by Todd Walker
[Todd's note: Follower's of this blog know that I am a lover of unconventional wisdom when it comes to health, nutrition, and fitness... which I consider your most important prep. I discovered Dr. Dan Strickler (Paleo Doc) in his post at SurvivalBlog a few years ago. His advice confirmed my Primal prepping lifestyle. He graciously agreed to write this article for Survival Sherpa readers. Thanks, Dan! Enjoy! To connect with Dr. Strickler, see his bio below.]
I live half of each week in Asheville, NC and the other half of the week in Charleston, WV, these cities are of similar size but the mindset of each group is very different. Asheville would be a wonderful place to be if there were an “event” that took society back a century or two. The population of Asheville has the mindset that makes them a great prepper society. Many people raise their own chickens, have permaculture yards, have gardens, and there are many small farmers. You have people with bees, people making butter, old-fashioned soap makers, and even people making clothes. These are just some of the things you can find at any of the five or so farmers markets that are going on around town on various days of the week. People here are also very environmentally conscious and active in promoting it.
Charleston, WV is very different, it has the potential to be like Asheville, but it is not and I am not sure why, especially with its recent history. In July of 2012, Charleston was one of the hardest cities hit by the derecho. Power was out over most of the state, the shortest power outage in our area was five days and these days were in the upper 90’s. Gas stations could not pump gas, stores were closed but it did not matter because they had no drinks after day 2 and we had a boil water advisory. People were panicking….no food, no water, no gas to get anywhere, and no air conditioning. This was the first wake up call, some heeded this warning and did some stocking up but many sat back and blamed the government for their failures. Round two occurred just two weeks ago; a toxic organic chemical used to process coal leaked around 10,000 gallons into the river a mile upstream from the water processing plant that supplied water for over 300,000 residents. Not sure who allowed this chemical to be stored upstream in the first place but the tanks had not even been inspected for 23 years. The EPA was not even familiar with the risks of the chemical. Residents are told do not use the water for bathing, washing clothes, and certainly not for drinking. All restaurants are shut down, stores are out of water and drinks within 24 hours. The chemical is finally low enough after five days of this to allow some residents to flush their pipes, three days later we are told a new reading shows the level too high again. People leave town because they have no water and cannot clean, cook, or stay hydrated. You would think that most of these people would have been prepared. Unfortunately, most did not learn their lesson the first time and now complained again about the government failing to take care of them. Now, Charleston is the chemical valley, there are major chemical plants all up and down the rivers. Coal and the chemical industry is the life-blood of this region and the reality is; this was going to happen at some point.
I tell this story to first illustrate the point that few people are prepared for these short term emergencies and live in a world where, in their opinion, the government will be there to help. This demonstrates two emergency situations in a short time frame in one town. Secondly, I bring this up because it is a real test of preparation. I had water and food and at no point did panic set in. I also had a back-up, Berkey water filters, and so I did not concern myself about the water running out. The black carbon filters along with the PF-2 chemical filters can pretty much make any water potable. I do not keep a huge stockpile of dehydrated and canned food (3 months for 7 people) and you will see my reasoning in the next part of this article.
Why Prep?Let’s start by asking: what are you prepping for?
Financial collapse of society?
EMP, solar flare, computer attack that shuts down the grid?
Super volcano or major environmental shift?
It’s really not possible to adequately prep for all of these so you are really taking a gamble if you select one to be your focus. Also, lets face the fact that in some of these scenarios – does it really matter?