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Why Should You Be a Prepper?

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Chris O. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


Let me congratulate you first and foremost for taking the time to read this article and the many others the touch upon how to become or continue to prepare to be a “prepper”. What are we preparing for? These are some of the buzz words or often discussed reasons. Total economic breakdown, food crisis, EMP or the countless many other mass disasters that can affect the average everyday citizens in the US. Y2K wasn’t so long ago that we all have forgotten but many young adults were not old enough to see the preparations, church plans and overall fear.

Many young adults have been brought up with a sense of almost instant gratification, entitlement enabled by the ability to communicate without too many issues with the advent of better computers and cell phones. These younger adults are starting to see that the world like those of us that are a little older. Just think this is the first year many students are learning about 911 as a historic event. The world is not as safe as many once thought it was. Many of us have seen the horrors of an economic collapse (currently taking place in Venezuela as I write this). Katrina’s wrath and long-term destruction. Earthquakes that kill thousands.

Some of you reading this have even been a part of disaster or time where you didn’t have power, water, food or ability to travel. How long do you think you can go without being able to shop at a store? How many days’ worth of food, water and protection from the elements do you truly have? For cold environments you need a heat source, for warm environments you need a shade or cooling source. Are you really prepared? Feel free to take a break from this article and look in your pantry?

Now that I have your attention or agreement. We will get to the meat and potatoes of why you should be a prepper. Do not depend on the system. The system as has been seen in action, is not fast or efficient. FEMA and DHS are not here for you. Scary thought – they are ready to help but are only able to handle 3 large-scale disaster at one time. Three Katrina’s, 911’s or Large quakes. After that the stock they have on hand is gone. There is no fall back plan for you the average citizen. Our government officials, Community Stakeholders and employees maybe will fare a little better. You are the only person that is going to truly provide adequate emergency supplies and protection for yourself when a disaster strikes on a large-scale. You are the end all be all that will protect your family and or self if you are a single person with no family.

Food riots of 1917

Food “protests” of 1917. Nothing as civil as this would happen if people were hungry today.

How do I start prepping?

Right now you considering making the choice to not be a “sheep”. You need to understand that telling the world that you are or want to become a prepper is counterproductive. You may not want to share that information with many because of the negative things that are happening the world. You DO NOT want to make yourself a target. Do I believe the government is going to come for your supplies and or weapons? No but I think that other people in your area may look to you for the things they need when SHTF because they have failed to plan themselves.

As a beginning prepper you’re overloaded with information. Trust me I thought I was doing all these great preps. I thought that I have it all figured out. I am prior service, a Firearms Instructor and have connections. Guess what? Connections do not mean anything when the desperation sets in.

So the supplies and cost may seem overwhelming. Your family and friends think that you have been drinking the “tin foil hat” crowd’s cool aid. Some of your loved ones have “known” other preppers and have a horrible connotation to the word prepper. Face it these same folks will come running if the proverbial feces hit’s the fan. You are prepping for you. You are prepping for your family. You want to be ready for an all hazards approach to Disasters.

People have been preppers longer then people have laughed at it. When our pioneers blazed the trail west they were preppers. They couldn’t magically go to the general store. How many people laughed at them? Be careful because the internet is full of “prepper” sites and articles that want to sell you the newest, best and in many cases very expensive ready-made kits. They can be Food buckets, that “cool new shovel that you can crush Zombies skulls” with or say that you need 20 different firearms for all the situations that you may encounter. These examples are a little outlandish but folks trust me, go shopping around on doomsday sites. They are often using fear to entice you to buy. Don’t get me wrong I am not knocking all of it I am just a realist. I have served overseas in harm’s way and can tell you that the biggest things you need are food, water, shelter and the ability to defend yourself.

Stores are quickly cleaned out in Venezuela's food riots.

Stores are quickly cleaned out in Venezuela’s food riots.

Having a basic 30-day food supply, water, defense and a plan is huge start. Don’t think about a year, start with a month. Most disasters that we truly will face are less than 30 days. Get training on how to use your defensive equipment. Stay in shape. The argument that having a firearm will keep you safe and make it so don’t you have to run is garbage. Next use some of the foods that you store know how to prepare them, don’t buy stuff you won’t eat or don’t like for food storage. You want to start small. For example, fruits, veggies and meats all in cans. Add up how many people are in your home and plan for 30 days. 2 meals a day and throw in a snack or treat as well. If you have kids plan for them. If you can keep everyone fed and semi happy, morale will stay high.

Next you need to evaluate your risks, include summer, winter and extreme conditions. Are you in a tornado, earthquake or hurricane zone? Use this information to ready shelters if needed. You must maintain your body heat. Lastly buy a good pistol and rifle for each adult. Do not spend a fortune. Remember that training I was talking about earlier spend more on that than the guns. A Glock 19 and a DPMS AR platform with 500 rounds each per adult would be the minimum suggestion from me.

Riots in Kiev protesting government.

Riots in Kiev protesting government.

Once you are set on those mainstays add medical equipment and training remember it’s all on you. Count on there being no 911 or first responders to save you. Mitigate risks, plan for disasters that are realistic and when you are well set up and ready for a year start working on those less than likely situations.

In closing I want you to feel safe, be fed and have a roof over your head but do not forsake time with family to get this done in a weekend all you will do is stress yourself out. Try and involve the immediate family. Work on small project to build into the large project. It should be a fun journey that keeps you feeling prepared. It is not a project to that should be done out of terror or fear. We are not that close to an apocalypse or are we?

Chris Otterson
US ARMY SSG (ret)
Owner ASTS
A Solutions based company
“Till Valhalla”

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  • Talon Erdley

    Very good article! I believe this is a good article to have skeptical people to read!

    • Huples

      Agreed. Calm, precise, and sane. Excellent print out to give anyone who asks about being prepared if opsec is not an issue.
      Up here in the great white north I’d add Heat as separate from shelter as it is crucial even for short term events. Down south I’m sure Cooling might be a factor in the hot regions.
      He’s right about some prepper sites. More and more are nothing but gear sales posing as reviews or plain hysterical crazy. Try googling Preppers, set limit to one week, and watch all the videos selected! Crazy sells I guess 🙁

  • As someone who is just starting out getting my ducks in a row for whatever might happen, this article is a breath of fresh air. I’ve been visiting many prepping sites and there is a LOT of fear-mongering out there. Fear is a big motivator (and money-maker). Some fear is certainly justified, and I understand the need for sites to be profitable, but I often find myself wondering where the line is between justified concern and plain kookiness and/or fear-marketing.

    To be honest, the way the world is going that line is getting harder and harder to find.

    We’re in a better position than most, living in the woods in the NW. We’ve got the basics covered for the most part (acreage, well, generator, etc.), and we’ve had a few extended runs during winter storms when the power went out – five days being the longest – without any problems. A month might be a stretch, but we could make it work, I think.

    The main lesson I’m getting, and one that reinforces my initial reasoning for starting down this road, is the over-riding need and desire for independence. It began for me when I took my first weapons training class; it gave me a new level of confidence and a desire for autonomy, which led me to look for other ways to enhance that feeling in more concrete ways. For me it’s not so much about fear. It’s about becoming a fulfilled, independent and competent person.

    Sorry for blathering on, but this article touched a nerve…

    • christopher

      “It’s about becoming a fulfilled, independent and competent person.” you couldnt of said it better.! being independent means 1 less person that the goverment doesn’t have to provide help to in a emergency & makes you able to help others if you chose to. you dont have to spend alot of money… you do need to watch out for all those “must-haves”.. see what applies to you and if you feel you need it go for it. obviously have a good quality tools, like axe or knife or flashlight, is key. You dont want those items failing when you need them the most. happy prepping!