May 8, 2012

Are you a prepper?

When I attended the USA Prepares Get Prepared Expo in April, one of the other exhibitors asked me if I was a "prepper"?  My immediate response was I don't think of myself as a prepper but I like being prepared.  My primary preparedness scenario is job loss/unemployment.  What can we do now to be prepared in the case of my husband losing his job?  I'm also trying to be prepared for natural disasters like a tornado, major ice storm, or even an earthquake.

For some reason this question hasn't left me.  And I have though many times about it.  Am I a prepper?  And why did I immediately think No.  The reason I think I immediately thought No is a stereotype that is portrayed so much of a prepper being an extremist.  But what is a real prepper?  I don't think a real prepper is someone who is plotting ways to overthrow our government as is sometimes portrayed in the media.  I think a real prepper is someone who is trying to be prepared for a variety of scenarios, whether it be a natural disaster, economic issues, public dangers, etc.  They care about their family and want to provide for them at all times.

No matter my political beliefs, I know that public riots are possible whever we live.  We have been blessed to not have them in our area but I've seen a little bit on the news where they've happened.  They may not have been big or widespread but for those in that immediate area, it definitely impacted their lives - and how comforting it would be to be able to take refuge in our home if that happened where we live.

A few years ago, there was lots of talk of a bird flu epidemic where we would be expected to hole up in our homes for several weeks to prevent the spread of disease.  Does that seem a likely scenario today?  Maybe not.  But I'd like to be prepared if something like that happened.

Living in the Midwest, I'm not worried about a tsunami or hurricane.  But you might have this in your potential scenarios.  When Japan was hit with the tsunami and the stories came of just moments to evacuate to higher ground and so many escaped with nothing but the clothes on their back, I had the immediate thought of THAT is why it is essential to have a 72 hr kit that you can grab in seconds as you head out the door.

There are so many scenarios that we can come up with that we would need to be self-reliant for food, household supplies, power, etc.  Some are more likely to happen than others but being prepared for one tends to make us better prepared for the others.

What brought these thoughts on today?  I'm planning my garden.  I grow a garden to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.  I grow a garden to have that skill in time of need in the future.  Each year, I become a better gardener which means that if I ever HAVE to provide for my family from the garden, we're likely to have a pretty good garden compared to if I'd never gardened.

I have lettuce and spinach growing and ready to eat.  But I haven't been eating them.  I NEED to eat them!  I NEED to plan my menus around what I'm growing and what I'm storing!  Why?  If my family isn't used to eating the things I grow, in a time of need, they still won't eat it and it won't be very helpful to us.  That doesn't only apply to my garden.  It also applies to any food I store in my home.  If I set it on the shelf to eat ONLY in time of need but my family isn't used to it, they're going to say "Ew!  Gross!" when I put it on the table and that's only going to add to any stress at that time.  And what if it really is gross?  I don't want to invest in a 1 year supply of something only to discover that it truly tastes horrible OR I don't know how to use it.

So go experiment!  Try growing a garden!  Incorporate your food storage into your regualr menus.  Learn how to use the different foods you're storing.  Learn how to cook without electricity (I'm putting this on my list of posts to write and of things to learn more about).  Learn how to dry clothes on the clothesline without having them be able to stand up on their own.

I'm so grateful for the little promptings I've had over the years and for the skills I've developed.  I don't think of myself as an expert in any of these but I'm working to move beyond Novice and definitely beyond "No Experience or Knowledge".  I'll share what I've learned and what I continue to learn here.

What types of preparedness would you like posts for?  What scenarios are you preparing for in your family?

As you ponder how you want to get prepared, don't forget to sign up for my Dreaming Big Giveaway today!