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Dealing with Fear and Anxiety in Your Preparedness and Survival

fear management tips for preppers

Dealing with fear is important to discuss and understand because it is probably one of the main reasons many start in preparedness.  It’s not the only reason, and many might not admit it, but something, somewhere concerned you enough to the need to get prepared.  While fear may drive us to action, it’s crucial to explore strategies for overcoming fear in prepping to ensure a balanced approach.

So to reiterate, you shouldn’t stay in that state of fear as you continue on your journey to be better prepared!  You need some fear management tips for preppers!

Understanding Fear in Preparedness

This applies to everyone who is currently prepping.  It might be most relevant to those who are newer to preparedness, but I have heard from preppers who have been prepping for a while and could use more of this information in their life.

And if that is you, you might get a little frustrated with me because you still see the concerns that led you to prepping still out there.  

But those outside forces are not things that you can control anyway.  We should be focused on what we can control and what we can do to mitigate the craziness from impacting us in a way that wrecks our lives!

Fear-based prepping comes into play when we realize how fragile the world around us is.  It could stem from economic turbulence, political upheaval, job loss, health concerns, natural disasters, or just concern over the zeitgeist, which is the spirit of the age. 

Physiological Impact of Fear: The Amygdala and Fight or Flight Response

Fear impacts you by taxing you not just mentally, but physiologically too. Understanding how fear impacts us physiologically is the first step in overcoming fear in prepping.  Fear is based in our amygdala, the part of the brain that we share with many animals.  It is called the lizard brain.  And it is responsible for our fight or flight reflexes.  

When things get too stressful and overwhelming, our response is to leave the situation (flight).  Many people do so when they put their heads in the sand to not deal with the troubles in this world.  They just don’t want their way of living disrupted, including the lives of their families.  

Some fight, where we could consider the place where preparedness falls in, where we are doing something about whatever is causing us to fear.

But again, the problem is when we stay in the fear!  Notice that an animal who is in a fight or flight situation doesn’t always stay there.  We are not supposed to stay in fight or flight or fear all the time.

Practical Fear Management Tips for Preppers

To deal with fear, the prepared should understand and nail down a few things

Ask yourself, “What brought you to preparedness in the first place?”  What was the reason?  Did you deal with that specific thing already?  Have you mitigated the situation?

For example, if you first came to preparedness because you experienced a week-long power outage after a hurricane, have you worked through how you manage that now if it happened again?

If you haven’t, then start doing that now!  It isn’t hard to get this figured out!

If you have, then you can feel proud that you conquered that fear.  Now you might not feel like you did, but you were concerned about a week without power and then you figured that out.  There is no need to stay in fear because of a power outage now!

Now if you are concerned about an EMP or Solar Flare, I’m sorry, you can’t ever get fully prepared for that!  To me, that’s not where you should be focusing on your preparedness.  But I digress.

When you start dealing with your legitimate concerns, plan and prepare to mitigate those concerns.  Your fear levels should decrease and eventually go away!

Moving Beyond Fear: Building Resilience in Preparedness

Fear comes into play when you really haven’t done anything to mitigate your true concerns.  

So for your sanity and quality of life, you need to handle fear and remove what you can from your thoughts.  

Some people are just worriers.  I get that.  But only worrying, doesn’t cause you to change or do something productive.  

Think back to a time when you worried about a big project you needed to get done.  Think about the feeling after you completed the project.  

And, I will speak from experience, many times your worry isn’t even justified!  A lot of time and energy is wasted on fear and worry that could have been put to use somewhere else!

Shifting Mindsets: From Fear to Empowerment

Here is something you should do.  Start writing down the things that you fear.  Put a name and a “face” to it!  Write down the reason why it causes you to fear!

This should be the start or beginning of dealing with your fear.  Because once you know what you’re dealing with, you can start to address it and it doesn’t continue to be this big ugly monster under your bed that you don’t know what to do with!

Conclusion: Embracing a Balanced Approach to Preparedness

Ok. To recap, fear is a driving force behind many individuals’ preparedness, yet it shouldn’t be the sole motivator or a state where one remains stagnant. 

Fear-based prepping often stems from acknowledging the fragility of our surroundings, however, it’s essential to recognize that staying in a perpetual state of fear is counterproductive. By identifying the specific fears driving preparedness and actively addressing them through planning and mitigation strategies, individuals can alleviate anxiety and build resilience. This process involves understanding the root causes of fear, confronting them head-on, and gradually reducing their impact on your daily life. Through proactive measures and a shift in mindset, overcoming fear in prepping is achievable. By embracing fear management tips for preppers, individuals can navigate the uncertainties of preparedness with confidence and resilience.

preparedness guide

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Survival Whistle: The One Piece of Survival Gear You Need to Carry

survival whistle

The Titanic?!?  For some reason, the scene at the end when Rose is floating on the wooden board and hears the rescuers but can’t yell, reminds me of whistles.  Probably because that was the only way she got the rescuers attention!  It was a smart move and one that saved her life.  Yeah, I know it is a movie, but it’s a good illustration of how important it is to have a simple piece of gear like a whistle!

Like many of us know, emergencies can happen at any time and in any place, and it is important to be prepared for them. Whether it is a natural disaster, a medical emergency, or a dangerous situation, having the right tools on hand can make all the difference. The one piece of “inexpensive” gear that is often overlooked is a whistle.

History of Whistles

Whistles have been used for thousands of years for various purposes. The ancient Greeks used them during their Olympic games to signal the start and end of events. In the Middle Ages, whistles were used by shepherds to communicate with their dogs. Whistles were also used on ships as a means of communication between crew members.

In more recent times, whistles have been used in emergency situations. During World War I, soldiers used whistles to signal for help when they were trapped in trenches or injured on the battlefield. Whistles were also used by air raid wardens during World War II to alert people to take cover during bombing raids.

Today, whistles are still used by hikers, campers, and anyone else who is smart enough to carry a whistle and finds themselves in an emergency situation.

Benefits of Carrying a Whistle

Carrying a whistle can provide several benefits for personal safety. One of the main benefits is that it can attract attention in an emergency situation. If you are lost or injured in the wilderness or trapped in a building after a disaster, blowing a whistle can help rescuers locate you more quickly than if you were shouting for help.  It also takes less energy to blow into a whistle than to keep shouting for help over and over again.

Another benefit of carrying a whistle is that it can potentially save lives. In situations where time is of the essence, such as when someone is drowning or having a heart attack, blowing a whistle can alert others to the situation and prompt them to take action.

Different Types of Whistles

There are several different types of whistles available, each with its own pros and cons. Pealess whistles are popular because they do not have a pea inside that can get stuck or clogged with dirt or debris. Electronic whistles are also available, which produce a loud, high-pitched sound without the need for blowing.

However, some people prefer traditional whistles with peas because they produce a distinct sound that can be heard from farther away. It is important to consider the environment in which you will be using the whistle when choosing which type to purchase.

But if you find yourself without a whistle, and you can find yourself a soda can and a pair of scissors or even your knife, you can make this survival whistle.

But you also need to watch the video below on how you can make a traditional willow whistle, just with your bushcraft knife.  This would be a great project to do and it wouldn’t take too long.

How to Use a Whistle in an Emergency

Using a whistle in an emergency situation is simple, just blow.  But there are some ways that you can use a whistle that many recognize as emergency signals.

For example, blowing three short blasts is a universally recognized signal for distress. Someone in an emergency situation could blow three short blasts in succession to indicate that they need help.

Blowing one long blast can help to pinpoint your location and signal your location to rescuers.

Going back to the reference from the Titanic, blowing short bursts can be used to attract attention, particularly in noisy or windy conditions.  This is what Rose did in the end scene. “Jack, I’ll never let go…but I have to blow a whistle now in short bursts.”

Lastly, you can use a whistle to blow a distress signal. This would include blowing the universal signal for SOS, three short, three long, three short blasts.

When you use a whistle in an emergency situation where you are hoping someone comes to your rescue, you should blow and then wait to hear if there is any response.  This will help conserve your energy and listen for any communication from rescuers if they are near.  

Tips for Choosing the Right Whistle

When choosing a whistle, there are several factors to consider. The volume of the whistle is important, as you want it to be loud enough to attract attention but not so loud that it hurts your ears. The durability of the whistle is also important, as you want it to be able to withstand rough handling and exposure to the elements.

It is also important to consider personal preferences when choosing a whistle. Some people prefer pealess whistles because they are easier to clean and maintain, while others prefer traditional whistles with peas because they produce a distinct sound.

You can find some whistles on Amazon that claim that they are super loud like the Hyperwhistle and the Storm Safety Whistle.  Some are sold as survival whistles like the Tacray Survival Whistle.  My personal favorite is the traditional whistle your gym teacher might have used.

Preparedness Application

Incorporating a survival whistle into your preps is a simple thing that would pay-off big time in an emergency. What should you do about it?

  1. Decide what type of whistle would be better for you and your loved ones to carry.
  2. Purchase several whistles to place in strategic areas, your vehicle, key ring, bugout bag, purse or EDC kit.
  3. Practice using your whistle so you can gauge how much to blow into it to get the loudness you are looking for.

Conclusion: Don’t Leave Home Without It

Carrying a whistle is a simple but effective way to increase your chances of survival in an emergency situation. Whether you are hiking in the wilderness or living in an area prone to natural disasters, having a whistle on hand can help rescuers locate you more quickly and potentially save your life. It is a commonsense preparedness move that everyone should make!

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Real Preparedness:  Understanding the Significance of Shutting Off Utilities

shutting off utilities

Emergencies can happen at any time, and being prepared can make all the difference in keeping you and your family safe. One crucial aspect of emergency preparedness is knowing how to turn off your home power, gas and electricity during an emergency. Turning off your home utilities can prevent further damage and keep you and your family safe.  It’s important that everyone of your family members who is capable, understand when and how to do turn off the utilities. 

Benefits of Turning Off Utilities in an Emergency

Shutting off water, gas and electricity during an emergency can prevent further damage to your home and keep you and your family safe. For example, turning off the water supply can prevent flooding in case of a burst pipe or a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood. Turning off the gas supply can prevent fires or explosions caused by gas leaks. Turning off the electricity supply can prevent electrocution or fires caused by electrical faults.

Shutting off utilities can also help emergency responders do their job more effectively. For example, if there is a fire in your home, turning off the gas supply can prevent the fire from spreading.

Knowing When to Shut Off Your Utilities

Knowing when to shut off your home’s utilities is crucial for emergency preparedness. There are several scenarios that may require shutting off utilities, such as natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, gas leaks, electrical faults, and burst pipes.

In an emergency situation, it is advisable to turn off the electricity to avoid any further complications from electrical hazards. Turning off the electricity does not always guarantee safety, but it does eliminate the likelihood that something else will happen, such as a fire breaking out or an electric current that could potentially cause bodily harm.

During Hurricane Harvey, as our neighborhood was starting to really flood, the power company turned off the electricity to the whole neighborhood.  The electrical lines coming into the neighborhood come through overhead lines.  But the lines in the neighborhood are in the ground.  Water and electricity don’t mix!  The electric company did this to prevent further damage to the neighborhood grid.  It was an inconvenience, but because of it, power was able to come back on a lot sooner.

One reason you would want to shutdown the gas is if you hear a hissing sound and smell of natural gas.  You would also want to do this if there is a fire in your home.  Of course, the first priority is getting everyone to safety.

The most likely reason you would want to turn off the water is if there was a leak.  During Winter Storm Uri, one of my church members checked on an elderly neighbor who was cold and trying to keep warm.  However, a water broke in her home and the water was just pouring in.  She didn’t know what to do and was probably in shock!

It’s essential to be aware of the signs that indicate a problem with your utilities and move fast.  Doing so in some cases can mean the difference between life and death.  At the very least, it can mean the difference between a small clean-up or a huge bill for remediation.

How to Shut Off Your Home’s Utilities

Knowing how to shut off your home’s utilities is essential for emergency preparedness. Here is a step-by-step guide for shutting off water, gas, and electricity:

Water Shutoff
1. Locate the main water valve.  You should identify this main meter before you need to shut off the water!
2. Turn the valve clockwise until it stops.
3. Open all faucets to drain any remaining water.

Turning Off Your Gas:
1. Locate the gas meter.
2. Turn the valve on the meter 90 degrees so that it is perpendicular to the pipe.
3. Do not turn on the gas until the gas company or a professional has inspected your system.

Shutting Off Electricity:
1. Locate the main circuit breaker box.
2. Turn off all circuit breakers.
3. If you cannot access the circuit breaker box safely, call an electrician.

Station the Tools Necessary

The last thing you want to happen in an emergency situation is to not be able to find the tools you need to shut off gas or water.  In this case, I recommend stationing some tools that are dedicated to this purpose.

For water, you should have a Water Meter Key or Water Meter T Wrench.  This is a long wrench, about 22-22 inches long that allows you to turn off the water without having to get your hand inside the meter itself.  This because sometimes it just looks nasty down there and a long T Wrench is hard to miss.

For gas, you can simply use a pipe wrench or a channel locks.  Again, I would recommend these tools be dedicated for this task and placed somewhere that everyone knows where they are and agree not to use them for anything else.  Anyone who has kids knows what I’m talking about.

There is an all-in-one wrench that you might consider that will do both water and gas.  The only reason I wouldn’t consider it is because my water meter housing is deep and spiders! 

You don’t need anything special to turn off electricity. You just need to know how to flip the switch!

This is my water meter. I didn’t realize how many leaves were in it. I was just barely able to see the turn off valve. It might be a good idea to check your meter from time to time and clean it up.

Preparing by Being Proactive

Some preppers might want to be proactive in shutting off utilities.  One reason you might want to do this is if you are going on a trip and you know bad weather is heading your way.  There are many stories of people coming back to their homes after Winter Storm Uri to see water pouring out from underneath their doors. 

Another reason to shutoff your utilities is for risk eversion.  When the temperatures were expected to drop during Christmas 2022 below freezing for a few days, many people chose to turn off the water and drain their pipes instead of running the risk of a busted pipe. 

The Training Piece

One of the most important things you can do is to train everyone in your household where the gas shutoff valve and water meter is located and how to use the tools to turn them off in an emergency!  You should stress how to do this and why.  You might not always be around.  It might fall to your spouse or kids to accomplish turning off your utilities in an emergency.

Check Out the Life Saving Skills Toolkit from Ready.gov.

The Importance of Being Prepared for Emergencies

In conclusion, being prepared means some of the simple things like knowing when to turn off your utilities.  This is essential to keeping you and your family safe during emergencies or just to make life easier. Turning off your home utilities during emergencies can prevent further damage and a lot of pain in heartache in dealing with insurance and contractors. 

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Do You Have Holes in Your Preps?

The thing that finally got my wife to prep was sitting down and watching After Armageddon.  It is a docudrama set in America right after a pandemic has wiped out a majority of the population.  After watching the show, my wife immediately wanted to buy more water.

Even in that early stage of preparedness, she realized that water was something we didn’t have enough of!  Water is important and we talk about it often in preparedness.  But we all have other holes that we don’t realize.

Going back to the show, the main character finally gets “done-in” by a small cut on his hand that grows into an infection.  It’s crazy to think that a typical small cut can do that, but in a post apocalyptic world, the smallest holes in your preps can do you in!

And this is an issue because we normally think in “BIG” items.  We need food! Solar! Firearms!  But then we miss out on the small things like how important an old school thermometer would be when we don’t have those special batteries needed for our digital ones!

We can’t know everything.  And we need to be comfortable with understanding that we are going to miss something.

But to help us a long, here are some things that could be considered holes in our preps.

  • First Aid Supplies – You might have the big stuff covered like pandemics, nuclear fallout and such.  But what about anti-diarrhea medication?  What about some Benadryl? (Diphenhydramine HCI)
  • Finances – You are ready for the Economic Collapse of the whole financial system, but what about if your car loses its transmission?  Do you have enough money in savings to handle that?  What about a new water heater?  Cold showers aren’t always fun!
  • Health – You realize you are going to be doing manual work when the SHTF.  But when was the last time you had your teeth cleaned and checked for cavities?  When was the last time you had your eyes checked?  
  • Gardening – You know the importance of gardening and supplementing your stored food, but have you ever learned how to save seeds from one harvest to another?  

Many of the things above can be handled with a small purchase or learning a new skill.  But the thing is, you don’t know unless you consider it and then do something about it!

You have holes in your preps!  We all do!

What are some other holes that you feel preppers might have and not realize it?  Share it in the comments.

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Alone: Prepper Loneliness

prepper loneliness

Jack lived in a small cabin in the woods. Jack believed in being prepared and had everything he needed to survive any disaster: food, water, weapons, and supplies. But despite his best efforts, there was one thing Jack couldn’t prepare for – loneliness.

As the years went by, Jack’s once sturdy walls started to crack and his once well-stocked pantry started to dwindle. He found himself feeling more isolated and empty with each passing day.

Then one day, a stranger stumbled upon Jack’s cabin in the woods. The stranger, a woman named Sarah, had been on the run from the chaos of the world and was in desperate need of help. Jack took her in, and in her company, he found the thing he had been missing all along – human connection.

Together, they worked on fortifying the cabin, planting a garden, and creating a home. And for the first time in a long time, Jack felt a sense of purpose and belonging. He realized that no amount of preparation could have protected him from the true disaster of loneliness, and that it was the love and companionship of another person that would help him weather any storm.

Prepper Loneliness is a Real Thing

One thing that I have learned in my time in the Preparedness Community is that many preppers are doing it without the support of their family.  They are solo preppers!  And although they may be surrounded by family and friends, they don’t have anyone that they can discuss preparedness with, without getting the eye-rolls or “are you wanna of those Doomsday Prepppers” questions.

If someone who preps does have their spouse behind them, I have seen where the rest of their family, maybe grown children, don’t believe in prepping.  They think their parents are a little kooky and just tolerate their concerns about the fragile world.  Preparedness-minded parents or couples live with the stress of knowing their loved ones aren’t prepared, so they try to prep extra just in case.

All the loneliness is exacerbated by the fact that many preppers believe in Operational Security (OPSEC) and not talking about their preparedness in any way.  They believe that sharing that they believe in being prepared in the slightest might translate to the golden hordes showing up at the doorstep when the poop hits the fan.  So they prep in silence, keeping to themselves, missing out on the friendship and relationships that could be.

But It Doesn’t Have to Be that Way

Preppers could and SHOULD have many friends and relationships that they can depend on when the going gets tough.  It is a common understanding now in the Preparedness Community, that no person or family can go it alone.  You will need a support system if the balloon ever truly goes up.

While everyone waits for the end of the world, it would be a big shame to miss out on the friendships and relationships that you can make along the way.  There are like-minded people out there that are in the same situation as you, looking to connect and enjoy life, not just waiting for the next polar shift.

The key here is to understand that you don’t have to give up any of your preparedness activities while you make meaningful relationships either in person or online.  You just need to be willing to make an effort to connect.

Connect? But How?

The goal is to find like-minded people.  Where do like-minded people hang out?  Well for preppers, like-minded people might be someone who likes to garden, hike and camp, shoot firearms, is active in their Neighborhood Watch, is community-minded or who volunteers somewhere in the community, like at church.

The thing to remember here is that you can get involved with any of these activities and not wear your “I’m a Prepper T-shirt” to the activity.  There are plenty of people who like to garden that don’t prep.  There are plenty of people who are involved in Ham Radio, but don’t have their closets full of food and water.  There are people who are involved in their Neighborhood Watch that don’t believe the End of the World is right around the corner, but do believe in keeping their neighborhood safe for their kids.  You can do all of these activities without giving yourself up.

And the people that you meet in these types of activities will be well-meaning, good-hearted people that you can go grab a cup of coffee with, invite over to dinner, or go out to a movie with.

And, Then

At some point, you will meet people that you click so well with that you are willing to talk about being prepared, a little at first and then more.  I mean, if reasonable people aren’t looking at the world around them right now and asking questions, they have blinders on.

But then you might find someone who is a prepper.  They might be just like you, not willing to divulge any information, but at some point, something slips out. They will say something that catches your attention and fires your Prepping Spidey-Senses.  You will look at them and ask something like, “do you prep for emergencies?”  Their eyes will get real big and you realize you have something even more in common than you realized.

A Word to Seniors

I believe that building relationships with other like-minded people is even more important for “Seasoned Citizens.”  There are many older preppers out there that find their life, much less their life of preparedness very lonely.  This is why it is important to get out there and build connections.  You have to be purposeful and find something you love to do.  I can guarantee you, there are others in the same boat.

Hobbies and Interests to Find Like-Minded People

The following is a list of hobbies and interests where preppers might find like-minded people.

  • Homesteading
  • Gardening
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Canning and preserving food
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Self-defense
  • Firearm training and shooting sports
  • Renewable energy
  • Beekeeping
  • Chicken raising
  • Pig and livestock farming
  • Home security and surveillance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Ham radio
  • Geocaching
  • Disaster relief volunteering
  • Alternative medicine
  • Military history and tactics
  • Foraging and wild edibles
  • Alternative currencies
  • Bartering and trade skills
  • Wildcrafting and herbal medicine
  • Alternative housing options
  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects
  • Blacksmithing
  • Knife making
  • Leather working
  • Wood carving
  • Solar panel installation
  • Aquaponics
  • Hydroponics
  • Sustainable agriculture practices
  • Battery backup systems and generator maintenance.

Meeting Others

The following is a list of places where you might find like-minded people.

  • Prepper and survivalist groups and forums online
  • The Ready Your Future Exclusive Online Email Group
  • Prepper and survivalist conventions and trade shows
  • Shooting ranges and gun clubs
  • CERT or Local disaster response organizations
  • Community and neighborhood organizations
  • Preparedness and survival skills training courses and workshops
  • Outdoor and camping gear retailers
  • Agricultural and homesteading supply stores
  • Local farmer’s markets and food co-ops
  • Ham radio clubs and groups
  • Renewable energy and conservation groups
  • Cybersecurity and technology groups
  • Community gardens and gardening clubs
  • Hunting and fishing organizations
  • Sustainable and self-sufficient living communities
  • Gardening and homesteading classes and workshops
  • Beekeeping organizations
  • Livestock and animal husbandry groups
  • Wilderness survival and wilderness medicine groups
  • Off-grid living communities and organizations
  • Alternative medicine and herbal medicine groups
  • Self-defense and martial arts groups
  • Military and veteran groups
  • Do-it-yourself and home improvement groups
  • Alternative housing and building organizations
  • Alternative currencies and bartering organizations
  • Boy/Girls Scouts 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that if you are lonely and don’t want to stay lonely, you need to get out there and make some real relationships.  Remember, you don’t have to give away that you are an experienced prepper.  You just need to go and show interest in a hobby or get involved somewhere to meet real people you can connect with.

Not everyone you meet will be someone you will want to grab coffee or go through the TEOTWAWKI with, but you have to get out there to find the right one. Make it a goal to connect.

Peace
Todd

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