Preparing is a basic human function. We prep for a visit to the grocery store by making a list. Eggs, check. Bread, check. Milk, check. You can even prepare mentally without physically doing anything."Prepping" is an extension of these normal preparations everyone already does. It is usually considered extreme due to the exposure it has garnered lately, being tied into ludicrous scenarios that grow more and more far fetched by the day. At TruePrepper, we are here to clear the air. Prepping is not about daydreaming on doomsday scenarios, it is about being ready for threats likely and unlikely that will be thrown your way. Prepping is about keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from harm and staying in control in unavoidable situations. Five steps can help you begin staying vigilant:
- Discover your Threats
- Determine your Risk Acceptance Level
- Make a Plan
- Develop a Kit
- Practice and Prepare
Discover your Threats
The first step is to take a look at all the threats we have identified on this website. Come back when you are done browsing, but it is quite a few! These are just threats we are making you aware of. Try to branch out and look at what your neighbors have experienced, conventional and unconventional. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Is your neighborhood prone to burglaries? How often?
- Do you live in a flood plain or where wildfires occur frequently?
- Do you live near a nuclear plant or a fault line?
- Do you live near a train that transports hazardous chemicals?
- Does your neighbor feed bears for fun?
You probably have the idea by now, and we could go on for pages. Writing the threats down will help you remember them for the next steps.
Determine your Risk Acceptance Level
The next step is asking yourself what level of risk you are willing to accept. Going back to the bear feeding neighbor- if you like to go camping in an area that bears are known to be around, you are accepting a risk that you could encounter a bear. This does not necessarily mean you are not prepared for it, but it does mean you are willing to have an elevated risk (and consequences) for that threat. Another example could be living a couple miles from a nuclear power plant. If you are unwilling to immediately get up and move, you are accepting a certain level of risk that a nuclear incident may occur. That level of risk is key. It is determined by comparing the impact of the threat with the frequency that you anticipate the threat to occur. If you determine your risk levels wrong, and then prioritize your preperations accordingly, you may end up looking foolish or even worse, not being around to look foolish. Take this example:
Nuclear war is pretty daunting. So you decide to build a fallout shelter in your back yard. You are digging your bunker in the backyard with your awesome mini excavator you rented and having a great time. You take a break and glance towards the house to see flames leaping out of the kitchen window. The flames engulf your house in a matter of minutes. Your 13 year old daughter, who loves to cook, started a grease fire by accident and had no earthly idea that you keep the fire extinguisher in the garage.
Pretty harrowing? Prioritizing risks is important.
Make a Plan
Your plan can be written or verbal, small or large, a single plan or multiple plans, but it has to be shared and practiced. You have identified the threats, decided which you will address and in what priority. Start with the high priority threats and plan accordingly. Your plan should include in the very least communication information, safe locations depending on threat, and ways to avoid threats and be more safe.
Develop a Kit
Your kit can be generic, such as the kit suggested by FEMA, or it can be custom tuned to all threats you anticipate. Check out the kits and gear on this website to flesh out your prepper arsenal. Be wary of some items targeted to preppers, as it is not always "you get what you pay for."
Practice and Prepare
Set a schedule to practice, evaluate, and revise your plan- at least annually. How do you prepare for the threats besides practicing your plan? You can mitigate them before they happen. If you live in a flood plain, look into flood insurance. Stay fit. You will be surprised at how much that helps all aspects of your life- not just during emergencies. Be resourceful. Keep learning new things- never stop learning. Last of all, although it is serious business to prepare for what life brings your way, try to have fun with it. If you find you enjoy prepping, you are more likely to stick with it and transfer the importance of being prepared to people you interact with.