Guest post by APN member fren2ken
In today’s world, everybody seems to be a specialist or expert in a subject. What happened to the Jack-of-All-Trades, specialist of none? When you go to a doctor, they are a Specialist in some particular body part or disease. When you go to the garage, the mechanic servicing your vehicle is a specialist of brand or component of your vehicle. Is there anyone left who has a good general knowledge of all the interrelated areas? If so, they are exceedingly rare.
From what I see across the web and through personal contacts, Preppers tend to fall into the same mind trap. They prepare for very specific, extreme, SHFT or WROL scenarios. When the Prepper concentrates on any specific event and forms their plans around the worse-case event, they risk ignoring the lesser basic conditions and the preparations required to withstand the more general occurrences of events. They also risk ignoring the other unrelated scenarios that may occur and therefore NOT be ready for those. This is how overspecialization, also called Extreme Prepping, occurs. It is not your fault. It is a natural human way of approaching problems that has been passed down to us from the caveman.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Beginning Prepper or an Old Hand at Prepping. Pause a few minutes and look really hard at the fundamentals.
If these things are ignored, or worse yet not sufficiently prepared for, then all your other preparations may be for nothing. Look beyond the first 180 days. There are volumes of information, thousands upon thousands of articles and books that address specific threats and preps to overcome the threats. They are good reading and contain valuable information … for specific scenarios. If you have neglected the basics, the extreme preps don’t matter because you may not survive long enough for them to matter.
The purpose of this discussion is to invite you to think about how you are preparing. You need to look hard at what I call your Foundation Preps. What are these? They are the building blocks that are common to ALL scenarios and are necessary for survival, regardless of what the SHFT or WROL event is. Without these basic building blocks, you will not survive.
1. Water: The often-stated fact is that you cannot survive for more than 3 days without water. This is a clear requirement for all preps. You need a reliable source of clean potable water that will supply you with at least 2 gallons per day per person in your group. Whether that is a clean running stream, pond, or cistern. This also means that you will need a method to cleanse and sterilize your water as your storage is diminished. The storage of potable water in sufficient quantities for a group for longer than a few months is a LOT of water.
The implied requirement is that you have a way to filter, boil, or distill unclean water over the long term. If you are using filters, how many spares do you have? How many gallons will each set of filters process? How long will that amount of contaminated water filtration last your group? Do you have additional resources available to either supplement or replace the filtration system? Do you have a source, other than your stored water, to use over an extended period?
2. Basic Shelter: Why do I list shelter next? If you do not have a way to protect yourself and your supplies from the elements, your time will soon expire. In all scenarios, it is necessary that you protect yourself and your group from the surrounding environment. Whether the shelter is portable or permanent, it must exist and be usable for the entire group. Without shelter, you invite overexposure to the elements, hypothermia, bites from insects, waterborne and airborne contaminants, exhaustion due to insufficient rest, etc. Basic shelter will give you and your group the environment that you need to rest, prepare food, eat, and plan activity for the next day. Can you make your shelter with twine, rope, and sticks? Will you need to?
3. Food: We all agree that we need to eat. There is sufficient information available on the net that I will not go into quantities per person, diversity of diet, or related subjects. I do wish to emphasize that you must include a method of cooking the foods and to decide how you will store and transport the food.
The most basic, and often overlooked part of this is having the ability to make fire. This includes the understanding of fire lays and their various uses. Believe it or not, there is more than one way to set up fire “pits” and to start the fires. There are cooking fires, warming fires, signal fires, and others. Know them. Know the difference and how to use them. Propane and kerosene will not be available forever. They will run out. Be able to do without them for cooking and heat.
4. Arms: As a Foundation Prep, everyone will need to maintain, and be proficient in the use of, some form of arms. This may be anything from a hunting knife and bow, to an AK. Arms are multipurpose. You will need them for protection from animals, food gathering, hunting, and food preparation (Guns are not particularly useful for this. Have you ever tried to tenderize meat with a shotgun?).
5. Basic Tools: Assure that you have hand tools available for the long term. These include: shovels, axes, hammers (large and small), rope, twine and, a source of materials at minimum. You will also need cooking vessels, cooking utensils, and various storage containers. Don’t forget to include light sources that do not depend on electricity. If you haven’t by now, you need to come to the understanding that these may be your only available tools for a very long time.
The bottom line of this discussion is that you must attend to your Fundamental Preps before you build up preps for any extreme disaster. Prepping only for extremes will not give you the best possibility of survival. I implore you to seriously work on your basics. I don’t want to worry about fighting off “Preppers” who have not planned and outfitted themselves properly and, therefore, are trying to take mine. Nor do I believe that anyone else wants to either.
Join in on the discussion using comments below or on the APN forum