Why should the average American citizen bother with survivalism? Well, because as advanced as our modern world is, it’s easy to get fooled into believing that the complex system that controls our society is one that can never be toppled. However, the truth is that the more complex a system is, the more likely that it will eventually fail. With economic problems, dwindling energy reserves, threats from foreign nations and terrorist groups, and natural disasters, the likelihood that you will find yourself in a survival situation is always increasing.
Perhaps the biggest issue to consider is our nation’s dependence on technology. A century ago, getting cut off from the rest of the world or losing power for a month wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. Now, how many of us would be able to adequately function without the use of the internet for a month, to say nothing of amenities such as plumbing or electricity?
So, when faced with the disturbing nature of things to come, the only real answer is preparation. However, preparation is a blanket term that can mean less than nothing without proper know-how. For example, the way one goes about preparing for a hurricane is different from the way a person should prepare for a disease epidemic. The best thing that you can do is take care of your general needs, and then move onto more specific preparations. There are a few things that you should do no matter where you live or what disasters or emergencies you might face. First and foremost, stock up on emergency food storage. Don’t go to the extreme by getting hundreds of dollars in special foods or dehydrated meals, just buy more of what you would usually get at the store (assuming it won’t go bad too quickly) and create a three-month supply. Rotate the storage out regularly so that you are constantly eating the older food and replacing it with new. Some long term nonperishable items should also be stored, just in case. But remember, things like canned goods only last for about five years or less; ready to eat meals last for only three years or so. Also, store water so that your family won’t have to go looking for other water sources. A person requires a minimum of about 1 gallon per day to survive. So if you have a family of four, you’ll need over 360 gallons to make it through a 90 day emergency period, and that’s not taking into account the water needed for bathing or washing clothes, or what would be needed for dehydrated food. You should also stock up on first aide and medical supplies, including any necessary medications. A portable gas powered generator can be very useful in survival situations, but just remember: it won’t do you any good if you don’t have fuel, and storing gasoline can be difficult or even dangerous.
For specific disasters, you’ll need to do a little research before you can gather together an adequate survival kit. Check with local authorities for recommendations on what to include and how to best handle whatever situations you might find yourself in.
Lastly, be sure that your family has a detailed survival plan in case something unexpected should happen. Have your children memorize this plan, and conduct regular practice sessions to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind. Doing so will also make the idea of a disaster less scary for them, and they’ll be better able to handle it should a real emergency strike.
Survivalism isn’t just for grizzled men who live in the woods and hate the government; it’s something that everyone in the country should practice. Perhaps the best answer to the question of “Why survivalism” is this: Because bad things happen. But when they do, if you’re prepared, you don’t need to fear.
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer interested in helping others develop self reliance through food storage.