Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PREPPERS: BEYOND THE STEREOTYPE

Prepping is the modern day ensign of those who are engaged with disaster preparedness.  Some also refer to survivalists or homesteaders.  Either through public scrutiny or branding by the media, prepping is more grounded than what most assume.  

Modern day prepping, or disaster preparedness, originated during World War II while Britains conserved provisions to last through German bombing campaigns.  This culture was actually nurtured earlier in the United States during the Depression with citizens canning food and working to provide when the government could not.  As the Cold War era progressed, the move by the government and individuals to prepare fallout shelters increased across America.  This culture was adopted by individuals to be self-sustaining for their family and neighbors in the event of a catastrophe.  For some families, the act of prepping has continued for generations.  As time has moved forward, government and citizen initiatives have embraced preparedness for disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, earthquakes, etc.  The ire of the public on prepping has been on the preppers who believe a disaster is imminent provoked by an economic, celestial or even supernatural occurrence.  

After a fair amount of research, I have identified a couple of different levels of those who are considered preppers.  Level I is the basic prepper.  These folks keep a couple of days worth of food, water and provisions on hand most all of the time.  Enough food for their immediate family.  They may have a electric generator for a power back up.  Level II preppers are very involved family units.  Most are families that actively work to build up enough food, water, medical, and other provisions to last from one month to a year.  Most will dedicate a portion of their home to house all provisions.  Level II preppers will actively rotate their food supply to keep it fresh.  They generally all have generators, reserve fuel, and some small arms.  They have fairly detailed plans for family communications and responsibilities should a disaster take place.  Most preppers are Level I or II.  The Level III preppers enter the realm of what most consider more extreme preparedness.  These individuals are very serious about being completely self-sustaining for a long period of time.  They have built their homes or a remote location to literally 'live off the grid.'  They have built machines to generate energy to produce power, pump & purify water, and more.  They have food supplies or resources to last for years.  In fact, some have full farms with vegetable crops, chickens, cattle, sheep and more.  Many have rigged older auto engines to survive without gasoline and to run despite a electro-magnetic pulse  (EMP) catastrophe. These preppers often have well secured caches of weapons to protect their property and family. Level III individuals have networked throughout their neighborhood and region with others who will share skills such as doctors, military, farmers and more.  I would reserve one other level of preppers, Level four, to be true survivalists.  In the prepper community, they are ready for 'the end of the world as we know it' (acronym is TEOTWAWKI).  They encompass all of the Level III prepper's capabilities.  Plus, they are trained and capable to live off of the Earth.  Literally, hunting and living in the wild.
Although the Level III and Level IV preppers may bring scrutiny by the public as they are often thought they are alarmists, they are the most prepared and self-sufficient individuals in the world.  If a disaster would occur, these folks would sustain their lives with confidence.  

Disaster preparedness is encouraged by FEMA and other government agencies.  Federal and state agencies have advised citizens for years to be able to have enough provisions to last three days to one week.  Agencies have provided disaster awareness to alert citizens of the need to plan ahead for the unknown.  For example, the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the populous could have been dramatically reduced if more citizens had provisions for just three days.

As we know, there are limits to what a government can or should provide following a catastrophe. Disaster preparedness comes down to an individual's decision to take care of their family.  

After digesting the information above, a citizen should reflect on their state of preparedness.  Ponder the question, if a disaster were to occur, how prepared is your family to have provisions for three to seven days?    Perhaps the Boy Scout motto: "Be prepared," has new relevance.  Being prepared is an obligation to our family's safety.  Yet, the level or degree of preparedness is based on your comfort, risk and even faith.  
For more information, contact the American Red Cross or FEMA.  Both have information readily available on their website.  For a taste of the prepper community, visit the American Prepper Network at  http://www.americanpreppersnetwork.com/.

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