The following is a guest blog from Dan F. Sullivan
The more we prep, the safer and more confident we feel in being able to handle any emergency or disaster situation. After all, that’s why we’re doing it, to protect ourselves and our families. Or are we?
The more some people prep, the more they feel like they’re unprepared. To me, that doesn’t make sense because it defeats the original purpose—to worry less and sleep better at night. Turning a hobby into a passion and then into an obsession often happens without us knowing it, and we wake up only to see our entire lifestyle revolving around survival. But can we really prepare for anything?
Spoiler alert: You can’t prep for everything. But you can always prep for the biggest threats. Of course, the more scenarios you cover the better, but you can’t do everything at once. Newbies who attempt to do that often become discouraged at the lack of progress; the more they learn the less they feel they know and end up quitting survival prepping altogether.
Assess Your Situation
Before you start prepping for the zombie apocalypse, ask yourself, isn’t an economic collapse more likely to happen? Or a flash flood? Or even something small, such as an extended power outage?
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I made a list of all the possible disasters one could prep for in my prepping 101 article and it’s a good place to figure out the disasters that are more likely to affect you. As you can see, there’re quite a lot of disaster events in that list and prepping for all at once is just impossible.
So why not make a list of all the possible disasters you could face and prep for them first? It’s the only way to drastically increase your chances of survival really fast. Yeah, I was sleepy during statistics class too, but now we can actually make use of that knowledge.
Start Small, Then Grow
In the beginning, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, particularly when it comes to buying stuff. This isn’t to say that if you buy a questionable survival knife it’ll be useless, but why waste money because you didn’t have the knowledge?
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Focus on having a good bug-out bag for starters, then a DIY first-aid kit. The Red Cross has a pretty good article on the subject. Next, focus your attention on a folding knife that can double as a self-defense weapon (if the laws in your state allow it). After that, you can move to something more advanced, such as getting a state-of the art survival knife.
You need to realize that knowledge, skills and a fit body trump the biggest stockpile. Don’t fall into the trap of buying $500 worth of survival food because it gives you that feeling of safety. Spend the first week or two reading everything you can and putting into practice some of the skills that are easy and free. This includes getting in shape, learning to start a fire and checking your attic and garage for old gear you were about to throw away but can still use.
One Thing At A Time
If you worry about homesteading, stockpiling, self-defense and weapons all at once, you’re going to get discouraged pretty fast. The amount of information available on these subjects is overwhelming, and while you think you’re making advances, your progress will be marginal. Focus on different aspects of prepping for 30 days at a time based on your initial assessments of what disasters are likely to impact you.
Is your main concern war with another superpower? Start a food stockpile that should last you at least a month, then learn how to store food for the long term and take notes for 30 full days. Next, are you worried about personal security (sexual assaults, home invasions, etc.)? Focus on self-defense classes, getting in shape, improving strength and learning how to employ self-defense weapons.
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After that, you might want to consider focus on your bags. A bug-out bag, a vehicle-based bug-out bag, a get-home bag and an EDC kit should be among the things you worry about. Since you’ll build them all at once, you actually end up saving money because you can buy certain items (such as bandages) in bulk and split them between your bags.
As you can see, when you prepare in this manner, the notion of prepping for a specific event loses some of its meaning. Most of the things you do are general- purpose, which is why it make sense to do them in a smart manner and save money.
Find The Weak Links
Sometimes we’re so absorbed with this or that possible scenario that we neglect obvious blind spots inside our prepping routines. We end up improving the things that are already good and completely ignore what we’re bad at. For example, you could have an amazing food stockpile that could last you six months, but what good will that do you if you have water for only a couple of weeks? Or if your first-aid skills are virtually zero?
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One fellow member of the Survivalist Boards prefers to do a yearly review of all his preps specifically to find holes in his plans. A yearly self-assessment goes a long way because it allows you to see things from different perspectives.
Last but not least, you have to have a little faith that everything’s going to be OK and, instead of beating yourself for not being 100 percent prepped, you should be proud that you’ve done one heck of a job. It’s just impossible to be ready for every scenario, and attempting to do so will lead to prepping fatigue, increased levels of anxiety and an inability to enjoy life.
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Trust me, once it all goes down the drain, you’re going to remember this moment and all the conveniences you now have at your disposal, and you’ll do anything to turn back time. Stay safe.