions of reality, prejudice views, and a consistent healthy dose of ‘imminent disaster looming just around the next corner’. Always have your “reality check filters” switched on whenever you visit the forums and be guarded about what theories you find yourself buying into.
“Moderation is the key”
“The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their Lives, which infallibly destroy them.” - Joseph Addison
I’ve been ‘lurking’ in the various preparedness forums for over 14 years, and have seen enough to know that some who dwell there have stopped living life almost completely, and are forever just waiting for the next perceived ‘imminent’ disaster to happen. Many seem to be preparing to stay alive in a perceived post-apocalyptical world at the expense of living their lives out here in the actual world.
The most important thing to understand about this observation, is that it doesn’t take a lot of exposure to this kind of mindset to start believing it yourself, and it’s a downward slippery slope from there onwards. Trust me, I’ve been there! Learn from the voice of experience. 14 years ago, when I was a prepper newbie, I found myself being sucked into this mind set shortly before 2000 and the whole Y2K threat. It took me several months afterwards to calm down, step back and realise just how crazy I’d let things get.
If you have intentions to embrace the concept of preparedness in a practical way, which I really encourage everyone to do, then finding a balance between your preparedness mind set, and continuing to live and enjoy life as normal is absolutely crucial.. Never allow prepping to cost you your sense of reality.
“Work from your own rules”
Because there are no hard and fast rules about the right or wrong amount of prepping that you can do, I would recommend before you do anything even slightly “preppy”, that you sit down and figure out a simple set of rules for yourself. Take a look at your local situation, decide what possible scenarios you could find yourself facing (like local natural disasters, interruptions to infrastructure etc) and then use those scenarios as a yard-stick to determine to what extent you should make preparations.
If you have pre-determined that you ultimately want to have 3 months worth of food supplies, then stick with that number. Once you have 3 months supply, allow yourself to sit back, relax, and enjoying the peace of mind that your new safety-buffer has brought you, and be very wary of the creeping thought patterns that may start nudging at you to increase the supplies you have to six months or a year - those are the seeds of thought that can get you into trouble if you don’t interact with them wisely.
So, you want to get into preparedness?
This topic is a whole web site in itself, so I’m not going to go into great detail here, however I will point you to an excellent newbie source to help get you started after I have offered you a list of my top tips and shown you some of my preparedness videos:
Ricks Top Tips for Healthy Preparedness (in no particular order)...
1. Don’t let preparedness rule over your life - keep it moderate.
2. (Food) Stock only what you eat, and eat what you stock (in date rotation order).
3. Treat preparedness as a fun, enjoyable and educational hobby.
4. Understand it’s as much about learning life skills, as having “stuff”.
5. Learn how to use the “stuff” you have (practice with it).
6. Stay fit and healthy and stop eating junk food.
7. Be wary of buying-in to the perpetual “imminent doom” mind set.
8. Don’t do or think anything “preppy” for at least 2 weeks per month.
9. Learn to forage.
10. Work on lowering your dependence on infrastructure (supermarkets etc).
11. Get out of debit - consider downsizing if you have to.
12. Learn self-defence
13. Confront fears of your own mortality and determine where you stand spiritually.
I’ve also made a series of videos on the basics which you should find useful.....
Links to get you started....
This link will take you to a play-list of all the videos I have made about preparedness
This link will take you to an excellent place to get started in preparedness. The site is run by a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer who is also a Christian, so it has a couple of religious references, but the information is excellent
SurvivalBlog's Quick-Start Guide for Preparedness Newbies
http://www.survivalblog.com/newbies.html (This site is run by a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer who is also a Christian, so it has a couple of religious references, but the information is excellent)
This link will take you to one of the better Survivalist forums out there.
Means being ready to weather a storm long before it arrives..
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