Preparedness tips for non-preppers

OK, so you’re totally on board with The Resilient Investor‘s goal of being “ready for anything”—you’ve clarified your own idea of where the world seems to be headed, while also realizing that you don’t really know when or how one of the countless wild cards in play might change the game in fundamental ways.  You get that focusing significant energy Close to Home will pay off no matter how the future unfolds; perhaps you’re also committed to pushing our society in those enticing Evolutionary directions.

And yes, you recognize that there is a chance of painful disruptions to life here on American Easy Street.  Maybe you think any hiccups are unlikely to be severe . . . or you harbor a secret dread that’s too nebulous to really figure out how to address.  You certainly aren’t into being a serious Prepper, stockpiling supplies, fine-tuning a “go-bag,” and overlaying that kind of dire filter onto your day to day life.  If it comes to that, you figure we’re all toast, or we’ll all be in it together, and there are better ways to spend your time in the here and now.  But you also have a niggling sense that you could be a little more prepared for a  societal speed bump: it’s not so hard to imagine some sort of grid snafu (cyber-attack or solar flare) or regional weather or terror event that could make things rough for a week, or maybe even a few.  Just-in-time supply chains, vulnerable water supplies, our reliance on fuels and electricity. . . yeah, there are a few weak links out there.

While we’ve pointed to writers and resources that aim to help you prepare for various Breakdown scenarios, if you don’t really identify as a “Doomer,” you’ve probably held off on digging into all that very deeply.  Well, here’s a less-scary entry point for those of you that have been thinking you really consider doing something: a well-curated collection of The Best Emergency Preparedness Supplies from the good folks at Sweethome/Wirecutter. As you may know, Wirecutter is the go-to site for “cream of the crop” write-ups on computer, audio, and office equipment, and Sweethome is their more recent sister site focusing on household gear, tools, and appliances.

They’ve done their typically bang-up job on the Emergency Preparedness collection.  As usual, while they pick their favorites in each product category, they also share a few other solid options and discuss the pros and cons of each.  I spent an hour or so poking around and came away with a first-round set of supplies that leave me feeling much more “ready for anything.”  No 50-gallon drums of rice or oats for me yet, but I do have a battery-and-crank radio, some big water jugs full and waiting, two bright and amazingly long-lasting LED lanterns—all of which will be much appreciated when the next winter storm multi-day electricity outage hits—along with a few small items that could come in very handy if something more serious or long-lasting occurred (water purification tablets, some simple but strong bandaging options, fire-starting options, spare batteries with a 10-yr shelf life).  There’s a bunch more there that I could imagine adding over time—including some additional food and a larger water barrel meant for long-term storage—but, you know, I didn’t want to go TOO crazy right off the bat….

But seriously, if The Resilient Investor has one core message, it’s that whatever you see in your Crystal Ball of the Future, personal resilience requires that you hedge your bets to some degree.  The Sweethome Emergency Preparedness guide is a simple, accessible, and reliable starting point for the particularly fraught step of beginning to hedge against the chance of moderate disruptions, as well as one of several useful starting points for those considering more comprehensive preparedness that’s short of stockpiling for a post-apocalyptic landscape.

UPDATE, 2/8/16: A couple days after posting this, we came across this Buzzfeed article on Lisa Bedford, aka The Survival Mom, who treads the preparedness path in a way that’s more serious than the Sweethome collection, but still far short of the full-on bunker-building folks like John Wesley Rawles at SurvivalBlog (a prime preparedness source mentioned in our book):

In her willingness to debunk “accepted prepper wisdom,” as she puts it, and cater to “suburban” preppers like herself, she’s carved out a niche in both the subculture and the multibillion-dollar industry that’s grown out of it. . . . (She notes), “Me? I just want to have a plan to handle everyday emergencies and am prepared for worst case scenarios at the most practical level possible.”

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