|There are two, different people in this world: the active and the passive, victors and victims, overcomers and the overcome, the self-reliant and the dependent. The good news is that you get to decide which category you are in. Your attitude and your subsequent actions determine whether you are active, self-reliant, and victorious or whether you are passive, dependent, and a victim. Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into trouble and regret it later. (Prov 22:3, GNT)
Hurricane Katrina, and most natural disasters for that matter, are a crucible that reveals one’s attitudes. The official narrative is that only “rich” people (and those privileged by birth) could afford to do other than sit and wait for the disaster to unfold. In reality, it was attitude that led to the exodus prior to the disaster1,2. Attitude also played a key part of those who stayed, but were prepared for the disaster.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. – (various)
Your grandparents knew this to be true. They knew that disasters happen, that people die, and they assumed that no one was coming to help them. They knew these facts and they prepared for them. They canned food, saved money, made plans, made connections with their neighbors, kept supplies on hand, and had backup plans. They knew that there will always be ‘victims’ in this world and that even the best prepared lose their equipment and supplies, so they kept extra on hand to help their neighbors.
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help. – Ronald Reagan
But, I pay tax dollars! It’s the governments job to take care of me. Except, that even when FEMA (or it’s latest, “alphabet-soup” replacement) arrives, it’s likely to be too little, too late.
So what can you do? Forget everything you learned about ‘prep-ing’ on the Discovery Channel(TM) or the History Channel(TM).
“Average Joe” prepper
– Get out of debt and stay out of debt. It’s difficult and/or impossible to stay home or bug out, purchase supplies, or have options if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.
– Keep at least 3-6 months worth of expenses on hand. Liquid cash gives you options.
– Know what threats are common in your locale. Are you most likely to experience a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, landslides, or drought?
– Invest time and energy NOW in finding resources, developing skills, and making contacts – there won’t be time to do this when things go sideways.
– Work individually or as a community (preferred) to mitigate those threats.
Secure yourself and your family first. You want to make sure that you can support yourself and those who look to you for support. You also don’t want to be a burden on others when disaster hits.
– Keep enough food, water, cash, prescriptions, and necessary supplies on hand to last at least 72 hours.
– Work to keep 2-4 weeks of supplies on hand at all times.
When you’ve secured yourself and your family, work towards helping to secure your community. Zombies won’t be showing at on your door, looking for brains. But, in any disaster, someone is going to be the “unlucky one” who loses everything. If you are prepared, but you lose everything when disaster strikes, where are you going to turn for help? What happens if your family, friends, or neighbors show up on your doorstep looking for food and water? If everyone is prepared and ready to help, no one starves to death in the “Superdome”.
Preparing the wrong way
This isn’t “prep-ing”. This is being realistic about life and the world in which we live. We are preparing for known and knowable disasters, so that they become an inconvenience to endure instead of a life-threatening disaster to survive.
If you need practical help, ask your local, friendly Mormon – they’ve been doing this for well over 100 years (just be prepared for the pitch to join their church).
So, which type of person are you? Self-reliant or just reliant?
The references to the Mormon religion, the LDS, and their preparedness do not constitute an endorsement of their religion or philosophies. However, they’ve been systematically encouraging their members to practice realistic preparedness for at least the last 100 years. One of the authors knows a large Mormon family that survived for a year on their stored money and food after the husband was laid off and could not find work. Mormons may be the closest thing in your area to getting “Grandma’s wisdom” on food storage, food preparation, and frugal living.
Refuge of last resort: Five days inside the Superdome for Hurricane Katrina