People who prepare to face disaster scenarios – preppers – often get a bad rap from their family, friends, and neighbors. Stocking up on extra supplies and saving for a rainy day may seem paranoid and unnecessary to those who are living the dream of push-button convenience in a modern society.
But it doesn’t take a Hurricane Florence or even a nuclear attack to create chaos for a single person or family. Simple, every-day events can turn an ideal life – or merely a passable one – into a survival nightmare. Everything can change (for the worse) in the blink of an eye.
Do you think preppers are over-reactive compulsive types who have their priorities skewed? Consider these true stories of people just like you who turned into survivalists due to forces beyond their control. (Names given have been changed for privacy reasons.)
1. Julia’s husband wrecked his motorcycle and suffered extensive injuries. Seven places down his right side broke, he suffered from MRSA (a contagious and antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria that leads to potentially dangerous infections) that required one IV every four hours daily.
He had two surgeries to add and remove hardware and he developed four blood clots on the arm opposite the one where he had a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line.
One year later, he was still dealing with inflammation and chronic pain. Julia claimed that being a coupon-clipper and having a stockpile before her husband’s accident got them through lean times while he had hospital expenses and couldn’t work.
2. Jedidiah said that the 2008 stock market plunge, banking crisis, and resulting economic recession were a wake-up call regarding hardship. His construction company lost six employees, leaving him alone to run everything. Living well below their means before the downturn kept him and his wife out of serious financial trouble.
The couple believes that working together to overcome a dramatic change in their prosperity strengthened their relationship and brought them closer. They feel better equipped to handle life’s hard balls and enjoy their new feelings of freedom and empowerment.
3. Dennis grew up in a family of preppers and knew no other lifestyle. Far from rich, his parents taught from a very young age to throw nothing away and avoid relying on others. The family farm grew and raised all their food, from garden veggies to livestock.
Later in life, Dennis and his wife bought a 3-acre property with a house and barn so they could take in foster children aged five to ten years old. Five kids at a time joined the kind-hearted couple’s two older teenagers and milked goats twice a day, looked after pork, beef, chickens, ducks, and rabbits. All the children who grew up taking care of themselves thrived and turned out well adjusted.
After a lapse, Dennis and his family returned to prepping after the 2008 election. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Their seven grandchildren are told, jokingly, not to stand in one place too long or grandpa will freeze you or vacuum pack you.
Despite the jokes about all the lanterns, portable toilet, Big Berkey water filter, food dehydrator, and other prepping supplies, the grandkids like to munch on the dried fruits and jerky. Now 70 years old, Dennis and his wife continue their life-long habit of being prepared in our upside-down world.
4. Theresa was motivated to alter her family’s lifestyle when confronted with the virulent Influenza A (H1N1) virus – swine flu. She began by acquiring N95 face masks, biohazard suits, protective gloves and booties, and quite a bit of sanitizer.
She ramped up the supplies in case her family needed to go into quarantine. Theresa overcame her dislike of firearms and embraced the attitude of “Beans, bandages, and bullets: one is none and two is one.”
When one of Theresa’s children sent her a picture of a camping port-a-potty as a gag Christmas gift, she shocked him by revealing that she already had one. She says her family is gradually getting used to emergency preparations.
5. Mickie’s story is a very short one: reading Ron Paul was the clincher to become a prepper. (Dr. Paul is the former U.S. Congressman from the 14th district of Texas, from 1997 to 2013, and Libertarian-Republican who continues to warn of impending economic crisis and a loss of confidence in the dollar.)
6. Betty feared an economic collapse after watching the news and world events unfolding. Impending financial doom and natural disasters all jive with her Christian belief in Scripture.
After 40 years living in the same town, Betty began to see property signs for rent or sale as local mills shut down and jobless people moved away. Betty persuaded a family member to liquify their 401k retirement fund to pay off the home mortgage, an action which saved their home.
Betty believes that that prepping is common sense and the best lifestyle choice going. In good times, you lose nothing. In bad times, you and your loved ones suffer much less. As an added bonus, older generations teach the younger up-and-comers how to overcome unexpected obstacles that life seems to have a habit of introducing.
7. Walt became a prepper out of necessity when an ice storm shut down the power for eight days, depriving his family of well water. Fortunately, they were able to keep themselves warm and cook food with their wood stove.
Without their usual water source, the crew braved the freezing temperatures outside to collect snow, ice, and cold water from nearby streams. They stored non-drinking water in milk containers. (NOTE: Never store drinking water in used milk jugs because disease-carrying bacteria can grow from any residue left behind after cleaning.)
The stored water Walt and his family stock-piled paid off the following summer when freakish hurricane-force winds took out the power for seven days.
Today, seven years later, Walt’s family collects rainwater for storage in large containers as well as gallon-sized containers. They filter drinking water. To their credit, this enterprising group located alternative water sources in their neighborhood.
As with most preppers, changes in behavior and mindset that came about after a single, cataclysmic event evolved in a regular routine and habitual thrift.
If you don’t already take measures against an uncertain future, these seven stories might change your mind about taking a few small measures to increase the odds of surviving – and even thriving – in the worst of times.