Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Simon asked "What situations require prepping?" I'm glad you asked sir....

A listener sent me a question I genuinely thought I'd hammer out in a quick little writeup, and ended up having to sit and think on it for a few.  What situation require prepping?  That seemingly innocent question is a far more wide reaching one than most would realize, but one I'm happy to tackle.

Prepping, as we've tried to define it, is any prior planning/training/action we take to prepare for a low likelihood/high consequence event that may reasonably be expected to befall ourselves or our families.  To unpack that, a fire extinguisher under your sink fits the bill because kitchen fires do happen, and a fire extinguisher is a prudent and applicable "prep" to aid in dealing with that event.  The event is, by definition, low likelihood and high consequence because it doesn't happen often (I certainly hope not) but can result in a complete loss of one's home.  So, any situation that fits the mold may be prepped for, the question is WHAT situations can you expect?

Rather than lay out each and every event I can imagine, I'll try to lay these out in three broad categories, all of which would have similar levels or volumes of necessary prep if somewhat different specifics.  Three of the categories will be abbreviations familiar to any prepper: SHTF, WROL, and TEOTWAWKI.

Single event - This category is something that befalls a single person/group.  Think home invasion, robbery.  Most self defense actions fall into this category, and I won't belabor the point as we have discussed the merits of self defense on an individual level many times already.

SHTF/Stuff Hit the Fan - SHTF by my definition is a short term disaster categorized by sudden onset.  Typical duration in my mind would be less than 7 days, though some situations could last longer.  Localized flooding, Category 3 hurricanes and smaller, smaller tornadoes and the like would fall into this category.  This would be a class of disasters in which the average person, with an appropriate amount of prep work, could easily ride out via a bug-in scenario.  The scope of the affected area allows citizens to travel a reasonable distance to retrieve materials they may require, emergency services are still available.  This would be a category of events I would reasonably assume most people can prep for, and most likely many people do.

WROL/ Without Rule of Law - While the duration can often be short, SHTF situations can develops into WROL situations depending on the scale and duration of the original disaster.  Following Hurricane Katrina, I saw the local area encounter this category of situation, as many parts of the New Orleans metro area were inherently dangerous to travel at any time, certainly after dark.  The scale of the disaster stretched police resources so thin, that there was very often virtually or literally no emergency service or police response to be had should it be required.  This was compounded by very poor telecommunications following the disruption and destruction of so many cell phone towers.  On a smaller scale, a riot or violent protest could also fit this description.  Self defense principles, while effective against small groups, would be dangerous if encountering a larger group (how much ammo did you bring to this fight???).  My recommendation would be for people that are planning to bug in for these situations to take careful stock of your preps and your home and decide if you are able and prepared to deal with medical emergencies and violent attackers with little to no outside assistance.  The average person would be better served by bugging out.

TEOTWAWKI/ The End of the World As We Know It - Zombie apocalypse, meteor strike, biblical flood, pandemic, nuclear wasteland, pick your cliche.  When someone wants to poke fun at preppers, these are inevitably the events they point to.  Not only are these events often so far fetched as to be humorous, they allude to disaster so wide spread and long standing as to beg the question WHAT you are planning to survive to do?  The only practical purpose served by these situations in my mind is as a logical and intellectual exercise.  We have often sat around musing about WHAT we would do in a certain situation simply to debate the finer points of one piece of gear or one strategy over another.  I wouldn't run out to clear out your retirement account and buy a ten year supply of MRE's just right now.

What types of emergencies are YOU likely to encounter?  Obviously, with me living in Southeast Louisiana hurricanes are far more concerning to me than blizzards, but each environment has different concerns to address.  What is important is to identify those concerns, prioritize them by likelihood, then develop an effective strategy for how to mitigate the associated danger.  Shop and train accordingly, and please keep the questions and feedback coming. - Phil Rabalais

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