Thursday, April 17, 2014

INFORMATIVE: Why be a Prepper?

It's a question that you get asked most when people find out that you're a prepper or survivalist:


Many people take it further and openly mock the lifestyle, claiming that you're afraid of a "zombie apocalypse" or some other - equally ridiculous - notion.

So why be a prepper? The way I see it, there are four 'levels' of prepping, and it all comes down to what you wish to be prepared for - which, in turn, depends on what you can realistically foresee happening based on your point of view. It is - after all - a subjective thing.

Here are the four levels of prepping, as I see it:

Personal Disaster:
Bad things happen sometimes. Your car might break down in an isolated spot. You might injure yourself where you can't reach medical attention. Your phone battery may die or you may lose your wallet and have no money for transport home... These are small things which can have a large impact, but only to you. Help is still there, even if not within reach, but if you can be prepared for them then these personal disasters don't take as much of a toll, and you don't have to rely on others for help.

Local Disaster:
Some things are outside of peoples' control. Neighbourhoods can flood, bushfires can sweep through an area, crime sprees can run rampant outside of law enforcements' control... These events are larger scale than a personal incident and effect more than just you. Because of this, you need to be able to take into account and accommodate for dealing with more people than just yourself and loved ones: sometimes to help them, other times to protect yourself from them.

Major Disaster:
Large scale events can overtake an entire region or even an entire country. Large-scale natural disasters - despite only affecting one region - can drain resources of adjoining regions. Economic collapses can push entire states and even cities into bankruptcy. Mass-scale rioting or social unrest can cause widespread destruction and panic, and cross-country drought can lead to massive food and resource shortages which, in turn, can affect an entire nation.

Global Disaster:
The true SHTF (Shit Hitting The Fan) event is the most rare - but also the most devastating - occurence. World war, nuclear fallout, international economic crash, supervolcano eruption... These are things that have all occurred before - they're not theoretical - and they can all happen again. Though the chances are slim, many preppers opt to prepare for these occurrences and all below. This takes significant time and attention, however, and isn't for the faint hearted.

No matter which one you want to be prepared for, these are the real reasons that people become preppers. Unfortunately, it often takes having to live through and deal with one of the above scenarios to make people become a prepper. Sometimes a person will be prepared for one level, but then a higher level will happen, leading them to upscale their preps.

So what does it mean to be a prepper, from a layman's perspective? Well, that depends on the level of preparedness that you have, and on the individual doing the prepping. Here are some examples of preps that people at the different levels are likely to have:

Personal Disaster Preppers:

- Basic first aid training
- Martial arts training
- An EDC that they carry with them
- Basic medical supplies
- A small emergency cash stash
- Charger or battery backup for phone
- Vehicle emergency kit

Local Disaster Preppers:

- Everything in the above list
- A week's worth of long-life food
- Emergency lighting equipment
- Sandbags, tarps and rope
- Advanced medical supplies
- Short-term fuel storage
- Water purification equipment
- Basic home defense measures
- Small-scale alternative power source, such as solar panels or a petrol generator

Major Disaster Preppers:

- Everything in the above list
- 6 months worth of long-life food
- Large-scale water storage (such as a rainwater tank)
- Permanent alternative power fixtures, such as a mains-independant solar setup
- Advanced medical training
- Intricate home defense measures
- Bug-out gear in case of evacutation
- Long-term fuel storage
- Off-road transport options
- Gas masks and protective clothing
- Means and training of food production
- Long-term, wide-ranging medication stores
- Mid to long-range UHF or VHF communications system
- Basic construction training
- Sources of heat
- Means of acquiring fuel (be it petrol, wood, etc)

Global Disaster Preppers:

- Everything in the above list
- Stocked fallout shelter/bunker
- Advanced home defense measures
- Access to alternative water supply
- NBC suits
- Wide range of advanced skills training including, but not limited to:
     - Paramedic training
     - Nursing training
     - Engineering training
     - Electrical training
     - Agricultural training
     - Bushcraft training (hunting, survival, crafting, gathering)
- Raw building materials
- Isolation materials (materials to prevent ingress of disease to the property)
- Long term resource store (bleach, disinfectant, liquid fuel, etc)

So as you can see, the styles of prepping range from fairly small and realistic to quite intense, but it all comes down to the individual's belief. Ask any prepper why they do it and they'll usually respond with a story about how a disaster caught them off-guard and the devastating effect it had on them. You won't often hear about zombies or solar flares or whatnot (though there are a few crazies in the community). Most of the time a prepper does what they do because they've been caught out before and don't want to get caught out again.

Speaking from personal experience, I find it calming. When something goes wrong - a flood, a power out, a cyclone, getting stranded - I just grab the appropriate gear or skill and deal with the situation. No panic, no stress, no worries. I am reliant on no-one, beholden to no-one and it will always be that way, no matter what happens.

- CumQuaT

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