Lonewolf sent me some links on the growing awareness of people to make preps for uncertain times. The risk of pandemic is increasing and governments around the world are telling people to make their preparations now.
Even Costco has gotten on the preparedness bandwagon with ‘survival buckets’ and bug-out bags can be found at Walmart. But how effective are these kinds of preparations? Not very. In fact, they may be dangerous in the sense that they give you a false sense of security, while failing to make preparations that will really work.
Minimal preparations, like survival buckets and bugout bags are useful, provided they are backed up with preparations or resources of a much more substantial nature.
Many people wrongly believe that they can ‘escape’ a situation by relocating at the last possible minute to another, safer area. As part of these preparations, they buy a 72 hour kit, survival “bucket” or a bug-out bag.
Now stop and think for a moment. If you are basing your actual survival on what you can carry, what could you possibly carry that would really make a real difference? And what will you find when you get where you are going? More refugees?
Bugout bags (custom made) are very useful – provided they help carry you from point A to point B, and B offers all of the following: water, food, clothing, shelter and safety. If ANY of these criteria are missing, then bugging out is a bad idea. Better to stay put. “Sit tight and Prep Right”.
Quite frankly, everyone should have a Plan B, a safe(er) location to go to in an emergency. This is simply good common sense, just like have a “safe zone” designated outside of your house in case of fire where everyone meets. That way, you’re not looking for each other in a extremely dangerous situation. A safe zone is a Plan B for a home emergency. But what about a citywide emergency? Or a regional emergency?
You need a Plan B for this level of emergency too. And this is what the bugout bag is good for – getting you and yours from one dangerous area to another. But that is ALL it’s good for. It’s not a long term survival kit. It’s not a fall back plan for living on the road for an extended period of time. In fact, it’s a last ditch, desperate attempt to simply stay alive with the bare essentials for a minimal amount of time.
And this is where the dangerous thinking lies with people who think that their survival bucket or bugout bag is going to “save them”. They have failed to think further ahead then 2 or 3 days and have no place else to go that would meet the requirements above. Nor have they prepared for more then 2 or 3 days. This is also critically important. The Katrina rescue came weeks later. This is very often the case in other parts of the world, but in the US? YES. It happened here.
The bottom line is if you are going to do any preparations, get the mindset to do it right. What are you planning for? And for how long? Where will you go (if you can go!) if you must leave your area?
Real preparations take a lot of forethought and consideration and are not applied as a temporary bandaid. In many case, if not most, staying put (sit tight) and prep right is by far the better choice. Your home already offers you a great deal more then what you might find ‘living on the road’ or being displaced into a strange area.
There are few examples where leaving one’s home would be a good idea – but if this is the case, put together your Plan B in advance. Don’t wind up as a refugee if at all possible. And don’t put too much stock into your ‘survival bucket’ or your bugout bag. These are very limited preparations and are meant to get you from point A to point B and not much else.
The real preparations that will be truly useful are of a substantial nature. These are the type of preparations that meet all of the essential criteria above. The best place to make these preparations is right at home. The second best place to make these preparations (and a very good backup plan) is to identify your Plan B location outside of your region and make the same preparations there too.
The only real way to prep “right” is to find a suitable base location where you can make sufficient preparations. I cannot emphasize this enough. A lot of people have the insane idea that they can be “mobile” and “glean from the land” what they will need to survive. This is highly doubtful. First of all, it’s not safe and exposes you to all kinds of danger and the elements. Hypothermia can kill you in a couple of hours. Secondly, you will be exposed to many variables, most of which will be dangerous to you. Going mobile is a bad idea for almost any situation – unless, you absolutely must leave the area. And then, if you do, you definitely need someplace to go to.
Don’t count on Uncle Sam to bail you out, or anyone else. The best preps are the preparations that YOU have made, understand and know how to implement and take advantage of. These are the one that work and can be relied upon. This is one reason why an off-the-shelf bugout bag is basically useless. Not only do they not contain quality supplies, they contain unfamiliar supplies. Do you really know how to cook over a candle? Or how to treat unfiltered water? Do you even know whats in that five and dime first aid kit?
Survival kits that you create, built up piece by piece are by far the best type of kits you can have. They can mean the difference between life and death. I’ve yet to see a off-the-shelf kit I’d recommend. Put one together yourself and familiarize yourself with everything in it, you will be glad you did.
The real preps are “home preps”, the kind of preparations that can make your home a safe refuge, allowing you to weather an ice storm, a hurricane, a riot, earthquake or pandemic. Not only is your home familiar to you, but you are also known to your neighbors. Strangers will immediately stand out (something to think about if your planning on hitting the road).
You can make your home your “best defense” too (and you may well need to). Neighbors can even secure entire neighborhoods or streets if necessary (safety in numbers). The general idea here is your home offers you your “best base” for prepping right. Use it and don’t skimp. You can always eat your food preparations and go camping with the rest.
It’s almost pointless to prep for 3 days and call it quits. Why even bother? Go buy 3 boxes of saltine crackers and a couple gallons of water if that’s what you intend to do. Preparations that work are preparations that can actually provide water, food, clothing, shelter and safety. Two week is the minimum I would consider for minimal preparations. 3 – 4 months is far better, with 1 year or more being serious preparations.
Don’t forget your Plan B location(s). An alternate location may well prove to be absolutely necessary. This can be a friend, family member, cabin or vaction home. It can be anything actually, someplace else that is out of the danger zone.
How far? That depends. Some places in LA were safe during the Watts riots, and others were not. I’d have gotten far enough away to ensure that my location didn’t also go up in flames. Earthquakes can be very widespread depending on their magnitude and location. You may need to be hundreds of miles away to find safe harbor. Pandemic is one of the worst situations. IF you’re allowed to leave, you may need to be a thousand miles away or more. Nuclear war (a growing possibility) would require you to relocate to a low-priority target zone if possible. How far away is that from your present location?
I do not believe that there are any cut and dried answers, which is why I disdain the “packaged safety” products that I’ve seen (and packaged “answers” for YOUR preps). Personal preparations need to be custom tailored for your personal situation. This is the only way you will be familiar with them and how well (or how poorly) they will work for you. Your Plan B location won’t be the same as mine or even in the same area (even if we are presently neighbors) because my needs, preparedness and perception will be (much) differently then yours. Only you can know what you “need” and what you are capable of doing.
I have deliberately refrained from providing a “bug out list” or locations or minimal essentials. What I’m really trying to do is to convey the idea that the right preps and the right mental mindset is key to your survival in any situation. Knowing what to do, when to do it and where to go are critical. But even that isn’t entirely enough, having on hand the necessary goods and supplies to make it all possible is also essential. Our world is becoming increasing more dangerous with each passing year (day). Being properly prepared is going to become essential for millions of people. Don’t fall for the hype that you can save your ass on a 3 day food supply. You probably won’t.