Hurricane Sandy, the TV show “Doomsday Preppers” and worries about an economic collapse have combined to make the term “prepper” into a household word. It’s no longer just that crazy survivalist guy wearing camouflage and stockpiling guns that is going to be prepared for the next catastrophe; America is undergoing an awakening of the practice of “prepping.”
To a great extent, how to prepare for an emergency, disaster or economic collapse depends upon what you think will happen and how catastrophic it will be. Not everyone is thinking that the world will end or that we will have some sort of a zombie apocalypse.
On the other hand, a record number of people are finally heeding the advice that came from FEMA (the government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency) after the terror attacks of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. If you don’t have a 72 hour kit assembled yourself, then it’s a sure bet that someone you know has one.
If you have a lot of money, and faith in total strangers, then you can just go online and purchase a “72 hour kit” backpack for each member of your family and be done with it. However, that is a very bad idea.
Like the “101 piece first aid kit” you can buy at most big box stores, where 90 pieces of the “deluxe first aid kit” is merely a collection of different sizes of Band-aids, any prefabricated, store-bought emergency kit is going to be less than desirable.
One of the worst things about having an emergency preparedness kit that you didn’t personally assemble is the fact that you may have no idea why some of the items are in it or how to use them.
In order to prepare for any disaster, you have to think through your needs and then mentally rehearse a few different scenarios. The best thing in the world to become better prepared for any disaster or emergency situation is to take a weekend and go camping. See if you can “rough it” without the food processor or microwave and you’ll learn very quickly what is a necessity and what is luxury.
The good news is that the more you practice, the less “stuff” you will really need, as your skills develop and you learn how to do without. It is much better in an emergency situation to be resourceful than to be well-equipped: because the equipment and supplies can run out.
You’ll learn that the priorities are first shelter (and that could be classified as just weather-appropriate clothing, boots, gloves, rain gear, etc) and then water and then food is last, for any emergency.
If the catastrophe happens when you are at home, then you are lucky. If it happens when you are out and about in your car, then preparedness will be the thing that saves you.