We don’t have to believe the end of civilization as we know it is near. We can prep for so many reasons and for so many different scenarios. There was a time when I mostly prepped for storms – hurricane, ice storm, or tornado. Lately, I don’t even really think about any specific threat but my goal is to be ready to live completely without any outside support (no groceries, no power, no banking, maybe no transportation, no mail order) for at least a year. Can we do it? I don’t know. Is there a chance there would ever be a complete breakdown of everything at once? I don’t know. I am less confident about our “society” than I’ve ever been. Maybe it’s because of what I read, maybe it’s because I’m older. I feel very uncertain about a lot of things.
I do know that living where we live, we’re better off than a huge percentage of the country, simply because of the distance from town, the “can do” attitude of the folks who live around us, the wild critters in the wood that we can eat, and the garden/orchard space.
For us, we no longer prep for any specific threat or possibility. The better prepared you are, the better you will be able to deal with whatever may come your way, foreseen or unforeseen.
When we lived in Kentucky, Vince was on some kind of county wide emergency team and it was there that we learned, though we probably should already have figured it out, how little food is stored on site at most grocery stores. Let a truck not make it in on time and you’ll see empty shelves. Prepping isn’t totally about food, even though it seems I mostly talk about food. The minute a boil advisory is issued, bottled water is gone from the shelves. Try finding a good flashlight or lantern after the electricity goes off in an area.
Your reasons for prepping may be different from my reasons. These are listed in no particular order . . definitely not in an order of which I feel one thing is more likely to happen than something else.
- Sickness. Not only could you end up sick and wanting to have soup in the pantry but there could be sickness in your community and you just don’t want to be around other people. Think of a bad flu season . . or worse.
- Storms. When Joplin was hit by the tornado, they lost a Wal-Mart, Dillons, Aldi’s and maybe more. That was about the only three grocery stores I ever shopped at in Joplin. There were a few other stores but for weeks, Joplin was short on groceries. You got what was available but not everything was always available. After Hurricane Rita hit the area where my parents lived, they traveled over an hour away to get to a grocery store that had electricity. One year when we were in Kentucky, about three days before Christmas, we got 18″ of snow. We were in an area where this amount of snow was really unusual and it shut down our entire town. Those who hadn’t bought their food for Christmas dinner probably had grilled cheese sandwiches!
- A Shortage of Supplies. This is something that hasn’t happened much in the United States but certainly could. Do you remember the recent toilet paper shortage in Venezuela? The temps in Florida drop below freezing and the price of citrus fruit and orange juice doubles . . overnight. There could be a problem with the truckers bringing the supplies in to the grocery stores. It isn’t just food either. During the Joplin tornado, they lost an entire hospital. One of the two hospitals . . gone in a matter of seconds. Doctors’ offices, pharmacies . . shut down. Even the local quilt shop was blown away.
- Power Outage. This could be the result of an ice storm, any kind of storm really, a terrorist attack, an EMP, which could be caused by nature or a terrorist. If there’s no power, there’s not going to be any cold food in the grocery store . . no meat, no dairy, and chances are, no cash registers. Many stores have few, if any windows to let enough light in so you could shop anyway. Generally, we think of a power outage as being fairly local where we could just get in the car and drive to the next town to do our shopping, but in the event of an EMP, which I feel is not a far fetched idea, half the United States (or more) could be without power. In the case of an EMP, most vehicles are not going to work so we would be pretty much limited to whatever we have on hand. In the event of an extended power loss, the municipal water and sewer plants may not be functioning.
We don’t lose sleep over any of these things but just knowing there’s a possibility for them happening would help us deal with it when it did happen.
I’ve come to learn that our grocery supply is tenuous. I would not be comfortable at all if we relied on several trips to the grocery store each week to meet our food needs.
How long would you be comfortable if you couldn’t get groceries for a week, two weeks, a month? What if supplies were very spotty . . hit or miss with long lines and possible violence from those trying to get food?
What would you do if your municipal water supply was interrupted? It could just run out (very real possibility around here) or be contaminated?
What if the public sewer system broke down and you had raw waste flooding into your home?
What if electricity was out for 10 days, a month? I will tell you that I am not a fan of generators. We have them, we use them when convenient but we do not count on them.
Just a few more things to think about? What other things do you see as a possibility . . either very real or remote?