I first read this article two years ago, and started laying in the suggested items over a period of several weeks. Reading other articles on this site led me to start stockpiling water, vitamins, and personal-care items; I also took on a second part-time job to add to my emergency savings account. Unfortunately, I lost my full-time job several months ago with no warning and am still job-hunting, but I’m not worried about it. This experience is so much less stressful with a fully stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry, the aforementioned other supplies, and plenty of cash in the bank. Only a few family members know that I prep…everyone else can’t figure out why I’m so calm. Thank you, Gaye!
There was a time when I was a prepping newbie and even now, seven plus years later, I have more to do and more to learn.  In my heart of hearts, however, I still feel like a beginner and so I empathize with those that are just getting started.  They may be moms and dads, seniors like myself, or enlightened millennials. That said, these days I feel fortunate that I have come so far with my prepping activities.  Moving beyond obsession, the prepping way of life is now a part of my core.  It is “what I do” as well as being a hobby and a passion.
If the kids were home, I would have them fill the water bags designed to go in the tubs and get as much potential flying debris as possible secured to minimize the chances of things flying through the doors and windows. No way to make it zero, but five minutes of tossing things into the gazebo or truck bed (under the bed cover) could save more than enough damage to make it worthwhile. Also, make sure everyone is wearing shoes with good soles to protect them from glass from any blown out windows we do get.
You should be doing your homework and putting in practice ahead of the fateful day, not counting on whipping out your manual in the middle of a crisis, but knowing how to best deal with any given situation is too good to pass up. In lieu of first-hand experience, a good set of instructions can help carry the day. I really like the Pocket Ref guides for general knowledge and skills, as they are tiny and positively packed with useful info.

“Everything started flying out,” she says. Buckets and cans rolled out of the pantry and down the side of the mountain. Hurricane Maria claimed almost all the food Jennifer had stockpiled, in addition to more than 30 chickens, two cows, four pigs, six ducks, and a turkey. “I had prepped for two and a half years, and I ended up with preps for six months,” she says.
This is behaviour that can sound extreme, but often it’s forged in reaction to events that could affect any one of us. Some preppers are concerned by natural disasters. Others worry about terrorism, or our financial system, or the repercussions of Brexit, whatever they may be. Survivalism has had a dedicated following in America since the 1970s, swelling during the run-up to the millennium in the 90s and peaking again after 9/11. Trump’s posturing hasn’t helped – the threat of nuclear war can send even the most rational thinkers running to the tinned-food aisle.
But this is a situation where we can achieve a lot through a simple ranking system. If we prepare for the far most likely disaster to strike us (for me it’s a tornado or extended power outage during winter time since I live in Alabama in the infamous “Dixie Alley”), we will find a pleasing truth…we will generally be prepared for many of the other types of disasters on our list by default, already.
MREs at the time were pretty much like they are now, but the menus have improved and some minor details have made this meal in a bag much more palatable if you can believe that. I served before they had things like M&M’s or skittles for dessert and hot sauce to flavor your food. We also didn’t have a built-in heater like they do now. If you wanted your MRE warm you were limited only by your creativity. MRE food packets are foil so they are both waterproof and allow you to heat them on almost anything. We would use the heater vents in our trucks, lay them on our stoves in the tent or on the block of our engines.
After 9/11, my dad filled a duffel bag with some energy bars, a couple gallons of water, some penicillin, and a map. Amid scaremongering headlines about imminent anthrax and “dirty bomb” attacks in the city, he wanted to have some supplies on hand in case we needed to get out of Brooklyn fast. Were he to assemble such a bag today, he’d likely stumble on a number of companies promising a more wholesale brand of disaster preparedness: a box full of shelf-stable freeze-dried meals, to be revived from their dessicated state with the addition of boiled water.
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