I'm a prepper. There I admitted it. I am not ashamed to call myself a prepper.
AND the honest truth is that you should admit it too.
When you think about what it means to be a prepper, images of bunkers, stock piles of food and enough ammunition to supply a small army probably fill your head. While I admit that that can be the case at one end of the spectrum, being a prepper is a matter of degrees.
If you live in a flood plain and have flood insurance, you are a prepper.
If you live in an earthquake zone and have supplies ready to go for when the big one hits, you are a prepper.
Do you have jumper cables in your car? If you do, in a small but meaningful way, you are a prepper.
So are you thinking you might be a prepper yet?
It wasn't until the last few years that I realized how much of a prepper family we were when I was growing up and how much my life experiences built a foundation of preparedness in me.
My earliest memories of the houses we lived in, we nearly always had a garden. Those memories also include that distinctive smell coming from the kitchen of green beans and tomatoes being canned. Was it a way to keep the grocery cost down, sure - but it was also a way to have home grown veggies even when the snow was two feet deep outside.
The ownership of my first car brought new lessons on being prepared. I learned there were certain things we keep in the trunk. Jumper cables, flares, jack and a lug wretch all are a must in the chance of a dead battery or flat tire. Having a fire extinguisher handy was also a lesson I learned years earlier after a our family experienced a car fire on a trip across country.
I remember two 32 gallon shiny metal garbage cans that sat in my grandmother's sewing room at the back of their detached garage. Those hard steel cans looked so out of place among all the soft colored material and sewing supplies, but their purpose was one of the utmost importance.
Less than 12 miles West of their home in the Central Valley of California lies the San Andreas Fault. Those cans contained everything my grandparents would need, including food, water and medicine, in case of a major earthquake.
Preparing for emergencies and potential shortages was something that was common place for our family.
Even the yearly camping trips our family took in the mountains of California and the woods of Wisconsin helped teach me practical skills that I have used through out my life and came in very handy during a two month stint being homeless. Learning how to live without some of the basic amenities we are so accustom to in our modern existence came in very handy.
As an adult, some of my chosen jobs have added the foundation laid in my youth. I spent over five years as an paramedic and an additional two years as a paid-on-call firefighter. Even though it was short period in the timeline of my life, it provided me with a specialized knowledge that I can use everyday.
Maybe it is my background, maybe I am wired for being prepared and ready to go for whatever comes along, but I also believe it is in all of us to learn new skills and use our own experiences to add to our ability to prepare, endure and survive everything from small events to a natural disaster. The most basic definition of being a prepper is to take an active role in protecting and preparing yourself and your loved ones in the event an emergency.
If you didn't know, September is National Preparedness Month. While doomsday might not involve being taken over by zombies, did you know that 1 out of 4 people will experience a natural disaster at some time in their life? A natural disaster may very well feel like our own personal doomsday.
Nearly every part of the United States has been affected by either hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes and even severe winter storms. Millions of people have been stranded or displaced due to these disasters. Knowing what to do and what to have in these situations is essential.
During this month (and beyond), I hope to share some of what I have learned, some advise from experts and maybe even a few real life stories from those who have prepared and survived.
If you want more on National Preparedness Month, I encourage you to check out Ready.gov.
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