Sometimes I think you don’t get to earn the title of “prepper” until someone has called you paranoid and crazy to even worry about a major disaster scenario.
This is just one of many reasons why having an open, honest conversation with friends about taking some common sense steps to safeguard themselves from short and long term crisis situations can be difficult. On the other side of the equation, we, as preppers do what we do precisely because we care about ourselves and our loved ones enough to have multiple plans and resources in place rather than pin all our hopes on FEMA or some other government agency taking care of us and responding adequately to manage a situation.
As we have all seen in hurricanes, school shootings, terror events, volcanic eruptions and much more, a well meaning, well funded government cannot always keep pace with emergency situations let alone do what the average citizen can do with the right tools, training, and knowledge. Figuring out how to have a reasonable conversations with your friends about prepping is important for them as well as for you. Remember, the more people that are prepared for a major disaster, the better chance there is they won’t panic or form mobs that will pose a risk to you and your family.
Make a Social Outing of Municipal Meetings
One of the most important ways to get your friends interested in prepping is awakening them to what is going on around them. Sadly, many people today don’t realize that politicians do all kinds of crazy things because people don’t bother to talk to them or pay attention to what is going on. Absent input from the people, politicians will do what they think is right from a perspective of disbalance.
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Today, far too many people will go see a movie, or do something else rather than go to municipal meetings to find out what is going on right under their noses. This, in turn, means that people are uniformed about just how bad municipal water is, increasing crime rates, and how limited emergency services are. In many cases, inviting your friends to attend municipal board meetings as a kind of “fun” outing may be just what is needed to wake them up. You would be amazed at how many people come out of these meetings shocked by what is going on, as well as how little margin there is for emergency situations.
It is also very important to attend any meetings that are accessible to the public offered by state and federal representatives. Never forget that they are there to serve you, and in many cases, will do their best as long as you tell them what needs to be done and how to do it. When you invite your friends, it gets them involved in the most important thing everyone can do next to voting: actually taking part, investigating, and following up on what your leaders are doing. Typically, when friends start really looking at political activities, they also begin to think more seriously about what will happen in a major crisis. From there, it becomes much easier to talk about prepping and taking solid and reasonable steps to safeguard both life and property in a time of need.
Talk About Relevant Short Term Crisis Events
One of the fastest and easiest ways to make people aware that they need to start prepping is to talk about relevant short term situations. For example, if you live in an area where blizzards are common, your friends might already do some prepping in the form of getting extra supplies a day or two before the storm is expected to hit. Talking to your friends about transportation, medical emergencies, and other matters during the storm is an easy way to begin expanding their insights and thoughts about making more intensive and permanent prepping plans.
When talking with friends about short term crisis events, it is very important to focus on things that they may not be giving much consideration. In the case of a blizzard, just about everyone knows to have extra food on-hand, extra water, candles, flashlights, and enough medications to get by until the roads open back up. Here are some things your friends may be taking for granted that could cost their life:
- Failure to have secondary and tertiary heating resources available – if there is a bad time for the electricity or a furnace to go out, it is during a blizzard. Aside from reminding your friends that it may be impossible for service personnel to reach them, desperation can lead to even bigger problems. For example, people have been known to bypass the emergency shut off systems on oil burners, only to wind up setting their home on fire. Others have panicked and tried to start fires in a single room, only to wind up with lung injuries from smoke inhalation. This whole situation changes when people have two, or even three backup systems and plans in place that will keep them warm until it’s possible to restore the main heating system. Some useful tools and items include candle heaters, learning how to make a tent in the middle of a room, the best blankets for retaining body heat, how to make and deploy tin can heaters to reduce wear and tear on the main heating system (the less you use it, the less chance it has of breaking down), developing and using compost piles for heat, and the usage of energy dense foods (as opposed to simply buying whatever is available a few days before the storm hits).
- Failure to consider hygiene – this is easily one of the most overlooked items in just about every prepping plan. No matter whether your friends use well water or municipal water, the loss of a reliable flow of water at the tap can spell disaster for personal and household hygiene. Among other things, your friends may not have even considered buying antibacterial wipes and water-free washing supplies. It is also very important to discuss purchasing paper plates and disposable utensils. Even though your friends may remember to purchase foods that can be eaten direct from a can or package, dirty forks, knives, and spoons can and will lead to the development of bacterial buildup in the mouth and gums. Sadly, simply wiping an utensil with an antibacterial wipe may not take the place of a vigorous washing and rinsing in good hot water and good quality soap. (In case you are wondering, I am not a “germophobe”, however I do believe in taking precautions to keep as many bugs at bay as possible).
- Managing Boredom – it may not seem like a big deal insofar as meeting the basic needs of survival, however when you are bored, that is when you are most inclined to get into projects or occupations that lead to injury. It is best to have at least one or two projects on-hand that don’t require electricity or anything that you can get hurt with. For example, even in the worst blizzard, you are likely to have light during the day hours. A few books or magazines can help you pass the time. It does not matter whether you decide to go back over old favorites, or save something new that might appeal to you.
- First Aid and Illness – even if your friends know enough to keep extra medicine on-hand, they may not have checked their first aid kit in years. It is also very important to have some basic first aid skills. From managing sudden illness during a blizzard or problems that develop even in normal circumstances, an advanced knowledge of first aid and emergency medical care are very important. In fact, if you can’t get your friends to consider political meetings as an outing, your next effort should be aimed at first aid and emergency medical training. If your friend says they took a course years ago, or they think they know enough, remind them that a refresher course never hurts, especially with all the new tools and information available to consumers.
Encourage Political Activism that Supports Self Sufficiency
If you are a prepper, then you may already be very aware of all the laws being made to prevent you from doing important things such as:
- Unfettered access, ownership, and usage of guns and weapons on par with what criminals and terrorists may have
- Water capture and storage
- Storage of large caches of food and water
- Generation of electricity using home based methods and means
- Unfettered maintenance and usage of small sized communications transmitters
- Gardening on the front lawn or other parts of the property
- Preventing the spraying of pesticides and herbicides on your property by others
- Unfettered building or adding onto existing buildings in order to meet your prepping needs
- Owning, maintaining, and using older vehicles that are EMP proof.
When people aren’t interested in prepping, or think it is weird, they don’t realize how much danger they are in from excessive government oversight. As a case in point, look at what is going on in Flint Michigan and the water crisis. If you do some research, it is likely you will find that the people of Flint had municipal water literally shoved down their throats. Not only are people in large cities forced to pay for water, they are often not allowed to capture it for themselves. With the passage of time, people forget or lose interest in learning how to purify water, as well as how to store it properly.
Today, hundreds of innocent men, women, and children are getting sick and dying because of these laws, yet no one talks about the consequences of preventing people from going off the grid or deciding not to take part in municipal utilities. Even if your friends don’t understand this problem in relation to gun rights, there is a chance they will empathize with the problems ongoing in Flint. Once they find out what kind of pollutants are in their own municipal water, you can hope they will begin fighting alongside you to get rid of these and other laws that harm preppers and sound self-sufficiency agendas.
Be a Good Neighbor and Help Others
One of the best ways to encourage your friends to think seriously about prepping is to lead by example. There are probably many people in your community that need help with all different kinds of things. Taking someone shopping, helping to fix a broken door, or getting involved in other activities is a way to show your friends that being able to manage emergencies and problems is always a good thing. Here are some things that your friends will see, even if you don’t say a word about prepping while you go about your activities:
- Your friends will notice that you have a sense of confidence that makes it possible for you to achieve things others cannot seem to manage. This is something very important in a crisis, especially if your friends know they are inclined to panic or have a hard time dealing with unforeseen circumstances.
- Your friends will notice that you have a sense of freedom and independence that makes it possible to enjoy life and live in a positive and healthy way. Given the way everyone these days has a concern about others spying on them, or “big brother” sticking its nose and laws into everything, there is a deep longing for the days when it was possible to walk free and be free. The ability to help others and one’s self brings with it a sense of independence that others will want for themselves.
- Your friends will recognize the fact that prepping isn’t some activity carried out by paranoid people. Rather, it is a way of life and series of activities that one can be proud of because it means you have valuable life skills and the ability to cope with all kinds of disaster scenarios.
Give Gifts Related to Prepping
No matter whether you have just a few friends that you would like to encourage towards prepping or several dozen, giving relevant gifts is an ideal way to get started. Given the different kinds of survival gear available on the market these days, you are sure to find something that will appeal to everyone on your list. For example, if you have a friend that has a major addiction to their cell phone, consider buying them an accessory that detects nuclear radiation.
There are also all kinds of radios, solar powered devices, and other gadgets for people that love tech gadgets. Needless to say, if you have friends that love the outdoors, a good quality tactical knife, flashlight, or some other gear might be suitable. For friends that are moving to a new home, getting married, or going away to college, there are many other suitable gifts. This includes candle heaters, project kits for building windmills, solar powered coffee cups, planters with multiple medicinal herb plants in them, and books and information related to cutting the cost of electricity and other utilities.
Today, many people are frightened and intimidated into not talking about, let alone giving gifts related to self defense. On the other side of the equation, if you have ten friends that are women, at least two of them will be raped or sexually abused at some point in their lives. There is no harm in giving your female friends gift certificates for self defense classes as well as ones for stores where they can buy guns or other tools suitable for self defense. If your female friends already have guns, then this may be a perfect time to offer a pre-paid day at the range, or invite them to some other activity where they can practice using their guns and gain some additional encouragement and support to carry at every opportunity.
Organize and Lead Prepping Seminars
As a prepper, there are bound to be areas of expertise that you can easily teach others about. No matter whether you excel in getting things to grow in containers, have a knack for re-purposing old junk, or have a lot of experience with water capture or power generation, there is no harm in leading seminars in your local area. When you organize a seminar, here are some things to keep in mind for the degree’s best success:
- Try to match your seminar choices with the season and any short term disaster scenarios that might occur soon. For example, early spring in the middle states is a good time to talk about prepping for a tornado and making sure that family members know where to meet up if a disaster occurs.
- Have qualified speakers present. If you are interested in giving a seminar on first aid, see if you can get some first responders in your area to come in and provide hands on training.
- Always include some way for participants to practice their skills or build something that will be of use to them. For example, if you are interested in teaching people how to harness solar power, you could always lead a class on how to build a tin can heater, or something else that requires relatively little in the way of materials, supplies, and tools.
- Try to include at least one seminar on re-purposing plastic or other items that people usually throw away. Combining something like regrowing garlic or other vegetables scraps in milk jugs may draw people, as will seminars where people can learn how to make rope out of plastic bags.
- Always end the seminar with an invitation to learn something else that you may be interested in teaching about. The topics don’t necessarily have to be relevant to each other, however, they should be relevant to cutting current household costs and preparing for major emergencies.
Invite Friends to Work On Larger Projects
More than a few preppers feel that it is never a good thing to let other people know your plans, let alone what kind of things you have in your stockpile. On the other side of the equation, there are plenty of community based projects that everyone can get involved in that will be of benefit to everyone. Here are just a few things that every community needs to be thinking about and taking care of that won’t give away anything insofar as personal prepping plans:
- Nuclear safety bunkers – there can, and should be a move in every town to have underground nuclear bunkers that are well stocked. This isn’t just about foreign parties lobbing bombs at the United States, this is about nuclear power plants that may wind up emitting dangerous levels of radiation for one reason or another. A group of concerned people can purchase a piece of property, build the bunkers, and stock them so that all members of the project can go there in time of need.
- Food production and gathering – even though it is slow going, inner city neighborhoods are slowly adopting ideas such as growing foods on city rooftops, planting fruit trees on city streets, and turning abandoned lots into community gardens. If you live in an area where there is space to grow food, now it’s the perfect time to get your friends together and bring these issues up at local board meetings.
- Community based power generation – this is another area where people can work together to buy land and put up windmills, solar panels, or other devices that will generate electricity. It should also be noted that property used for growing foods can also be used for creating geothermal heating and cooling systems. Rather than let your city planners continue to spend money on all kinds of expense accounts, raises, and other perks, you can demand they put the money towards installing these geothermal systems, and make it possible for people to make use of them. Never forget that the people you elect are spending your hard earned tax dollars. Now it’s the time to demand they do something with that money that gives you and everyone else the best chance possible to build a sustainable community that can and will survive a major disaster.
Be Open About the Event or News Items that Turned You Into a Prepper
Over the years, I’ve had more than a few people asking me what made me join the prepper movement. Some people said they would never become preppers, only to slowly begin drifting in that direction, while others were already thinking about making at least some preparations for small scale emergencies. When it comes to answering this question, there is no right answer other than the truth.
For example, in my case, I stared off early on in life with a keen interest in power generating and power saving gadgets. I didn’t see that as prepping at the time anymore than I did interests in learning how to can foods, sew clothes, grow a garden, tend farm animals, hunt, make medicinal wines, or fix a car. Each of these skills were common in my family or community, so I didn’t see them as “prepper” skills. I just saw them as part of daily life. Chances are, if you look back, you can also think of hobbies or skills that you learned that now serve you well as a prepper.
The moment that you become a preppers is when you look at everything around you and assess it for use in a disaster scenario. For items that are of no practical use, you may begin to think about which ones have the most sentimental value and can be easily carried. Depending on your experiences, the defining event may have been a major tragedy like 9/11, surviving a hurricane in a FEMA camp, or hearing about numerous other disasters that family members or loved ones were involved in. Regardless of your reason for becoming a prepper, consider it a plus when stubborn friends that want nothing to do with it ask you this question. Even if they say this wouldn’t be enough to convert them into a prepper, at least they are thinking about situations and what would make them reconsider living without good quality plans, materials, and tools required for living through a social collapse scenario.
Know or Find out What Motivates Each Friend to Make Changes
The sad reality is unless people want to do something, there is no changing them to take action. While there are many studies done on the psychology of motivation and behavior shaping, people will eventually get free of manipulation tactics and go their own way. As much as you may feel tempted to try these kinds of tactics, in the end it can turn against you.
It is better to let people find their own way and to see for themselves rather than do the work for them. This can be very frustrating, especially when personal rights and liberties are at stake. On the other side of the equation, even groups of people that have been heavily brainwashed can suddenly break free and turn on those that deceived them. In these cases, prayer works miracles far more often than psychobabble and other assorted games.
At first glance, you may not think there is much value finding ways to increase the number of people engaging in prepper activities. Realistically speaking, the more people that are able to handle an emergency, the fewer there are to turn into rioters or pawns for powerful people that may use them against you. Given the way laws are changing these days to prevent people from prepping, making sure that pro-prepper candidates get elected is also very important.
This is something that requires a community that cares about this topic as well as ones that are committed to seeing this movement grow and progress.
Ms. Jimi | June 28, 2018
I like your suggestions and ideas.
Eyes open, no fear, be safe.
Maura | June 28, 2018
Great article! Very practical advice, especially becoming involved in everyday politics that affect you. Most people just complain but won’t do anything.
Chuck | June 28, 2018
That;s a keeper Carmela. Thankyou. Been a survivor for most of my life since WWII and beyond….
Frank Vazquez | June 29, 2018
That was an amazing article. It was a chapter from a book. You really got into this subject.
I lost you when you mentioned prepping and people “asking you….. this question”. And also why classes should be related to saving money or cutting the budget. Seemed like you forgot something or something was lost, maybe changed in editing.
After all this, you could just have written up a guide to follow because that is what you have here. You put so many ideas and so much information. I have thought about trying to hold a seminar, but sometimes you just can’t get people to come. Hopefully my past experiences will help me avoid a total failure and waste of money. Although I feel like now is the time as people may be more receptive to a preparedness seminar after the recent storms, earthquakes, nuclear incidents, volcanic eruptions, terrorists assaults and hurricanes. I like the idea of teaching people to make something that they can take home with them. They’ll perceive that as real value and there is no question that they indeed learned how to make something. Many seminars provide you with a bunch of fluff, but teach them “how to” and they go home happy.
carmela Tyrrell | June 29, 2018
Thankyou for your inquiry. I probably should have explained that with some of my observations about why people don’t engage in prepping. Many want to buy extra food for hurricanes, or may even want to assemble a bug out bag, but that is where they stop because they can’t afford to spend those extra few dollars. Often, these are also the same people that have sky high utility bills and other expenses, including the cost of entertainment such as TV and so on. This is why I suggested the “save money” or constructive budget adjustments to make room for prepping as a draw in. Even people that aren’t directly interested in prepping right now may be looking to cut expenses and find alternative options to what they are doing now. Another possible point, especially in the arena of budgeting, is getting more satisfaction from free time and entertainment venues. What is more satisfying – knowing you successfully built something like a credit card radio that can help you get important information during a catastrophe or watching a rerun on cable of a show that was originally aired 30 years ago? There are many ways you can tap into a range of side interests to prepping that directly impact whether or not people are or become interested in the information presented.
carmela Tyrrell | June 29, 2018
PS – also if you are going to teach people how to make things – I would go with using household junk or things that won’t cost a lot for them to assemble. As a case in point – there are tons of things you can do with plastic bags including melting them together to form “fabric”. This could be tied into a seminar on waterproof emergency tent material, coverings, and so on. The key is the participants in your seminar will come in with bags they have no use for, and come out with something they can use in an emergency. See where I am going with the links to budget and tangible goods? Prepping is about creative ideas – yes- but you must also take those ideas and turn them into tangible things that are of value in the situation. Trial and error can take years. This is why hands on seminars are important because people can see in real time how things work. Hopefully you will be successful in putting these things together.