Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I spent plenty of my school time huddled on the floor of school hallways or under my desk in preparation for an “air raid” or nuclear attack. Was an attack actually likely, or maybe just a possibility? I don’t know, but the thing is, if it happened we were prepared.
I also was raised by Depression-era parents who truly knew the meaning of having “to do without.” We had a fair-sized pantry in our basement – “just in case.”
In case of what? Nuclear attack, severe power outage, or another Great Depression. I’m not sure, but we were prepared, as if inspired by the Ant in Aesop’s Fables, “The Ant and the Grasshopper.”
The Boy Scouts of America influenced me, too. Their motto? “Be prepared.”
It is with this none-to-subtle introduction that I admit I’ve become a Prepper. No, you won’t see me on an episode of Doomsday Preppers and I swear, I don’t have a single thing buried under ground - yet. It was not a single event that changed my direction, but a series of events and warnings. Events like hurricanes, tornados, severe (blizzard-like) snow storms, and yes, terrorists attack. It appears to me, for whatever reason, natural disasters seem to be more frequent and more severe than I remember, and hence, the victims of these events spend more and more time without food, water, power, shelter and very limited (if any) sanitary facilities. Mull that last one over for awhile. It has already happened for weeks on end.
Regarding the potential for terrorist attack, I offer this for you to ponder. Don’t think of it in terms of a 9/11 type event. There are many knowledgeable people who believe the next attack might be against our computer networks and/or the electrical grid. If they’re correct, and we suffer a major “event,” we could be off our feet for some time. Seriously, how many days or weeks could you and your family, completely fend for yourself for the bare necessities of life? My bet is, for the majority, not very long.
It is with this background that I have begun preparing. Nothing outlandish, just getting prepared, and you can too.
I’ll tell you the incremental steps I’m taking but, rest assured, there is no shortage of information available on the Internet. Look, study, form opinions and then proceed slowly and methodically.
My plan is to store enough food and water to last us for several weeks to a month or so. You may decide differently. The food will be in cans, jars and freeze dried. There’s a need for pots and utensils for the food as well as a way to cook it – a cook stove, and don’t forget the fuel for it.
Here are a few additional items to consider, a tent (your home could be uninhabitable), first aid kit, flashlights, portable radios, extra batteries, hand cleanser, and sleeping bags. If you have pets, you have to consider their needs also.
While we may not want to discuss it, we have to account for our sanitary needs. Think not? Imagine going without a toilet for just a week, now imagine several. Items such as toilet paper, baby wipes and feminine necessities could mean the difference between a tolerable and intolerable situation. Not to mention the possibility for diseases caused by lack of sanitation.
There are also those who say that you should keep an amount of cash (small bills and silver coins) available in case the banks are not functioning, and also a way to protect yourself, your family and your possessions. While in the beginning of an emergency everyone wants to help everyone else, that may not continue to be the case for the duration of the event. It’s not a dire prediction, just something to consider.
While I could continue to beat the proverbial dead horse, it’s not necessary. There are many ways in which I was already prepared in my life, and this is just an extension of those areas. I have fire extinguishers in key locations, smoke detectors, CO detectors, a life insurance policy and I generally keep at least a half a tank of gas in the cars. I may not ever need any of them (and I hope I don’t) but if I do, I’ll be very glad I have them.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to work on stocking the bunker, er, pantry.
That’s my opinion, what’s yours?
Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.