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Preppers Should Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

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Crisis, disaster, the grid going down, SHTF or TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World as We Know It). All of these are terms preppers use as the motivating force for taking steps to proactively avoid these situations. We prepare so that if we do have to go through some crisis or disaster we will hopefully arrive on the other site unscathed. The last thing most preppers want to see is any kind of SHTF event, but I wanted to pose the idea that as well as being something we try to plan for to avoid, a crisis could give you opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Rahm Emanuel is famously quoted as saying “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things you did not think you could do before.” I think it is widely accepted that in the context of what he was saying; he meant that you could make major changes in political policies with a large enough crisis. The fear or anger of the actual event would make pushing changes through policy much easier.

Preppers can also use a crisis regardless of whether we are in the middle of the crisis or observers on the outside – watching the news and looking on with the rest of the world. If you take the prepping lifestyle serious, I want to show why preppers should never let a crisis go to waste either. We can use tragedy to further our agendas just as well as the government can. Our reach and the scope of what we are able to do personally might be insignificant in the face of a government behemoth, but nevertheless, touching just one person’s life is worth it.

Use the crisis as an opportunity to help

First and foremost in any crisis, I am prepping to help people. To be perfectly honest, those people I am planning for are me and my family first, but if I am not in danger and I can help others, I will happily step in. The recent floods in Texas are a good example of how preppers could help people out who were not prepared or who perhaps were prepared, but their provisions along with their homes and all of their other belongings were swept down the river.

The crisis could be local to your area and in that case you can volunteer your time to help people who are displaced. You could take your big bug out vehicle down the road and rescue people who aren’t able to make it out of their homes on foot or who in colder weather, can’t get their car down the road due t snow and ice. Your nice Stihl chainsaw could come out of the shed to help your neighbors clear a downed tree or cut limbs up that have fallen. You could share some of your food storage with neighbors who have had their homes destroyed by tornadoes.

Even if the crisis isn't local to your area, you can learn and teach others using the subject.

Even if the crisis isn’t local to your area, you can learn and teach others using the subject.

Use the crisis as an opportunity to teach

As a prepper blogger, I almost always see an upswing in my visitor traffic immediately following some natural disaster. It makes sense that people want to learn how to get prepared when their reality of sunshine and lollipops is rocked by scenes of destruction on their Facebook pages and across the internet. News of horrible tragedy, especially the kind caused by Mother Nature reminds us that bad things do happen to good people all of the time.

I have related the story before of how I foolishly tried to get my wife on board with my prepping efforts in one manic speech at night right before bed. Naturally, me hitting her out of the blue with all of my fears about the future and my plans to spend major bucks insulating our family from anything bad wasn’t met with a warm reception. After that night I realized I needed to step back and try a different approach.

Rather than trying to convince her of the validity of my worst Grid down fears, I used crises in the news when they happened. When winter storms knocked power out for thousands, I mentioned to her how we should get some supplies in case that happened to us. With the news so fresh in her mind her resistance to me prepping for disaster disappeared. It was directly because she could see how that tragedy could affect her and our children.

Disasters occupy the attention of nearly everyone for at least a couple of days. During this time you can very easily talk to friends or family about the situation and pose questions to them about how they would react if for example; a lunatic on prescription meds walked into church and started shooting. You can ask them what they would do if they lost power due to winter storms for 3 weeks and couldn’t leave their house because they were snowed in. Rather than come into the subjects of personal security or food storage completely out of the blue, preppers can start a dialog that makes sense within the context of current events.

Use the crisis as an opportunity to learn

I am an advocate of learning new things as much as possible. I even try to learn from my mistakes and disasters can give you an opportunity to learn in a couple of ways. The first way is first hand. Many people have grid-down weekends where they flip the power switch off on a Friday night and leave it off for the weekend. This is done to practice living off your prepping supplies and learning lessons about cooking, cleaning up, staying occupied and warm or cool. If Mother Nature throws you a grid-down weekend of her own, you can still learn lessons from actually using this gear you have lying around your house.

You can learn lessons like:

Medical skills could help others in a crisis.


If you aren’t directly affected by the crisis you can still learn. Many people volunteer as CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members and if needed, you could be called into action to assist in your community. This training is great for people who are looking to get training on assisting during disasters.

You can also take first aid training and possibly assist with saving a life in a crisis. If nothing else, the things you experience can remind you of what supplies you may need during a crisis and the training could benefit one of your own groups. There doesn’t even have to be a crisis to use first aid skills as people get hurt all of the time on their own. If nothing else, like the example of my wife above, you can use the next crisis to motivate you to redouble your efforts or jump back into the game.

In addition to actually being in the thick of it or simply letting the crisis motivate you to attend training, you can learn from the crisis even if you are on the other side of the world. Use the crisis as a hypothetical scenario to talk through what you would do. Ask your children what they would do if that crisis happened and you weren’t home. Ask your spouse or parents what they would do. Think of what you and your family would have done if this happened and you were away from home on vacation?  Learn their perspectives and give them any information you have that they might have forgotten. Never let a crisis go to waste.

  • BobW

    Thanks for stopping to remind everyone about the virtues of helping others. With how shady our world has become, its easy to fall into the ‘every man for himself’ mindset.

    There are lots of ways to help folks without breaking OPSEC.

    When the water is bad (think WV), breaking out the oldest case of bottled water you have, and sharing with a neighbor can make a friend for life. I’d call this ‘prepper networking.’

    Even if you hate most of your neighbors, turning them from hated to neutral or even friendly by a simple act of kindness could well work in your favor if things head south.

    Too often, we think of a prepper network as those hard core prepper friends you might have, but thinking on this, whats the likelihood of you linking up with a far flung group of survivors if its already hit the fan? That dude two doors down who is always tending his plants or garden could be far more valuable in a bug-in situation that a tight friend who lives 20 miles away through hell.

    Even if your charity is ultimately self-serving, its still charity. Bolster your “local” network while expanding your prepper network. You just don’t know which will wind up being in your survivor group in the end.