When Prepping Becomes Survival – Overlooked Skills And Equipment For Extreme Emergencies

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by Kevin Samson, Activist Post:

It is an interesting phenomenon that very often people perceive prepping and survival as completely different categories; readers might even have seen that distinction on various websites they’ve browsed. That perception can create gaps in various emergency situations, however. The “prepper” can become a hoarder, sometimes assuming that all emergencies are of the slow-decline variety where one needs only to ride out economic hardship or a literal passing storm. On the other end, the “survivalist” can become the lone wolf ready at the first sign of chaos to be equipped for full-on combat, but perhaps not so well-equipped to shelter in place where community building becomes a central component of best dealing with a stressful situation.

Sure, these are generalizations, but I’ve met enough of my share of both types of people to conclude that we would do well to address these potential shortcomings in our evaluation about how ready we truly are for the widest range of potential emergencies.

Overall, I personally like the term “Self Sufficiency” to describe an adaptive mindset that is best for any short-term emergency or longer-term disaster scenarios. To illustrate this approach and what is often required of the human beings that endure such hardship, let’s reflect on two recent events that highlight the importance of having the skills and equipment from both prepper and survivalist camps in order to best ensure our safety, especially when unexpected details can evade even the most judicious among us.

Hurricane Harvey

The sheer physicality of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey is one that put even hardened preppers and survivalists to the test.  The historic rainfall and scale quickly overwhelmed the ability for the government to be relied upon as a source of rescue or refuge. Moreover, the duration of the impact offers a glimpse into what might be required for even longer-term disaster scenarios – environmental, war-related, terrorism, or even viral outbreak.

The need to evacuate quickly is something that is often overlooked; or if it isn’t, it’s assumed that it will be directed in some orderly fashion by town officials. This was not always the case during Hurricane Harvey.  Floods can happen nearly anywhere, but the people of Texas learned that it wasn’t only the water, but what the water carries along with it that can provide some overlooked potential threats – like snakes, alligators, and fire ants. People who had boats were able to help themselves and others, while staying a step removed from the hazards that could lie beneath. This doesn’t have to be expensive either – an inflatable boat or raft is certainly preferable than the risk of attempting to drive or walk out of flooding areas.

 Rescue boats fill a flooded street at flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Rescue boats fill a flooded street at flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

While it is also clearly important to have a go-bag at the ready for each family member that contains provisions, first aid supplies, and weapons if possible, it’s often overlooked that the water is filled with contaminants. Products that can effectively provide chemical decontamination need to be quick, ready to use and available in home, go-bags and vehicles.

The aftermath of a storm like Harvey can be even more challenging than surviving the initial onslaught. Reports of injuries, infections, mosquitoes and mold infestation gripped those who were left amid the remains and had to begin rebuilding in deplorable conditions.

It’s also worth mentioning that collapse survival does not have to be a solitary endeavor. There were certainly many reports of communities spontaneously coming together to gather provisions and provide some order amid the chaos. In fact, people’s generosity is most often on display during emergencies, but it is too often overlooked that much of the panic can be alleviated by forming your tribe ahead of time; whether that be a core group of family and friends who are all equally stocked and prepared, or even better to have your entire neighborhood on board with disaster preparation and survival. Such community organization can ironically be a key component of true self-sufficiency.

And don’t forget to develop proper contingency plans for your animals! There were too many horrific reports of stranded or abandoned animals that could have been saved with better preparation.

Lastly, a disaster of this scale can even disrupt communications. Here is an interesting home-made item that is probably not in the average prepper’s arsenal: the “Cantenna” – check out how a router and a Pringles can might just be a hidden gem to have in your community.

Ongoing Economic Collapse of Venezuela

Most people have not lived through a true economic collapse of any duration. A stock market drop of 1,000 points does not constitute a true emergency despite how ugly it might look on paper for your portfolio. If you want a real look at how bad it can get – quickly – I would point you to an ongoing series written by a man named Jose Martinez who is documenting his experiences during the widespread social and economic collapse in Venezuela. It’s a harrowing account that perfectly illustrates some of the overlooked skills and equipment that need to be employed as one shifts gears from prepping to survival.

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