I believe prepping matters. We all have a personal responsibility to look after ourselves, our family, and our community. Prepping today comes with a negative stigma, and I want to change that notion. Prepping is not being paranoid. Prepping just makes good sense. I believe prepping is something that every responsible citizen should do.
When I was a little girl, I loved to read books. I particularly loved mysteries like Nancy Drew, and Choose-Your-Own-Adventures. I remember reading classics like James and the Giant Peach, and Judy Blume. But I didn’t take them seriously. They were just fantasies, just stories. They weren’t real.
One summer, I read something outside of my normal taste. I read a book about a teenage boy who was suddenly faced with a nuclear situation. One minute, life was normal, the next minute, his whole world was in shambles. Suddenly, there was disaster, and chaos. There was no clean water. Looters were taking advantage, and he even found himself “stealing” though that’s not how he would have described it at the time. He was just surviving. There were injured and dead people everywhere. Buildings were destroyed, and debris covered the streets, preventing emergency vehicles from getting help to people who desperately needed it. He had to carry his own severely burned mother to the hospital on a wagon that he pulled himself. This book terrified me.
It scared me because at the age of 12, it had never occurred to me that my life would ever change. I had not experienced death, or tragedy. I had never been in a catastrophic situation or natural disaster. I was suddenly aware of how tremendously unprepared my family was if something…anything…were to happen to us.
My First Taste of Disaster
Later that winter, we experienced the worst winter storm in 50 years. Power was out for two weeks. The streets were covered with black ice. We couldn’t even get out of our neighborhood to go to the store, and even if we could, there was nothing on the shelves. Thankfully, we still had running water, but it was ice cold. We had to warm the water on a camping stove to bathe with, and we could only warm one gallon at a time. There were seven people in our household.
When supplies ran low, my parents decided to risk the streets and try to drive five miles to the nearest store. They didn’t make it. The streets were covered with a one inch slab of ice. Their car slid off the road and into a ditch. They could not get it out, and there would be no help coming. They left the car there, and walked back home, hoping that the ice would melt soon, otherwise, their family might starve.
Fortunately, before the situation became dire, the ice melted, and everything soon went back to normal. What if it didn’t? What if we had two more weeks with no food? What if the pipes froze, and we didn’t have running water? What if we didn’t have that camping stove to cook food? The horrors of the book played out in my mind, and I was reminded with a real life example, of how unprepared we were for disasters.
The Danger in Comfort
Fast forward, and I am now 35 years old. I have kids of my own, and I have grown comfortable. Comfort can be a very dangerous thing. We become comfortable, then reliant on certain lifestyles, then dependent. At this point, I am 100% dependent on being able to get food from a store each week. I have no stockpiles. I have no water stored up. I have no idea what I would do if a disaster struck us.
Last year, ebola hit close to home for us here in Texas, and I will not lie. That was scary. Like most others, on the surface, I was calm, and not worried about it, but my brain was running away with questions. I’m not panicking, but what if others panic? What if there’s a food run on the stores, and I am left with nothing to feed my kids? What if work makes us take mandatory time off for safety? I am living paycheck to paycheck. I am 100% dependent on the salary from my job. If I lose that, I am dead in the water. They say they have things under control, but are they just saying that to mitigate panic? What if it does get out of control? How will I protect my family?
The reality is, disasters happen. Sometimes they only affect a few, sometimes many. It is our responsibility to do what we can to take care of ourselves and not wait for someone else to come to our rescue, because that may not happen. Unfortunately, that was the case for many poor souls after Hurricane Katrina.
If disaster strikes, in whatever form, I want the peace of mind knowing that I have prepared my family to the best of my ability. That’s what being a “prepper” is all about. These days the word “prepper” has a negative connotation depending on who you talk to. There are extremists, just like with anything else, but being prepared just makes sense. Not being prepared, and relying on luck and the hope that nothing will happen doesn’t make sense.
So this is my way of holding myself accountable for being prepared, and not getting too comfortable and complacent. My grandma used to say “It’s better to be safe, than sorry”. That is my goal. I want my family, and your family to be safe.