One of the most important things you can do in life is to be self sufficient. There is nothing wrong with depending on other people, we have done that for the entire existence of our species. We’ve evolved to live in communities and to work together for a greater good. However, in today’s world, more and more people are becoming acutely aware of the delicate political climate, and are becoming what many people refer to as “preppers”.
Preparedness is a good thing, not just for a SHTF (Shit Hit The Fan) situation, but for day to day life. Everything that you can create and provide for yourself is something that you don’t have to depend on somebody else for. Look at your day to day life, and the things that you consume on a regular basis. Let’s say that all of a sudden there was another terrorist attack, and all of the grocery stores and fast food joints closed for several days, would you be able to feed yourself until things returned to normal? What if a winter storm hits and your power goes out for 3 or 4 days, would you be able to keep yourself and your family warm and fed until the power came back on?
When I think survival and prepping, I also try to think about what could “reasonably” happen. In real life as we know it today, it is much more likely that you will experience an earthquake or a winter storm than an alien invasion. Depending on where you live, make sure your bug out bags, get home bags, etc., contain items relevant to that kind of environment, and items that would be useful in the most likely emergency situations. You can probably leave your shark repellent at home if you don’t live near the beach.
Here’s a real life story of how prepping made my life easier. I was stationed at Fort Lewis, WA and lived in Lakewood, WA, I was active duty in the US Army. A big winter storm hit the area, and we lost power for a little over 4 days. It was shortly after Christmas, and for the holiday that year we had bought a real tree. When we took it down, instead of just throwing it in the garbage, I cut it into logs for firewood, including the needles and small branches, because pine trees burn like gasoline, especially the needles when they’ve had a chance to dry. When the power went out, I immediately built a fire, put blankets up around the living room to hold the heat in a smaller area, retrieved my bug out bag, and moved our bed material into the living room floor. We turned on an old radio we had and found out that they were expecting the power to be out for several days. After we heard that, seeing as how there was a foot of snow outside, we moved all of our food out of the refrigerator and into coolers on our back patio and filled those coolers with snow to keep our food cold and fresh. We got a phone call from a friend asking if we needed help with anything and to let us know that they were going to the gym on post to keep warm. Think about that for just a second. A hundred years ago, electricity in the home was pretty rare, and in a relatively short amount of time we’ve become so dependent on it that without electricity in our homes, most people are not able to take care of themselves or their families, and child protective services will take your kids if you don’t have it. After about a day and a half I started running low on firewood. I grabbed my bow-saw and started driving around cutting trees out of the roads and loading them in the back of my truck to take home as firewood. At night I took the battery out of our car, brought it in the house with a 400 watt power inverter and operated a lamp, an alarm clock/radio, cell phone chargers, etc., and used a multimeter to keep track of the life of the battery so I could make sure it still had enough juice to start the car in the morning. We limited the amount of water we took from the tap and had enough hot water to take a quick shower every morning for about 3 days before the hot water heater finally emptied. After about 4 days of my family living in relative comfort, and actually learning to get along without Facebook to take our attention away from each other, the power came back on and other soldiers were able to leave the makeshift homeless shelters set up in the gyms on base and back into their apartments. This is a story of how I, being prepared for real life possibilities, was able to make what was a bad situation for most people in the area, a fairly comfortable one for me and my family, and we didn’t have to rely on anybody but ourselves and the equipment we already had. Keep in mind, I did not live in some far flung, out of the way area, I lived in Lakewood, WA, a town that runs right into Tacoma, WA and not that far from Seattle, with millions of people including several thousand soldiers living all around, so things like this can happen to anybody.
You need to be able to provide for yourself and your family. What can you do in and around your living area to do that? If you live in an apartment you can start a flower pot garden and grow some fresh vegetables. It won’t be enough to feed you all year, but you might be able to grow some things that are hard to find in the stores, and maybe have enough to feed yourselves for a couple of days in the event of an emergency. Do you know how to make your own soap? You’d be surprised how easy it is, and you could create your own custom scented soap that does wonders for your skin. Make sure you have a propane stove/grill so you can cook if the power goes out. Make sure you own at least one gun and some ammunition for it, and that you know how to safely operate and maintain it. You can use it to hunt for food, or in a worst case scenario, to defend yourself from other people who notice you are more prepared than they are and try to rob you. Remember, in most emergency situations, it’s easier if you’re already producing, or able to produce many of the things you will need to get through those first few hours, so you’re not scrambling to the stores before they lock the door to get last minute items.
Self sufficiency is important not only for survival situations, but for day to day life. Maybe it’s just me, but I take a certain amount of pride in being able to survive without having to depend on other people. Yeah, a McDonalds double cheeseburger is nice once and a while, but if this country went into a state of civil war right now, or if all of the power went out, I would be able to survive comfortably and feed myself and my family. Can you say the same? Take a look at your environment, and make a plan to improve your ability to operate independently in the immediate aftermath of an emergency, even if it’s only a temporary one, and I guarantee you’ll find a sense of satisfaction in knowing that there’s at least some things that you don’t “have” to depend on somebody else to give to you.
Below is a photo of a campfire my wife built on one of our recent camping trips. We regularly go camping, hunting, etc. and use those activities to hone our survival skills. Even my wife can go out into the woods and build a nice hot fire to keep the bugs away and keep us warm, 🙂