Did you know that September was National Preparedness Month in the United States?
The firearms world frequently overlaps with other realms of interest like outdoor sports and politics. Another area of interest for many shooters is the idea of prepping. Prepping, or preparing for hard times, can be represented by some as a fringe activity, undertaken only by folks sitting in bunkers and waiting for the collapse of western civilization.
In reality, prepping is actually a natural and rational part of human existence. We don’t know what the future holds, but things like these happen to people every day: job loss, divorce, the death of a spouse, house fire or a natural disaster. Saving money for a rainy day, buying insurance, having some extra canned goods and an extra tank of propane for the grill are all simple forms of prepping that can be very helpful when something bad happens.
Contrary to many of the stories we hear, the government actually encourages people to prep. Visit Ready.gov sometime and check out some of the basic advice offered there.
Firearms are a part of prepping. As we saw in New Orleans, natural disasters can cause a break down of law and order. So can rioting and other man-made disasters. In these extreme cases, calling 911 (if the phones even work won’t help.) Having a gun can be a real life saver. You can even get a single gun to run a number of different cartridges in a pinch.
Speaking of saving lives, having a good first aid kit and training (more than just BandAids) might mean you can stabilize an injured person until medical help can get to you.
Communication is very important, of course. There are some really inexpensive amateur radios on the market that offer impressive performance for the money. Combine one of those with a decent antenna (and the knowledge gained through obtaining your technician license) and you can maintain comms even when the cell towers are off line. I know a lot of people love the Baofeng line of ham radios, and you can get a handheld model for less than $30 on Amazon.
Receiving information is also important before, during and after a disaster. For this, few things are more useful than a portable radio with a weather alert. Midland makes something called the ER310 that is a solar and crank powered radio that covers AM and FM bands in addition to the standard weather bands. It can even charge your phone or other USB device.
Extra food can help in many circumstances – from being fired to an interruption in the normal delivery of groceries to your area. While there are some good MRE and free dried food options on the market, I suggest people start with a simple canned food method that won’t cost you much money. Simply pick up one or two extra cans of food you normally eat every time you go to the store. So, if you normally pick up one can of beans, pick up two – eat one and store the other. Over time, you will build up a well stocked pantry without it hitting the wallet.
These are just some of the basics. This is not intended to be a comprehensive article on the subject. However, I’m sure readers can benefit from additional tips and ideas. Leave your suggestions for preparedness in the comments below.