Topic Takeover - why did you become a prepper?(43 Posts)
I became interested in prepping a few years ago after we had a terrible winter. We had a huge storm and ended up with no electric & frozen pipes. It was just the week before Christmas & lasted about 6 days. The pipes froze so we had no water, no toilet & no shower. No heating, no cooker... Nothing just a shell of a house. It was awful plus we live in the middle of no where so we couldn't just nip out & sort the problems.
I read up on things & decided I wouldn't be so unprepared the next time. So started prepping. Now I've a decent supply of food & water & also some candles/board games/torches/warm blankets etc.
So what prompted you to begin?
Having no water on Christmas day. I boiled sprouts in melted snow that year. What if there is no snow to melt......yet prepping!
I have to say, I really applaud the idea of Topic Takeover. Direct Action. Free the Preppers! Give them their Own Space!
Bananagrams is a damn good game to have, and takes up little space. Downside: may make you long for imported bananas.
No water on Christmas day here as well. Also previously living rurally and not being able to get out for a couple of days as well as prolonged powercuts, and before that living in the tropics in the typhoon zone!
Yes, Having no water at Christmas is a real eye opener and very frustrating!
Thanks Rosie Yes MNHQ give us our own space please.
Wow Fuck Thats sounds truly scary/awful i can totally understand the need for prepping after that.
Nah, none of it was that scary. Typhoons were a regular seasonal thing and it was a city, so it was pretty well prepared anyway. It was more a just in case thing that everyone was taught, and the the power cuts and bad winter weather were also regular enough to just build preparedness into regular routines.
It's habit rather than fear.
The credit crunch really.
We live in the south east so being cut off by snow for more than a few days is unlikely, we aren't in a flooding area, no earthquakes likely etc, but the powerlessness I felt during the credit crunch worried me. Since then I've made a point of paying off debt etc, and getting ourselves in a position to get through the huge economic crash I am expecting to come!
That sparked my interest and opened my eyes to peak oil, pandemics, Putin, Gulf Stream, and all the other things that could make things go horribly wrong for us, when I started researching prepping.
I'm not obsessed by it by any stretch of the imagination, but my aim is to have a months supply of stuff without leaving the house. I quite like the planning.
Reading The Second After- dystopian novel about an EMP bomb.
I Googled some prepper sites and got hooked
I Only prep for ordinary events though, not Armageddon ones.
Power and water cut for 4 days with a bottle fed 3 month old. We were ok but it was close on the water although we could get more for ourselves I wasn't confortable using boiled snow / lake water for the babies milk. We do have our own supply but didn't have a pump at the time so snow was easier, we had shit loads of that.
Seeing a glimpse of things to come eg energy crisis, water crisis, war, etc etc.
I am only a very amateur prepper really but for me it was seeing a very high level document recommending that senior officials have a three month supply of everything at the time of the swine flu outbreak.
That combined with reading The Road at about the same time.
I was hoping someone would start this thread!
Three things, one of which I posted on the other thread,
I had a friend at University. I was still a bit young and dim. She was a refugee from the former Yugoslavia during the horror and in my head, this meant she had come from a 'war zone'. She got these new, really cutting edge sneakers and I was admiring them. I said, "wow I bet you couldn't get things like that is Sarajevo". She did this face and said, "it was a cool, modern city before the war". It had never occurred to me that places could just collapse like that. In Europe.
Secondly, I read The Road and discussed it at my book group. People were firmly in two camps. One was 'find enough pills to give everyone' and the other was 'survive at all costs'. I was arguing the second position without means to actually do anything.
Third was moving in with DH. Canadian, living in an earthquake zone. Here it is considered pretty antisocial and irresponsible NOT to prep for at least 72 hours.
I moved from uk to Malawi for a year soon after I married and had regular days and nights of no electricity (cue impromptu freezer clearing barbecues and candlelit suppers cooked over a coal pot on the porch). We also used to often visit a very rural community that had only recently acquired electricity at all bar a few buildings with solar panels/ generators and while we were there they had a serious water crisis with no running water for weeks, just filtered/ treated water straight from the lake. On the other hand they actually had a pretty good little library which happened to include a copy of Max Brooks The Zombie Survival Guide which kind of ate my brain ;)
With my new found knowledge I was even thinking of writing a little zombie story set there for a humanitarian zombie story contest at the time..
Anyway I learned that life can be manageable as it has been for millennia in places with natural resources but everyone will have to measure what standard of living they want to try and maintain, and no harm in extra comfort and efficiency if it's possible (am not much for lugging water or firewood for miles). The guys at Zulunkhuni River Lodge lived an amazing sustainable lifestyle in the most beautiful and isolated place- a pretty inspiring example [www.lake-paradise.com]
This time before going abroad (diff country) I spent way too long researching solar power generators and panels, but mostly I just have emergency back up stuff, off grid living capability is still a pipe dream.
Oh those books sound great I've been looking for a few but some seem a bit silly.
That must have been so hard with a baby. God knows it's difficult at times anyway.
Once we move house I'd really love to have my own power supply that's my ultimate goal & maybe a bunker?! If I win the lottery.
Atticus, that's interesting, I didn't know about the 3 month supply. It really makes me wonder what bubble we are living in.
If its good enough for senior civil servants its good enough for me...
There is a very slight chance that we possibly, maybe, potentially have a bunker in the garden.
We have a hatch, covered in grass but with a steel frame. Its not a septic tank or anything like that since its in completely the wrong place and we already have a septic tank elsewhere on the property. House is 1950s built and in the middle of a forest and so prime bunker building/cold war times.
I really want to get it open but DH thinks the fact that theres no obvious handle means it will be something boring and we'll then have a hatch in the middle of the lawn that we can't get closed again. Unfortunately I need manpower to open it.
Of course I know the real reason he won't open it is that he knows that when we do, the world is probably going to go all weird and "Lost" like and we'll be forced to move down there permanently and type long numbers into a computer for the rest of our lives.
It was OK as we are in a a very self sufficent house and minus temps that we had at the time actually makes things easier as you don't worry about the freezers (we have 5).
Its was the quite and hours and hours of darkness (3pm to 10am) that were boring and scary for the baby. Lots of singing and leaving our worse torch stood in his room, turned on all night.
It was a bit boring for me, esp at first by the end I was sat reading by firelight at night, with a wine which was quite nice.
Oh we have an underround bunker, we use it store potatoes and root veg that we grow. Havn't managed much this yr, already eaten the ve and think potatoes will last until xmas, we normally do for the whole yr so hope to do more again next yr. (We've 2 toddlers at the mo')
Oh OH told me today we can get to the water now just need to remove the cover he has set up the bucket etc. I guess he realsied how silly it was to have a well we couldn't acess and need water as well.
So if we don't hear from you for a while atticus should we assume that you opened the hatch and are stuck endlessly retyping the numbers into a machine to Save The World?
We are moving this over to our brand new Preppers topic in a mo <rubs hands>
I read too much and have an over active imagination. Plus I got stranded in my car a couple of times. Also one big power cut.
Made up my mind to be prepared.
I've taken a couple of climate classes these last few years, and last week out of a whim I signed up for a US-based "disaster"-class at the course platform Coursera. So far, I haven't had any major difficulties though. The odd power-out for 24 hours maybe. One day the other year, in the supermarket, there was a big hole where all the cloud-berry jam jars had been and a sign "we're out of them, a shortage, not restocked until next season" (this was like in February). One time the banks' payment system went down and I read on Facebook about people being stuck in restaurants not being able to pay with their credit cards, and they had no cash... I also remember Eyjafjallajökul on Iceland, and I specifically recall we had to guests from the UK visiting that afternoon (I'm abroad) and when they got out of the meeting, between them and their families at home- the volcano plume. And now, the price of vegetables soaring because of snow in Italy and Spain. I suddenly remembered the episode with the non-existent cloud-berry jam, and thought to myself this will be more common in the future. I also came to think of the hurricane that hit ten years ago, but not here, only close, and people were without electricity for several weeks. Then I got pictures in my mind of prince Charles in wellies, walking about in south England visiting flooded areas and an interview with someone whose house had not been under water for the last 200 years, but was now. So, I sort of decided now is the time to better think it through.... at least superficially.
I've kinda always been a prepper, having grown up in the 70s in Ireland with power brown-outs, living rurally (0.5 mile outside the village, 10 miles from the decent town, 25 miles from the city) and not having much of a local support structure (DPs came from the capital city 250 miles away!). So we had oil-fired central heating, and coal/log fires (that I'd regularly have the big chopper out to split logs for, and filling coal buckets was just an everyday job). Big storms and a general lack of generation capacity, and the oil crisis, all meant regular power-outs for us. Water was rarely an issue, but a couple of times there were frozen pipes. And being the 70s and 80s, there was a lot of economic hardship so food was important to use well, and Mum would occasionally buy a half a sheep from a farmer to freeze, or big cartons of tomatoes to freeze and use for sauces, or the full boxes of apples from the fruit farm as our snacks, and Dad grew a lot of veg in the garden alongside his FT job. And I was a girl guide, so not only did I learn "normal housekeeping skills" (like sewing, baking, cooking, DIY, first aid etc) at home, I learned a good few more "survival skills" with Guides and later Scouts (building fires, cooking outdoors, planning ahead, building latrines and toilet pits, safety on outdoor activities, all sorts).
When DD was 1, I managed to get an allotment and made decent use of that for 5 years - but I was working FT, DH was travelling 50% of his time, and it was just too far away from home to continue to be viable. So now we focus on growing what we can at home. I try to batch cook, whether that's just a double batch to freeze a portion for another day, or a full on freezer day. I make a lot of use of leftovers, including making stock with bones etc when time allows. I also have a decent storecupboard of dried and tinned foods to keep us going, which I review every autumn in general (part of an 18 week plan to go through the whole house, cleaning and organizing in general, and prepping for Christmas as well), and if the weather forecast is dodgy it gets an extra check.
We've been through winters where pipes froze and we had no water, then reduced pressure and overnight outages for weeks as they refilled reservoirs and fixed damage. But we had a few bottles of water ourselves and plenty of suitable containers for drinking water, and we used the rain butt in the back garden to fill buckets for the toilet.
We have a tradition on our street when it snows enough to cover the grass - we pull out the 3 gas BBQs in various back gardens and have a "snowed in" BBQ for the whole street! But we have also been known to use the BBQ for regular meals when power goes out - and our cooker is dual fuel so we can always light a gas ring with a match if we have no power, or cook in the oven if the gas is cut off. And as we are into camping a little, I have a 1 ring gas stove with a few canisters of gas, and a portable charcoal BBQ, both of which are kept at home in winter rather than with the tent etc in a storage unit about 10 minutes away (not far, but awkward to get to if items needed urgently). And the cooking utensils for those.
Heat and light are decent - we've vastly improved the insulation in the house since we moved in, and got lots more light in when we extended. We have a wood-burning stove to heat the sitting room (and effectively all of downstairs by opening doors) as well as a very efficient gas boiler for central heating and hot water. With a backup electric immersion for hot water too, and an electric shower running from mains cold tap. We have loads of candles and holders for them, and quite a few torches (headtorches, work laps, solar ones for the table) - and batteries are something I keep a good stock of as well (Xbox makes good use of that!). And I have good first aid supplies too (not as far as suture kits yet though). And I have boxes in the car boot for when we are travelling (we often take long journeys in the depths of winter so need to be ready for getting stuck on occasion).
I am more of a prepper for things that are difficult but likely to happen us at home, mostly caused by weather events. Or massive delays on roads. I do keep an eye on economic events, and in the real bad days when banks were threatening failure a few years back, had a number of months "survival money" in the safe at home in cash - but I don't do that at present.
But a fair amount of my actual day-to-day prepping efforts are to keep the family going. DH and I both work FT (he has a LOT of travel and I have some as part of our work), our DD has some SNs that need additional attention, and both of us are living "away from home" so we don't have much by way of support here. We need to have things so that if plans change unexpectedly (for lots of different reasons) or if we have to adapt because DD is having a hard time that day, we can run with it, still eat and have decent sleep and clean clothes and keep functioning as a family and as individuals.
For example, in the autumn of 2015, we had a member of the extended family suffer an illness and pass away over the space of 5 weeks that totally floored us, and came out of the blue but meant we were barely present in our own house for almost 6 weeks (and when we were, it was trying to keep work and school going, and get organized for the next trip - while everything kept changing 250 miles away on a daily basis). Since then, DH had spent initially every weekend for 2 months and now every second weekend since (18 months on) "down home" to support his surviving DParent (his 2 DSiblings are each doing their own parts as well). Meanwhile, he is still travelling, I am going down some weekends but very few as I have commitments here, and we need to keep everything else functioning as well. So having some plans in the back of my head had helped, a little, but we've been juggling a lot and my skills to prepare ahead, plan ahead and keep things going have been massively stretched in the past 2 years.
So while Armageddon, Trump, Bexit, economic crashes, climate change etc may all well be out there on my horizon as things I should be prepping for, I am solely focused at present on keeping the day-to-day show on the road, support DD in growing up and gaining independence, support DH dealing with his bereavement (and cope with my own feelings on it) and support him supporting his DParent, and ensuring both of us continue to manage at work etc.
Well done. It's my firm belief that 'living the life' makes you generally more resilient in the face of the unexpected. (I suspect you're also managing on less cash then you might otherwise have to? )
I became a prepper after Brexit. We're heading for a shit storm!
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