Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? Or should I say, “prepper” month?
The word “prepper” probably brings to mind gruffy-haired people out west living in a bunker with a stockpile of dehydrated meat and ammunition. Or “if you are a prepper, you probably haven’t told anyone,” writes Bradley Garrett in the article We Should All Be Preppers for the Atlantic.
I’ll admit, the fact that I am one used to kind of be embarrassing—that is until 2020.
So here’s the story: When I first got married we had an apartment and then a very small 1950s house we refurbished. There wasn’t much storage space at all, which made me pretty ruthless when it came to keeping only what I needed and nothing else. I didn’t have a true pantry so long-term storage outside of our chest freezer wasn’t really an option when it came to food.
When we moved to our new home, I now had lots of room, but was in the same mindset. A mindset I still have for many things. But about four years ago I began to worry about world events and the fact that if we lost electricity or I couldn’t get to the store due to some drastic issue, we didn’t have much food storage. Suddenly the world felt very fragile. But it also felt like an overwhelming task to research what we’d need and how to store it. Also, so many “prepper” resources can tend to play on fears that I didn’t want to fill my mind with.
I was listening to a podcast pretty regularly called Living Home Grown and one day she had a guest on and the topic was “Simple Long Term Food Storage.” Emergency preparedness can take many forms but I chose to focus on food after listening to this wonderful podcast episode. The guest, Kathy Harrison, didn’t use scare tactics but just spoke of the realistic nature of needing emergency supplies at some point. The description from the episode stated: “I’m not talking about living in fear that at any moment there will be a zombie apocalypse. But I do believe being ready for emergencies is smart because something as simple as a big storm can mean no access to electricity or roads for several days or longer.”
I also liked that Harrison didn’t focus on selfishness, but instead the fact that if YOU and I are prepared, those more vulnerable can be served and we won’t be taking valuable resources from others.
After listening to the podcast (you can find it here) I then got her book, Prepping 101: 40 Steps You Can Take to be Prepared. It’s a great book for beginners. I LOVE that it’s visual instead of tons of text because I found it more accessible and less overwhelming. I basically just went through a chapter at a time, thought about it, and decided what to implement.
Another thing I like about Harrison’s mindset is you’re not “saving” food. You’re using it. You just have stored quantities and a plan to use them and when you need something you go to your storage and take what you need then replace it so that there’s always a rotating pantry. But it’s just going to get you through more than a week.
It has served me well. There were several times I need the things that I’d “prepped.” Once we had an electrical outage and another time we simply had a water problem while my husband was out of town and instead of having to lug four kids to the grocery store to buy water unexpectedly I simply could go down to the basement. When Covid hit in March and there was a run on so many supplies I already had a stash of masks and hand sanitizer when there were none to be found. Hurricanes, fires, local unrest, or pandemics are all situations where you may need supplies at your fingertips.
The fact is there is a lot of facets to preparedness. What happens if you have to hunker down? If you lose power do you have a plan to have heat, get light, and cook? Have recipes printed out and available using the supplies you have to create meals so you don’t have to think in stressed situations. Think through the scenarios.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. If 2020 can’t convince you, I don’t know what will.
The following are some resources to help you get started creating your own Emergency Preparedness Storage: