PREPS: Family Disaster Preparedness


  • Posted on: APRIL 8, 2014



Eighty percent of the population would not survive the first 100 days of the apocalypse, Bob Gaskin, who served in the Marines and is the founder of the Black Dog Survival School, told an assembled crowd at the Third Annual National Preppers and Surivalist Expo in Tulsa, Okla. “If you don’t know now what you’re going to do then,” he said, “you aren’t going to make it.”

Sure, some of the attendees and speakers at the Expo, like Mr. Gaskin, sound a little extreme, whether their fears come from the left (climate change) or the right (U.N. takeover of America). But not all of them, Alvin Jackson, a jazz musician from New Orleans, told Alan Feuer of The Times (read more in The Capitalism of Catastrophe).

” ‘People think that preppers — and I use that term with caution — are guys in beards who live in bunkers and bury ammunition in their yards,’ said Mr. Jackson, a dapper man in a pageboy cap who had come to the conference with his wife, Marlane. ‘But I went through Katrina, and I’m not crazy. I know from experience that things go south, and it can happen just like that.’ ”

Many families know where Mr. Jackson is coming from. Those $4,299 solar-powered generators don’t sound quite so crazy when you’ve gone five days without power, nor do the stockpiles of food and water seem excessive to families who weathered Sandy. (Now, the mass casualty bags may not be something most of us would purchase.) Sandy, like Katrina and Irene before it, was notable for the way it caught residents off guard, both in its severity and the length of time it took to restore services. Anyone affected could be excused for going a little overboard in preparation for another disaster, and there’s an argument to be made that every family should be ready for the unexpected — maybe even more so now, with much of the country headed into tornado season.

But I admit I’m not (except for the generator, propane-powered, which is pretty standard in rural New England). No communication plan if disaster strikes the school (other than whatever the school has in place). No stockpile of food and water, no emergency bags ready to grab if we need to leave the house suddenly, no $50,000 greenhouse. No nothing, really. We do have fire alarms and we’ve at least talked about that.

Is your family more “prepped” than mine?

(Photographs of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the New York region are on display in “Rising Waters: Photographs of Sandy,” at the Museum of the City of New York through April 6. Photographers with work in the show shared the stories behind their images in the New York Times here.)

Follow KJ Dell’Antonia on Twitter at @KJDellAntonia or find her on Facebook and Google+.

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Updated: April 13, 2014 — 9:20 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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