How much is enough? For those who have been preparedness-minded for a number of years, and for those who have made considerable inroads to their state of preparedness, when have you prepped enough? Is there a time?
What are the criteria for being reasonably prepared and is there a point when you slow down?
Here’s my general opinion…
It’s never enough ;)
However with that said, there are certainly some very reasonable goals and milestones that you might set for yourself such that when you reach or exceed them, you might consider yourself to be reasonably prepared.
A moment ago I said that ‘it’s never enough’ because I consider preparedness in general to be a life long way-of-life in which I am always gaining new preparedness related knowledge, learning new related skills, and acquiring new related things to support them.
Again, having said that, there is a point at which one might consider themselves to be reasonably prepared… and the keyword is ‘reasonably’.
The question becomes, what is ‘reasonably’ prepared?
That answer will vary (as most all things do) with respect to one’s situation, circumstances, geo-location, risk perception, risk tolerance, and opinion. But is there a point when that person might relax (somewhat) and say that they’re reasonably prepared?
Before you can consider if you’re reasonably prepared, I suppose you need to consider your basic criteria for preparedness in general.
Given that we can breathe air, the top considerations for survival preparedness include water, food, shelter, and security. There is much more (of course), but in this context we’re mostly talking about high level parameters (requirements) to consider when focusing on basic preparedness.
So, logically, if you’re pretty well set in those areas (for the amount of time you deem ‘reasonable’), then you might consider yourself to be reasonably prepared.
Basic preparedness takes into account that we might (for a time) lose the modern day sources and conveniences that we take for granted – including water, food, electricity, shelter, and security. Water flows from our taps, food is at the grocery store, electricity powers most all of modern life, we live comfortably with a roof over our head in a house or apartment, and we presume that we’re reasonably safe given our relatively civil society and the ability to dial ‘911’.
This is an extremely important preparedness topic (there are lots of articles here about this). However it is largely overlooked due to the extreme normalcy bias associated with it. The thing is, we literally cannot survive much beyond several days without it.
Most people rely on (and take for granted) the municipal water sources that process and pump clean water to their faucets. Even those with well water will be without the capability if the electricity stops flowing.
Perhaps a reasonably prepared person would have or know of an alternative source of water along with a method and means to continually transport it to home during a time of disaster or SHTF (without the presumption of vehicular transportation and readily available fuel).
Additionally that person might only be reasonably prepared if they also had method and capability to store that water and to filter the water for safe drinking.
Depending on the size of the household, a reasonably prepared person might store at least several gallons of water per person per day to account for a period of time that they consider ‘reasonable’.
Food storage is probably the most focused-on aspect of preparedness. It is so extremely and almost ridiculously easy to acquire a sizable food storage that I am surprised that more people don’t do it. But that’s another subject…
A person might consider themselves reasonably prepared if they have acquired a diversified group of foods for their pantry and/or storage and are storing them in a favorable environment and containment in order to maximize shelf life, and an amount of food with sufficient calories and nutrition to support their household for a time period that they consider reasonable.
What is that time period in order to be considered ‘reasonable’? That’s your call. Personally I have several years for each of us – and the reason for that is the following…
Not only do you need to consider food storage, but your definition of ‘reasonable’ in this category might include the ability to procure more (without reliance on the systems which supply your neighborhood grocery stores). That means the ability to successfully garden, harvest, and preserve those foods – as well as any other means to procure food. While having one year of food storage may sound like a lot, ‘what if’ your garden largely failed during the first year – or your lost your livestock, etc… then you’ll sure be glad that you cushioned yourself a second chance…
With that said, it might be quite reasonable to simply have a 3-month supply of food storage – which would cover most ‘typical’ and perhaps most likely disaster scenarios. But a true big-time SHTF food collapse… this will not be nearly enough.
I have included this category within the realm of being reasonably prepared because the implications of living without it are so great. They vary from short term inconvenience to downright disaster and collapse. I would not consider myself to be reasonably prepared unless I had alternatives to every aspect of my current reliance upon electricity. This might include the means to cook your food, see in the dark, heat your home, power your well, refrigerate your food, fuel your vehicle, on and on… When the power goes out, the stores close. All of them. Banks, ATM’s, gas stations, grocery stores, you name it…
Most everyone can easily deal with a short term power outage. But if it drags on into days, this becomes entirely different. If you live in a cold climate and this happens during the winter… there’s lots to consider and prepare for.
Life without electricity is a huge categorical topic and it hinges upon so many systems that we take for granted today.
When considering the word ‘reasonable’ in this regard, we’re probably talking about a reasonable preparedness time period of several days or up to a week (for ‘typical’ circumstances). When you get beyond that, we’re talking about SHTF and major major implications which go way beyond reasonable… although VERY important and impacting.
Unless you own your home outright with no mortgage, you are especially at risk to becoming displaced. Although you never ‘actually’ own your own home/property (.GOV requires you pay property taxes else get evicted – therefore they seemingly own it), if you’re paying rent or a mortgage – you must continue to pay – else face eviction. Arguably eviction might become difficult or impossible to enforce during a big-time SHTF collapse, however when one is considering the word ‘reasonable’, one might simply consider a financial cushion for the ability to pay rent or mortgage for a reasonable period of time.
A reasonable consideration for shelter may include a pre-planned bug-out location, especially if you live in a hazardous area or city where evacuation (for whatever reason) may become necessary.
The ultimate shelter is actually already living in what would be one’s bug-out location.
When systems break down, even for a relatively short time, personal security may become a top priority. When considering reasonable preparedness for your security, only you can ultimately decide what that is – because only you know and understand the risks related to where you live, etc..
What is reasonable? Certainly we’re talking about a few firearms – a handgun and a long gun for starters (and a reasonable amount of ammo to go with it). More importantly is the ability to reasonably proficiently use these tools (which means practice).
I have posted quite a number of articles not only on all of the topics above, but on the subject of security and situational awareness. A key element to being prepared with security is situational awareness which itself may lead to avoidance of potentially threatening situations. However when avoidance isn’t enough, you must be prepared to defend yourself – because only you are responsible for you.
During disaster or SHTF, do not depend on ‘911’. These services and police will have their hands full, and unfortunately the criminal element knows this.
It is somewhat difficult to define what may be generically ‘reasonably’ prepared in this category. With that said, I would not consider being prepared until I have practiced situational awareness to the extent of confidence, as well as having the firearms which I personally consider to be reasonable in this regard – as well as the proficiency to reasonably use them.
As I have been writing this, there have been so so so many more aspects that have come to mind – so many that I would have to write a book to cover them all. I know that there is no ‘right’ answer when asking the question, “When have you prepped enough?”, but I believe that the topic is one that may encourage some of you to set goals in various categories. It will hopefully encourage some of you to think more about basic high-level categories which may not be listed here (there are more).
It’s so easy to go down the rabbit-hole of endless preparations, so I believe it’s a good idea to step back once in awhile and discover where you’re at. Is it enough?
For me it will never be enough. But that does not mean that I am a hoarder and won’t be satisfied until I’m sitting on top of a huge pile of preps. For me it is about at least a baseline of preps and then it’s about proficiency, adaptability, self-sufficiency, a way of life which helps me to at least partially escape modern systems of dependence. From that point on, it’s fine-tuning and spending some time in particular areas of preparedness (and/or self-sufficiency, self-reliance, etc..) which happen to interest me. None of us can know it all, but we can each specialize in our own interests…
Hope some of this made sense ;)