Four years ago, mentioning that you were a “Prepper” evoked quizzical looks of confusion. What the heck was that? As you tried to explain, you could see eyes start to glaze over and an invisible tin foil hat being placed upon you head. The lesson learned? Keep your mouth shut less you be forever classified as a nut job of the highest order.
Of course back in the day – if you can call 2010 the day – there was concern that 2012 would represent the end of days. This was based upon the notion that on 12-21-2012, the Mayan calendar ended presumably because the planet Earth would be ravaged by a smorgasbord of cataclysmic astronomical events. Thus started an entire industry best labeled “Doomsday”.
Whether the Mayans were right, wrong, or simply misunderstood makes no matter. For a myriad of reasons, their doomsday predictions set off an unprecedented movement to “get prepared”. The get prepared message has since been promoted by governments, the Red Cross, and civilian organizations that are telling us that we need a kit. Taking this to the next step, we are bombarded with what belongs in “The Kit” as it is known.
Websites have been started promoting this theme. Many are excellent; they are kinder gentler websites set up to help teach you about preparedness so that you will be ready for whatever disaster or world calamity comes your way. They also expose the truth, for believe it or not, governments and corporations do not always have your best interests in mind.
Sadly, many other websites have been started with the express intent of instilling fear – enough fear to entice you to purchase overpriced info-products and eBooks that will supposedly teach you how to survive under the worst of circumstances. These websites cast a shadow on the more legitimate websites and the better products out there – products that are well-written and well-priced and not a rip-off designed solely for the purpose of taking some of your well-earned cash.
But I digress. The purpose of this little essay is to provide you with some basic lessons to help you prepare for an apocalypse or collapse of society. Not that we will see such an event in our lifetime but quite honestly? You just never know. None of them cost a dime but be forewarned, some will require you to examine your own moral and ethical values. They will make you think.
Eight Uncommon Lessons of Preparedness
1. Skills and stuff are equally important.
What do I mean by that? Simply that you can have a years’ worth of freeze dried food, six ways to purify water and a well-stocked first aid kit but if you don’t have the skills to defend yourself, the knowledge to find food in the wild, and the ability to tend to serious wounds, all of the “stuff” you own will be of little use to you following a post-apocalyptic event.
2. Community organization with like minded people can and will save lives.
Unless you live in isolation, the bad guys are going to come around and it may be difficult if not impossible to defend yourself on your own. Not only is there strength in numbers, but members of an organized team will most certainly have a wider variety of skills at their disposal.
3. Mental discipline and a level head under pressure will prevail when tough decisions need to be made.
When roaming groups of people show up on your street, or even worse, at your doorstep, they may be tired, hungry and in need of shelter. What do you do? Who gets to stay? How do you decide? This is just one example of the tough decisions you may have to make in a collapse situation.
4. Do not underestimate the need to defend yourself in ways you can not fathom in advance.
How will you defend yourself, your family, and your worldly belongings following an apocalypse? Sure, it is easy to say that you will shoot anyone that comes close but could you really do it? Moreover, have you thought of alternative methods to defend what is yours such as setting up blockades or no-enter zones?
5. There will be casualties. Be prepared mentally and physically to deal with the seriously wounded and the deceased.
You may feel prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit, antibiotics, suture kit, and a full complement of trauma supplies. But do you know how to use them? How do you determine dosages especially when the drugs on hand may be in short supply? Who gets them and who does not?
And equally important, if people die (and they likely will), what will you do with the the bodies? Bury them (hope you have a strong back and a good shovel)? Burn them? The ramifications may be horrific but if you are one of the survivors, you will have to have the mental capacity to deal with this.
6. Grieving is important as is the need to spend personal time alone to rest and recharge.
No one can do it all 24 hours a day for days on end. When and if the time comes, you will need to take time to grieve your losses and also time to rest and recharge your mental and physical batteries.
7. Perceived “good guys” may be bad and perceived “bad guys” may actually be good.
No surprise here. Just be prepared to evaluate, interview and act based upon as much knowledge and gut instinct you can muster. Trust no one until that trust in earned. Start building your criteria for trustworthy-ness starting today. Practice your interview questions and learn how to say “no” if you have to.
8. Feelings and compassion count as does the love and support of friends and family.
This is an important point. Without these qualities, the will to go on may be compromised. A good example of how feelings and compassion play a role in survival is demonstrated in in Cormac McCormack’s “The Road”. In the book (there is also a movie), the love between a father and his son a paramount to their ultimate survival.
The Final Word
Unless you have experienced a catastrophically disruptive event first hand, you likely have no concept of life in a post apocalyptic society. I know that I don’t. That being said, we can still look back at past events and study the dynamics of human nature to learn how to respond, how to live, and how to thrive given our preemptive preparations.
How will it all turn out? Who knows. Perhaps we will maintain the status quo and nothing bad will happen. Then again, we may experience economic collapse, pandemic, famine, war or massive destruction caused by an unforeseen disaster.
Whatever you believe, and whatever happens, know that you still have time to learn and that you still have time to live to the fullest extent possible. Isn’t that the very best we can hope for?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Today I share some hunker-down favorites.
The Road: Even if you think it will never happen, you need to watch to this film, based upon Cormac McCarthy’s book, ‘The Road’. As I recall, the film is available on Netflix streaming (free for members).
Emergency Radio: My old Kaito died right when I needed it so now I have two: the compact Kaito Voyager V1 and the Ambient Weather Compact Emergency Radio. While both have lots of features, my primary interest is in using them as a solar/crank radio.
BaoFeng UV-5R Dual-Band Ham Radio: Redundancy is the name of the game. I also have two of these inexpensive Ham radios. Keep in mind that if you are just planning to listen, you do not need a license (I am still working on mine). The price is right. Also consider the NAGOYA Antenna for BAOFENG UV-5R.
Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stove: This Coleman One-burner Propane Stove is an easy-to-use portable stove that should meet almost any camp cooking need. The PerfectFlow regulator provides consistent cooking performance by producing a steady fuel stream, even in cold weather, high altitudes, or when fuel is low. Equipped with one 10,000 BTU burner, this fully adjustable stove will last for 2.2 hours on high or up to nine hours on low.
Coleman Rugged Battery Powered Lantern: This sturdy Coleman has a runtime of up to 28 hours on the low setting and 18 hours on the high setting but does require D cell batteries. Personally, I have both a battery operated and propane lantern. Of course by now you know that I like redundancy with my preps.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price. Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant. I can not recommend these enough.
BIC Disposable Classic Lighters: This six pack of Bic lighters is reasonably priced but check around since these often go on sale locally. BICs just work – every time.
Eveready 3-LED 6Volt Floating Lantern (battery included): If you are planning to build a 2000-hour flashlight (and you should) this is the one that you need.
A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. This is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.