Recently, one of the big preparedness gurus suggested that his readers plan to re-roof their houses with metal to make it safer to collect rain runoff.
He didn’t say we should consider it if our house needs a new roof, anyhow
He didn’t say we should consider it if we have all our other preps in order and have $10-20,000 burning a hole in our pockets.
He just said it.
Not only did he say it; he said it in an article directed at preparedness for newbies!
I recently read a book by a survival consultant. It was filled with useful, interesting, and mostly (IMHO) valid information. I couldn’t point to a single thing in it that’s actually wrong.
But it also had the strangest mix of inclusions and omissions. It had, for instance, an entire chapter on building a bug-out trailer (something hardly anyone will ever do). Yet it spoke barely a word about the special, but everyday, needs of children, pets, old people, and people with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
I ask you: Which is a typical family likely to need most urgently? A specially built trailer or medicine for baby’s earaches? A specially built trailer or food for Fido? A specially built trailer or extra adult diapers for granddad?
One of the biggest problems getting people to prepare for emergencies or long-term hard times is that once you get beyond “pack a three-day kit” or “be sure to have a week’s worth of food and water on hand,” brains tend to overload.
And all too often, that happens right from the get-go.
Until recently, when commonsense pedlars like “Survival Mom” Lisa Bedford and Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition appeared on the scene, too much preparedness advice was (to sum it up): “Ya gotta have lotsa stuff and lotsa obscure skills and live way off grid in a hardened bunker.”
Presumably with a metal roof. And a bug-out trailer parked next to it.
Even now, unless newbies happen to look in just the right spot for their preparedness advice, they’re going to find themselves stuck between the bureaucracy of Ready.gov and the overwhelming guns-$-gear-$-guts-$-n’stuff approach of a lot of guru guys.
That is changing. Aside from the aforementioned commonsense ladies, people like Todd Walker of Survival Sherpa and M.D. Creekmore of TheSurvivalistBlog.net are doing their best to bring a more human-scale element to preparedness.
Still, the sheer volume of information out there is overwhelming. Can hardly blame n00bs for throwing up their hands and saying, “Nobody can do this without a million bucks, the training of a Navy SEAL, and all the time in the world.”
And not just n00bs, unfortunately. I’m always surprised by how many people hereabouts do little in the way of preparedness, either for short-term emergencies or longer-term hard times.
Two big things that get lost in the masses of information are: how to establish your own priorities and how to plug away at them without getting overwhelmed by the myriad things you can’t do, can’t afford, or don’t have time for.
Even advice as wonderful, lucid, and practical as Pennington’s “52 Weeks to Preparedness” series (linked above) tends to focus on Ye Olde Overwhelming Lists of Stuff You Need rather than on how to assess your own needs, accept your own limitations, and motivate your own self to keep going.
Much more is needed to help us decide whether we really need to re-roof our houses to collect runoff, or whether we might be better off just filling up a couple of surplus 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrels, or whether we merely need a few water jugs, or (heresy of heresies!) whether maybe we don’t need to store any water at all, but should definitely keep a few portable filters or purifiers on hand.
Much more is needed to help us keep motivated and keep plugging — to remind us that spending $5 extra each week on canned goods will get us farther than looking hopelessly through online catalogs of $2,500 year’s supplies of storage foods that we wouldn’t know how to prepare even if we could — someday! — afford them.
I’m going to do some thinking out loud about both priorities and motivators in the next few days — with a little (or as usual a lot) of help from the World’s Best Comment Section.
Tomorrow: Setting personal priorities.