Why do you prep?

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Why do you prep?

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:25 am

Not sure if this is the best place to put this, but I was interested in knowing what expirences others have had that was a 'wake up' call to start prepping.

I've been interested in not so much prepping, but self sufficient \ simple living since I was a child. It began for me with two different but nearly simultaneous events.

I was assigned to write a living history paper in grade school on The Great Depression. So I asked my grandparents. One set lived in Atlanta, the other set lived in the boonies. (We lived in the 'burbs.) Atlanta grandparents told me about job losses, evictions and bread lines. Boonie grandparents story was actually pretty boring. They just kept farming.

Then right after that, the 'Blizzard of '93' hit the south east.
We had no power or heat for a week, we emptied the fridge and stored our stuff outside and lived on sandwiches and cereal. You don't realize how much a warm meal means until you don't have one.

Atlanta granparerts had a similar story.

Boonie grandparents had no power for 2 weeks. I remember us trekking out to see them as soon as we could. I insisted my dad take me with him. He agreed on the condition that I stay in the truck when we got there, because he didn't know what we would find. What did we find? They had heat and were cooking bacon and eggs on their wood burning stove. Everyone else in our family said wood burning stoves were inefficient and a waste if money and time. But my grandparents had hot food and a heated house.

I remember saying that I would have never thought about using the stove (which they seldom used themselves) to cook, to which my grandmother replied that's all she had growing up and that I was too reliant on people and things that may not always be there.

From that moment sprung one of my core values: if you can do it for yourself, you should, because 'somebody else' may not always do it ~ and that value extends beyond 'prepping', but that was the start if it.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by woodsghost » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:38 pm

Great stories. Great examples.

I had stuff happen when I was real young, and that started me being hardwired a certain way. So when I was a young lad I read Brian's Winter, by Gary Paulsen, and started a keen interest in survival. I went on to read Hatchet too.

I also watched the Gulf War happen on TV. Again, in my more formative years. I watched it and it struck me the best place to be in life is with other people who have your back and will stand beside you. Danger and war can pop up at any time, and any place. At least that is what my young brain connected.

Then there were the Assault Weapon Ban years, and that had an effect. The mid to late 90's were rather trying, and politically aggravating, and I caught a lot of rhetoric involving anti-gov sentiment. I mellowed out, but I have not yet forgotten the intensity of my own emotion or the intensity of other's emotion.

And then I started to really see the results of natural disasters. I decided I wanted to be prepared.

But even as a 7 yr old, I had a bug out bag. It had pencils, paper, marbles, glass beads, straws, bits of fabric, and other things I thought were important to have if I needed to run from a T-Rex attacking the house or if there was a fire. Jurassic Park also had an effect on me. So did Cup Scouts. It was all stashed in one of those plastic nets you find wrapped around your turkey or other foods. My parents did not realize it was a bug out bag. Nor did I until about 2 years ago. I"ve been prepping for a while now.

....oh, and my parents are not preppers. But Y2K got my mom pretty nervous, and that probably had an effect on me.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by quazi » Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:55 pm

Zombie Squad is what got me prepping, at least in a somewhat serious way.

I grew up in a pretty rural place and lived much of my childhood off the grid, so having a wood burning stove and a little extra food and such was pretty normal. In elementary school we were taught to have emergency supplies in case of earthquakes, to keep breakdown kits in cars in case we got stuck far from help and we learned some basic wilderness survival in PE class.

I also have a bit of a paranoid streak. Since I was very young, without any prompting that I can remember, I've always kept a backpack with a few things in it in case I needed to leave in a hurry for whatever reason.

I also had this feeling that I need food to live, so I should have quite a bit put away. While I was just a kid living at home I didn't have the means to do so, so I didn't think about it very much. When I started getting close to graduating from high school I started thinking about it more as I was going to be the one responsible for my own life. The media's portrayal of survivalists made me feel like I was just being crazy and paranoid. I started checking out survivalist websites, but I felt embarrassed by it and tried to hide it as if I was looking at weird pornography.

I've also been into horror movies for a long time. My brother and I would play a game when we were stuck somewhere bored along the lines of "if the zombie apocalypse started right now, what would you do?" I found Zombie Squad searching for zombie stuff, not survivalist stuff. The people on ZS didn't seem crazy. They talked a lot about things like hurricanes and tornadoes rather than blue helmets and The End of Days. People on Zombie Squad had a lot of ideas on how to prep that could actually save a person money or make their life better even if nothing bad ever happened. Also, the people on ZS were more welcoming of those of differing opinions/lifestyles/whatever than most survivalist websites. They were still a bunch of assholes, especially back in those days, but they were my kind of assholes.

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by TacAir » Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:53 pm

When did I start "prepping"? Why?

I can actually give you a date - the week of Oct 17, 1962. I was a kid then, not even old enough to join the Boy Scouts.

For our younger readers....
This was the Cuban Missile Crisis thing, a Democrat Presidential f'up of the first stripe.

We were living a couple of miles from a major SAC base and had Titian Missiles surrounding the city. In other words, I was living inside of a big fat nuclear first-strike bullseye... Needless to say, those that could afford to lose work hours/pay had already hauled ass to the White mountains, way north of town.

The rest of us peons had been warned "to be ready to evacuate"... Where to, what to take etc seemed to be missing completely. Ah, yes. The FedGov, an organization caught perennially with its figurative pants around its ample ankles...

My dad had just put a footlocker in the back of our old Mercury wagon - with some minimal camping stuff.. Boxes of Mac & Cheese, some canned goods. A couple of blankets. No water, tent or anything else. This for a family of 5. When I asked what he planned to do...he screamed at me. I was just a punk kid, but even I could see a scared shitless adult when I saw one.

It only took a bit of thinking to see why he was so scared. He didn't have a plan, a clue or even any minimum gear if we did have to haul ass. To be fair, he wasn't alone..... BAck in those days, it seemed nobody had a clue - or those that did were keeping their pie hole shut.

That's when schooling myself in Post Atomic Attack Survival 101 or How I Learned to Love Living In the Stone Age -became a real priority. I've always thought of myself as someone who, with just a bit of luck, could muddle thru even the worst of things. I'm still kicking - so must have done something right.....

Many say those Cold War days are long gone - in which case I say HooRay. But I still practice my old PAS101 skill set. You know, just in case.

The days of wide-area power outages, loss of utilities, labor strikes, riots and all manner of chaos is, unfortunately, still with us today. So, like the Boy Scouts of old,the motto of Be Prepared seems to be timely advice for everyone.
Last edited by TacAir on Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by taipan821 » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:50 pm

In 2009 most of Queensland went under water, some areas had flash flooding which took lives, other areas had the slow rise. Early 2010 Cardwell gat hits by the largest cyclone in Australian history (and in fact the world until hurricane Sandy). The town was without power for 2 weeks. my hometown then got hit by a Tornado (approx F3) in 2012, literally on the day I turned up to my local volunteer emergency service to start volunteering with them. My town has also lost all phone and data services (including atms) because the fibre optic line got cut due to flooding in another town.

I have only recently started to prep properly, and my prepping requirements are probably different to everyone else here. I prep for that one cyclone to hit my hometown, where we are without power for 2-4 weeks and that I'm out every day conducting operations to assist is the initial response and recovery of my town

zombiesquad has been a useful forum to be part of, not only as a resource, but also chances are on here if you are thinking something, someone else has already asked it.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Zembecowicz » Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:29 pm

When I was a kid we lived in a place where the power went out pretty often, so we had contingencies in place for that kind of a thing. My dad was also a pretty avid outdoorsman for most of his life and frequently brought home fish and wild game. My mother is very big into gardening. She and my grandmother (who grew up in the depression) would can food that she grew in her garden. We also had cattle and pigs.

I guess you could just say it was expected.

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Towanda » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:30 am

Both of my parents grew up during the Depression, so I have almost always had a week or so's worth of food on hand in case of unexpected weather and band-aids and Neosporin handy and the like. I also learned at a relatively young age to always have a flashlight and enough extra cash on hand to either call for a ride or pay a taxi fare home. What got me to take prepping a lot more seriously was watching ~30 tornadoes rip through Wisconsin less than a month after I moved there for work, and the aftermath thereof.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Sun Yeti » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:06 pm

Strangely enough, I think it was the Gulf Oil Spill. I was reading everything about it that I could on the internet as it was going on. It was a huge environmental catastrophe, and no one seemed to have any pre-prepared plan to fix it (the fact that it kept gushing oil for so long pretty much bore that out).

The site that I kept ending up at, which had the best coverage of the spill, was The Oil Drum. The Oil Drum was devoted to analyzing and predicting Peak Oil. I became very concerned about that at the time.

Although conventional oil has peaked, fracking, super-deepwater extraction and tar sands have so far staved off an oil crisis. And, as electric cars etc. are picking up steam, I think the likelihood of an oil crisis is going away. In five or ten years we may hit an oil decline that would have been very painful to us ten years ago, but by then it will just be a speed bump rather than a wall.

At that point though, I was getting a clearer and clearer idea that as far as big problems like an oil crisis, climate change, natural disasters, etc. the people in charge didn't have a plan. While, some of them do have a plan, but it's almost impossible to get the resources to make the plan more than a fantasy on a piece of paper. I don't think this is too political a rant, but if you as a politician put a lot of money into some emergency supplies, personnel, etc., and there's no disaster, you mostly just get yelled at for wasting the taxpayer's money. If there is a disaster, you can take credit, but the odds of that are low, so most of the time it just hurts your career. So with that incentive set, they do the bare minimum. The one organization that has the political capital to make good contingency plans and implement them is the military, but guess what; their contingency plans are to keep the military running, not to help civilians.

So, given all that, it seems to make a lot of sense to make your own personal contingency plans. As an engineer, it's also an interesting challenge to figure out how to provide the basics for myself and loved ones in the absence of any help. I see survivalism as a hobby of mine that pays dividends in certain situations. It makes me more comfortable in a small disaster that unprepared people will live through anyways. It increases my odds (but not by all that much) of surviving a large disaster where most people die. I try to maintain that perspective, because I am a somewhat obsessive person, and it would be very easy for me to go too far in the other direction, and end up spending half my income on canned food and rural land and etc. etc.

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by quazi » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:50 pm

Sun Yeti wrote:So, given all that, it seems to make a lot of sense to make your own personal contingency plans. As an engineer, it's also an interesting challenge to figure out how to provide the basics for myself and loved ones in the absence of any help. I see survivalism as a hobby of mine that pays dividends in certain situations. It makes me more comfortable in a small disaster that unprepared people will live through anyways. It increases my odds (but not by all that much) of surviving a large disaster where most people die. I try to maintain that perspective, because I am a somewhat obsessive person, and it would be very easy for me to go too far in the other direction, and end up spending half my income on canned food and rural land and etc. etc.
I think you have a good philosophy.

I think the more "extreme" levels of preparedness (multiple years worth of stored goods, relatively high levels of self-sufficiency, advanced firearms classes, etc.), when done right, are usually done as hobbies. I think they're kind of similar to riding a bicycle to work most days of the week. It can make your life significantly better in terms of health and enjoyment, and it makes the world better in a very small way. However, if a person dislikes riding a bicycle and/or it is dangerous or impractical in their situation then they shouldn't do it, as there are plenty of other things they can do for their health and the environment.

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Stercutus » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:08 pm

You go 'round and around it
You go over and under
I go through

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by 12_Gauge_Chimp » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:09 pm

I prep because I don't want to have to rely on others to come save me or my family when I'm still capable of doing so.

I also prep because it gives me something to do with my life. I tend to get very shy when talking to people (I was always a rather shy kid.) and don't often engage others in conversation in my day to day life. If someone wants to talk to me about guns or knives or prepping in general, I feel empowered and begin to gain confidence in speaking and my abilities. I also feel useful.

Confidence in myself and my ability to help my family and friends is a good skill to have, I suppose.

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by ineffableone » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:51 pm

What got me prepping is when Mt Saint Helen's blew in the 80's. Even though I was a kid, it woke me up to the reality that the world had some big dangers that could happen relatively suddenly and cause serious disruptions to life as we know it. A a kid I looked at the region I was living in (Washington state) and realized the volcanoes were not the only threat, but that there was very real earthquake dangers too. Worse, unlike California or Japan where they were preparing for the quakes, WA really wasn't doing much (and sadly still hasn't) to prepare for the inevitable big quake.

This got me looking at other regions, but for every new place I looked I realized they too had their own impending disasters. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wild fires, etc... This also woke me up to how so many people ignore known threats in their region. Thy live near fault lines and volcanoes but don't believe it will happen in their life. They live in tornado prone areas but just gamble it wont happen to them. They build homes in flood plains then complain when a flood happens and they loose everything.

As I got older, I realized the older generations like my grandparents, just naturally prepped. They stored extra food, extra tools and parts to fix stuff, extra consumables like TP, batteries, and candles. This got me thinking why isn't this common anymore. Realizing society had gotten more complacent and reliant on just running to the store. And more and more in denial of how things could come crashing down.

As a young adult I learned a lot about possible world changing disasters, the big scary stuff that can completely change the world in a very short time. As an adult I spent many times homeless. The realities of life without really sunk in. Many times even with a home I had bare cupboards and no food for days.

All this built up into a good understanding that a cushion in case of disaster, either personal, regional, or one of the big ones that are national/world wide really kicked in my prepping. I had started putting away food supplies and disaster kits long before I heard the term prepper. But when prepping became a thing, I embraced it whole heartedly. Having known the older 80's survivalist movement, I was glad to see a more practical concept in prepping. Not just preparing for WW3, but looking at smaller scale things and a lot less emphasis on guns and bunkers in prepping.

Now the reasons I keep prepping are diverse and complex. But the origins all center around that volcanic eruption and realizing how natural disasters really have amazing power to reshape our world.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by mzmc » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:33 pm

Pop culture.

Post-apocalyptic worlds are my favourite fiction scenario.

Practical concerns that do not involve TEOTWAWKI came later.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Close_enough » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:34 pm

It started out as gear I carried for dayhiking and backpacking. What did I need to get me through the night and/or handle a debilitating fall?

What really hit home and started me formally prepping was having to evacuate during the '07 Witch Creek Fire.

EDIT: I've also had a number of unpleasant epiphanies that made me realize that the only person I can reliable depend on is myself. Being on hold to 911, while watching somebody bleeding onto the sidewalk, and bystanders doing nothing but take videos on their iPhones, does not inspire confidence in others.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Asymetryczna » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:45 pm

I was instructed to do so as a Boy Scout.
Don't like big surprises.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by fred.greek » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:37 pm

Our present “just in time” delivery system is essentially always on the verge of failure. Our physical infrastructure has deteriorated. Our economy is a joke and the dollar is an illusion. Most levels of government are bankrupt. We are a net importer of almost everything (i.e. fuel, food, clothing, tools, etc.) bought with growing debt, on and off the books. A great number of those in the USA are dependent upon government payments and programs. Relatively few have the knowledge or ability to survive a moderate period of time without the present “life support” infrastructure.

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by mortblanc » Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:24 pm

Yea, all that stuff.

And its winter here.

It might snow.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by RonnyRonin » Sun Dec 25, 2016 5:02 pm

If I'm really honest with myself, I think it is mostly because I find the endless possibilities for imagining problems to be one of the most mentally stimulating hobbies I have come across. I am very much the personality that gets bored of anything once an adequate level of competence is reached, but for whatever reason prepping always has some new and interesting problem/solutions set that keeps my thinking. It has probably held my interest longer and more completely then any other pastime.

That and a naturally low risk-tolerance. I'm that prepper that honestly never actually expects anything will go down (I have a pretty optimistic outlook on life/humanity in general) but I accept that things could happen, and that a little bit of planning ahead and a minimal investment could very well offset absolutely horrible outcomes.

I also view humanity in general as soldiering on no matter what nature/humanity throws at it, but I also observe that countless folks get totally thrown under the bus of history and I don't care to be one of them.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by uncleben03 » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:55 pm

Tornadoes and ice storms. both quite common here in Iowa. tornadoes knock the power out and make people have to leave places. Ice storms knock the power out and make people have to stay in.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by LyraJean » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:33 am

post-apocalyptic fiction...and when I was in college my family and I had to spend three days in a public shelter due to an ice storm. Never. want. to. do. that. again.

I joined one site and was immediately discouraged because they told me if I live in a rented apartment in a city why bother prepping because I'll just die. The right way to prep is to go live on the boondocks on your own property and live off grid. It. was. the. only. way. to. do. it. right.

Then I found this group and y'all were like start where you are and move on from there. Living in a rented apartment in the middle of the city is not ideal but it doesn't mean instant death in case of a disaster. Thank you Zombie Squad for being an encouragement to new preppers.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Darkhunter » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:52 am

The Ice Storm of 98 in Maine. I was really young but remember having to eat waffles toasted from the oven, using the great outdoors as my restroom and my parents using a big pot to boil snow to clean myself.

Since then my parents got me in to being prepared and took me camping throughout my childhood through Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts into just doing outdoors stuff in my off time later in life.

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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by teotwaki » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:05 pm

Another factor is that many of us want to be in control of as much of our lives as is possible. Through prepping we are refusing to let a PAW hold us down or to hurt our families.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Barnabus » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:12 pm

We started because of Y2K, just a few weeks of food and water added to the kitchen. BUT. we used it as an excuse to add something we had always wanted to the house. We rationalized that it would save our lives if the grid went down New Years Eve, as everyone was afraid of. We had a fireplace installed in our den (the summer before), and filled up the back of the garage with firewood. Mainly to have a place to lie in front of for romantic evenings. :awesome:

Then, my wife got addicted to talk radio, and talk of possible disaster, like the government failing, banks failing, etc got her worried. I started building up our pantry even more. ALso stocked up on first aid stuff, candles, batteries, the usual prepping stuff. Made a couple of get home bags, 2 for her car, and 2 for my car, and one that I keep at my job. Then we got self defense weapons. She works from home alone, so I got her ways to defend herself in case of someone breaking in when I'm gone. First a base ball bat, then mace, then a 9mm auto, and then a 38 revolver. All kept at her computer desk. Oooh, plus our 80 pound watch dog bear, who lays at her feet all day.
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Re: Why do you prep?

Post by Cybrludite » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:33 am

I've always been into this sort of thing, if you define "always" as "since around Jr. High". What got me into actually following through on my interest in a serious way was Katrina.
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