What is Prepping?

When I was a little girl, my father worked for the leading “Cola” companies at various stages in his career. Pepsi-Co, Coca Cola Corp, etc. Beyond the obvious perk of free soda (which I now refuse to drink)…we would also receive a great deal of accessories from different marketing campaigns the companies were running. One of the most memorable was the “I am a Pepper” slogan. I proudly wore that shirt during my entire 6th grade year. If I look hard enough though my memory boxes, I am certain to find at least on picture of me wearing it.

Loving "Soda"....
Loving “Soda”….

It’s ironic that while I don’t actually drink any soda now, nor would I say I am a Pepper for any reason I can think of – I would absolutely wear a Shirt that say something similar. “I am a Prepper”. Wearing that around my neighborhood is certain to get me some confusing glances. It may, though, provide an opportunity to have a conversation about what a “Prepper” really is.

What is a Prepper, Anyway? 

As a woman who has always taken personal protection and emergency preparation seriously, I have been privy to more than a few raised eyebrows. I have always found it intriguing that  a woman who discusses  food storage isn’t enough to warrant much attention. As a matter of fact, if  a woman has her pantry well stocked and clutter free, she is considered Organized. If the same woman not only has a well stocked pantry but a well equipped  first aide kit for her family , she might be considered  Extremely Organized. If she has a three month supply of food, complete with menu plans, canned items she made herself, a garden, a first aide kit  AND a car safety kit, she would be hailed as an organizational goddess. Other women would flock to her in an effort to figure out how she could possibly find the time to take care of such details, how she could possibly be so prepared for an unexpected event..or, well, even dinner? Yet, if that same “Hero” made a single mention of a “Bug Out Bag” or how she rotates ammunition…then, to many people, she has suddenly becomes crazy. 

It is ironic that women of the old west were hailed as pioneers in women’s strength. Their fortitude and perseverance is still viewed as groundbreaking.  At a time when families were at such risk from illness, famine, and natural disasters, the women were required to step into a position of shielding their family from such perils.  They were resourceful and strong. Learning to live off the land, learning to hunt, build, work, preserve food …those were all skills they developed to survive.  Many in today’s society argue that it is no longer necessary to have those skills as we have evolved as a society, as a nation. The fact that we have evolved, technologically,  is absolutely true.  We have resources that the pioneering women could never have even imagined. If  not careful, though, those resources may become our undoing. While it is true that many of us don’t live a “Little House on the Prairie” lifestyle, we must look at our new world and evaluate the potential dangers that could befall us. We need to be as resourceful as the women pioneers that we so often canonize.  To be prepared to help your family endure an emergency isn’t “crazy”, it’s intelligent.

Loving "Safety"
Loving “Safety”

Are We Immune From Disaster? 

Forget the zombie apocalypse, the government overthrow, or any other crazy scenario that tends to pop to the front of someone’s mind when they think of the end of the world. Heck, forget worrying about the end of the world. Let’s talk reality. Do the names Irene, Katrina,  Isaac or Sandy ring a bell? How about the Northridge Earthquake, the California Wildfires, the Joplin Tornadoes? Mother nature is non-discriminatory. Every year lives and homes are lost, people find themselves without resources and folks are left struggling. There is no area of our modern nation that is immune from the possibility of a disaster. It doesn’t even have to ruin your home or force you to evacuate. It can be as simple as being homebound without electricity during a snow storm.  Not only is it a reasonable question to ask yourself if you are prepared for that moment, it’s crucial that you do.  DO you have a plan of action, extra resources and the knowledge of what to do in an emergency that involves your home and your family?

It is imperative to also consider the impact that an unexpected event has not just on your home, but on society. Natural Disasters and Social Collapse often are the marriage nobody want to see take place. Yet,  history has shown us time and again that it has taken place,  it does take place. AND – it will take place. When people are left without resources, even if in their mind, they panic. I used to live in California and was, unfortunately, present during the Northridge Earthquake. It was shocking how fast “society” fell apart when resources are threatened during that event.  People had to leave their homes but they had nowhere to go. The interstates were impassable, the few roads that were accessible were backed up, people ran out of gas, and folks began to panic. Almost immediately, the criminal element took to looting and the average citizens were left in a state of fear and paranoia. Water became scarce almost immediately and tent cities popped up overnight.  It was staggering to me.

I have since moved to the Midwest but that has not barred me from experiencing a similar situation.  Though not on the same catastrophic scale, my community was hit, unexpectedly, with a storm that knocked out power to over a million people in an urban / suburban environment. Some of of the areas of the city did not lose power so I took a small drive with my kids to find an “open”  fast food restaurant to grab some food while the electric companies began the repair.  We were fortunate to find a McDonalds open. UNFORTUNATELY, it was being looted when we walked in. People were stealing ketchup, salt, pepper, napkins. Really? It was an instant reminder to me that our society balances on a very thin line of civil calm. When that “calm” is threatened, there is an element that has no control and will immediately seize the opportunity to capitalize on the unsettled moment.  Are you prepared for that moment?

I do not “prep” in an effort to survive a nuclear  bomb, or a zombie apocalypse…or government collapse. I Prep so that my family can take swift and immediate action in an emergency to keep themselves safe. I prep so we have a plan. I prep to withstand a natural disaster. I prep, quite frankly, to deal with those folks who think it is OK to loot the ketchup packets at McDonalds when the electricity has been wiped out.

If you think I am crazy,  it’s probably time for you to stop reading my blog. 😀 If you don’t, let’s move on.

If you haven’t really thought about what to do in an emergency, or about food storage…or what a “Bug Out” bag really is…no worries.

Step ONE: Define Prepper.  I like the any, any, any definition. It is any individual  from any background who takes any action to improve their ability to deal with, survive, and move forward from an unexpected event or situation that poses potential danger.

Step TWO: What areas should you have a POA in? Again – ANY.  From first aide to food ftorage – and everything in between. There are no perfect rules to follow. If something will improve your safety – that is part of your POA.

Step THREE: Pick only one area to work on at a time. Otherwise, it will be overwhelming. If you are a beginner, I  highly recommend Focusing on “Creating a Month of Food Storage”  or “Building an Emergency Kit for your Car.” These are simple tasks that can be completed quickly and will help get you on your way to learning about Prepping!  FYI: My blog has steps for both of these projects under the link “Be  a Prepper”.

Step FOUR: Begin researching other areas of Prepping.  Be careful not to get discouraged by the sheer amount of information on the web. Ask yourself simple questions and Google THOSE. For example, you may want to Google, “Steps to take if trapped in your car in a snow storm”, “What to do if your electricity is knocked out.”, “How to make water safe”, etc.

ALSO, remember, some people take it to a higher level than others.  If someone tells you that you need to build a bunker in your back yard but you really just want to know how to increase the amount of canned goods in your kitchen…just ignore them. Being a Prepper does not mean you need to be preparing for the end of the world. I focus on what I can…and what I have time for.

Remember, there is no perfect “Prep”. If you accomplish a task that helps you and your family to be more prepared for an unexpected event…you are officially a “Prepper.” Buy one of those T-shirts…and wear it proudly.

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