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Until recently, chances were if the words prepper or preparedness came up in conversation or the media, it was to mock or paint a less than flattering picture. Then, just like that, the pandemic happened. Toilet paper, cleansers, canned food, flour, yeast, and a whole variety of other items became scarce. Many people realized maybe those crazy preppers weren’t so crazy after all!

Why Preparedness Matters

The past two years have been a wake-up call for many, and others have been striving to be self-reliant for years.

My husband’s grandma, who will be 100 later this year, has always kept a full pantry. When I’ve spoken to her about The Great Depression, she said she didn’t really know anything was happening. Her family raised all their own food and were barely affected.

I also have a friend who has been quietly going about their preparedness efforts since the gas shortage of the ’70s, and I’m connected in one way or another with dozens of others who have been at this for at least a decade.


Our Preparedness Story

For my family, The Great Coastal Gale of 2007 was our catalyst. High winds took out our power on a Sunday, and we didn’t get it back until Saturday. The damage from the wind was extensive. A few days after the lights came back on, there was a mudslide on the highway, closing it for weeks. Things were definitely interesting.

Before the windstorm took out our power, I’m not even sure I’d ever heard the words prepper or preparedness before. I may have heard of survivalists and equated that to the Rambo movies.

In those days, I was fairly new to the internet and, while we had a computer, our rural access was still dial-up. For those of you who remember dial-up internet, you may understand why I wasn’t on it much! I braved the slow access speeds and started researching “what to do in a power outage” for tips to help us live more comfortably should something similar happen at a future time.


Even in late 2007/early 2008, there was a lot of preparedness information. It was very easy to travel down rabbit holes. There was also a lot of mocking. Even as the housing bubble burst and the Great Recession raged, preparedness was an object of ridicule.


Why Prep?

In 2011, National Geographic began airing Doomsday Preppers. As each episode focused on different people preparing for “doomsday,” they’d ask what they were preparing for. The responses were varied, but most were apocalyptic in nature.

Of course they were! What would be the fun in a show about people who wanted to be able to ride out a windstorm in comfort?

In my opinion, we should all be preppers. None of us know what the future holds. We’ve seen how quickly things can go from normal to not normal, we’ve experienced empty store shelves, and we’ve watched as fuel prices increase. We’re experiencing inflation. Our dollars are being stretched to the max. There are conflicts not only in our country but worldwide.

While some preppers may be preparing for an end-of-the-world event, most just want to be able to provide for their family no matter the circumstances.

Over the years, I’ve met people who lived on their food storage during job loss, the death of a family member, and a spouse’s illness. I know people whose car kits have helped at the scene of an accident, whose Get Home Bag provided comfort when a blizzard closed the interstate. And personally, my version of a bug-out bag was ready to go when we were evacuated for a fast-moving wildfire.

Why Preparedness Matters

Reasons You Should Prep

While a localized wind event may not be the fodder for a bestselling novel or movie, the day-to-day mundane is a great reason to prep.

A few reasons you may prep:


Natural Disasters

  • Floods and flash floods: both can cause a disruption of services, property damage, or loss of life
  • Heatwaves: can cause power outages and death)
  • Lightning and summer storms: can cause power outages, wildfires, and more
  • Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis: can cause widespread damage in a localized area, power outages, loss of life, disruptions of services, and more
  • Winter storms: can cause power outages, travel issues, and loss of water
  • Wildfires or forest fires: you may need to evacuate



A well-stocked pantry is a big help and money saver during personal struggles such as:

  • Job loss or decrease in work
  • Health issues, disability, death of a loved one



  • Natural events listed above
  • Civil unrest: you may need to hunker down
  • Hazardous materials incidents (train wreck, semi-truck overturns): you may need to evacuate or avoid certain areas
  • Dam failure, nuclear power plant issues, chemical plants, gas refineries, etc.: you may need to evacuate or services may be disrupted
  • Terrorist acts: certain transportation could be suspended, supply chain issues, etc.


Country-wide or Worldwide

  • Pandemic
  • Economic issues, inflation
  • Wars, the threat of war, issues in other countries that may disrupt our supplies or goods (happening now!)

Everything listed above is realistic and historical. Preparedness doesn’t need to be focused on some “end of the world as we know it” event commonly called TEOTWAWKI.

About now you may be thinking, “Hey, Millie, don’t you write stories about TEOTWAWKI?” While my books do have a widespread, life-altering event, the trouble starts with smaller, localized situations. Things that, on their own, would not be world-changing. Things that could easily be prepared for.

While I do offer preparedness tips in my stories, they are designed to be fun fiction, a way for you to start thinking about the “what ifs” that could happen while entertaining. When my first book came out, a few months prior to the pandemic, I received a rather scathing review. The reviewer’s main issue: the characters in my story went to the store and bought toilet paper and paper towels. Hmmm…


Preparedness is Not a New Idea

Preppers and preparedness may be buzzwords of recent years, but the concepts aren’t new. One of my favorite books, Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, is a collection of letters from 1909 to 1914. In a few of the letters, she details how she grew her garden and tended her homestead to have a year’s worth of food.

Mrs. Stewart was the norm. Our just-in-time system of having a grocery store at our whim is a new concept. Many times, communities banded together. Some farmers may have grown the cereal crops, a few ranchers harvested the beef, etc.

Obviously, we live quite differently now, with more people in cities than in rural areas. Even so, helping others is another reason to prep. Preparedness strengthens communities. Like in days past, some in the community may grow gardens, others may be amateur radio aficionados, yet others trained for medical emergencies.


Moving Forward

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share a few of my ideas for getting started with preparedness. My hope is others will add their thoughts to the comments and give many nuggets of wisdom. Use the information as it best suits you, and leave behind what doesn’t work for your situation.

With the events happening on the world stage, many of us are feeling a pressing need to either start or beef up preparedness efforts. Let’s help each other during this time.


More Preparedness Resources


What is your reason to prep? Why does preparedness matter to you? Leave a comment below!

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