In our family, I am the Prepper with a capital P. I am mainly responsible for acquiring the gear, skills and knowledge and I have an interest in the subject of prepping and survival that most of the rest of my family does not. My family, to a much lesser extent is aware of my plans and supplies and general knowledge of the way I have been preparing for various scenarios but the main job of prepping falls on my shoulders. This isn’t because nobody in my family is capable, but I think there is still very much a “that’s Dad’s thing” mentality and for the time being everyone thinks there are more important things in life. I don’t know that there isn’t still a small part of everyone who thinks I am a little crazy, but they do tell me they see the need and sense in preparing for what life throws at you.
This job of mine is one that I don’t mind doing. I enjoy, for lack of a better term, thinking about what my family needs to be safe and secure. That sounds weird I know and it isn’t like I am begging for a disaster, but thinking and planning does give me a sense of calm in that I can see our progress towards being more self-sufficient, more secure and more ready for events that 5 years ago would have caught us completely off guard. I don’t look at this as worrying, although at some point the motivation for your family’s safety is based upon a fear that something bad would happen to them. Being prepared gives me some measure of comfort although I don’t have a rosy outlook on the future of our country.
I imagine that a lot of you are like me in that you are busy getting your Get Home Bags ready to load into that big Bug Out vehicle. You peruse the daily websites and blogs that offer news not exactly covered in the main stream media and watch for signs of the S actually hitting the fan. Others live in an environment where they have to be more alert if they want to be the first ones out before the rest of the city or community descends into chaos. You have probably purchased several pieces of gear that can help you in a disaster situation and begun stocking up on food and water. Like me, I would guess that a considerable majority of you are doing this without the direct involvement of your spouse or significant other.
Food is a simple one, but the rest of our prepping gear has been purchased almost exclusively by me because I am the one thinking about it. I know what we have and what we still need to plan for because I started this years ago by myself. My family was still around, but I didn’t necessarily have the full consent of my wife. A lot of the purchases I made were greeted with rolling eyes at the beginning and sometimes even questions of “why do you need that”? Not to be deterred, I have continued trying to get my family and loved ones on-board with prepping and for the most part I think I have succeeded.
That still doesn’t change who is responsible for the actual Prepping part as that still falls on my shoulders but this can be a bad thing. How? What if you are hit by a bus or otherwise unable to get back home? Will your family know what to do if you are gone? Are you making sure that you are sharing your prepping knowledge with the people you most want to benefit from it?
One of the items I need to work on personally is organization. I want to blame this on having a small house, but it really is my fault that we don’t have a better system for organizing all of our prepper supplies. I do have approximately half of our food, ammo and supplies stored in areas that my family knows about, but there are a lot of vital items that they would have to scour the house to find and that is only if they remember we have it. I have slowly been amassing a fair bit of prepping supplies, but they are in various places depending on what their use is. My family should know where everything is.
We go back to organization I think. Ideally, I would have a place for everything and everything would be in its place. That sounds all well and good, but you haven’t seen our attic obviously. Having a place for everything is a hurdle but I know with the right organization system that can be overcome. What I should do is have binders with lists of all of the gear and where it is stored. This will lead to a much larger effort of putting things together, but that will assist anyone who doesn’t have the benefit of me telling them where stuff is in knowing what we have and how to find it.
For example, I have a pretty good selection of basic to medium level first aid and health related items, but these are in at least 3 different places. All of that should be in one place and inventoried ideally so that anyone could easily see what was on hand and wouldn’t need to rely on my memory.
What about items you have hidden? Do you have hidden caches of money, ammo and food somewhere? Does your family know where that is if you are out of reach?
When I was a kid, I was fascinated by all of the tools on my Dad’s workbench. There was something alluring about seeing all of the shiny metal objects in his tool box that had a specific purpose. As I was learning how to begin working on simple mechanical tasks, I learned what those fancy pliers were for and the weird set of taps and dies, how to use that black tape, the odd shaped file, and seemingly hundreds of other gadgets and gizmos. My dad was there to teach me whenever I had a need, but didn’t know what tool was best for the job I had. He would help me with the right selection and show me how to use it properly and my experience and knowledge grew with time.
In a disaster scenario, if your family has not been as involved in prepping as you are, if they haven’t sat through 498 hours of YouTube videos on each subject and digested the knowledge that you have picked up from books on alternative ways to do things, how will they figure out what is needed or possible? I imagine that there will be a lot of trial and error and being logical, smart individuals they will eventually figure it out, but I should share the knowledge while I am here so they can use it if I am gone.
There are a lot of prepping items I have purchased that my family was literally clueless about. The first big example I can remember was probably my water filter. I purchased the filter and when it arrived my family looked at me like I had three eyes. Why do we need a water filter when the fridge gives us water anytime we want it? I then had the opportunity to explain what happens when the water shuts off and you need to get drinking water from other sources. That’s an obvious one, but something like a gas shut-off wrench would sit in the bottom of my tool box for years without anyone knowing what it did.
Everything you will depend on after an emergency has at least one purpose, maybe two depending on the situation. I like to pose hypothetical questions to my family whenever they see a new piece of gear and ask me “What’s that for” so they can imagine using this in their minds. Knowing why a tool or piece of gear was purchased will be important if they are looking for the right shiny tool and you aren’t there to help them out like your Dad was.
Knowing where the supplies are is one thing. Does your family know how to use any of that gear you have purchased for them? For example, we talk about having the right firearm for self-defense on this blog and others, but if nobody besides you knows how to load and shoot it, what good is it? Simple things like your propane lanterns, the kerosene heater, and the generator can all be extremely frustrating if you don’t know what you are doing even though learning how to properly operate them takes minutes. What about your radio gear that you have purchased in order to communicate with your family if the grid goes down? Does anyone in your family know how to use that?
It should go without saying that the more knowledgeable everyone in your family is, the better you will all be prepared. As skill and maturity allow, family members can take on additional responsibilities and may have to chip in more than someone normally would for their age. Your family is your first line of defense and they are the ones you are trying to defend. It makes sense to try to ensure they can watch your back just as much as you want to protect them.