Gaye Levy, Contributor
Over the last few days we have seen one the biggest storms in the history of the US slam into the east coast of our country. And then, a week ago, a huge 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the northwest coast of British Columbia. In the case if the former, there are – as of this writing – 62 casualties with more expected. There are still six million homes and businesses without power and the cleanup efforts will cost billions.
On the other hand, we lucked out with Canadian earthquake. Luckily, it was located a bit off shore on a sparsely populated rural island. There was a tsunami warning but the tsunami did not materialize. But can you imagine the devastation if the earthquake had occurred in nearby Vancouver or Seattle?
In the weeks and months to come, friends, relatives and neighbors who thought you were a bit nuts with all of your prepping may now be thinking: ”Heck, those crazy preppers may have been on to something”.
And this, as far as I am concerned is a good thing.
I would like to encourage you to coach newbie preppers in the best way you can: with common sense and practicality. No mention of “I told you so”, no fear mongering and no recrimination. Instead, consider the following six tips for dealing with the new prepper.
1. Go slowly and exercise patience.
It takes months for seeds to produce viable food and it takes years for a tree to bear fruit. Prepping is no different. I like to promote the one-month-at-a-time method of prepping which adds new tasks, skills, and food items each month until, at the end of the year, a decent and well rounded set of preps is good to go.
The prepping one month at a time overview here on Backdoor Survival is a good place for the newbie to start. It also makes for a good review and check-up for the more experienced prepper. In addition, you can access all twelve months of my series on Getting Prepared One Month at a Time from a single page.
2. Compare prices.
I really want to emphasis the importance of comparing prices to insure that you are not be subjected to a price that has been artificially inflated. That is what happened shortly after the Fukushima disaster and it was heartbreaking for me to hear of people that spent double, or even triple the normal price for something.
Food and gear for survival and emergency purposes does not have to be overly expensive. In many cases, you can shop your own home for the items you need to get started and use the savings to fill in with additional items. The recent article Back to the Basics: The Bug-Out-Bag talked about this and offered some suggestions for gathering items you already own to make up a starter – or even a spare – bug out bag.
The best advice I can give in this regard is to be aware and spend your money accordingly. Stay calm, stay prudent, and if it sounds too good to be true, it is probably best to move on.
3. There is a wealth of free information on the internet and at your local library. In addition there are some really good books available at bookstores or online at Amazon.
It goes without saying that free is good. When you are first getting started, going from website to website can be time-consuming but most have an RSS feed and email subscriptions that will push new articles and information to you automatically.
Prepper Website: This site is really a super site that plucks the best daily articles from the internet and posts a link so that you can get to the article quickly and easily. The topics covered are varied and are always useful and interesting. Another way to put it is that Prepper Website does all the work for you so you don’t have to hunt down newly posted articles on your own.
The Survivalist Blog dot Net: Talk about one of the better blogs out there – this website has a huge and diverse set of followers who comment freely and provide guest articles on a wide range of topics. The site owner also writes articles and is one heck of a good guy with strong morals and a good heart. I have learned a lot on this site.
Apartment Prepper: Many people live in small homes, condos, or apartments and have unique prepping and storage needs. I happen to like the site owners writing style and trust the information that is written to be practical and useful. You do not have to live in an apartment to find something useful at this site.
Urban Survival: George Ure provides survival and homesteading information from a economics point of view. With wit and humor, he puts the world condition into perspective and gives his readers coping tips for getting by. The way I look at it, if you don’t know what is going on in the world, how are you going to keep up?
4. Just say no to websites that appear to be feeding upon your fear and apprehension.
They were there before the storm and you can bet they will be in your face after the storm as well. Any website that invokes fear should be ignored. There are plenty of others that will not pray upon you with fear mongering tactics.
Are there tough times ahead? I sure think so. Are we facing a global food crisis? Yep, that too. But is it going to be so bad all at once that you need to drop everything, spend every last dime and prepare for the end of the world right now this minute? I think not.
The uncertain times that we are facing started a few years ago. And with each year, things appear to be getting worse. Crazy weather patterns, massive geological disturbances, economic woes, and even the cannibalization of our ability to grow food are happening now and seem to be escalating. But the process is not immediate; it is rather is slow and insidious.
With that in mind, be cautious and prudent as you begin to prep and again, do not give in to fear mongering tactics.
Advise the newbie prepper that you are there to help. In addition, suggest that they ask around in their neighborhood, community organization or church or temple to see if there are other like-minded people willing to share their experience and offer some guidance.
Most preppers (but alas, not all) are like evangelists when it comes to being self-reliant and having the ability to fend for yourself. They want you to prepare so that you do not come knocking on their door when the SHTF.
6. Don’t panic but if you do, do not let panic turn into complacency and inaction.
Staying on top of the fear will eliminate panic and the sense of helplessness that comes with it. Remember that prepping is a lifestyle choice that takes a bit of time, skill, and patience. But it can also be fun and challenging as you learn new skills and test your ability to endure.
It is never too late to begin. Heck, even though I have not been prepping for all that many years, I now feel secure and confident that I can weather any storm or disaster that presents itself in my path. That does not mean that I am done, though, since I will never be done. And neither will you.
Getting Back to the Basics
The suggestions I have outlined today are really quite simple and you may have thought of them yourself. But sometimes, when it comes to putting things into action, you might forget or be too busy to really put some thought into an appropriate plan of action.
Come to think about it, some of these suggestions might be hitting home a bit as you step back to re-evaluate where you stand in terms of your own prepping activities. I do know one thing. A few new things I had not thought of before came to light as a result of this latest storm. That alone tells me that I need to do some refreshing and reviewing of my stuff and my skills myself.
So think about getting back to the basics. As I comb through some of my previous articles, I plan to re-publish those that fall into the back-to-the-basics category over at the Strategic Living site I co-author with my BFF George Ure. And of course, if you have any ideas, free free to send them my way via e-mail or by leaving a comment below.
Also be aware that starting in January, I will be publishing monthly articles on “12 Months of Prepping: Year 2” to further help you enhance your prepping abilities.
This morning my e-mail was filled with all kinds of nefarious and dubious offers for survival books, DVDs and videos. Be aware, the vultures are out there and are out there in force. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some really good products available that are well priced, presented nicely, and worth your time and money. One of those, as an example, is Survive Any Food Crisis which I was able to read and critique prior to publication. (The author is the real deal.) There are many other fine products out there as well.
So again, like a broken record I want to remind you to be aware, be diligent and most of all, do what you can to help others as they being to embark upon their prepping journey. The prepper newbie is waiting for you.
Read other articles by Gaye Levy here.
Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com.
At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.