I'm a big fan of Dave Ramsey and one of the reasons for this is because he is always consistent--economy is tanking, follow his cash-only, get-out-of-debt plan to be prepared financially. Economy is booming? His advice is the same. Prepping is the same way as the basics are consistently the same no matter what is happening. Prepping 101 comes down to:
- Situational awareness. What is happening at any given moment. The news, social media, the weather report, disaster alerts...there are a variety of sources of information that will keep you informed, from minute to minute, about what is happening around you. I check the weather before hiking or backpacking to make sure I'm not heading into a flash flood situation. I see the emergency alert feed on my Facebook page that tells me I might not want to go to a certain part of town as there is active police activity there. I pay attention to what is happening around me when I am out in public, if I hear commotion outside my home I take a look to see what is happening (quite the surprise in my quiet neighborhood a couple of weeks ago when I see cops slinking through my front yard in preparation for a SWAT response). When I am in a public place I check for escape routes, emergency doors, fire alarm pulls, watch what people are doing and how the crowd is moving... Basically be aware of what is happening around you and plan for how to avoid dangerous situations.
- Having the stuff you need when you need it. You NEED water or your will die rather quickly (always backpack with more than enough water, have a lot of extra water stored at home in case something happens and no water comes out of your tap, have extra water in your vehicle for drinking and for your radiator, etc). You NEED food (carry snacks with you, have enough food stored in your home to survive six MONTHS without going to the store, know how to prepare food, preserve food, grow food, gather food). You need appropriate clothing, several shelter systems, a spare tire in your vehicle, things to protect you (from firearms to a home alarm system to a first aid kit), basically you need stuff to help you survive any given disaster situation and if you can't readily find this stuff at a store you will either need it on hand or you will need to improvise.
- Having knowledge and skills. As important as having water, food, a Bug Out location, or a firearm is, the knowledge and skills to buy/build/improvise/utilize/find the things you need to save your life is even more important. Ideally, if you have a medical emergency, you can call 911 and help will be on your doorstep in mere minutes. In a not ideal situation, you won't be able to call 911 so you will need the knowledge and skills (learned and prepared for ahead of time) to render emergency aid if necessary.
- Money/skills/and barterable items. Modern society makes having the things you need to live and survive fairly straight forward--you work, you earn money, you buy stuff you need, you pay to take a class to learn skills you need--but in a situation where society has gone to Hell, you will again need to improvise. Can you still earn (or access) money to get the things you need? Does your money still have value or is is more worthless by the day? Can you trade items you have to get the things you need? Can you trade your skills to get the things you need?
- Your health. Good health makes life easier during the good times. You can easily go to work, hang out with friends, go for a run, keep up with the kids, etc. Good health is even more important during bad times (can you imagine needing dialysis during a natural disaster? That happened.)
Fortunately you have a bit of time to prepare and get ready for the next disaster. Now, more than any time in history, you have the knowledge at your fingertips via classes, the internet, and books, to teach you the survival skills you need. And while most people will start and stop at surfing the internet and reading survival articles, it is imperative that you actually PRACTICE what you learn.
Stay tuned for 100 prepping challenges...