Practical Prepping Part I: Philosophy

Welcome to 2018!  Maybe it will be a better year than 2017 was.  Maybe not.  Are you prepared for what it brings?  Well, unless you have a crystal ball that I certainly do not we simply don’t know what our future holds.  Thus, we hope for the best, but we prepare for the worst.  Are you working on your preparations?

Here I begin the new year with the presentation of a five part series called Practical Prepping and my intended audience is not necessarily squared away preppers but more so the average gun person who would like to do more to be prepared for the other dangers and events that can disrupt our lives beyond just criminal activity.  Being prepared for the world that surrounds us goes beyond just firearms.  Although guns are an integral part of preparedness there is more involved.

There is a lot of overlap between the firearms community, the most devout of which can be referred to as the gun culture, and the preparedness community, the dedicated of which are called preppers.  I find that most preppers are into guns since firearms are an essential preparation item.  Gun people, however, can go either way regarding prepping.  Some are full blown preppers, some live in urban apartments with only a couple of days’ worth of sustainability in the house and no bug-out preparations.

While I am certainly a shooter above being a dedicated “prepper” for me both crafts are intrinsically related.  Carrying a concealed handgun on a daily basis is a foremost manifestation that you like to be prepared for the unexpected.  Most of us who do carry a gun rarely, if ever, need it.  We carry it because should we find ourselves in a situation where we in fact do need it the stakes are high despite the relatively low odds of being in the situation to begin with.  Those who carry a concealed handgun every day live by the adage of I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.  So too is my philosophy towards prepping.  Self-defense is just one aspect of overall preparedness and self-sufficiency.

I approach prepping in a way that you may find more practical than the norm.  I am not a subscriber to post-apocalyptic Mad Max scenarios.  Sure, anything can happen.  However, if we look at the history of mankind on planet Earth you will find that there have been many disruptive and dangerous breakdowns in society but society re-forms nonetheless.  The threat is not necessarily an extended breakdown, but it is the immediate rampage that follows a crisis in which the rule of law collapses and people run wild.  Social breakdown, looting, pillaging, increased criminal activity, and the lack of law enforcement, medical, and fire response structures can lead to very dangerous situations.  Such a crisis can be fostered by natural or man-made disasters and not being prepared to ride out such situations is dreadfully naive.

My general approach to prepping is to be prepared for what is most likely, and with any additional resources prepare for the less likely yet still possible.  I think having at least two weeks of food in the house is sensible, not paranoid.  I think being able to purify water is being prepared, not paranoid.  I think being able to treat medical issues is wise, and being capable of defending yourself and your loved ones only makes sense.  At first doing any kind of prepping seems like an insurmountable task and the truth is, no matter how much gear or training you acquire you will always feel that you need more.  So, how do we start?  With an assessment:

Consideration 1:  Analyze Your Most Probable Threats

Sure, the complete breakdown of society might occur in the wake of an EMP or a virus outbreak that turns everyone into zombies but focus on the disasters that are more likely, which will vary for everyone depending on where you live.  Do you live on coastland that experiences bad hurricanes?  Do you live in the southwest where you experience forest fires?  Do you experience floods?  Do you experience heavy blizzards that can take the power grid down for long periods of time?  Are you in a large urban area that can experience rioting or other civil unrest?  These are the sorts of things to consider first; the most realistic potentials for disaster.  These most probable events should take the priority in your preparation.

Beyond just the analysis of threats to you at home analyze how such disasters could affect your ability to make it home or to your family.  How far away from home does your daily commute to work take you?  What about other travel?  What disasters could occur that would leave you stranded and unable to make it home?  Do you keep the gear you would need to make it home, perhaps on foot, with you?  And even if a large scale disaster does not occur, what immediate disasters could occur to yourself or your family?  If you get stranded in a vehicle in a snow storm, do you have the emergency supplies in your car for such an event?  This is practical prepping.

Consideration 2:  Will You Stay Home or Need to Leave?

Are you in a location where you can realistically ride out any event right at home?  If you need to evacuate for hurricanes, wild fires, floods, etc… then you must have bug-out plans laid out, where will you go and are you prepared with the gear you need to get there?  Do you have alternate routes planned out?  How about civil unrest?  If you live in an urban environment can you realistically and safely ride out riots and other possible civil breakdown or would it be safer to leave?  If you can remain during any such disaster at home, do you have the supplies and infrastructure needed to do so?  Even if your plan focuses on bugging out, what if you can’t leave?  Are you ready to weather the storm at home anyway in case you have to?

Consideration 3:  Where will you Go If You Need to Leave?

If you need to bug out for any given reason do you have plans for where you will be going?  Is the place you are going far enough removed that it won’t be effected by the situation?  Will it be feasible to make it to that location?  If a crisis strikes and the gas pumps run dry quickly will you be able to drive that far?  Do you store fuel for exactly that reason?  Will the roadways be passable?

So, these are the big questions you need to ask yourself and spend some time on before you begin drafting your preparations and the most likely dangers should be considered first.  Over the course of the other articles in this series I will offer some ideas as to how to piece together preparations based on a realistic and holistic approach.

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