Prepping is a lifestyle, and we spend a significant amount of time and money to ensure our family will be protected post disaster / collapse. We carefully budget for our family’s necessities, and we balance our inventory to make sure we have the appropriate amount of supplies for each member. We give up unnecessary things that we could have spent money on, because they do not serve a survival purpose. All the while, the zombies are enjoying their life.
Personally, I have prepared more supplies than my immediate family requires, and could likely take on an additional zombie. Or, I could heavily ration my supplies, and take on a few more. If we continue this pattern, eventually a one year’s supply of food, will equate to only a few months.
I have several close friends and co-workers that have stated that they would flee to my house during a disaster. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I tell them they would not be welcome, but always; I try to encourage them to start preparing. I explain that each individual’s preparedness goals are different, but I believe that every household should have at least a month’s worth of food in reserve, in addition to basic sanitation and medical supplies.
A Little Perspective
Having spent several years between Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I have had the benefit of seeing how some of the world’s poorest people live their daily lives. Sure, we have poor people here in America. But the immersion of being a part of a civilization, which is arguably 100 to 200 years behind America, has had a great impact on my belief of living within your means. They do with less, and often do not have any of the modern conveniences, that we [Americans] take for granted each and every day.
I believe the lifestyles in the small villages across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, would resemble America post disaster. Having access to reliable power, if access at all, would be a daily issue. Having a clean water source would determine life and death. Acres and acres of crops would be scattered across all available space. Not knowing if you would grow enough food to provide for your family, would be a daily nightmare. Every able-body individual would work from sun up to sun down. And, not having adequate security would always be a concern.
On the other side of the village spectrum is the villager’s realization that they do not have much, and the desire to acquire things to improve their standard of living. When someone asks about my experiences deployed in combat, eventually the discussion will lead to the children caught in total chaos. Those children will beg for anything shiny or electrical, ask for food, bottled water, and candy. We [Americans] take these requests for granted, as we can drive to a store and purchase whatever we want on the internet. But, what happens if there are no stores? What if our lives revert to how these third world children live every day? Where would you draw the line?
5 Steps to Do Now
To avoid the need to draw the line, you can take the following steps. This list only works for family members and friends that are receptive to your constant preparedness lifestyle recommendations.
- Communicate regularly with extended family members and close friends on the need to start preparing. Do not try to be too over the top. Taking a hostile approach usually will not work and you will often create a barrier.
- Identify purchases that can make a big difference if ever needed. For around $20, you can purchase a 50lbs bag of rice. This will go a long way, and is a great food storage staple. A one month’s supply of food can be achieved in a short amount of time, and even on a limited budget.
- Offer to store food and other survival items, if they provide money for the purchases. Some individuals are not comfortable learning new skills, are not interested in learning the basics, or do not have the free time. Additionally, getting started in areas such as food storage could be an expensive upfront cost. Instead of recommending they purchase a dehydrator, let them know that you can dehydrate the foods for them, if they provide the items and/or give you money.
- Purchase additional items to assist extended family and friends. For instance, I have purchased a Survival Bag, plus contents, for my brother and sister-in-law. This could be a birthday / holiday present, or you can leave it amongst your stores. You do not need to let them know that you have purchased these items until they actually need them.
- Turn preparing into a family event. I remember each summer my family would get together and can food from the garden. While, not what I consider preparing, you could use a similar method. Plan camping outings, and demonstrate using survival items. Have family and friends over, and cook using a solar cooker. These little things could eventually spark interest.
5 Ways to Draw the Line
The reason I brought up the children of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia was because they taught me an important lesson about the desire to have something they could not get on their own. I sometimes have nightmares of some child saying “Mister, Mister.” While the nightmares are not true, the calls for "Mr., Mr." were the sign for me to give them a pen, pencil, water bottle, Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), watch, glasses, or any other item that they could see in my possession. While, most people will naturally want to help out a person in need, especially a child, the harsh reality of giving in is also an important lesson to learn. If I would give them something, the next time they saw me they would run up and say “Mister, Mister,” with arms held out waiting for me to repeat the process. I gave up a lot of my personal belongings, water bottles, and food items.
Post disaster, each resource will be consumed or used for trader/barter. Be it a child, or your neighbor, be careful who receives your charity, because they will expect for you to repeat the process. Let’s face it; your supplies will only last for a certain amount of time before they will have to be replenished.
So how do we go about letting our family and friends know that we will not be able to assist them for a prolonged period of time if something were to ever occur? The methods below are only recommendations, and each person will need to decide which route to take.
- Let them know that if something were to happen, that you could only help them out for a few days. After that, they will have to move on because you will not have enough to support your immediate family.
- Do not allow them to stay in your home. By allowing someone to move in, even if under the understanding it could only be for a few days, most individuals will not leave unless forced to. Call it post-apocalypse squatter rights.
- Do not give into pleas, as they may show signs of weakness. It will be hard, but you need to weigh your family’s survival against the needs of another.
- Take a low profile approach post disaster. Do not manicure your yard. If possible, do not advertise you have extra food or can generate power. Blend in as much as possible.
- Leave. While this is extreme, you will not have to worry about turning around a close family member or friend, or jeopardizing your family’s survival by giving charity. If possible, move to another area or retreat when the signs present themselves. People that reside in that area will not know what you have. Additionally, your family members cannot come knocking on your door if they do not know where to find you.
For most of us, it will be hard to turn down a person in need. That is, it will be hard up until the point you need something yourself. It takes weeks to starve to death, and if you were charitable you will regret every second of it. Is this harsh? Yes. But, it is reality. Be Prepared. Get Connected.