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What Is A Prepper?

(Last Updated On: September 21, 2018)

Scrabble tiles spelling out ready

  • What is a Prepper?
  • What is Prepping?
  • Why should we prepare for disaster?
  • How should we start Prepping?

Let’s answer these questions to see why it’s so important to you!

Bringing up the word “Prepper” brings a lot of confusion with the term.

In recent years, the term “Prepper” has become much more common in daily conversations, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what a prepper is.

What is a prepper? Everyone who wants to be prepared for disasters and emergencies.

I think a lot of that has to do with the T.V. show National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers”, that ran for a while, which showed many extreme measure some people were taking, planning for the end of the world as we know it, with many doomsday scenarios. The media has often portrayed preppers as those wacky persons wearing the tin foil hats and preparing their underground survival bunkers with food, water, gas masks, and guns and ammunition, getting ready for the “Coming Armageddon” or “Coming Apocalypse”

That’s all great for ratings for TV and news broadcasts, but that doesn’t accurately portray what a prepper really is.

So, What Is A Prepper?

The majority of “Preppers” are just everyday people, who take some time to consider possible emergencies, misfortunes, or disasters that we may confront, and then make plans and preparations to be ready for those events.

What is a prepper? Just an ordinary family who is prepared for disasters and emergencies.

It’s really that simple. We don’t live in a perfect world. “Stuff happens”

  • Accidents happen, where you may need a first aid kit.
  • Power sometimes goes out and you may need a flashlight.
  • Muggings, rapes, or carjackings may happen. Maybe some pepper spray or other personal defense items may prevent this.
  • Bad weather happens. Hurricanes and floods may make travel impossible, the water supply to become contaminated, and the grocery stores to run out of food. Having extra food supplies and water (or water filters) stored in your pantry could get you through that time.
  • That same storm could take out you electrical power for several days or longer. Having a backup method of keeping your food cold, cooking or even heating or cooling you home would be important.
  • Is your home protected from possible burglary or home invasions?
  • How about something a simple as being out somewhere where your car won’t start because of a dead battery. Do you have a battery booster to get you going again?

Preppers are persons who take personal responsibility for their well-being and don’t depend on the government or other agencies to take care of them in times of need.

Definition of a "What is a Prepper"

Most of these preparations involve stocking up on basic necessities and skills they may need during these emergency or disaster situations.

The idea is to have the basic essentials available to try to somewhat maintain your normal Standard of Living and lessen or eliminate any hardships that could occur.Prepping. It's like insurance, being prepared for the worst, but hoping it never happens.

Having these types of items stocked up is really no different than buying insurance for protection. We buy home, health, and car insurance to protect ourselves from accidents and occurrences that could be devastating to us. We hope we’ll never have to use the insurance, but we have it as a backup.

Preppers have the same idea in mind. They are just “self-insuring“ themselves and their families by having these basic items stocked up and available if the time comes that they are needed.

Why Do I Want To Be A Prepper? Do I Really Need To Do This?

It’s real easy so say, “That will never happen to me.”

But just take a look at the news. How often do you see reports of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanoes affecting people.

2017 was and expensive and deadly year of natural disasters:

  • Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria left downed power lines and flooding in their wakes.
  • About a third of Puerto Rican residents were still without power three months after Hurricane Maria hit the island.
  • A massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico City leaving 369 people dead and countless injured.
  • Another earthquake on the Iraq-Iran border killing 620 people and injuring over 8,000 others.
  • Monsoon rains causing the worst floods in a decade in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • California spent $505 million fighting wildfires in the state in 2017.
  • Dry conditions are causing severe drought in parts of Brazil and Somalia affecting food supplies and clean water.
  • Landslides and mudslides hit China, Sierra Leone, and Columbia.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which tracks billion-dollar disasters in the United States, has 2017 coming in with 16 separate events, each over $1 billion in damages. Flooding, droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other severe weather caused an estimated $306 billion in damages.
Flooding from hurricanes. Another reason for prepping.
FEMA-Hurricane Katrina pic by Jocelyn Augustino

Disasters like these can cause injuries and deaths, damage to your homes and property, knock out power for days, and cause water to become contaminated.

Just imagine if a winter storm hit and your power were to go out for a few days. Would you be able to keep your home warm? Do you have enough food to last for several days if you were unable to make it to the store? Even if you were able to drive to the grocery store, would their shelves be empty? They typically carry only about three days’ worth of groceries, and they may not be able to receive their shipments during the storm. During an emergency, their shelves can be emptied out within hours from people rushing to stock up.

And these were just natural disasters.

What about man-made disasters?

  • Traffic accidents,
  • Home fires,House fire. Are you prepared to prevent or survive these?
  • Robberies,
  • Water contamination (think of Flint, Michigan),
  • Epidemics,
  • Chemical spills,
  • Nuclear accidents,
  • Riots and other civil unrest,
  • Terrorism

These are all concerns that could affect you.

It doesn’t have to be a major disaster to occur to make you want to become a prepper.

What would happen if you suddenly became ill or lost your job and were unable to work for a few weeks or months?

Being stocked up and prepared with needed supplies can make the difference between rushing around in a panic trying to find what you need, or calmly pulling out the needed items and handling the situation.

Being a Prepper is all about trying to maintain our current lifestyle in times of emergencies and disasters by doing some simple advance planning and preparation.

So you say, “The government has programs like FEMA, or there are other agencies like American Red Cross that will help me out in case of disaster”.

Look at the local government’s response in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thousands were brought to the Superdome for refuge, where conditions quickly become horrible. Food and water were scarce, many people on receiving one or two bottles of water a day. Living conditions were extremely unsanitary, with urine on the floors, feces on floors and walls. People had their meager possessions stolen.  There were many reports of people being beaten and raped, drug dealing, and gang activity. Many were trying to “escape” from the so called aid they were receiving at the Superdome!

Houston Astrodome hurricane Katrina Survivors
Hurricane Katrina survivors at Houston Astrodome 2005

Even the United States Department of Homeland Security’s program, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was totally unprepared to handle this disaster.

How many other floods and other natural disasters have happened since?  Do you really think that the government or someone else is going to be there for you? And even if they are, how soon will that help arrive?

If an emergency, disaster, or crisis situation occurs, you do NOT want to be dependent upon others, the government (i.e. FEMA), or other agencies (i.e. American Red Cross) to come to your immediate aid. Even these agencies say they may take up to 72 hours or longer to bring aid to an afflicted area. In a major disaster, even these disaster relief agencies may be overwhelmed and not be able to get aid to all those who need it.

If you were caught in one of these scenarios, would you be ready to take care of your needs or would you be totally dependent of someone else coming to rescue you from the situation?

Are Preppers, Survivalists & Homesteaders the Same Thing?

I believe Preppers, Survivalists and Homesteaders are actually quite different in their way of thinking.

Preppers emergency food pantry.Preppers are those who make preparations in advance for emergencies and disasters. They will stock up their homes or other back-up location (often referred to as their “Bug-Out-Location, like a second home in the county, vacation cabin, etc.) with food, water and other materials they may need during these emergency/disaster situations. They want to stockpile these supplies in quantities large enough to last a minimum of 72 hours. Some will even stock enough to last for weeks, months or even years (in the case of those extreme “doomsday preppers”).

Survivalists are those who are usually preparing to survive in the wilderness, or “Live off the land”. Rather than just stocking up heavily on supplies, they are usually more concerned with developing the skills and tools needCooking over fire. A skill many preppers learn.ed to survive off the land. For instance, they may focus on how to find their food by hunting, fishing, trapping, finding edible plants, etc. They will have the skills of making a wilderness shelter, starting a fire, finding water, etc.

Home canning to preserve food for a preppers pantry.

Homesteaders are looking at a lifestyle of being more self-sufficient. They often grow their own food by organic gardening, having backyard chicken coops or rabbit hutches, or raising animals on a small plot of land. They may preserve their own food (for example, canning), often produce their own textiles (i.e.  Spinning wool), produce their own electricity (i.e. solar power, wind turbines, etc.), have a home business, etc. This lifestyle is often referred to as “Living off the grid”.

Wooden sign "New Skills". We need to learn new skills as preppers.Use Best of All Three

I think the best plan is to use a combination of all three.

  1. Stock up some supplies, food, water, etc. as a Prepper,
  2. Develop some of the skills the survivalists use, and
  3. Become more self-sufficient as the homesteaders.

This way you will be more prepared to handle any emergencies or disasters that may come your way.

What To Do Next

OK, we’ve learned what a Prepper is, and seen why we need to be preppers, so what do we do next?

Go on to  “How To Start Prepping”

or “How To Prepare For A Disaster On A Budget”

These are two great places to start if you are new to the idea of prepping. Start making a plan of what emergencies or disaster could possibly affect you. Go through this site to get ideas and to learn the specifics of how to prepare for disasters from the many articles you will find.

Another great place to start:

“Prepper Essentials”

Here you’ll find the basic essential things you must have in order to survive any disaster that may come your way.

Take care of you and your family. Get started now!

Please be sure to leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below.

Happy Prepping.


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