Becoming prepared can be a lonely journey. Family members scoff and friends roll their eyes and shy away, thinking you have joined the tin foil hat society. You want to share and you want to talk but say too much to the wrong people and you may be setting yourself up for future free-loading, looting, or worse.
This is a dilemma faced by almost every prepper I know. Most want to join up with other like-minded people but who do they trust? The issue of trust is one reason why most of us want family members and close friends to come onboard the prepping wagon but alas, few do so willingly and even then, only give lip service to the effort. I know. Other than my husband, Shelly (also known as the Survival Husband) none of my family preps and very few of my friends do so either.
This is not anything new. I wrote about this in January 2012 and periodically since then. Moreover, in the recent backpack giveaway where I asked readers for topics to write about, suggestions for convincing reluctant family members to prepare was a recurring request.
Today, with permission from Todd, the editor of The Preparedness Review and the Prepper Website, I am re-producing an open letter that you can deliver to friends, families and others in your circle. I do this because I truly believe that one of the greatest gifts you can pass on to people you care about is this letter along with some guidance to help them get started.
An Open Letter to Family & Friends
I’m writing this letter because I care about you. Please take a few minutes to read it and think about what I’m saying.
Why the Letter?
Our lives are crazy. We take care of our family, work, eat, play chauffer, pay the bills, etc. When we have a little bit of free time, we like to just veg in front of the TV and watch some brain numbing pictures flicker across the screen. We can go at it like this for days, weeks and even months, not knowing what is going on in the world outside our local community and just getting by with the talk around the water cooler.
And when we take life in these little chunks, separate blocks of our time and attention, it seems a little bit more manageable. We move from one task, event, errand, chore to the other.
The problem is when we look at our lives from a big picture perspective. What if our lives all of the sudden changed? What if the stress of the day came bearing down at you all at once? How could this happen? This can easily happen during an emergency. I’m not talking about your son just stuffed his GI Joe down the toilet, or the dog is out of food emergency. I’m talking about the BIG stuff. How would we take care of our families?
The Big Emergency
The BIG emergency is the one that stops you in your tracks. It can be personal, based in your local community or worldwide. But it is the one that everything else stops and all resources and energy are put towards it.
The problem is that most people are not prepared for the BIG one.
Are you and your family most people? Do you have an emergency fund for financial emergencies? Do you have insurance for medical emergencies? Do you have food and water if there is a food supply/transportation emergency? Do you have other means of cooking and preparing your food if utilities weren’t available? Do you have first aid supplies and extra medicine on hand? Do you have basic skills that could help you: fire starting, water purification, gardening, first aid, etc.?
This is the whole reason for my letter. I want to help you see the importance of being prepared and to start being more self-reliant. It’s not too hard, but it does take time, planning and effort. But then again, what would the time, planning and effort that you put in ahead of time be worth in the middle of an emergency? You’ll be glad you did!
- Make a plan – What are you preparing for? What needs to be done? Don’t look at the magnitude of the plan, that can be overwhelming. Take it in chunks. In reality, you will never be “prepared.” You can be “not prepared” or “overly prepared,” but never “perfectly prepared.” Consider the basics: financial, medical, etc. but also keep in mind your region of the country; hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, etc.
- Set goals – When do you want _____ accomplished?
- Get a 3 day supply of food. Then move to a 3 week supply.
- Revisit insurance: house, vehicle, medical, life, etc.
- Start an emergency fund – 3-6 months of expenses
- Start a garden
- Take action by taking a class: first-aid, sewing, gardening, firearm, wilderness survival
- Watch some videos on YouTube (search preparedness)
- Read blogs and articles on “preparedness” and “prepping”
- Get active – go meet your goals! Make it your mission every day to achieve some small step towards the goals you set.
The world of preparedness/prepping can be an addictive one. It can suck you in, mess with your emotions and get you seeing the world in the fragile states that it is in. It is always best to approach preparedness within community. You should go it alone only if no one else is willing. Eventually, they will realize that you were right, even if that is in the midst of a storm.
It is not in the scope of this letter to discuss all the possible emergency scenarios that you should prepare for. But outside of regional, natural disasters, it is important to me to briefly mention our global situation. Things outside our local community have gone from bad to worse! At first, we might not care about what is going on in some Asian or European country, but the fact is that we are ALL tied into each other now. What happens over there, affects us over here.
There are many “The End of the World as We Know It” type scenarios out there. One such scenario is an economic collapse. Someone recently replied to me and said, “Yes, times can get hard, but we have been through it before during the Great Depression.” The fact is that it is way different this time. Our country didn’t have the debt that we have now. And, if for some reason the world loses faith in our government’s ability to pay its debts, we are up the creek. It really isn’t too far-fetched to imagine this happening if you’ll look into it. The concern has gone beyond the foil hat people. Just research it!
Please take this letter seriously. If you prepare and don’t need it, the worst is that you have some food (food costs are going up/buy now at cheaper prices) and other supplies. But if you ever find you are in a position that you do need it, you and your loved ones will be glad you were prepared!
In addition to the letter, you may want to share a copy of The Preparedness Review with your reluctant prepper friends. Both the Spring 2013 and Inaugural Fall 2012 issues are full of advice, tips and information from some of the most knowledge preppers out there. No doomsday stuff – just solid information.
The Final Word
As much as I love my family, their idea of being prepared is to have ten gallons of bottled water set aside for an emergency. This frustrates me to no end but I can only do what I can do. Like you, I run the risk of alienating family and friends by getting preachy about preparedness. So I don’t. Well maybe just a little bit.
Regardless of what they think of me, I continue to share my knowledge the best I can and of course, to share this letter with people I meet that are willing to listen. Hopefully they will take further steps toward preparedness at some point.