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The Six P’s and the Three S’s of Prepping

Prepping
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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Corey.


Prepping is more than warehousing freeze-dried food and ammunition for the onslaught of the zombie apocalypse. As a prepper, I’ve accumulated some insight along the way and I’ve realized it’s a way of seeing life with an eye towards one’s future security and incorporating that insight into everyday exploits.

With a few keystrokes a person can bring up enough articles concerning prepping to make their head spin. While this can bring about a patent amount of information overload, information really is the first key item any prepper should have in abundance, and as you read this my hopes are that it can help guide you along your way.

Anyone with enough time and money can acquire all the ubiquitous objects touted as “must haves” in the numerous online prepping journals, blogs, magazines, etc. However if they don’t know how to use these items, all the M16’s, snare wire, and medical instruments in the world won’t do them any good. A good way to start prepping is to understand what it is, and anyone you ask who identifies as such will have a unique perspective on the question. Not understanding what prepping means to the individual and how it applies to everyday living can lead the unaware prepper in an unintended direction.

Rethinking my Prepper status

I’m fortunate enough to enjoy a comfortable income, so when I decided to start prepping I bought a couple thousand dollars in long-term storage freeze-dried foods, stocked up on ammo for my guns, made a huge bug-out-bag and bought a few water filters, then called it a day. I thought to myself, “Well, now I’m a prepper”. But was I? A recent crisis caused me to reevaluate my “prepper” status.

We had a family emergency which required me to take my wife to the hospital, but there was a problem. I didn’t know where the nearest emergency room was! I’ve lived here in our apartment for four years, and have never needed to go to a hospital emergency room. I’m ashamed to even admit this, as a 23-year, retired military veteran I failed to know my surroundings. Fortunately the issue with my wife was minor. I found the emergency room using my smart phone; however I should have known in advance where it was. The information of the emergency room location was free, and possibly lifesaving…which is a prime function of prepping.

It would have cost me nothing to find its location in advance, so I consider myself lucky, this time. This made me realize that “prepping” is the word given to any measures taken to ensure one’s safety, survival, and security, or the three S’s as I’ve come to coin them. I’ve distilled this from the Army’s old adage of the six P’s, Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Both have their place.

Keep it simple

Much of prepping is really basic ideas. Are your vaccinations up to date, do you know where the hospital, veterinarian, or local emergency shelters are located? Have you had your teeth checked in the last year? Simple ideas one may not think of, such as filling water bottles and stashing them in your freezer. This not only helps your freezer work more efficiently by not having to cool empty space, the frozen water will prolong the freezer’s low temperature during a power outage, and provide you with drinking water once they melt.

Have you ever ordered Chinese food? You know how you end up letting the obligatory two quarts of white rice turn into concrete in your refrigerator? Try dehydrating it instead and storing in zip-lock bags for use later in soups, chili or stews. Same with vegetables or fruit, dehydrate them before they turn. Do you know where the closest source of natural or stored water is located in case city water becomes contaminated? Consider alternate sources for water such as your home’s water heater, toilet tanks, or even a nearby swimming pool.

Many were woefully unprepared for the ramifications of Hurricane Katrina even with sufficient advanced warning.

Many were woefully unprepared for the ramifications of Hurricane Katrina even with sufficient advanced warning.

These suggestions presume you have water filters on hand. And if the idea of drinking filtered pool or toilet tank water makes you a bit queasy, consider the fact that the International Space Station astronauts drink their own recycled urine. Have you considered buying a small Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for your wireless router so that you can still access the Internet on a tablet or smart phone during a power outage? For very little money you can hop on any online retail store and buy emergency lights that you can plug into your wall outlets that will automatically come on during a power failure, and some can be used as lanterns or hand-held flashlights.

Other things to consider that are low-cost and very helpful are to make copies of your family’s critical documents. I’ve scanned all of our documents and password protected them then stored them on two separate thumb drives. One thumb drive is in my BOB, and the other is in my wife’s BOB. The physical documents themselves are in water proof bags inside a portable safe, ready to take at a moment’s notice.

The need to be prepared isn’t theory

The likelihood of total societal collapse to me is unlikely, however having volunteered with the Army to help with the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in 2005, I’ve come to realize this type of condition is more likely to occur and is a very real threat. In a situation like hurricane Katrina one should seriously consider bugging the hell out, but for the people whom I saw choosing to stay, or not able to leave, they were obviously unprepared and utterly dependent on us and other government agencies for their safety, security, and survival.

I witnessed people fighting at a gas station trying to jockey in line for limited fuel. I wondered to myself why they hadn’t filled their cars, and anything else they could get their hands on, prior to the storm. After all, they knew it was coming. For this very reason, I keep my vehicle’s fuel tanks as full as possible at all times, and because I live in an apartment having no safe area to store fuel, I keep two empty five gallon fuel cans to be filled if necessary.

I know this short essay doesn’t cover all the possible approaches of preparing for the unexpected, but it’s not meant to. The idea I’m hoping you come away with is to take some time and think about what safety, security, and survival means to you and your family. Think about situations that you wouldn’t want to find yourself in and work on ways to prevent ending up there. More often than not you’ll find that employing the six P’s will help you find your three S’s.

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  • Super Steve

    Where I come from the 6 Ps stand for proper planning and preparation prevent poor performance.

  • Sideliner1950

    Thanks, Corey, really a good article.

    Our own personal “awakening” to our abject lack of emergency preparedness was stunning. It came only after high-winds sparked and furiously fanned a late-autumn wildfire in our region that claimed 30+ homes and other structures, induced a fatal heart attack in one victim, and forced the evacuations of thousands of others. Once we realized we were threatened by the fire, we knew immediately that how we would fare depended entirely upon “which way the wind blew”, and it howled at a sustained 70+mph all through the night and all the next day. Seeing flames and smoke rising so nearby is a very unsettling, very helpless feeling.

    To begin our own prepping, we dug in and took those same “first four” steps you mentioned — food, ammo, bug-out-bags, and water filters — along with some others to address our personal needs and wants; and after several months of focused dedication to that project, we were able to stand down and take a much-needed breath for a while. These days we continue working to enhance our preparedness by adding more “stuff, skills, and sense” (my three S’s); but we took early comfort in knowing that if we had done nothing more than taking your “first four” steps, we were so much better prepared for any of the several possible types of emergencies and bug-out scenarios that can affect us.

    My advice to someone about to start this journey would be “Just get started”…AND hang on tight to your sense of humor, maintain your health, and do what you can to improve your fitness; and finally, keep your “eyes up” and continue to live and find beauty in the real world, because it’s way too easy to fall into the trap of seeing danger or disaster around every corner, and being consumed by worry and the fear of the S. H’ing T. F. The prepping we do should be enhancing our own peace of mind, and not dragging us down.

    Good luck to us all.

  • Thomas Paine in the butt

    Mine was a nasty case of unemployment. I had just started stocking basic food items right before the economy tanked, shortly after I was given the opportunity to advance my career elsewhere.

  • EgbertThrockmorton1

    Great article, Corey. We prepare for the “storms of life ” that hit ALL of us, when we least expect it. It’s about the only sure fire way I can sleep at night now. Knowing that we have food and water we can eat without having to go to the store, or “needing” money to feed us IS a great thing.
    Years ago, I felt “impressed” to stock pile all the .22LR and .22 Magnum rounds we could afford then, and so I did. We moved to another state with a near truckload. Never felt “concerned” about the .22LR/.22 mag drought of late either. It’s a good secure feeling in being prepared for life’s vicissitudes
    We store what we normally eat, so there is no lag time to get used to the “emergency rations”. While we have some exotic free-dried stuff as a supplement, everything in our preps is normal everyday menu items. Guess I’m lazy that way.

  • MK

    If you’re not prepared spiritually you’re not prepared.

    • Super Steve

      Only if one believes in deitys.

      • MK

        Denying God exists doesn’t change your need to be spiritually prepared. You will never be more than half prepared in your state of disbelief. If you truly understood this world-wide ponzi scheme and all the evil that comes from it you would clearly see mankind is in spiritual warfare, God’s goodness verses Satan’s evil.

        • Super Steve

          Not denying anything, its a statement of fact, God is a concept made up by people a long time ago to help manage and control the masses, Good & bad do not need religious connotations to be defined. I have seen the evil perpetrated in the name of religion and it has no place in my groups lives.

          • MK

            Super Steve said, “…its a statement of fact, God is a concept made up by people a long time ago to help manage and control the masses,…”
            MK: Would you mind providing evidence of your fact?
            SS: Good & bad do not need religious connotations to be defined.
            MK: Believers know morals are based on the laws of God written on man’s heart. Atheists have no standard on which to base what is morally right and wrong. Their morals are based on arbitrary law grounded in relativism. They have no moral compass to judge what is good and what is evil.
            SS: I have seen the evil perpetrated in the name of religion and it has no place in my groups lives.

            MK: Yeah, ISIS is evil and the Roman Catholic Church hordes it’s money on it’s palaces while the world starves. Not all religions are equal. I have seen soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospitals, Big Buddy groups, pregnancy support centers, orphanages, and world feeding orgs. based on the Christian God, Jesus Christ. Can you name me ONE atheist organization that is helping the world?
            God loves you Steve, I hope you come to Him. peace MK

            • Corey King
            • Super Steve

              Can you name one religion that has not caused misery, hatred, division, conflict, blight, segregation and untold suffering?
              Religion is simply a narcotic for the naive.

            • Super Steve

              Super Steve said, “…its a statement of fact, God is a concept made up by people a long time ago to help manage and control the masses,…”
              MK: Would you mind providing evidence of your fact?
              Can you disprove it? In 1000 years the needy and lonesome will probably be worshipping Harry Potter or the Jedi Knights, like all books they are written by man and 99% fiction.

            • Super Steve

              FYI No human can tell me God loves / hates/ knows/ understands me because no human is any different to me.
              The world would be far more peaceful and a lot less troublesome WITHOUT religion or Fictitious deitys

              • Corey King

                I have to agree with Super Steve. MK you’re welcome to your opinion, however, that’s all it is. I’m happy you find your solace in your perceived god, but not everyone thinks the same way. That’s a good thing too, I’m glad your religion no longer has the authority to punish people for not believing what you like to attempt to subtly force on this audience. Also please understand that when you say things like “god loves you”, it’s seen as an insult to non-believers. I would ask that you keep your god and his “love” to yourself. It’s not appreciated here, this is a prepper site, not a church. GO PACKERS!!!!!

              • MK

                Of course it’s “my opinion.” I have “forced” nothing. How could I force a punishment on your audience?
                Why are you so intolerant of my view so much so that you feel you must comment? Is this a censored site or do you allow freedom of speech?
                My religion is Baptist and I can’t name one pastor/Baptist who ever murdered anyone because they weren’t a Baptist. Your statement is silly.
                You said, “I would ask that you keep your god and his “love” to yourself.”

                MK: You can ask but no thanks, America is still free and I will speak freely. I will stop commenting on your site. You’ve just insulted at least half of your audience. I promise I won’t n=be back which should make you happy I hope.

              • Everyone is welcome to their own opinion on this site. The Prepper Journal doesn’t exclude the comments or opinions of atheists or believers in any religion from stating what you believe in. That doesn’t mean that I necessarily believe in what my fellow prepper may believe (or not believe) in, but this is an open forum and mature conversations are welcomed, not shunned.

                The way I see it, the comments section offer a place to have a dialog. In some cases, like this, the dialog is around opposing views. In this case in particular the comments really have nothing at all to do with the content of the article, but it is a conversation nonetheless. I wouldn’t shut down any debate on any subject as long as it is reasonably civil. I think this conversation has been pretty civil up to this point even though there are very strong opinions on both sides of this issue.

                Here is my recommendation. Talk and argue and state facts, opinions, justifications as much as you like. If you tire of the conversation, move along to something else. If you find yourself not wanting to engage in the debate any longer, no problem. You can chose to end the conversation by no longer commenting on this thread and move on to other articles.

                However, everyone is free to comment and anyone’s thoughts/opinions have equal weight here and can be published as long as we stay civil. If you want others to keep their opinions to themselves, this isn’t the right forum for that because I do believe in the concept of free speech. If you step into the arena of the comments, you might find people that disagree with you. What you chose to do with their disagreements is on you, but I won’t restrict anyone’s ability to disagree with you on this site.

                Pat

              • MK

                Thank you Pat. I appreciate your view, keeping it civil and being tolerant of other’s comments on your forum. God bless ya!
                Mary Kay

              • MK

                Religion is man-made and man is fallible, God is not.

              • MK

                From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance;From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

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                FYI No human can tell me God loves / hates/ knows/ understands me because no human is any different to me. The world would be far more peaceful and a lot less troublesome WITHOUT religion or Fictitious deitys 3:01 p.m., Sunday Nov. 1 | Other comments by Super Steve |   |
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    • Corey King
  • Huples

    Enjoyed the article. My wake up came one morning when I wandered down to make coffee and found the water main was busted. The was no water in the kettle. Taps did not work. No problem as my intent was to get a Berkey for the new house having safely put the old one up at a bug out location. Only I had not bought it yet! I had exactly 50ml of water on hand.
    I also cannot drive and the gf was at work for another 10 hours. Shops a mile hike.
    In this case the Government saved me. I wander 50 feet up the road and chatted to the water crew. They dropped off 24 bottles of water for me as a “hard ship case”.
    I’d played with prepping up to this point. This was the point I got serious.
    I agree most likely we get minor life hits so I focus on those as much as Godzilla attacking the world. The car has water, food, clothes and a seat belt/wind screen smasher. The house has plenty of water. Nice rocket stove and the chimney got swept and a cord of wood is always on hand. 40l of gas is always in the garage.
    Anyhow it took a minor, almost nothing issue to make me see how dependent I was
    Taking my time despite being relatively well off to get passive resilience- -32C sleeping bags before solar heating, small wood stove that uses hardly any wood before a generator. I see passive resilience i.e. using things that do not require work or maintenance to be much more vital in the beginning than any active resilience.
    Enjoy the site and the articles always make me think.
    I prefer the site to be about the topic not politics or religion. There’s plenty of chance to argue in a binary fashion elsewhere on the web 🙂

    • Thank you for the comments Huples!