(but not the one you “pop”)
Most of us in the prepping or survivalism lifestyle have had to deal with rolling eyes, snickers, and even whispers behind our backs. Then there are the ones who outright laugh at you and tell you that you’re crazy.
Many of us have asked the questions, “How do I get them to see the wisdom in preparing for a disaster?” and “My family/friends won’t listen and I cannot afford to prep for them, too. What do I do when they show up at my door?”
There is no right answer for those questions because every person and situation is different.
Unless you live in an area where natural disasters are ‘normal,’ such as Tornado Alley or the Gulf Coast, most people just do not see the need. They may expect the local, state, or federal government to swoop in with supplies and save them. Those who have gone through Katrina, Sandy, or other disasters know better.
Getting people to see that the stuff that happens on TV can happen to them, too, can be next to impossible if they haven’t had to endure something like that. Most people have never had to truly take care of themselves, relying on nothing but their own skills and the resources they have on hand.
Helping Them Face Reality
My high school best friend told me they would just come to my house if something happened. I told her that while I loved her, I could not and would not prep for her and her two children. She was taken aback by it, and perhaps even a little offended at my blunt answer.
I wanted to reply with things like, “I am not the government, there are no hand outs here,” or, “Why should I take you in when you will not even take care of yourself or contribute to what I am doing?”
Instead, I came up with a solution that would serve many purposes and smooth ruffled feathers: Make them an emergency kit and give it as a gift. Last Christmas, I bought and gave out these food starter kits that are sold by the Latter Day Saints (LDS) online store. They are very reasonably priced, shipping is FREE in the USA (even Alaska and Hawaii!!) and they have 6 – #10 cans of basic food with a shelf life of 10+ years.
What Should You Include?
For your loved ones who are on the road often, a 72 hour vehicle kit would be easy enough to put together without breaking the bank. Many items can be purchased by going to the local Dollar Store. This, of course, begs the question, “What do I put in it?” Each kit can be different based on who you are giving it to or you can make several kits and put the same things in each one.
Whichever way you decide, each kit should have enough supplies to cover things like shelter, water purification, food, and warmth for a 3 day period. I recommend a basic first aid kit as well, if you can afford it. Tossing in a deck of cards or pack of dice is a nice touch because if you are in a spot where you have to actually use the items in the bag to survive, morale will not be very high. Even a game of “Go Fish” can help pass the time and give a sense of normalcy.
What Kind of Kit?
There are so many possibilities! The kinds of kits you can make might include:
- Basic Kit: To keep in a home, dorm, or apartment so you can last until help arrives, especially the special needs and elderly.
- Car Kit: Especially for those who travel a lot, do a lot of driving at night, or are new drivers.
- Pet Kit: Pets are family too.
- Special Medical or Dietary Needs.
- Wedding Gift: Most people know they need some basics like the wrench to turn off gas and a small fire safe for key documents. You might be surprised how well received this is compared to, say, another place setting of china to store. (Also, adding a few “silly” items such as a bottle of wine, wine glasses, cheese, and crackers for use in an emergency makes it a bit more fun.)
- Graduation: Most recent grads need everything. You might as well give them a leg up on emergency preparedness.
- Kids Kit: This could be for the house, travel (visiting grandparents, for example), school, a sports bag, or anywhere else they spend time.
- Elderly Kit: In addition to all the other concerns, the elderly get home-bound more easily from weather or health issues.
- First Aid: Most people have bandages and some other basics. They probably do not have elastic bandages (dry-rotted or stretched ones don’t count), finger splints, a SAM splint, QuickClot (if you really need it, no ambulance can get there fast enough), 2nd Skin burn pads, etc. Yes, they are emergency preparedness / disaster supplies, but it’s amazing how useful they can be in everyday life, too.
- Birthday / Special Occasion: Most adults are hard to buy for, and “preparedness” covers a lot. A new cast iron skillet for a chef, new quality hand (not power) tools, a solar charger for the gadget-lover, camping items for a Scout…. With a little imagination, you can find something that isn’t, well, kind of like getting an appliance.
- Evacuation Kit (Bug Out Bag): What you need to evacuate to somewhere safe.
The possibilities are endless but just remember: There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, each person is different. So long as you cover the basic needs for food, water, shelter, and warmth, the kit can save a life.
At this point, you may be asking yourself why go to such lengths for people who (even though you care for them) do not support your efforts and think you are a little ‘touched’ in the head? Before you go thinking I am some generous and good person, there are some purely selfish reasons that I decided to go down this road.
By giving emergency kits or long-term storage foods, I am actually:
- Making sure that if they show up, it won’t be empty handed.
- Giving myself some peace of mind, knowing I did what I could and they at least have ‘something.’
- Making things easier for myself and them because they don’t have to think about it. You store the kit or box of food and forget about it. I can assure you that they will remember it when they get hungry, cold, etc.
- Setting myself up to be the hero. Should they ever actually need the items I gave – they will remember it and be thankful for it.
- Getting what I want. I want them to be prepared. I want them to be able to survive and thrive after the disaster.
I cannot force them to start learning new skills but I can make sure they have beans, rice, bandages, and a way to purify water. They don’t have to do anything; just store the items.
I am sure there are other ways to help take care of your loved ones who refuse to put back anything ‘just in case’ or listen to anything that may even remotely be considered ‘prepping.’ These are some of the ways I try to help those who do not see the need to prep for the future in terms of food, water, and the skills needed to survive without electricity and grocery stores.
The old saying about leading a horse to water comes to mind. I can’t make the horse drink, but I can help to make sure that if I am not there, there is still water available. 😉
LeAnn in Alaska
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