Separating Rumor from Fact for Last Minute Prepping
Note the oxymoron. Last minute prepping doesn't sound like prepping at all. When you make impulse decisions, usually they are faulty. While a miniscule amount of people are blessed with great insight and can follow through on a hunch, most of us can't do that consistently.
This means that most preppers with common sense do not prep that way. The normal strategy is to act practically, buy frugally, buy in bulk, rotate stock, and buy what your family will rationally use. In addition to that, committing to learning valuable life skills like gathering from Nature, hunting, gardening, crafting tools, and raising animals are ways to cope with what we cannot buy, but we can gather from the Source's bounty.
Given that prepping for a SHTF scenario is a scary thought. A person who has not prepped will have a dramatically different last minute list ...than a person who's planned for sixty days ...than a person who
planned for six months months...and ad infinitum.
Still....each of us will inevitably delay purchases that we do not want to commit to. Some last minute items might be perishable. If so, that means carefully considering their expiration date and contrasting that with rotating stock. You are in effect like rural grocery store owners. You sure don't want to overstock and throw things out, especially now when money is tight.
Likewise some purchases might not be perishable, but Christmas is here, and committing funds to something that might not happen in the next month, especially when it might be unnecessary items, must be carefully evaluated. It's part of being a good steward.
Some things would be outright handy, but difficult to justify. Things would seriously have to be bad for them to be utilized.
This means that prepping is an intentional process of thinking strategically about priorities. It's something that you write out after a lot of research on what experts are doing. Like minded people tend to do what the people they respect do. If you're a worrier, then based upon your anxiety level, you'll make very different purchases. Writing out an outline forces you to carefully plan. See your 11th grade English composition teacher did do something useful.
The most practical thing to do is sit down with your partner and family and make an intelligent deliberate plan based upon your finances and anxiety. This plan will no doubt be based upon what others have done. There isn't a good reason for reinventing the wheel. If you're a prepper with specific needs, there is no doubt that another prepper has also thought about the same situation, whether that is a child in a far away college, or soldiers stationed overseas, or dealing with diabetes, or being pregnant, or newly married and fiscally challenged, or wealthy but traveling a lot, or elderly, or having a physically challenged child, or whatever.
Being afraid is never good...it's unhealthy. Being afraid generally is not based upon fact, but rather on our own deficits when we stare in the mirror. It's self-doubt in the face of a perceived challenge. Look in the mirror again and reframe it. Yes, all of us have deficits. Even the strongest of us can not be strong enough. Some of us have zero pioneer skills. Some of us have talents that would have little purpose in a difficult economic collapse. Some of us are aging and cannot run ten miles.
I'll tell you a secret. Everyone has those concerns. Breathe. You are not alone.
Fear is based upon a real threat. It's something that the Source placed in us that is an adaptation to rapidly evaluate a danger and respond rapidly to alter our actions in order to survive. Many times when we think we are experiencing fear in reality what we're doing is being afraid. Fear is hearing a loud bang in your basement at 2 am and estimating how long it will take to collect something to project more power to overcome the threat and respond in careful ways to increase security for loved ones. Being afraid is constantly worrying about it 24/7.
Being afraid usually paralyzes. It's marked by inaction. Experiencing fear generally evokes the fight or flight response. This means immediately doing an action to get away from the things we fear or rushing towards it to eliminate the threat. That's 180 degrees out. It's being a first responder and deciding if the fire is too great and you must leave or deciding that the best way is to put out the fire. Neither is cowardly, but practical based upon a hunch and wisdom and intelligence and bravery...either way.
Rumor versus Fact
Rumors are seldom true, but they are juicy and cathartic. They are like riding a roller coaster. They can be fun because they get other people riled up, or they're fun because they get us riled up. Then the action gives us a release.
Facts are very difficult to qualify. All first information is subject to evaluation and analysis. Is the data coming from multiple reliable sources? This means it's repeatable. Do you know the source and trust them? Is it first hand? Has an expert or two weighed in? Is it being downplayed by an apologist for a group you don't trust at all? Time generally helps decide veracity.
Last Minute Buying
This means that based upon a careful plan, reading expert advice, consulting with family, evaluating what you're preparing for, and how long, you'll make a list of last minute items based upon the worst deficit that you have in your preps and comparing that with whatever facts you can verify.
The worst thing you could do is buy impulse items, poorly chosen, not shopping around, and buying the things least likely to be needed.
Certain things might happen if the worst was about to happen. The first thing that all of those in power must do is organize their own contingency plans and security. This is very hard to keep quiet. It's very difficult to move the massive machine of the military in order to prep for the SHTF. Transport, medicine, supplies, and military hardware must be moved.
Legitimate alternative excuses must be made to cover any such actions. Otherwise any outside witnesses will be alerted. We have no cloaking devices yet.
Communication must be sent. Anything that has a paper trail has far more veracity than a whisper. Smart communication would not leave a paper trail, but it always happens. Listen for it, followed by action, followed by a legitimate alternative excuse. Then think, “Is it plausible that...?
The best of soldiers cannot help but warn family members. It's very important to maintain the military's vital role in defense and not compromise their safety or ours by leaking information that deals with National Security. That said, quiet careful preparation is a must. You might think you're helping by alerting Joan down the street that sort of is friends with you, but she will tell someone too, and on and on. Either you'll be right, and the whole city ends up in a panic, or you'll be wrong and look foolish.
Ancillary support industries that are critical infrastructure, but outside of government control, will also be alerted and responding. Think banking, utilities, natural resource suppliers, hospitals, food warehouses, shipping, etc. Rumors from them will have to be assembled piece meal and then the people reporting them may not realize the importance of the information themselves. These tidbits might alert you to do your last minute preps too.
If you hear a rumor, and you independently verify it, and you slowly decide that it's plausible, and quietly you discuss this with other preppers, then that would be your sign to do the last minute prepping.
It may seem altruistic to help everyone, but in reality most of the time we overreact. Y2K anyone? No matter what, you cannot help everyone prep at the last minute, not with just-in-time inventory practices, not with our fragile banking system, not with human nature. You probably will be shooting yourself in the foot if you're prescient and correctly assess the threat, but as a result make things worse for your family. Can I get an amen?
This is why preppers who want to help others try to teach skills and strategically communicate prepping all the time for emergencies like natural disasters and not SHTF scenarios. Believe me, we've been wrong before about H1N1, Y2K, etc. It is extremely hard to be optimistic when we see signs like new laws being passed, and given that despite the tragic state of America, we sure don't want to overreact.
But... despite all of that coming from an old hand, people are people. If you see other people responding to a perceived threat, then there is some wisdom to making some last minute purchases. Buying things that you need, but that the stores are running out of, is not impulse buying.
Better ways of community coping
We all live in several communities, but don't think that way much of the time. Part of that is we are living in an age of GenYers and hence we tend not to identify with the groups we associate with. That said, many of us live in close proximity with people we associate with. We attend certain churches. Our children play with certain children. Maybe we see those parents socially. All-in-all many of these people have various skills that we don't possess. Many have tools we don't have. Many might have supplies we can't feasibly purchase.
This means that we fall back to the old ways of prepping and sharing our resources. Yes, all of must feed our own families ultimately. Is it wisdom though to buy a lot of expensive fishing gear if we can loan our tools to someone who has it? If one of us is a great gardener, but our best friend is a great cook, it might be very beneficial to pool resources especially if in close proximity. If we have an aging parent who knows a lot about living through a hard time, but is frail then naturally it makes far more sense for them to come stay with us, then to worry about traveling to check on them if the SHTF.
This kind of collaboration is a much better strategy versus dog eat dog.
Quiet Prepping Last Minute
Okay you've verified the rumors and now it's time to make those preps. Hopefully you have a window of a week, not being obtuse and going “Duh what's going on?”
This means doing a last minute gas up, checking all the fluids and air, and obviously not dropping off the car for servicing. Locate maps and exit strategy. You have extra gas cans. Luggage has been been packed, but hopefully in backpacks. You have ready food to grab in some special boxes. Clean sturdy water jugs. The camping equipment has been checked for leaks and tears. The stove and lantern has propane. Imagine an extended camping trip.
You've taken out some extra cash and some trade items. Anything that you can't take is secured at home in hidden places. It no doubt might be found anyway.
You double check the security of your windows and doors inside and out. It's a pleasant fiction, but it following these steps in a rational way will make you and your family feel better. You walk the perimeter and note if anyone else is doing that. Are there any repairs that will become immediate issues?
You're filling up water containers. You'll rotate these. The best way is to have several large containers that you've specifically cleaned and out of the way but accessible. Sure water bobs are great, but they will close off using the tub too. You'll use those later. You know where the water purification is. You've discussed with your family how to purify water. Someone will take charge of controlling this to minimize polluting it.
You've looked and done last minute assessment of home defenses. All firearms are clean, cleaning supplies are located, ammunition safely stored.
You look at your map plans for firewood, game, collecting herbs, whatever and reassess based upon season.
You check your gardening supplies, seeds, fertilizer, tools, and other plant treatment, etc.
If you're relying upon anyone in your community, you make a personal visit to see how they're prepping. If they're doing it in earnest, you'll see unmistakable signs.
You assess if you have all of the home school materials that you might reasonably need. What could you do as alternative plans? How can you teach on multiple modalities? Is there any comprehensive yet fun ways to teach? Do you need any special equipment?
All prescriptions are filled hopefully for several months. Vitamins, soaps, hygiene items, over the counter medicines, first aid all assessed.
Look at all cleaning supplies including laundry. You'll be washing in different ways.
Check whatever is in your freezer/refrigerator/pantry. What don't you have? It's easy to run out of some item. What do you have excess of? What could you trade?
What non-food items could you purchase on your last run that you could trade? Pick one impulse item that you desperately want, but isn't majorly expensive, and get that for peace of mind.
If you're planning on bugging out to a safe zone based upon safety needs, then careful re-communication with loved ones about what you should bring, what they don't have, what they would love to have, what you have that they might not have thought of. Even if they say no, bring valuable trade items and things which will seem like presents.
Last up, what luxury items would your partner and children just love to have? If you can, buy some of that as last minute items to give out later and you'll be loved forever. It meant that when the chips were down, not only was your family prepared, but you thought of their needs to be spoiled. Even if nothing happens, and you produce these special gifts for no reason other than love, well their hearts will melt.