Recently, I put out a questionnaire to ask the Preparedness Community a few questions. The questions were:
- What ONE thing do you need help on to FEEL better prepared? Please type your response and feel free to elaborate.
- What EMERGENCY is your biggest concern? Feel free to elaborate.
- What other type of articles would you like to find/read about in regards to preparedness?
- What question have you always wanted to ask but never felt comfortable to ask?
I am grateful for my friends in the Preparedness Community, website and blog owners who made their readers aware of the questionnaire so that we could get a broad range of answers. I wish I could name them all here, but there are many out there who I know promoted the questionnaire.
The goal of the questionnaire was to get feedback so that those of us who own websites and blogs can target some of the questions that preppers might have. My hope is that articles, podcasts and videos will bounce off of this data and ultimately help ALL of us become better prepared.
At the time of this post, I have had 76 responses (the questionnaire is still open). In looking over any data, we know that if someone asks a specific question, that many more will have the same question. If a topic comes up 3 or 4 times, we know that we definitely need to cover it. And when we cover that topic or question, we need to tackle it in multiple articles, podcasts and videos AND from different perspectives.
Ultimately, I was hoping to find some major categories of what preppers consider their biggest emergency to prepare for. If a response included more than one response, I accepted it as several valid answers. For example, if someone said, “My major concerns are economic collapse, EMP and pandemics,” each of those categories received a point. If a response included two in the same category, for example, “an Ebola pandemic,” I only gave Ebola the point.
Economic Collapse – The category that received the most responses was an economic collapse. This is understandable because it effects all of us, no matter where we live. And if we are “keeping an eye on things,” then we know that our economy is not doing too good. In fact, the first article I ever linked to on Prepper Website was found on SHTFPlan and titled, “How to Spot the Triggers of a Socioeconomic Collapse.” That article was written by Fernando Aguirre, someone who has experienced economic collapse first hand and has written a book about his experiences in Argentina.
The problem that I see with the economic collapse issue is that many of us believed that it was supposed to happen already! Every down day on the stock market and news from the MSM causes preppers to hold their breath. We’ve also heard that it will happen in a slow spiral and then pick up speed, as well as heard that it will happen overnight. I know that I have linked to many articles on Prepper Website about economic collapse and it is probably one of my main concerns.
Pandemic – A close second category was concern regarding pandemics. I have written before that watching the History Channel’s After Armageddon was the show that convinced my wife to prep. The premise is that a pandemic causes a societal breakdown and tracks one family as they struggle to survive. A “real” pandemic would cause a domino effect that would bring about a societal breakdown which would cause other concerns like, power failures.
Many people are talking about the possibility of a pandemic due to Ebola. So, this is fresh on the minds of many people. However, Ebola only received 3 responses on the questionnaire. I’m not saying that people will not get sick and die from Ebola, but we might not see a pandemic that rivals let say, the Spanish Flu. Where we might have issues is with the fear that Ebola talk causes. People might not go out to eat, spend money at Christmas, etc… if it is found that someone with Ebola was nearby. This again will cause a domino effect, although probably not as severe as if a real pandemic happened.
Many people say we are overdue for a pandemic. We read about antibiotic resistant strains of (fill-in-the-blank), weaponized flu, mutating viruses, you name it! I believe the threat of a future pandemic is very valid. We should prepare for an eventual pandemic, but we should probably prepare to just bug in for a certain amount of time.
EMP – The third highest category was EMP. I will admit that an EMP would be devastating! However, in the probability of disasters, this is low on the totem pole! Books like One Second After and Lights Out provide the preparedness community with good reading, but also a lot of fear. And, I will admit, One Second After freaked me out too! I read both books over the summer and then went back to work, I’m an Asst. Principal, thinking that we were all going to die! I walked around just thinking of what would happen to all the little faces I saw walking in the hall… Then, I got over it!
Many in the preparedness community need to get over it too! Again, an EMP is a “possibility” but it is low in “probability.” I would rather spend my time working to be better prepared in other areas than focusing on making faraday cages and have electronics put up “just in case.”
Electrical Grid – Concerns about our aging electrical grid and the power going out due to natural disasters was next. Luckily, the most anyone has experienced with this is due to natural disasters. We have seen and read about people losing power due to hurricanes and tornadoes, but eventually the power does come back on. Two responses combined a failure in the electrical grid during winter to be pretty serious. No one, however, combined electrical grid failure due to terrorism.
We are very dependent on electricity to power our lives! But, our system is old and patched together. It is very reasonable to believe that this could be very concerning during times of extreme weather, (cold and heat) and to people who require electricity powered medical devices.
I foresee a time that our aging grid starts to sporadically fail, and we start to experience brownouts, like other countries. As a result, I think a way to power electrical devices with small solar chargers will be helpful. I recently wrote about that in 3 Trends in Preparedness and How You Can Get On Board!
Natural Disasters – These three natural disasters received the most responses in this order: earthquakes, tornadoes and cold weather (including blizzards). Of course, these are all relative to the area where you live. But I will say that cold weather only received half the responses that concerns about the electrical grid received.
The categories that tied with only three responses were: Ebola, hurricanes and war.
The categories that tied with only two responses were: terror attacks and societal breakdown. Again, societal breakdown would happen in many of the above categories if they were prolonged.
The categories that only received one response were: tsunami, volcano eruption, govt. shutdown, nuclear terrorism, wild fires, earth changes, polar shift, nuclear reactor meltdown, fire and flooding due to heavy rains.
For what they are worth, here are some of my thoughts in regards to the above data.
Any article in the first 4 categories (economic collapse, pandemics, EMP, electrical grid failure) will want to be read by the preparedness community. One thing that might be helpful is to break down the categories even further. For example, an article like, “Using Your Food Storage During a Pandemic” is pretty specific. Another example would be, “How to Get Your Family Up in the Morning; Feeding, Personal Hygiene and Off to School during an Electric Power Grid Failure.” I know that I tend to write very general sometimes. But, being more specific will allow us to target the various preparedness issues within the categories that preppers are concerned about.
I continue to believe that as our economy does slow down and people start to feel it in their pocket books, that articles on how to be frugal and save money are going to be more relevant. That is one reason I started Frugal Living – Page 3 on Prepper Website.
We need to drop the EMP articles for electrical power grid failure articles. EMP articles will continue to be read, I know because I see the numbers on Prepper Website. And I will probably still link to the ones that I think are interesting reads. However, I think that writing articles on how to deal with power failures is even more important. An EMP has low probability, but mechanical things eventually breakdown. It is a matter of time before a terrorist does real damage to our grid or we start seeing brownouts and blackouts. Now is the time to be prepared for those!
Lastly, I was surprised that earthquakes received more responses than hurricanes. We haven’t had a major earthquake that disrupted our lives in a while, however, we have all seen hurricanes and their after effects recently. I’m wondering if when people say earthquakes, they are thinking about something like the New Madrid Fault line that if it went, would be very devastating. However, New Madrid didn’t come up at all.
What do you think about the findings and responses?
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