Have you ever seen the television show “Doomsday Preppers“? A few weeks ago on a Friday night I happened across the show on the National Geographic channel. It was dedicated to telling the stories of people or families who are preparing for the modern world to collapse. It might be someone who really thinks 2012 is the year the world ends or just someone who thinks with all of the chaos and turmoil in our world that, eventually, the modern economic system we have in place will collapse.
While I definitely believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain, these folks are on TV because they take it to the extreme. One woman spent over $50,000 on emergency food rations — more than she could ever carry and now the whole world knows where to get a great supply. (She also had no weapons to defend her expensive supply of food!) Another man was building an underground development in an old missile silo that expects to survive several years without any contact from the outside world. The underground condos were selling for millions of dollars. Another family lived in the woods of Maine and hunted many things they ate, slept outside, and constantly trained for the end.
These people are on TV because of the extremes they go to to prepare for the worst. If the show was about taking reasonable steps to prepare your family, it would probably be pretty boring even though it would be more reasonable. Here are a few ways you can prepare for disaster without spending thousands or millions of dollars on your prep.
A natural disaster can easily cut you off from civilization for a week. A massive tornado can wipe out your entire town or a hurricane can make roads impassable for a long period of time. When I was in elementary school we were without power for a week at my house due to the blizzard in 1993. Thankfully we had a nice stock of wood and a fireplace, otherwise we would have been in trouble.
For most situations, having 3 to 7 days worth of supplies on hand will provide you with enough of a buffer to survive any modest natural disaster. (Planning to survive an economic collapse is on an entirely different level — an expensive level.) For the average person, you need the following:
As you can see it doesn’t need to cost thousands of dollars to prepare for a family of four. You won’t have trenches dug in your back yard, but you will have the basic necessities for at least a week and you’ll be warm… all for less than $600.
It’s also a good idea to select a family rally point in case disaster strikes when you are not together. Is there a safe place in various parts of the city that you can escape to if you can’t get home? Will your family know to look for you there?
What’s a go bag? Imagine you’re sitting at home and find out you have 5 minutes to evacuate your home from impending disaster. There is no way in 5 minutes you could adequately pack a bag with your disaster supplies and whatever else you deemed important.
A go bag solves this problem by providing a pre-packed, ready made bag that you can snatch in a moment’s notice to evacuate. (What if you don’t have 5 minutes like in an earthquake?) You pack your go back with your emergency supplies: a supply of food, water, clothing, and first aid. In the event of needing to leave your current location as quickly as possible you just grab the bag and go. Many people leave them in their cars in case disaster strikes when they are away from home.
Preparing for disaster is serious business, but it is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of suppliers out there willing to sell you that next “essential” piece of your disaster kit. For more in-depth and step by step guides, consider the following resources: