Several potential natural disasters – earthquake, flood, hurricane, volcanic eruption, and tsunami – could strike the earth without warning. In the last few decades or so, we humans have increased or added to the potential for several other catastrophes – nuclear radiation, pandemic, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), and economic crash, to name a few. The list is getting longer.
Hence, preppers continue to believe some major catastrophe will likely occur during their lifetime, and it’s a fundamental, sensible belief. Otherwise, why bother preparing for emergencies by investing in basic supplies?
That said, the typical response to a potential major catastrophe is all over the place, figuratively and literally. Do you know the saying about the best-laid plans? It’s not common that it also can be applied to prepping. There are numerous prepping ideas across the web – from building a survival kit similar to the one recommended by the Red Cross organization, to joining an expensive self-defense facility – that claim to work.
However, the majority don’t factor in their budget and the fact that it can be hard to understand what they could be up against if they haven’t had any real-world experience. For instance, a lot of preppers believe a loaded firearm can cancel out a lack of fitness. But what if they can’t carry a rifle more than 50 years without experiencing shortness of breath?
If you are new to prepping, all the advice can be overwhelming – however, with any new beginning in your life, you start off on the right foot and learn along the journey. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 practical ideas you and your loved ones can take to prepare for potential devastations (and not go broke or crazy while doing it).
1. Stock Necessities, But Don’t Buy Anything Big
Water is likely one of the most important necessities to stock up on. Its supply is something that gets difficult to add in a disastrous situation. Every week you make a trip to the grocery shop, grab a few gallons, and before you know it you’ll have an ample supply of water. Also, instead of getting rid of plastic bottles (coca cola, soda, etc.), use them to store water and keep the lids tightly closed.
Likewise, non-perishable food items are something you should start stocking up on in advance. Grab five non-perishable meals and snacks while you’re at the grocery store. Examples of non-perishable food items are peanut butter, jars of pickles, breakfast supplies like whole oats and oatmeal packs, canned fruits, etc.
For shelter, make sure to invest in appropriate clothing. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Layers from thrift stores are key in winters, and wicking garments should get the job done during the summer season. Heavy duty socks and sturdy work boots are also worth consideration. If you have camping gear, you are already set.
Lastly, it is essential to have a first-aid kit. It should include adhesive cloth tape, adhesive bandages, wipe packets, aspirin, breathing barrier, ointment packets, nonlatex gloves, roller bandages, gauze pads, tweezers, and the kit’s instruction booklet. Also, make sure to put any prescription medication, and if you have a loving pet who requires daily healthcare, include their prescriptions too.
2. Get Familiar with Escape Routes
Question. If you have to leave your locality and the route you usually take is blocked would you have an alternate escape route? What if the alternate is blocked too? What if all roads out of your district are destroyed? Would you have backup routes, or would you see yourself as trapped, staring at the ceiling, wishing you had gone out sooner?
Ideally, you should explore all possible escape routes well in advance. Routinely go for walks around your neighborhood, but don’t stick to the roads. Check out all available trails from time to time. For example, people living in the outskirts of a midsize city will have paths that lead to rural farmland or the congestion of a nearby city’s downtown.
Another option is to explore railroad tracks, which were previously used to crisscross across countries. The use of rail travel has reduced, so there are many empty tracks or paths that trains used to use. If you were to pick a railway map, you could have a route planned along those paths to a safe zone, or at least get out of harm’s way. Remember that railway paths lead to civilizations and cities, so skirt the cities in advance and pick up tracks again, from the other side.
When it comes to a bug out vehicle (to make a quick escape), it’s easy to want the biggest baddest vehicle that can bust through roadblocks and checkpoints. However, the safest route might be quietly going around a barrier. Therefore, the best bug out vehicle is the one you have now: a small, well-maintained car, or even better, a bicycle. It’s practical and doesn’t require you to spend on a new vehicle.
3. Build Up Endurance
Building your prepping endurance is one of the most impactful preparations possible. Yet the majority of individuals neglect its importance in prepping – mostly because they think going to the gym is time-consuming and costs money.
Newsflash: you don’t have to become a gym rat or stock up on organic supplies. There are several, practical things you can do right away to have the greatest 80-20 impact on your stamina with very little extra pain or time. Start by weaving body workouts into your daily routine. A few pushups in your cubicle during a work break. The stairs over the elevator. A few minutes of stretching upon waking up. And so on.
Building your stamina and body strength is something any prepper can do with time, and it will give them a big dose of endurance. If you can walk for several hours without feeling tired, run a few miles, knock out a few dozen sit-ups, and go for a swim in the public pool. Strength will help prevent injuries and allow you to go the extra mile when you might be required to during a catastrophe.
However, endurance is more than just physical fitness. You also have to learn how to survive in uncomfortable situations. Turn off the air conditioner, feel the heat and find a way to deal with it. Let’s feel (really feel) like you need to preserve your precious resources and put on extra layers in winters until the sun naturally warms up your home. Often, steps like these will you build mental toughness as well as give a boost to your physical endurance.
4. Develop People Skills
People skills are sometimes referred to as problem-solving skills, communication skills or interpersonal skills. But regardless of what they’re called, they will dictate your capability to coordinate with others productively and positively. By having a good relationship with other preppers, you can build good community relationships and be known as a responsible individual who can be trusted.
Start by learning how to be the voice of reason in standard settings (like in a group presentation) to gain others’ trust and make a few allies. Both of these things are imperative in a survival situation. Besides, you can also become the one others look to for escape guidance, which will give you the power to impact the decision-making of your community.
Having strong social or people skills is also invaluable when it comes to bartering for services and gods, as well as for handling potentially life-threatening situations with logical reasoning instead of force. In practical terms, that means a prepper will be required to quickly evaluate an emergency and come up with the most viable coping strategy for being safe under dire circumstances.
You aren’t going to be a real prepper until you practice what you’ve learned. You can watch all the YouTube videos in the world about how to navigate blocked roads. It isn’t until you head out and experience how it all feels in the real world that you’ll start to know what you’re up against. Let the mistakes happen now, so they don’t cost you dearly.
The ideal way to practice is to look for opportunities in your daily life to practice your prepping skills subtly. For instance, a weekly camping trip can teach you several useful lessons. Whether it’s backpacking or RV camping, learning to live for several days with bare minimum supplies is excellent practice. How do you cook food without fire? Where do you go to the washroom?
Life inconveniences are also great chances of putting your skills to practice, offering useful insights to any holes you may have in your preparations. For instance, you can practice going on escape routes during temporary power outages, see if you can adequately light up candles to generate lighting, and convince other people to help along.
Overall, it’s better to practice what you know with little nuances in a secure environment before things go awry. So always look for opportunities to practice prepping.
Ask any veteran prepper, and they’ll agree that unless you gain a practical stance on prepping, hone your skills, and practice them until you are comfortable with performing them, you’re missing the key to being well-prepared for the unknown. So follow the five practical ideas mentioned above, and you’ll be set to survive unforeseen catastrophes.
Got additional ideas for your fellow preppers? Or want to leave your thoughts? Feel free to do so in the comments section below.