In THIS post, I talk about how I am passionate about many things including emergency and disaster preparedness. Before you put your judge-y pants on, know that I am not sitting here with a tin foil hat, ammo stacked to the ceiling, testing out the functionality of my radiation suit. Not yet at least.
I don’t necessarily feel the need to defend or justify the reasons my family and I choose preparedness as a facet of our lifestyle, but I do feel the need to do it as a way to educate others. My family, especially my younger brother, mocked us to the point of being a little cruel. I would just play it off as a joke and say something like, “Well, when $hit hits the fan, you’ll wish that you were in my little club.” It’s similar to the frugal journey we are on, friends and family that aren’t on the same journey simply don’t understand. Maybe they don’t even care to try to understand.
I think one of the reasons that we got so much negative feedback about disaster preparedness is due to the way “prepping” has been sensationalized in the media. I’m sure you’ve seen an episode or two of Doomsday Preppers. Much like extreme couponers, a very small percentage of the prepping community is actually like how it is portrayed. Those “extreme” preppers are focused on world-ending events like nuclear warfare or an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). While those are possibilities, especially in the unstable world we have the pleasure of living in, I’m more focused on what can and will happen in my region.
If a blizzard were to strike tonight knocking out your power, would you be able to feed your family for up to 2 weeks? Would you have enough fresh water to keep them hydrated and clean? How would you do laundry? Where would you go to the bathroom? How would you keep warm? Blankets are definitely not enough. Do you have a means of keeping your house lit and your family entertained?
What if something were to occur making it unsafe for you to stay in your home? Recently, families in northern California were given no notice whatsoever that they needed to evacuate their homes due to the Oroville Dam catastrophe. Could you grab everything you needed in a matter of minutes and get out the door to safety? Would you be able to immediately locate all of your important documents? Prescription medications? How about food, water, and clothing? Do you have somewhere to go? Do you have phone numbers and addresses written down? Is there enough gas in your car to get you to safety? Do you have cash on hand in case the ATMs aren’t working?
Someone posed these same questions to me a few years ago and my initial reaction was overwhelming and paralyzing panic. I am a parent. I am responsible for keeping Little Daisy safe, healthy, fed, warm, and hydrated. I was ready to build my bunker, eat MREs, and proudly put on my tin foil hat. After the initial shock and realization wore off, Mr. Daisy and I began expanding our lifestyle to include preparedness.
Our philosophy on preparedness incorporates more than stocking up on all of the items we may need to survive. To us, it’s not just about having a bunch of stuff. Our attitude is equal parts preparedness and self-sufficiency. We don’t want to rely on anyone but ourselves to provide for our family. If there was a disaster in my area, I do not want to be herded into the local high school’s gym, with hundreds (maybe thousands) of people, without my pets, and sleep on a cot. And let’s not even talk about the illnesses that will quickly spread in those tight quarters, most likely causing a mini pandemic. No, thank you. I don’t want the government to have to take care of me. Heck, the government doesn’t even want to take care of me. Check out FEMA’s website. They want to educate you so that you can take care of yourself and others in your community.
So, what is the relationship between frugality and emergency preparedness? In our life they hold hands quite nicely. Living frugally allows us to allocate money towards our preparedness and self-sufficiency goals. If money is short at any given time, we have reserves of food and water to survive (over one year’s worth of food). Activities like gardening, composting, recycling, farming, reading, living on less, and needing less fall into both categories.
Preparedness is 100%, absolutely a lifestyle choice. Lifestyle choices are not universal and made for everyone. Much like a city, suburban, or beach lifestyle is the preferred for others…not so much for us. But I can appreciate it, because I don’t wear judge-y pants 🙂