What is a Prepper?
The first thing is to discuss what a Prepper is. Being a Prepper simply means being ready for whatever life may through at you. This can be through various means ranging from simply having an emergency fund, to being completely self-sufficient, living off the grid, and growing your own food.
Why should you become a Prepper?
Well there are many reasons for this, most of the Prepper websites and end of the world’ers will tell you it is because the zombies are coming after the foreign government has invaded and then been killed by the aliens. However, I think the majority of us know that while I suppose those scenarios are possible they are highly unlikely. We should take the time to consider realistic reasons that you should become a Prepper.
Some of the realistic reason’s to become a Prepper would be:
- a job loss, or other loss of income reason
- economic disasters or fallout in the economy
- becoming a victim of a crime
- a fire or flood destroying your residence
- social unrest
- natural disasters
- terrorist attacks
- health epidemics
- the aftermath of any of the above incidents
- finally, your own peace of mind
Now to look at each of these in a bit more detail.
Job Loss and Prepping
A loss of income is a topic that is frequently discussed in financial planning circles; however, it is rarely discussed in regards to why you should become a Prepper. Many people now days struggle to make it from paycheck to paycheck and the slightest unexpected thing can derail them. Would you be able to make it for even a week if you suddenly lost all of your income? Could you survive if you had to make it for a month or three?
You have to consider things you may not normally think about losing. For instance, you can obviously deal without your television, phone, and maybe even your vehicle. Could you make it without power, water, food, or shelter if you are in a rental type situation? These are all things you must consider.
How would becoming a Prepper help with these issues? Well first, you would likely have food stored up, you may have already considered ways in which you could prepare that food, thus reducing the need for power. You may have considered options for alternate water sources or even arrangements for an alternate shelter situation or already be in a situation where you own your shelter.
Ways to Prep
Some things that you should at a minimum consider having in place in order to deal with this contingency would be:
- $1000 Emergency Fund (Preferably in cash to make getting it in an emergency feasible.) This would allow you to handle any of those little issues that might arise such as a vehicle problem, unexpected expense, a temporary unemployment situation.
- At a minimum a two-week supply of food (These can be more durable items such as canned and dry goods. Try to choose items you would normally eat anyway. Things such as rice and beans have long shelf lives but carry decent nutrients in a pinch.)
- An alternate means of cooking or preparing your food. (If you primary method is a gas stove, then consider an electric skillet. If your primary means is electricity then consider a grill or maybe a small gas camping stove.)
- Several cases of water (Obviously you need water in order to survive, by having it in case form it is easier to ration out, and you can tell how much you have left. You want enough for a week at a minimum.)
- The last is moving towards self-reliance. This will be more difficult if you live in large urban areas but is, still possible just takes more creativity. If you are in an area that allows more room then you can start considering alternative power, water, and fuel sources. Eliminating expenses by paying off the loans on your property and growing some of your foodstuffs would also be very helpful. You eventually want to extend your emergency fund, food and water supplies up to cover at a minimum of three months.
As you can see, many of the things that people make fun of Preppers for can help prepare you for a possibility that we all face to an extent.
Economic disasters and Prepping
This topic ties closely into the previously discussed Job loss and prepping. Major shifts in the economy can affect your financial future and in many cases, your short-term ability to cope with changes as well. In addition to that, an economic disaster can cause crime rates to increase and work to become much harder to obtain. For instance, the housing bubble burst in the early part of this century caused many people to lose their homes and cause a huge spike in unemployment. This led to entire neighborhoods nearly collapsing and an increase in thefts and other crimes.
Preparing for this is much the same as preparing for a job loss. An emergency fund and stockpiled food, water and other supplies will make it much easier to adjust to the changes. One additional thing to consider though is protection. Economic issues frequently cause a rise in burglaries and other theft related crimes. Make sure that you are able to protect your family and belonging.
This can be either through better securing your residence, moving to an area that is more able to weather an economic crisis or moving to a more remote area. The last option though is being ready to physically defend your property. Each of these options should be considered when thinking about economic disasters and prepping. By considering each of these things, it will help you decide if you should become a Prepper.
Rising Crime and Prepping
According to most resources crime rates increased from around the 1970s, to their peak in the 1990s. However, they have been slowly decreasing since then. One thing to note despite these trends it is unclear if that is due to the way, the stats are being reported or if they really are going down.
Despite the perceived lower crime rates, one thing is consistent. Anytime a major event affects a large group of people the crime rates for that area increase. For instance in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew crime rates increase by nearly 50% in the areas affected. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused a huge spike in crime in most of the gulf area especially in New Orleans where rioting and looting was almost commonplace.
In 2008, the auto crisis began to affect Detroit and the crime rates increased there due to the lack of financial opportunities. To this day, Detroit remains one of the most dangerous cities. Then there are the riots in Ferguson, and the panics caused by bird flu, Ebola and Covid 19, which all caused slight increase in crime. Even though crime went down shortly after that doesn’t make the victims of those crimes feel any better.
This is why it is important to consider ways in which to protect your family and belongings. Some options include a weapon for home defense, better locks, safes to store your more valuable items and even steps as simple as writing down all of your serial numbers so that you can track your property if it is stolen.
- See Also Understanding Crime after a Disaster
Flood Prepping / Fire Prepping
Floods and fires can be devastating, often displacing hundreds if not thousands of people. While you cannot completely stop these acts, especially if on a large scale there are steps that you can take to be ready for one of these events.
Many times, you hear of “bug out bags”. A “bug out bag” is nothing more than a bag prepared before hand and ready to access at a moment’s notice that contains necessities. These can be crazy bags packed with loads of supplies and food ready to handle world war 3. On the other hand, they can be more reasonable, such as a bag with a few sets of clothes, toiletries and some food items.
Bug out Bag
For example, a fire or flood bag could contain three to four sets of clothes, toiletries, several food sources such as military style meals ready to eat, a few bottles of water, some cash and some extra prescription medication if you take it, a flashlight in case its dark. All of these items should be individually packaged in waterproof bags or containers.
While it would be terrible to be reduced down to these being your only possessions left in the world, they would allow you a chance to survive for a few days while you began making other arrangements. Of course, remember to get any family members out before your go bag but ideally, it would be stored either in your vehicle or at a secondary location such as a locker at work so that you could access it later.
Other steps that you could take to be prepared for a fire/flood is to invest in a waterproof and fireproof safe allowing you to store important paperwork and your most valuable items in a manner that would protect them not only from fire and water but also criminal activities and even natural disasters.
- See Also Home Fire Prevention
Social Unrest and Prepping
Social unrest is another thing to consider when you are prepping. This one tends to be a bit easier to avoid or prepare for as it is often more isolated. However, you should still consider this. During the riots in Ferguson and the incidents around the black lives matter movements some people were caught up in them that were not just innocent bystanders.
The main incident that comes to mind in reference to this is the panic caused by the recent Covid19 outbreak. People were rushing to the stores to try and buy supplies and altercations would break out between various groups.
The best way to prepare to incidents of social unrest is to one choose your location with that in mind, Obviously the more rural an area is the less likely of being large scale social incidents. Next if you already have a stockpile of food, water and other necessities then you can simply avoid traveling into the areas of social unrest.
Prepping for Natural Disasters
A natural disaster can come in many shapes and forms no matter where you live. For instance no matter where you live in the US some form of natural disaster is present. These disasters include everything from snowstorms, forest fires, floods, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes. While prepping for each of these can vary slightly the basics remain the same.
You will need supplies of food, water, clothing, and medications, a source of shelter and protection, and enough of each of these to see you through the duration of the incident. These can range for a few days to months depending on the severity and you should plan according to the specific threats in your area.
For instance being ready for a snowstorm that may restrict travel is different than preparing for a forest fire, which may force you to flee the area. However, since you have already decided to become a Prepper and have your basic items stocked up as discussed in Job Loss and prepping, you are already well positioned to deal with these threats as well.
- See Also Preparing for Natural Disasters
Terrorist Attacks and Prepping
Many people immediately think of the twin towers and pentagon when you mention terrorists. However, it is important to note that incidents of domestic terrorism are as common if not more so. The recent mass shootings are evidence of that. In these instances, what you have stored may not be quite as important as what you have considered and made plans for.
Consider the locations you go to on a routine basis such as work, home, stores and other locations. Think about how you would react if an incident such as a terrorist act took place. Would you panic and run, would you work towards a planned escape route, are you carrying a concealed weapon, do you know basic first aid. These are all considerations and by thinking about these and making a plan in advance, your chances of survival are greatly increased.
- See Also Terrorism Safety Tips
Epidemics and prepping
Another area that Preppers excel is in being prepared for epidemics or viral outbreaks. Often these incidents are spread by contact with other humans or animals. Given that Preppers have taken the time to stockpile large amounts of supplies they are able to lessen their need to interact with others and thus reduce their exposure. They also tend to have thought of the possibility of a viral outbreak and have prepared for it already.
Some of the supplies not already mentioned that are key for this area are antibiotics, protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and special outer garments such as a MOP suit. Many also have gas masks with various filters most of which can also filter viral agents from the air.
Some recent incidents involving viral outbreaks in recent years include the Avian Flu, SARS Coronavirus, MERS Coronavirus, and the more recent Covid 19, which is also a form of Coronavirus. This latest has already stricken a large part of the world and its total effects are still unknown at this time. It is causing widespread panic to include quarantines and civil unrest in various stores as people scramble to try to collect supplies they feel they need.
As you can see this is one area where being prepared would definitely put you in a position to protect yourself and your family and is yet another reason for you to become a Prepper.
The aftermath and prepping
As has been mentioned in many of these discussions frequently the primary incident isn’t the greatest threat. Often the issues that arise afterwards such as crime rates, lack of available supplies, lack of access to medications, and the lack of any form of government to control the area result in the greatest threat to our safety. If you have properly prepared and set yourself up for survival then you will be ready for these.
A final consideration for this section is the thought of long-term survival; all of the previous discussion has covered the near future and a time span of only a few months. However, what if the disaster is larger and lasts far longer than a few months. Do you have the skills necessary to be completely self-sufficient? Can you grow crops, build items you need from either wood or metal, build your own shelter, or find your own food in the wilderness.
These are all skills that our ancestors had but have largely been lost in modern times. Take this time to learn these skills. Then pass them on to your loved ones. This will help to ensure both your survival as well as knowledge from the past.
See Also – A different outlook on prepping.
The primary reason you should become a Prepper
In my opinion, the most important reason to become a Prepper is the sense of security and peace; you will have from knowing that you are prepared. Many people think that Preppers worry about everything; on the contrary, they do not worry nearly as much since they know that they are prepared for whatever comes their way and that they are capable of handling that little incident that may feel like the end of the world to most people.
This post is my first and ended up being a bit longer than I had originally planned. I will refine it in the future and add some links to additional content as I go. That being said I hope you enjoyed the material and look forward to seeing your comments below. Feel free to share this article out to your friends as well. Also be sure to sign up for our Newsletter to ensure you catch the latest articles.