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Prepping: it's not all about a stash of guns and a mountain of ammo; to prepare for real-world crises, you need a wider field of view.

Some people think having extra food, water, fuel, a generator, a firearm or two and some ammo stuffed away "just in case" is a bit paranoid. They think preparing for an emergency or disaster is ridiculous. Rather than considering preparing for a possible emergency, they prefer to rely on the government's ability to take care of them.

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After all, it's the government's job to take care of people isn't it? If there's an emergency, then the government will provide for their needs and protect them, right? The truth of the matter is a bit different. The U.S. government itself stresses the importance of each and every individual and family doing their part to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.

It even has a website, www.ready.gov, promoting not only why individuals and families should be prepared for emergencies/disasters but also how to get started. This website covers basic topics like why to be prepared, making a plan, storing food and water, building a. disaster supplies kit and more.

Luckily, more and more people are realizing it's only common sense to be prepared for an unforeseen emergency or disaster, whether natural or manmade. In the 1970/80s people who prepared "just in case" were branded survivalists or tagged as part of some weird anti-government militia.

Public perception changed dramatically on August 23, 2005, when the 175 mph winds of Hurricane Katrina wrought devastation along the Gulf Coast. At least 1,836 people died as a result. While Katrina was no surprise and had been forecast well in advance, many failed to heed the warnings.

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What woke many people up, though, was the inability of government at any level to help or even to maintain order, televised for all to see. The breakdown of law and order and utter violent chaos that followed came as a rude shock to many. In fact, the events during Katrina, where police officers were instructed to confiscate legally-owned firearms, made many people realize the government may in fact be an impediment to their safety during an emergency.

The recent murder convictions of New Orleans police officers for events during the Katrina chaos drive home that sad fact. It has become crystal clear to many that in an emergency or disaster they may only have themselves to rely on.

In the months following this tragedy, many ordinary people began to consider "being prepared". With every tornado, every slump in the economy, every power outage, every spike in fuel prices, more and more people began to prepare: Some seven years after Katrina, "prepping" has gone mainstream.

Today, men and women from all walks of life "prep" for possible emergencies or disasters. Some prepare a little, others put Andre Maginot to shame, while a few are indeed a bit "out there". But the vast majority are just concerned citizens worried about taking care of their loved ones, their friends and themselves.

Firearms are an important part of being self-reliant and prepared for whatever may come. It makes little sense to stockpile provisions if you have no means to protect and retain them when confronted with the scoundrels of society. It's an unfortunate fact that some will steal, rape, abuse and murder if they think it benefits them or that they can get away with it.

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A friend found this out firsthand while working in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Sleeping in his work truck, he was jolted awake by a commotion just outside his door. One man had a can of ravioli. Another hungry man wanted it to feed his family. Harsh words and a gunshot; followed by a man dead on the ground, killed for his can of ravioli. Bad things happen sometimes, it's part of life.

The flip side is that many avid firearm owners put too much emphasis on firearms for their preps. It's one thing to enjoy collecting firearms, and stuffing away as many magazines and cases of ammunition as possible simply because you want to. It's another to think that a huge ammo fort and a mountain of guns is all you will need in an emergency or disaster. Some have a hard time admitting to themselves that their prepping is really just an extension of their shooting hobby and they are not actually prepared at all.

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Have a Plan

Prepping for an emergency or man-made/natural disaster consists of much more than a closet full of guns and cases of XM193 ball stacked to the ceiling. The most important thing to have is a plan. Ask yourself this; what does the government suggest you prepare for? What do you think are the most likely scenarios you might face? A natural disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, blizzard; ice storm or something bigger?

Or perhaps, a man-made disaster such as a terrorist strike, nuclear detonation or EMP attack? Are you troubled by the growing social divide and deteriorating race relations? Maybe you are concerned with an economic collapse, a Balkanization of the USA, or a pandemic that turns everyone into blood-crazed zombies?

Perhaps you just don't want any pesky Chinese paratroopers landing in your backyard. You need to figure out what you are concerned about, while keeping in mind you can't prepare for everything. Then start from there. Some questions you will need to consider are:

1. Do you plan to stay in your home or leave?

2. What if it's not possible to stay in your home?

3. If you have to leave, where will you go, how will you get there and what will you bring?

4. If your family is separated going about their daily lives when an emergency strikes, how will you contact them?

5. Where will you meet?

6. Do you have alternate routes planned in case your primary one is blocked?

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These are just some of the questions only you can answer. "Bugging out" during a major emergency may not be your first choice but rather your only choice. However, if faced with that decision you'll be much better off if you have already planned for it. Remember, highways become clogged, gas stations overrun, and traffic sits bumper to bumper for endless miles.

If you are forced to leave, you must stay well informed to enable you to leave before the mob, and have a route carefully planned out. A route everyone else is not trying to use is preferable. Also keep in mind that it was not uncommon during the exodus from Katrina for people sleeping by the side of the road to have their gas tanks siphoned. It's an unfortunate fact that some have no reservations about preying on others.

If it's an option, staying put is usually preferable, especially if you have stocked up well. Unfortunately, life isn't always so accommodating. What if you have no choice but to leave? If you have based all of your planning on staying in your home, and then are forced to leave, what will you do then? Better to come up with a plan for what you will do than try to ignore the possibility and get a rude awakening.

The Basics

Along with a plan you should have some basic items to get your family through at least the first 72 hours of an emergency. More is of course better, but 72 hours of essentials should be absolute minimum. Start with hygiene items. A toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, antiperspirant and a comb/brush will go a long ways towards making you feel civilized during an uncivil situation.

You'll also want to include toilet paper, or better yet baby-wipes. A simple 5-gallon pail and trash bags can be used in lieu of a toilet. You should also have a first aid kit which should include any prescription medicine required by you and your family.

Don't get caught up in the "ultra compact fishing kit in a Rambo knife" mentality. Many items people don't think about are actually the most needed. Top of your list should be a good bit of cash. Cash? Yes, old fashioned money will be a great aid in getting you through most things you are mostly likely to face.

With cash you can buy fuel, food, stuff and put your family in a motel room. Unless the economy collapses and hyperinflation sets in, paper money will remain highly useful. If the economy does collapse, well you'll need a plan B. But until then, save a bit and stuff it away

With the money include copies of all your important documents. Things like your birth certificate, social security card, passport, driver license, concealed carry permit, all the paperwork for your house including title and insurance, credit card information, marriage license, vehicle titles and insurance information and important records. Literally everything you might need to start over again if everything was swept away.

Luckily, thanks to technology, you can scan all of these and put all your documents onto a USB drive to have a safe back-up if the hard copies are destroyed. Although a copy of your documents is certainly not as good as the real thing, it is substantially better than nothing. I would also recommend putting your most precious family pictures onto a USB: drive or small portable hard drive.

You should have a way to keep in touch with the outside world so you can stay informed. While a fancy smart phone might be ideal, an old fashioned AM/FM radio would suffice. Having an NOAA weather radio with tone alert is also a good idea. Make sure you have plenty of batteries to keep them running as well.

If cell phone service is available a smart phone could be a valuable tool, if you can keep it charged. Make sure you have a list of everyone's phone number, address and email though just in case something happens to your cell phone. If cell service is unavailable you will need an alternate means of communication.

Inexpensive FRS/GMRS radios are an option but their useful range is very short. If you decide-to go this route make sure you test them first and understand their limitations. Instead you may wish to look into old school CB or Ham radios and their required licenses.

The basics should include a gallon of water per person per day for both drinking and sanitation. The simplest solution is to buy a few cases of bottled water. Along with water you'll need non-perishable food. When you select your food, make sure you provide yourself with a balanced diet with sufficient calories.

In addition, make sure the food you stuff away is some-thing you normally eat and are familiar with. The high stress of an emergency situation is not a time to be trying new food your system may not like. Make sure you mark both your food and water with a date and rotate it.

A simple black magic marker will suffice for this. Don't forget to include a cooking set and utensils.

Don't forget a few good LED flashlights either. They don't have to be uber tactical retina melting scorchers, but rather just reliable with long run times. Very long run times is a plus when the only batteries available are the ones you have on hand. I also recommend a couple LED lanterns. Again, don't forget batteries.

Other items to consider would be a source for starting a fire. A combination of strike-anywhere matches and Bic lighters would be a start. A good quality knife should also be in your kit. Don't bother with a big Rambo blade, a simple fixed or folding knife will serve you well. Just throw a sharpener in with it and you will be good.

You should also pack some spare clothes, rain gear and cold weather gear (if appropriate). It would be nice if disasters only happened during the nice time of year, but alas, life is not so kind.

Then there is the need for shelter from the elements. If you can ride out the storm at home, then you are protected. But what if you have to leave your home? Where will you go? Will you stay with family or a friend? This can be a good option. Just remember, houses can get very small very quickly.

Perhaps you plan on checking into a motel. If so, how long will the money you have on hand hold out? Or will you live out of your vehicle until you can return home? This isn't so bad if you have an RV, but not so fun if it involves a compact car. Perhaps you plan on roughing it and using a tent or other improvised shelter? This is an important question to answer. Shelter is especially important if you have children to consider.

What I have covered here are the very basics. Everyone should have enough essentials to get through three days if an emergency should suddenly strike. If you should choose to expand from here, more power to you. Remember though, a proper mindset and a good plan are the two most important items you can have. A proper outlook on life will help get you through anything this world may throw at you.

Having a plan will certainly make life easier. Even a less than perfect plan is better than being caught totally unprepared.

RELATED ARTICLE: THY SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR AN UNFORESEEN EMERGENCY?

Preparing for an emergency, disaster, storm or terrorist attack is a personal matter. Some folks do, most do not. The entire purpose of this article is to make you stop and think, should you prepare for an emergency? I'm not espousing building a bunker and hiding out in it for the rest of your life, but rather making some common sense preps "just in case".

After all, you carry a spare tire in your vehicle even though you don't plan on getting a flat. But you have one "just in case" because you know bad things can happen and you might need it. The same is true here. It you look into it you may be surprised to find that even the U.S. Government recommends you have a plan and some basic preps on hand 'just in case'.

Why shouldn't you prep? Perhaps you don't believe anything bad will ever happen to you. I hope you are right, but all too often bad things do happen. I watched 60% of my town get wiped off the map by a tornado in July 2008:

No one woke up that morning thinking, "Hey, I bet a tornado will rip my house apart tonight". Sometimes bad things happen without any warning at all. Perhaps you don't feel you have the extra money. I can understand this, but the truth is you don't need to spend very much money to have the basics stuffed away.

You might be shocked at how easy it is to put some essentials away for almost nothing. You just have to be a bit thrifty and use your head. Maybe you don't have the time? We are all busy, but there are some things we need to make time for. Prepping doesn't have to take a lot of time, but it will give you considerable piece of mind. Maybe you agree you should but you're just too lazy to actually do it? If that's the case I'm here to tell you to get your butt off the couch and do something. All it takes is a little time now and again and you will be surprised how much you can get done.

Perhaps you are a "glass half full" kind of person who doesn't like to think about bad things. Nothing wrong with that. But prepping isn't about dwelling on the bad. In my opinion, prepping is to give you peace of mind to enjoy each and every day to its fullest.

Bad things may come in this life, but if you are prepared for them they are less of a burden. This is especially true if you have children. When I look at my daughter I want only the best for her. But in the back of my mind I know I have prepared to take care of her even in the worst of times. I don't dwell on what tomorrow might bring, but I'm prepared for what may come, just in case.

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Let me be right up front with this, there is no perfect survival gun. Firearms are tools, and some are better at certain jobs than others. But few are jack of all trades, and none are universally useful. That's reality, so don't waste your time searching for such an animal. Instead, I highly recommend selecting a few appropriate pieces with which to build a useful tool-box. These can be broken down into two basic categories: personal protection and hunting. Of course, there will be some crossover between types and not everyone will have a need for both categories..

For the majority of people the place I recommend starting is with a compact pistol intended for self-protection. I recommend something compact you can easily carry day in and day out. It should be of adequate caliber with a large reserve of ammunition, simple to operate and utterly reliable. Ammunition, spare parts and spare magazines should be commonly available.

In my opinion, something along the lines of a Glock 19 would be perfect. Such a piece, teamed with a quality self-protection load, such as Hornady's Critical Duty 135-grain +P JHP, and proper training will provide excellent service. You may not agree on my pistol choice, but the model itself is not important.

Don't get dogmatic on the finer points of theology and miss the point of the Gospel. The important part is to have a quality pistol small and light enough to allow you to wear it day in and day out concealed, but instantly available. Load it with quality ammunition and learn how to employ it quickly and effectively in a violent encounter if required.

Why a pistol? Simply because you can have a pistol on you at all times. Properly concealed, no one, especially LE officers who might otherwise confiscate it, will know it's there. Having a firearm is important. Keeping the firearm, rather than having it confiscated or stolen, is also equally important.

It does you no good to have a firearm if some thug steals it or some LE officer confiscates it simply be-cause he feels like it.

Yes, a rifle is to be preferred over a handgun. But in many scenarios walking around openly brandishing a rifle, especially a scary black one, will lead to unwanted attention from LE officers. This is especially true if said officers are already highly stressed and have been deprived of sleep for a day or two.

So, am I saying do not have a rifle? Not at all!

Rather, I am saying keep in mind you may wish to be very low pro-file and select accordingly. Something compact which is easily carried while concealed in an unobtrusive case. By unobtrusive case I do not mean a Dark Earth Brown piece covered in MOLLE webbing plastered with Stosstrupen Tactical morale patches either. Rather a case obviously designed for a musical instrument or tennis racket will draw considerably less scrutiny.

What to stuff in the case is up to you. I recommend a compact, reliable semi-automatic carbine in a common caliber. I don't get all nostalgic when it comes to selecting a firearm which might be utilized to defend my wife and daughter. I just want performance. Basically something very quick handling which can bring the heat in a New York minute.

A plain AR-15 carbine in 5.56x45mm would suffice, but there are many good choices available in a variety of price ranges. Don't make the mistake of getting caught up in what Delta Force uses.

Rather figure out what is best for your particular needs. Just don't lose sight of the fact that training trumps gear. Co
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Author:Fortier, David M.
Publication:Shotgun News
Date:Jul 10, 2012
Words:3362
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