I’ve seen a lot of lists and heard some radio ads for items you MUST have in order to be properly prepared for a disaster. Recently I received an email with a link for the product on those particular items. Clicking the link to me to one of those lengthy (too long in my opinion) sales pages with a mysterious hand drawing pictures on a dry erase board along with the narration being read aloud. It was one of those, “Hey, your smart, and because you’re smart, you will buy my products, because if you don’t buy my products horrible things will happen and you will look like a complete failure,” sales pitches. I did not buy the products (he actually offered several products – cds/dvds, ebooks- in a “special” package deal). In part because, at one point in the video presentation the narrator states that he is the author of a well known, super seller of a prep book, but, without the information in this package, all of the people having read the book will have prepared for naught. At that point I thought to myself, why on earth would I spend money to buy a product that will save my life when the seller already admits that his other life saving products, are missing some vital information.
Now, I’m not here to start an argument. I am sure that there is good information in those products. I have no doubt whatsoever that he knows a great deal more than I do about preparation and survival in a major disaster. This article is not really about picking apart others or even offering up my own iron clad alternative. It’s really more just my thoughts on paper, well, on computer screen.
I have a lot of questions about “prepping” as it’s known these days. I think it only wise and a matter of common sense to have water & extra non-perishable foods available. This has never been demonstrated more clearly to us than it has been living in West Virginia. Nowhere else we’ve lived have we experienced so many power outages so often. Winter, spring, summer, or fall…we’ve had no power at times though them all. We have gone days at a time without power and have endured water outages and lengthy boil advisories. In fact, I put up my emergency canned heat post following a power outage one cold winter. That was actually something I learned from my family when we lived in Montana. They keep a can of that heat in their vehicles in the winter in case they end up off the road somewhere for a long period.
One thought that haunts me is the thought of prepping my home with food, water, toilet paper, canned heat, etc only to lose it in the actual disaster, whatever it may be. Hurricane Sandy seems a good example of homes being completely lost to the disaster itself. Having stockpiles of food, water, firearms, whatever your into – that may all be washed away, buried, or burned up. Which causes me to take pause and seriously consider every dollar put into “prepping”. I have come to the conclusion that I much prefer common sense and to set my goals more to self-sufficiency than over the top prepping. Extreme prepping? I’m not sure what to call it. Everyone has to prepare in whatever way they deem best and most appropriate for them. I certainly don’t look down on those with large stockpiles. If that makes you feel better, decreases your stress, and allows you peace, then by all means. May you live long & prosper.
Then there are folks like us. We live within a cash budget that is budgeted down to the last dollar. There are often times of worry that we can not afford this or that and sometimes this is tires and that is brakes. Must have items. We can not afford to buy gold or silver or stockpile MREs or invest in expensive survival type gear. Rather, we try to keep extra on hand of what we actually use. One of our children has multiple food allergies. As a result, I learned several years ago how to grind wheat and bake all of our own breads. In doing such I discovered Sue Gregg and her cookbooks. We have been using her whole wheat bread recipe for many years now & loving every single bite. Even more valuable than the recipes is the information she provides in each and every one of her cookbooks. There are no pictures, no shiny pages, but there is a wealth of information on how to store grains (who wants buggy grains, and if they do get bugs, can you still use them?), and then how to use them! What good are buckets of oats and wheat berries or rice, if you have no actual experience in cooking & eating them? She also delves deeply into nutrition in an easy to read and understand way. I can’t recommend her books highly enough.
Speaking of nutrition, in googling “the 37 items” I found several forum & blog posts listing out various items supposedly from this or that book or list. One thing common was salsa. Makes sense. Vitamin C. Some lists included nuts, crackers, pretzels. It seems pretty obvious that eating foods high in salt content (ie: roasted salted nuts as opposed to raw) would then cause you to drink more water. Something that may be counter productive.
The author I mentioned earlier (namelessly), says several times in his video pitch that as Christians we have an obligation to share what we have. Now there is something refreshing to hear. Whether you’re a Christian or not, I hope that you have a heart and realize that if you are eating out of your larder, your neighbors may be starving. Sue Gregg is very wise in these matters as well.
I don’t know what disasters may await us, but one thing is certain, they do. Not because it’s the apocalypse, but because history shows that we live on a dynamic planet with active weather and earthly shifting. It only makes sense to prepare. My encouragement to you is to think calmly about what you might need in a disaster, and then to follow through with the items you do choose and learn how to use them. Stocked up on cast iron cookware? How will you get that dutch oven over the fire? Tripod or grate? Have buckets of rice? How many ways do you know how to cook rice? Where will the water needed to cook it come from? And if you’re in the “I’ll just take from others” crowd, have you considered your competition?
I’d love to hear comments. Do you feel prepared? For how long? Are you a minimalist or an extreme prepper? Or do you think it’s all up to God and you hope you die in the first major incident? Yeah, I’ve heard that too! Or, are you one who thinks the whole thing is a load of horse …