There is an undeniably hokey and campy feeling to some aspects of prepping. When you get to the topic of zombie survival and things that are on the most radical fringes, in particular. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this fringe element of the prepping movement. When I meet these folks at shows they are often full of laughs and out of shape.
Prepping is a serious endeavor but for some, it’s simply a hobby. Whether they want to admit that or not is irrelevant. The idea of prepping is very exciting and being a person in that fringe group, thanks to pop culture, has become somewhat appealing to the eccentric.
Any prepping is better than no prepping. Still, are you goal oriented or are you someone who is just along for the ride? I am asking you, the reader, to think about this. You might be a hobby prepper and not even know it!
How can you tell?
I think Paul Arden said it best:
“It’s not how good you are its how good you want to be”
Are you endeavoring to be a better prepper or are you happy with the things you have amassed? Do you feel untouchable and do you flaunt the fact that you are a prepper? More importantly, are you measuring your preparedness levels? Are you doing anything to figure out how much better you are doing year over year?
That is a lot of work and it takes some time and some tools. Still, it can be done! Every business owner and homeowner do some form of measurement for improvement. If not, they will quickly fall into debt or go out of business. It’s just something we have to do to get better.
Metrics are necessary tools to measure anything. You must have metrics in order to assure you are measuring the right things. So, what do prepper metrics look like?
We have two sets of metrics that are worth discussing and thinking about your own life. These are hard and soft metrics. The hard metrics are those by which survival in the face of any disaster would be a serious struggle without. The soft metrics are those which bolster the hard. They are just as important to your overall preparedness but difficult to measure.
Measuring your food storage is very simple. You just create a baseline of caloric intake for your family. For a family with two kids, I like to have a baseline of 7,000 calories per day. That is 2500 for each parent and 1,000 per child. I know this is a lot for a woman and maybe a lot of some kids but it’s a nice round number and it makes measuring your stockpile very easy.
If you don’t want to go back and start counting calories just do it with all the new items, you buy from now on. If you ended the year with 2 weeks of food or 28,000 calories you can easily increase that by using the 7000 calories per week metric.
Water has another very simple metric. Its rock solid and you can measure where you stand using 4 gallons of water a day for a family of four. That is about as easy as it gets. That means you are going to need 120 gallons of water for a month of survival.
This should come from a number of methods. Don’t try to store 120 gallons of water in your home. Don’t forget, two 55-gallon rain barrels will provide you with nearly a months’ worth of water! That’s an investment and a metric that makes sense.
Power is an interesting one, but it can be measured using watts. I recommend everyone have a means of generating power off the grid. It’s not something you have to use all day, but you should have the ability to turn to it when the power goes out.
Measuring your effectiveness in terms of power is easy. You start by choosing which items you need to be powered during a disaster. You can easily calculate the watts needed by searching that information based on your unit.
Then you need to have the power to make those run. Add power with more solar panels or a more powerful generator.
About 95% of first aid kits on the market are just a bunch of band-aids, some ointments, and variety of small single use medicines. If you have a headache or fever for more than 3 days, you will likely run out of the meds in most kits. If your family all has the flu, you will burn through this stuff in a hurry.
Most kits don’t even contain rolled gauze.
Here is the reality. Most people don’t have time to build a proper first aid kit. They don’t have the time to learn what to put inside.
When it comes to first aid, you should measure your preparedness on a per person level. 4 packs of ibuprofen are not going to be what you need. Invest in a high quality, whole family, first aid kit.
This is a very vague topic and it makes the metrics for it very tough. You see, security can be as simple as a shotgun or as complex as a host of cameras and locks. The best way to think about it is to deter the criminals of the outside world from the time they step on your street till the time they approach your bedroom door.
Your metrics are the deterrents.
- How does your home look from the street?
- Is your yard well lit or easy to traverse in shadow?
- Do you have cameras or signs to deter people?
- Are your windows all locking?
- Do you have quality, reinforced door locks?
- Do you have alarms
- What do you have to protect yourself if someone gets in your home and attempts to hurt you?
Every year we watch thousands of Americans rush from their homes in an impromptu evacuation. Why on earth are we doing impromptu evacuations?
Look at your EVAC situation and consider what would happen if you had to leave right now. What can you improve about that plan in 2019?
- Sentimental Affects
Can you check all of these? If not, you are in need of some improvement.
The skill game is a quality over quantity affair. It doesn’t matter if you started a fire once, filtered water once and made wild medicine one time, a decade ago. Focus on the skills that you can do often. Repetition is the preppers best friend.
Look at the skills you need to be successful in your environment as well. No point in knowing all about urban survival skills if you live on 100 acres. Skills are all about practice, practice, practice.
First, make a list of these skills you need to improve and then make a schedule for practice. That is measuring what you need and putting a plan in place to achieve those goals.
Intelligence sounds like a very exciting world that evokes drones and satellites.
Keep it simple. You need to know what is happening in the outside world no matter what the disaster has done. In other words, you need an emergency radio. Something that is solar powered or hand crank or both is a great option, as well.
You can go much farther and much deeper, but you should be prepared with an emergency radio at least.
It’s very difficult to measure plans. You have to be truthful with yourself about the plans and if they will work in a true disaster. Prepping is as much about written, hard copy, plans as it is about anything you can buy.
You should first consider the threats and events that can affect your region. In other words, let’s plan a fire route before we plan a nuclear disaster bugout plan. Take care of regional disasters first. Get those plans suited up. Start with a golden evacuation plan
- Where are you going?
- What are you taking?
- Who is coming?
- How are you getting there?
Written plans are not only great reminders for you, but they should be built thoroughly. This is because, you might be dead, and your family will need to know what you meant in your plans. Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link.
MEASURING FOR SUCCESS
This was an effort put together both for my thoughts and future goals and to spur your own. You just don’t know what you are capable of if you are prepping in the dark. In my humble opinion, you are doing just that if you are not measuring your change year over year.
Something we didn’t touch on is philosophical change. This needs to be considered. Let’s say in 2018 you were big on survival gadgetry and in 2019 you take a minimalist or traditionalist route with things like tools for building and survival. If you have a wholesale change of philosophy, it’s going to affect your progression year over year.
You need to start looking at your disaster preparedness goals as a serious investment. You want to see improvement and you want to rest easy at night. If you live in a fog of buying random survival gear or food at the market, you need to do more measuring.
Do you have enough food for 4 weeks?
Do you have enough water for 3 days?
How long can you power the essentials in your home?
Prepping comes down to simple questions like these. Answer them truthfully and you will both be able to improve and sleep at night knowing you are prepared to take care of your family.
James Walton is the host of the I AM Liberty Show (www.iamlibertyshow.com) a podcast about 21st-century freedom. He is a freelance writer in the prepping and survival niche and likes to keep a healthy balance between prepping and enjoying life.