WTH, YOYO. It’s TEOTWAWKI

TEOTWAWKI, you ask? Don’t make me sing the song.

But do I actually feel fine? No, I do not. I’m unsettled. I’m leery.

Why, you ask? As I write this, North Korea is developing its nuclear weapons program and recently “declared invalid” the 1953 war truce with the United States and South Korea, according to a March 12 web article by Alastair Gale of The Wall Street Journal. The “War on Terror” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others is still ongoing, the weather has become increasingly worrisome in recent years, natural disasters have become common occurrences, and the economy all around the world is suffering. In our global marketplace, disasters affect each of us no matter where we live. They are all around us and can be seen in every corner of the world, if we would just take a closer look.

But, I’ll come back to that. First, I want to discuss Doomsday Preppers, the Discovery Channel’s hit TV show. These people are made out to be wacked-out doodly-doos by the media. It’s no wonder people all over the world shy away from telling others about their preps. That, and if they do, they risk complete strangers knocking on their door when the SHTF.

But, do any of the (how many) million viewers ever stop to wonder why these people are prepping? Do the (how many) viewers reflect on the running theme behind the show? Do the viewers consider the reasons behind the prepping presented by the “wackos on TV?”

I have.

You may think that Doomsday Preppers is just a silly show on the National Geographic Channel aired to create hoopla about the prophesied Mayan doomsday of December 21, 2012. As we all know, “Doomsday” came and went without so much as a flicker of the lights in our neck of the woods.

But real preppers do exist, and they have good cause to be prepared. These folks stay up-to-date on current events and understand their implications. These folks are just your average Americans living their lives but remaining vigilant. I am one of them. My name is Stacie Brown, and I am a prepper.

You should be one, too. Everyone should prepare at least a 3-day emergency supply kit for themselves and for their families in case of a natural or synthetic disaster. That way, you and your family won’t have to rely on the government or anyone else to come bail you out if a disaster strikes, especially since our government currently has its own problems to iron out. We all need to be self-reliant and take small steps to prepare for an emergency the best way we can.

So, what is going on in the world that would make us want to be prepared?

Are you paying attention? Do you realize that the drought in the U.S. is becoming more drastic with each passing second? Did you so soon forget Superstorm Sandy? What about the wildfires in Australia? The extreme cold in Alaska? England flooding? Greece gone the way of the dinosaurs? The global economy? The Great Recession? Budget cuts? National debt skyrocketing? Tsunamis? Earthquakes? Pandemics?

I’ll tell ya, this stuff is enough to make your head spin right off.

The world is experiencing disturbing levels of violence and war, economic hardship, natural disasters, and weather phenomena. The 2013 solar maximum is also upon us, there have been numerous pandemics in the past several years, and cybersecurity has become an increasing threat to the United States. The United States is dealing with sequestration, war conflicts, the Recession, and an increased feeling of public angst, so it will be (and has been) unable to put its full effort into funding disaster relief efforts.

Are you ready?

Some examples of the consequences of not being prepared for a disaster can seen in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the tornado outbreaks of 2011/2012, the Texas fires of 2011/2012, the US drought and water shortages, and the recent pandemics. There was looting after Hurricane Katrina. After Hurricane Sandy, government funding for victims was not/has not been sufficient to meet their needs. After the tornado outbreaks of 2011 and 2012, a city in Illinois had its “initial request for disaster assistance denied,” according to an article from The Associated Press. Closer to home, the Texas fires of 2011/2012 caused over 3.8 million acres to burn, according to a Wikipedia article, leaving thousands of people homeless and without possessions. The US drought and consequential water shortages have become so extreme that Texas recently asked Mexico to “pay back” the water it has “borrowed” in the past five years, but Mexico doesn’t have enough to pay it back. Let’s not forget the flu, pertussis, and meningitis pandemics of recent years. To give you an idea of the effect of these, for example, an avian flu pandemic could cost the global economy about $800 billion a year, according to an Associated Press article on the NBC News website. Paying attention to the world around us, it’s obvious that there are many reasons to be prepared. But don’t just take my word for it.

The government knows it. You only have to spend a little time cruising sites like CDC.gov or FEMA.gov or DHS.gov to figure out that this is a serious topic.

The meteorologists know it. Take a look at NOAA.gov.

The scientists know it. Mosey on over to NASA.gov and spaceweather.com.

Federal, state, and local government have been trying to ramp up efforts in disaster preparedness. The 2011 terrorist attacks against the United States led to the creation of the United States Department of Homeland Security, which became its own department in November 2002, according to the DHS website. In a recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report, which provided justification of their budget request for the Disaster Relief Fund for Fiscal Year 2013, “in 2011 the U.S. experienced the most billion dollar weather disasters on record.” In an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web article dated April 4, 2013, “[A] newly published NOAA-led study in Geophysical Research Letters [discovered that] as the globe warms from rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, more moisture in a warmer atmosphere will make the most extreme precipitation events more intense.” This makes the FEMA budget request report even more worrisome because that report also includes a chart showing that FEMA requested about a million dollars less for FY 2013 than what was enacted in the prior fiscal year.

Individual states have also ramped up their efforts to encourage the public to get better prepared for emergencies, such as the “Do 1 Thing” campaign and the “Ready? or Not” campaign. Local disaster preparedness can be seen in the “Ready Houston” campaign and in others closer to home.

If we take a hint from these efforts, we would see that this is an important solution to the problem of government aid for disasters being in short supply. We would realize that our individual efforts are just as important, if not more so, for survival in a disaster scenario. A 3-day emergency supply kit is the most cost-efficient way to start preparing for an emergency. This way, people will not have to rely on anyone else for the safety of their families. Given the big push for preparedness, it is important to understand why an emergency kit is necessary.

Let’s imagine a frequently occurring emergency situation: a tornado. You hear on the news that a severe thunderstorm is coming—a common occurrence here in Texas. The storm rolls in and it starts hailing. You know that means a tornado is likely possible. What do you do?

If you are prepared, you grab your emergency supply kit and head to the basement, or a shelter, or the safest spot in your home. The power goes out, but you have flashlights and extra batteries. The tornado barrels through and rips off pieces of your house, and you get injured by flying debris. It’s a minor injury, and you have packed a first-aid kit in your emergency supplies, so you bandage yourself up. After the storm, you have enough water and food to last three days—a good thing since the food in your fridge got spoiled when the electricity went out, and most of your food in the cupboards took a ride on the tornado express. You even thought to put in activities for the kids to keep their minds occupied and lessen the stress of cleanup. Since you have prepared in advance, you are not worried when you hear that FEMA might take a while to arrive on the scene, if at all.

As you can see, having at least a 3–day emergency supply kit is essential in case a disaster should strike. You never know when you might need it. With the threats, weather, outbreaks, and the economy all around us seeming to get more alarming as time goes on, we need to be prepared as best we can. The local, state, and federal governments are even pushing for the public to get better prepared for emergencies. And you should.

Pack at least a 3-day supply kit for yourself and for your family members. You won’t be sorry that you did.

Works Cited

“April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Wikimedia Foundation. Last Modified 13 Mar 2013. Accessed 13 Mar 2013. Web.

“Creation of the Department of Homeland Security.” The United States Department of Homeland Security. Accessed 14 Mar 2013. Web.

“Prepare for an Emergency.” Texas Department of State Health Services. Last Updated 6 Jul 2012. Accessed 13 Mar 2013. Web.

“War on Terror.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Wikimedia Foundation. Last Modified 22 Feb 2013. Accessed 13 Mar 2013. Web.

Associated Press. “Flu pandemic could damage Asian economies.” NBCNews.com. Updated 2 Nov 2005. Accessed 30 Mar 2013. Web.

Barer, David. “As Mexico Shares Less Water With Texas, Lawmakers Watch and Worry.” State Impact: a reporting project of local public media and NPR. 13 February 2013. Accessed 30 Mar 2013. Web.

Dolce, Chris. “2012 Begins With Above-Average Tornado Activity.” The Weather Channel. Updated 1 April 2012. Accessed 13 Mar 2013. Web.

FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. “Fiscal Year 2013:  Congressional Justification.” United States Department of Homeland Security. Accessed 30 Mar 2013. Electronic PDF (Web).

Gale, Alastair. “North Korea Declares War Truce ‘Invalid’.” The Wall Street Journal. 12 March 2013. Accessed 13 Mar 2013. Web.

Miller, Dave. “GEMA: Peak season for tornado activity starts today.” WALB. Posted 1 Mar 2013. Updated 6 Mar 2013. Accessed 13 Mar 2013. Web.

The Associated Press. “Harrisburg awarded federal disaster funds.” The State Journal-Register. Springfield, Illinois. Posted 29 Mar 2013. Accessed 30 Mar 2013. Web.

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