Preppers

Stored Food

KW of Edmond is more likely to
survive the end of the world than 90% of the population. At the very least, she
can outlast a week-long blizzard or ice storm better than most Oklahomans. It’s
all about being prepared.

KW is one of thousands of
Americans who are part of the prepper movement, a community of people who learn
to be prepared for any situation at any time. To those new to the movement, the
word prepper brings about an image of heavily-armed fanatics crawling in
bunkers and preparing for Armageddon, but the reality is that preppers are a
lot less dramatic.

Water Storage

They prepare for ice storms or
wildfires. They have a pantry that can support three months of being unable to
get to the grocery store. They have enough water to be able to live comfortably
in case water is not available for weeks. “There are a couple of reasons to
prep and different levels,” said KW, who lives east of Edmond with her husband
and two children. “Some think in extreme terms of economic breakdown, terrorism
or end of the world. I try to keep it practical. I’m a practical prepper.”

Sadly, thanks to shows like
“Doomsday Preppers,” many aren’t taking common sense steps to prepare their
families for natural disasters or unexpected problems for fear of looking like
a fanatic. Although prepping has become mainstream—with websites and social
groups promoting skills like canning or water safety—it’s not something
Americans are used to doing. “Seven years ago, we moved to Edmond and twice
I’ve been stuck at home for a week or more due to ice storms,” said KW, who
lives far enough from town that going to the grocery store is an impossibility
during bad weather. “Being prepared is a practicality for living in Oklahoma
with the ice, snow, tornadoes and fires. I always have back-up milk and food
now—powdered milk and boxed liquid milk, just in case.”

What really made KW embrace the
idea of being prepared were the wildfires that scorched through the rural areas
around Edmond two years ago. “We had three minutes to evacuate due to the
wildfires,” KW said. “What would you do if you had only minutes to leave? What
would you take?
”     

LightingOne of the easiest ways families
can be prepared is to have a three-day “bug-out” bag, a backpack for each
member of the family. “I grew up in Galveston, so we were used to having extra
water for bathing, batteries, candles and stuff like that for waiting out a
hurricane,” KW said. “The backpacks are for if you have to leave in a hurry,
like during the wildfires.”

Luckily, the bug-out bags were
already prepared when the family had to evacuate, making their hotel stay more
comfortable and less stressful. The only thing KW forgot was pet supplies,
making a trip to the store necessary.

For the most part, KW’s
preparedness is geared more toward being able to stay in her home after a
natural disaster or other event. If one has enough food, water, backup supplies
and anything needed to survive without water or electricity, then staying home
is a possibility. During Hurricane Katrina, a refugee camp was established at
the New Orleans Superdome. The camp became dangerous—deadly in some cases—and
people were trying to escape the shelter. “It’s good to be prepared if you have
to stay at a hotel or even camp it out.”

For those prepping for longer
term situations, a three-month food supply in the kitchen pantry using
organizational tools, like those found on canorganizers.com, means you can
store food and use it as it nears its expiration. KW also has boxes of food
supplies that have 25-year shelf life. “I even made a car emergency kit and an
office emergency kit for my husband,” she said. “It’s not impossible in
Oklahoma. We’ve had it happen…the Murrah bombing, tornadoes…I wish I could
share these skills with more people. You never know when an emergency will
happen.”

Keeping tents and bug-out bags
in the garage, not to mention a supply of food that can last 25 years, may
sound extreme, but it’s just common sense. Many communities have suffered power
outages for up to three weeks after severe ice storms and after major disasters
like tornadoes. It can take emergency workers three days to reach a
neighborhood with food and water.

 “We are on well water, so if our electricity
goes out, so does our water,” KW said. “Most of what I do is prepare to stay in
our home. We stock up on alternative fuel and lighting like lanterns and
candles, matches, cook stoves. The most important thing is to have a family
plan for every emergency.”

Bug-Out BagWebsites abound about how to
begin prepping, such as FEMA’s recommendations at www.ready.gov.

For a basic three-day supply
bug-out bag, KW suggests stocking a backpack for each member of the family
with:

Food

• Protein/Granola Bars

• Trail Mix/Dried Fruit

• Crackers/Cereals

• Canned Tuna, Beans, Turkey,
Beef, Vienna Sausages, etc.

Bedding & Clothing

• Change of Clothing (short-
& long-sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, etc.)

• Undergarments

• Rain Coat/Poncho

• Blankets & Emergency Heat
Blankets (that keep in warmth)

Fuel & Light

• Battery-powered Lighting    (flashlights, lamps, etc.)

• Extra Batteries

• Flares

• Candles

• Lighter

• Waterproof Matches

Equipment

• Can Opener

• Dishes/Utensils

• Shovel

• Radio (with batteries)

• Pen & Paper

• Axe

• Pocket Knife

• Rope

• Duct Tape

Personal Supplies &
Medication

• First Aid Kit & Supplies

• Toiletries: roll of toilet
paper (remove the center tube to easily flatten into a zip-lock bag), feminine
hygiene, folding brush, etc.

• Cleaning Supplies

• Medication & Prescription
Medication

• Keep immunizations up to date.

Personal Documents & Money

• Place items like these in a
waterproof container!

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