For too long, the term “survivalist” has called to mind militia members or white supremacists who give up the conveniences of modern society, drop out of the government’s database, and live in one-room backwoods cabins like the Unabomber. That is beginning to change, thanks in part to a new breed of survivalists that has emerged in the past few years.
Preppers, as these preparedness-oriented folks refer to themselves, have brought survival planning out of the closet and further into the mainstream. While the term “survivalist” carried a bit of a stigma, preppers are considered smart folks planning for the unexpected.
Perhaps it was Katrina that brought the need to prepare to the forefront of our society by illustrating how ineffective the government is at aiding individuals during an emergency. Maybe dealing with unemployment, foreclosures, and the broad recession has helped make prepping acceptable and less likely to be associated with unsavory stereotypes. Whatever the reason, the preppers are welcome under the survivalist umbrella, because the more people, families, and organizations that prepare for the worse, the more likely our society will survive the next global disaster.
Whether you call it prepping or survivalism, preparing isn’t paranoia; planning for an emergency is just good common sense. This guide is intended to help preppers of all experience levels prepare for the worst. Our objective is to help you live through the emergency and its aftermath with little or no outside aid. While we can all hope that a disaster is short lived and easy to recover from, the ultimate goal is to prepare for TEOTWAWKI, which stands for “the end of the world as we know it.” TEOTWAWKI is, by definition, a wide-scale manmade or natural disaster of such magnitude that the resulting social, cultural and physical disruptions that last for years, possibly decades, or perhaps even forever.
But before TEOTWAWKI hits, we can expect national, regional, local and personal disaster and emergencies. It makes sense to prepare for these as well.
Here are some examples of smart people preparing for potential emergencies:
- Floridians buying hurricane shutters, batteries, and bottle water before the next hurricane season
- Californians preparing a three-day cache of food and water in case the next “big one” rocks their town
- Midwesterners who keep a few blankets, a pair of old boots, warm socks and a few Power Bars in the car during winter
- An urban resident storing food, water and gas masks because they are worried about a potential terrorist attack.
- A father who stores food, buys silver coins and starts a side business because he is worried about inflation, unemployment and the ability to support his family if he loses his job
- A mother making plans to pull her children out of school if a virulent flu or other contagious disease should strike
These people are wise to prepare for their emergency, because the hurricane will eventually strike, as will the earthquake, blizzard, terrorists, unemployment and illness. In fact, preparing for these emergencies is like carrying a spare tire or having homeowners insurance: You hope you never need it, but it is sure is good to have it handy when you do need it.
By reading this guide, you can equip yourself with three important things: A good plan, a good attitude, and the knowledge of what you will need to do to prepare.
Putting the plan into action and actually taking steps to prepare is up to you. We urge you to start today rather than waiting because it is cheaper, easier, safer, and smarter to prepare well before an emergency strikes. Wait for the next hurricane warning, and those batteries and bottled water will be gone. Wait for a terrorist attack using chemical weapons, and gas masks will triple in price – if you can find one on the market. Wait for a pandemic, and the medicines will be gone and the food shelves empty. After a dirty bomb, potassium iodate and Geiger counters will be sold out. Being prepared can only be effectively done before an emergency strikes, so start today.