National Preparedness Month

Prepare

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.

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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.

Midland ER310

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.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    I heartily recommend that if you are at all serious about preparing for an emergency, get your amateur radio license. The tech test is 35 multiple choice questions and if you can maintain a gun, you can learn enough operating practice and safety (the bulk of the tech questions) in a weekend. I’ve been an amateur for a very long time and it’s a lot of fun too.

    • BattleshipGrey

      My neighbor invited me to attend a class, but I was busy that weekend and couldn’t cover the fee anyway, although it was a good deal, for $100, you also got a small HAM radio.

      • Klaus Von Schmitto

        Most amateur radio clubs have free tech and general classes except (sometimes) for a very nominal fee for materials. The exam cost is fixed at $15.00 for 2016.

  • BattleshipGrey

    It’s always irked me that the .gov sites/advertisements never mention a firearm or other self defense items for preparedness. The simplest way I’ve heard it said is “you can only keep what you can defend.” And that includes more than just prepping items.

    • Bill

      Yeah, sort of, but it’s likely more practicality. I’ve been through a number of tornadoes (one of which kept me off-grid and out of power for 2 weeks) and floods and didn’t need a gun, though obviously I have more than 2. If you are trying to get the average person to invest $100 in emergency supplies a gun is going to be wayndown the list after a weather radio, flashlight, bunches of batteries and a manual can opener.

      Every prepper magazine I see has some guy in a gas mask Escaping New York on it’s cover and the websites seem to concentrate on “The Best Bug-Out Vehicle for Fury Road.”

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        5 or 6 Bic lighters should be on every list.

  • PeterK

    I bought a baofeng 3-4 years ago and didn’t use it regularly. Now the battery is shot, sadly.I should replace it and get involved. Just hard to find the time right now.

  • Major Tom

    I’ve always known the best prep for an emergency is a good pair of walking shoes or better yet boots.

    Because if you’re waiting for someone to rescue you instead of rescuing yourself, you might just be doing it wrong.

    I know I wouldn’t be waiting around in a Hurricane Katrina type scenario. Slap my boots on, grab my gun and take off walking if it was so bad I couldn’t drive away.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Hurricane season tip: If you know youre gonna get hit fill a bunch of large tupperware containers with water and freeze them. When the power goes out move the ice blocks into the fridge and itll keep your food good to go for a few days.

    • Edeco

      Indeed. I used to keep hand tools and free weights in the freezer. I don’t know if they hold/dump more heat than water, but verily I was lazy and filling a container would have added a step.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Really? You froze tools to keep the fridge cool?
        That had not occurred to me.

        • Edeco

          Yep, in light of RocketScientists explanation not the best choice. Plus I’d be replacing a headlight with a moist wrench due to condensation :S

      • RocketScientist

        The specific heat (energy needed to raise the temperature of a mass of a substance) of water is something like 10 times higher than that of steel. Additionally, with water ice, you can take advantage of its crazy-high enthalpy of fusion (energy required to melt a substance while not raising its temp). Hopefully your freezer isn’t getting hot enough to melt your tools. So without running the actual numbers (and I’m way too lazy to do that at this point) I can assure you that using water for this purpose instead of tools is easily several orders of magnitude more efficient.

        • Edeco

          Huh, OK. To be clear, I was leaving ’em in the freezer, my more valuable stuff being there. I thought cheese was unhealthy at that time. Anyway, I wasn’t planning on crossing the melting temperature. Still, I guess an equal volume of water would have been more effective.

      • Tassiebush

        Well at least you probably saved power each time you opened the fridge door since you reduced the air space to recool.

        • Edeco

          Yeah, give the system more momentum and take up slack, thermally speaking 😀

    • RocketScientist

      Also, line your bathtub with plastic sheeting, and fill it with water. Great way to store a lot of clean water.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Yep, excellent idea.
        And dont forget to stock up on cigarettes and whiskey.

        • Major Tom

          Whiskey maybe, after all alcohol is a really good antiseptic for treating wounds. Especially wounds that may have been contaminated by things like floodwaters. It can also be some last ditch nutrition.

          Cigarettes, well there’s no real use for those cancer sticks. Ditch those, you’ll live longer.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Ever go 19 days without AC in the summertime in Houston?
            Im keeping the smokes handy.

          • Major Tom

            I’ve had worse. Try working a whole Colorado summer inside with no AC, that means 95+ temps indoors. Then try working a Colorado winter in buildings where ALL the hvac systems are off. It’s 30 degrees on the inside and as low as 15 below out.

            Smokes won’t help in either of those.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            And thats why you will never find me in those situations. lol

          • RocketScientist

            Being a Florida-Boy who spent several years in Colorado, 95* at next-to-nothing humidity is perfectly fine. Try 95* with 70% humidity…. and it only drops down into maybe the mid 80s at night. I’d take your situation over IUD’s any day of the week.

            Now you definitely got me on the cold side of things. I hated that about CO… but then again I throw on a coat and gloves when it drops into the 60’s (for the one or two weeks a year that even happens)

          • Billy Jack

            Ever eat something bad or disagreeable and end up glued to the throne for awhile? Cigs definitely help settle your stomach. They’re good for trade and nicotine does help brain function but yeah a lot of negatives too. Arguably better off with Imodium and coffee.

          • Tassiebush

            I imagine my Vandemonian blood would exit my nose in that environment with enough frequency to prove fatal.

      • Bill

        Just how funky is your tub? Some people do this thing called “cleaning” and remove the hair doilies.

        • RocketScientist

          a)The plastic sheet is primarily to prevent leakage. Fill your tub with water without one when you get home and put in the stopper. Let me know how many days (more likely hours) before your full tub is empty. (b) even a freshly cleaned tub will have enough chemical residue to make the water at best unpalatable, possibly unsafe. And if its NOT freshly cleaned, the same can be said about a few showers/baths worth of dried soap scum, dead skin, body oils, dirt, etc.

          • Bill

            I kid, I always keep plastic sheeting in my bathroom for wrapping up the, um, things I, uh, disassemble in my tub, speaking of dead skin and body oils.

          • Tassiebush

            Reminds me of some neighbours who used to hang a pig carcass in the shower.

      • Chris

        theres products like the water bob that lay in the tub and hold 100 gallons in sealed plastic, usually with a pump

        • Russ Kell

          Yep. I keep one of those under the sink in each bathroom and the kitchen. Bought and gave away a bunch to friends last year.

    • The FEMA camps

      FEMA was established in 1979 under executive order by President Jimmy Carter. It was established to coordinate the response to a major disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms local and state authorities. However, this is merely a cover for the organization’s real purpose. This plan is to assume control of the United States following a major disaster or threat, either a genuine one or a manufactured one. Once a disaster or threat of one comes into being, martial law will be declared and FEMA’s emergency powers will come into operation. FEMA will then effectively be the government. The constitution will be suspended and FEMA will move US citizens into specially constructed camps, many of which have already been built. The organization has been described in this context as ‘the executive arm of the coming police state’.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Yeah, but they arent all bad.
        I hear they have top notch recreation facilities and a smoothie bar.

      • Bill

        I’m want the copier paper contract for the FEMA concentration camps. Can’t be a government operation without everything in triplicate

      • n0truscotsman

        can we not? thank you

  • anonymous

    “Did you know that September was National Preparedness Month in the United States?”

    No, I did not. But I’ll be ready for it next year!

  • Jeff Smith

    A backpack filled with condoms and bourbon counts, right?

  • Bill

    You can flush your turlet with water from an unpowered hot tub. Or you can live in East Armpit like me and go behind the poison ivy tree.

    • Tassiebush

      I’m hungrily eyeing off the tame wallabies and ducks that my neighbours feed and there’s at least two Alsatians and a pair of Chihuahuas on my street that I have culinary plans for. When the catastrophic bushfire hits it’ll be the last thing those suckers will be expecting!