September is National Preparedness Month here in the United States.
From the president’s proclamation on National Preparedness Month:
By planning for emergencies, individuals can protect themselves and their families while also contributing to their communities’ resilience. During National Preparedness Month, we refocus our efforts on readying ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, and our Nation for any crisis we may face.
The thing is, many of us consider every month of the year to be a month of preparedness. And others who aren’t really thinking of preparedness are really preparing without knowing it. FEMA has delcared September National Preparediness month.
Isn’t each trip to the store or each hour spent in the vegetable garden a preparation of some kind? We prepare for the next few days of meals and household tasks by shopping at the neighborhood grocery store.
Maybe we stock up for a month at the local warehouse store. Or we work in our backyards or on our homesteads to prepare to enjoy our garden and livestock harvests during the coming months or years.
We’ve all grown up knowing how to prepare for various events and situations. Being prepared may have even been a mantra as we followed life’s twists and turns. Even as kids we bought school supplies, studied for tests, packed our bags for camp.
We decorated for holidays and made or bought gifts in anticipation of special events. As adults, we found our responsibilities increasing to include providing daily bread and household necessities for ourselves and our families. And we tend to ramp up the preparations when doom looms.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever run to the grocery or hardware store when a bad storm is in the weather forecast.
Preparedness, Prepping, Preppers
In recent years, multiple forms of the word “prepare” have found their way into conversations. Here’s our take on these expressions.
- Preparedness is a frame of mind and a state of being prepared to deal with a challenge or weather a storm or survive a catastrophic event.
- Prepping is the act of becoming prepared.
- Preppers are people who are prepping.
A few years ago, when we started developing our small farm, someone asked if we were preppers. At the time, we weren’t quite sure what that meant. Yes, we prep for things. We are continually becoming more self-sufficient and able to provide for ourselves.
And yes, we are even prepping in advance of something we feel has to do with our future food supply.
Are we preppers? I guess so! Really, we’re just a family that likes to raise a lot of our own food and live off the land. But that’s not all.
- We also have some bags of beans, rice, sugar, salt, and grains which we have purchased.
- We preserve fruit, vegetables, and meats that we raise on our homestead and buy from other farms.
- We have a stash of some tropical spices to supplement our homegrown herbs.
- We store some jugs of water, but we also have two wells and know where to find a natural spring on our property.
This is what works for us. We feel confident about dealing with most of the potential crises that could come our way. And we encourage others to prep however it seems best for them and their families.
How do people start prepping–or move on to the next level? Many of us think of food first–and food is crucial.
But a good prep plan should also include water and non-food necessities like medications, fuel, household supplies, entertainment, and means of defense. It’s important to have non-electric methods of cooking and heating–and to know how to use them.
Think about other needs and build up stashes of tools, replacement parts, personal hygiene products, clothing, books, non-electronic games, etc. When it comes to food, there are various ways to prep. For some people it includes learning to produce food ourselves and source other food locally. We personally feel this is the most effective longterm plan, and we combine it with a stock of purchased ingredients.
Some families stock up on compact dehydrated foods and MREs. For others, food prepping means stacks and stacks of packaged pre-prepared meals. And then there are combinations of this and that.
But possibly the best prep is the knowledge of how to survive in the midst of crisis: how to feed, clothe, shelter, medicate, educate, entertain, and defend yourself and your loved ones in various scenarios.
With that knowledge comes the power to move forward in practical preparedness. You can educate yourself by reading books, magazine articles, and blog posts on preparedness, prepping, and survival topics. Find a starting point and build on it. Gradually you’ll accumulate the knowledge and a stash of supplies and equipment.