Cold. Wet. Wet. Cold.
Yesterday was low 40s and mid 30s with non-stop drizzle or worse. It was 35F when I went to sleep.
Didn’t get anything at all done yesterday. Really somewhat overwhelmed by the pace of things happening in the world. Still, gotta keep moving forward. So.
We’re 11 days into the New Year, and consider how much things have changed, just since Christmas. Holy cr@p sandwich Batman… what can a person do?
Well, it’s not too late to do something but by starting late everything will be harder and cost more. If, that is, you think time is getting short. If everything is fine, then why do you feel like you might want a gun, or some extra food in the house “just in case?” Those sorts of feelings are your brain trying to tell you something is wrong with the world around you. People who pay attention and do something about it are called “preppers” nowadays, but used to be called other things including “prudent”.
Most of the folks here at Daynotes have been preppers or at least have been prepping for a while now, or I hope they have been to SOME extent. This post is more along the lines of something you can point the ‘new kid’ toward when they ask about what they should do.
First off, prepping is NOT a fringe activity. Millions of people in the US and elsewhere prep to varying degrees. It is the official policy of the US Government, promulgated by FEMA, that the citizens should prepare themselves for dealing with emergencies on their own. There is a lot of information available from ‘official’ sources, but most of it is watered down, ‘lowest common denominator’ stuff. Officially, FEMA says that in the event of an emergency, you should have enough stuff to take care of your needs for 72 hours, that being their minimum response time to a major incident. Note the word ‘minimum’. After several recent drills, for some people in some places, the recommended time was increased to 2 weeks. Most people who consider themselves to be preppers can easily meet the 72 hours goal, and rapidly move on to the next level goal, and when they’ve reached that, move to the next. That assumes they actually START, and that there is time for that approach to work. There are other approaches we’ll talk about later.
There are as many approaches to prepping as there are preppers and there is an overwhelming amount of data online. Somehow it became fashionable to put up prepping guides a couple of years ago, that were little more than fluff and had very little actual information in them and often had really bad advice to boot. Because the internet is forever, a whole lot of those clickbait articles will show up when you start looking into prepping.
Before letting yourself be overwhelmed though, it’s important to realize a couple of things. Prepping is a journey, not a destination. Everyone’s journey is different, and as the Chinese and other’s have noted, the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. So take that first step.
The first step is a question. What are you prepping FOR? The answer to that will shape your journey, but doesn’t necessarily define it. The beauty of prepping is that each step builds upon the next and by prepping for the big things, you should automatically have the littler things covered along the way. In normal times the answers range from a localized or regional “ordinary” disaster, like a flood, hurricane, winter storm, train derailment, or some other thing that is a likely and real hazard in your area; to a big thing, like global societal and economic collapse, a worldwide pandemic, or the fictional combination of the two- the zombie apocalypse. A quick side note, for people new to prepping the idea of zombies and a zombie apocalypse can seem crazy, foolish, bizarre, or off-putting, but it’s really just a sort of shorthand for ‘everything goes nuts, nothing works like it should, and you are on your own.’ If you prep towards surviving that, you should have everything else covered.
So what are you prepping for? If you are just starting, you are likely concerned by the recent riots and destruction in our cities. You have of course been affected by the current worldwide pandemic, and the restrictions related to covid-19 to some degree or another. You might have been caught short in the beginning and wish to avoid that happening again if the wuflu does get worse.* Or it might just be the REACTION to wuflu that concerns you. You might be concerned by the political polarization in America. Believe me, people on both sides are fully convinced that people on the other side are just a hair’s breadth away from exploding into violence. That tells me that it’s coming for sure. I don’t care which side you are on, and my politics are evident in other posts, but shouldn’t put you off. I’ll try to be non-partisan in the body of these posts about prepping. Maybe you see an economic collapse in the future. Or you just see hurricane season starting up in a few months and you just want to get a jump on it… I’ll tell you a secret. Unless you live in a hazard zone, the most common disasters to befall people are much more personal – the loss of a job followed by long term unemployment, or serious illness/death of a loved one. Prepping will help tremendously with those too.
One last thing before getting started. This is going to be based on my approach, and my beliefs. This website was Robert Bruce Thompson’s and he spent a lot of time talking about prepping issues, and his ideas shaped my own prepping journey. He was a published author, a scientist, and a really smart guy who was very detail oriented and thorough. I encourage anyone at any stage of their prepping journey to use the keywords at the right and read what Bob (RBT) said in his own words, as well as the discussion it engendered. I’ll talk about his approach and link where appropriate. I am not Bob, I’m not writing a book to serve as a reference manual, and I don’t think there is a lot of time to get YOU up to speed and taking the first step. My approach is very quick and dirty compared to Bob’s well researched approach. I usually go with the first thing that mostly works, rather than search for the perfect or complete solution. I feel VERY STRONGLY that you should DO SOMETHING. Preferably with guidance, and consideration, but I’d choose action over inaction in most cases. Paralysis by analysis, or ‘overthinking’ is a real risk in prepping as in most complex endeavors. The imperfect preps you actually have are infinitely better than the ‘perfect’ preps you DON’T have.
Ok, one more last thing. I’m just a guy on the internet. If something I suggest or advocate doesn’t seem right to you, do some more research. There are as many different approaches and attitudes as there are people. There are a LOT of good people out there writing about prepping and related subjects. I’ll refer to them where I can. I won’t generally be linking or footnoting everything. You are sitting at a computer, connected to the internet- use that to your advantage if you need to see a reference or a link. Consider too that my approach might not be a good fit for you, but you can hopefully still benefit from what I write, even if just by the negative example. There are lots of people here to help me and to help you too, by keeping a sharp eye on me and what I’m writing.
So, today’s question. What are you prepping for? That will determine the extent of your preps, and your timeline, but mostly under my approach, it will determine when you STOP. If you don’t know what you’re prepping for, just do what preppers do and say “zombie apocalypse.”
Today’s lesson, to get started, just do a little bit more than you usually do. Buy more food that you normally buy. Buy an extra of whatever home repair item you are buying. Do a bit more cleaning. A bit more exercise. Fill your gas tank sooner than you might normally. Get something fixed before it breaks more. Along with that, go through your home and look at what resources you already have. Look for things that aren’t going to help, that you no longer use/need/want. Look for stuff that could be sold or traded or given to someone so that you can improve your situation, or theirs.
Figure out where you are starting from, so you know what you can build on. Do you have tools? A garden? Generator? Food in the pantry? Camping equipment? Medical knowledge but no supplies? Any reference library? What skills do you have? If it helps you, make a list.
My approach is modular, builds off the previous level, and is a bit opportunistic. Be open to things happening out of sequence. Be prepared to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves.
First goal- be able to stay in your home completely isolated, without changing your lifestyle or routine significantly, for 72 hours- 3 days. And at the end of those days, you are not desperate or in need of aid, but you can continue your normal life, and replace what got used up.
We’ll talk about how to get there, and the next step later.
*I’ve been calling it wuflu from the beginning. I know it’s not a ‘flu’ but it rolls off the tongue and is intended to remind the reader that this virus originated in Wuhan China.
What do you guys think? Is it worthwhile for me to continue with this idea for a while? Not every day, but at least a couple of times a week? Maybe on a separate page? Too chatty? Too presumptuous? Too general? Already been done? Too ambitious? Unnecessary?
Let me know what you think, and in your own lives, keep stacking.