Some think “preppers” are just paranoid, or even crazy. Sure, there are extreme cases where things get taken a bit too far, but we don’t need an apocalypse to be prepared.
If you think nothing bad will ever happen, here is a list of disasters that have hit the United States, just in the last 5 years:
- 2016 Blizzard– In January, a winter storm hit the Northeast, killing 55 people and causing an estimated $3 billion in damage
- 2014 Ebola Outbreak– while this was technically not a U.S. disaster, I am including it here because when Texas nurses were infected, it became a threat, and people panicked
- 2014 Flint Water Crisis– public water contaminated with lead, exposed thousands of people to a pubic health crisis, which took months to resolve.
- 2014 Mudslide in Washington State- killed 43 people
- 2013 Tornado in Oklahoma- killed 24 people, injured over 300
- 2013 Fertilizer Plant Explosion in Texas- killed 15 people, injured over 160
- 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing– killed 6 people, injured over 250
- 2012 Hurricane Sandy– killed over 75 people, over $71 billion in property damage
- 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Mass Shooting– 28 killed
- 2011 Tornado Outbreak – over 300 tornadoes hit the midwest and southern states, killing around 350 people.
This is not a complete list, just some of the more memorable ones. Many smaller disasters happen on a local level everyday, that never make it into the national news. I recently learned that my city only has four firetrucks, and two ambulances. If a disaster hit, it is very likely that paramedics/EMT’s will be overwhelmed. I would be horrified to face a situation where people I love are injured, and knowing that no help would be coming. So I take responsibility for our own care. I have supplies (such as a well stocked first aid kit), and I am going through training on how to respond in disasters (CERT program).
As you can see, some are natural, some are man made. Some we saw coming and had time to prepare (Hurricane Sandy), some were a complete surprise (Boston Marathon Bombing, Fertilizer Plant Explosion), and some were preventable (Flint Water Crisis). Some don’t even have to be a disaster.
Sometimes, even just the threat of disaster can send people into a panic, which can become a disaster itself. I saw this with Y2K, and again with the Ebola threat in 2014. When that patient came to Texas, and the nurse became infected, we had our first ever confirmed case of Ebola on U.S. soil….and in my own backyard! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. Some people rushed to the stores to stock up on supplies, and cleared the shelves. It reminded me of Y2K. Back then, I had a four month old baby, and diapers and baby formula were gone from the shelves…that certainly sent me into a panic. How would I feed my baby?! And how long would it last? I had no idea what I was going to do, and I was gravely concerned. It may not have been a disaster worthy of the news, but it was certainly a disaster for me!
Y2K turned out to be nothing, and the Ebola outbreak did not affect us either, but in both cases, fear produced its own disaster. This is why I believe prepping matters. It is important for all citizens to be responsible for themselves by preparing for emergencies, and not just when they are a threat.
In many cases, the death toll is not from the initial disaster, but indirect effects, such as injury, unsanitary environments, unsafe drinking water, and other secondary disasters that result from the damage. By being prepared with food, water, and first aid supplies, death from secondary disasters can be prevented.
My friends (and I’ll be honest, my kids too) sometimes laugh at me for being a “prepper”. After watching the show “Doomsday Preppers”, they have the idea that anyone who “preps” is a tin foil hat wearing, paranoid hoarder who stockpiles insane amounts of food and ammunition in secret underground barracks for when the SHTF (shit hits the fan). That’s not me, but I say, let them prep! And here’s why:
- A motto among preppers is “It is better to have it, and not need it, than need it, and not have it”. Have you ever had a tire blow out, and no spare? We drive for months or even years with a spare tire, and the necessary tools, just in case, and no one thinks that is crazy. This is just one example of prepping
- In a disaster situation, the people who are well prepared will not be in the way of professional emergency responders who are trying to get to those who really need help
- Experienced preppers are in a good position to teach others in the community how be prepared in case an emergency ever happens
- Your “prepper” neighbors won’t seem so crazy when they can share food, water, and emergency care with your family when the situation is dire…and it happens!
- When more people are prepared, there is less panic. Less panic means less chaos and anarchy, which means that calm people can get organized to deal with the crisis with clear heads and less fear
I could list for days about the benefits of prepping. I would much rather be standing next to a prepper than a non-prepper when disaster strikes.
Sadly,there is a point, as with anything, where something can become an obsession. I believe that we should prepare, however we should not live in constant fear.
My hope and dream is to encourage more people to prep, so that we can all feel a little more safe, a little more secure, and have a little more peace of mind. When everyone is prepared, and we work together as a community, then we can reduce the overall impact of disasters when they happen.
When we can stand side by side with our neighbors, confident that we can rely on one another to take care of each others’ needs, then we forge a strong community. I believe a strong sense of community will take care of that deep rooted fear and worry that obsessive preppers have. Perhaps then, they won’t have to worry so much about how to protect themselves from the unprepared and desperate souls they imagine they will have to defend themselves against when the situation becomes horrific.
I dream that one day, everyone will prep, and we can stand together, united, and stronger than ever. All this, is why prepping matters.