Why Prepare?

The world is a scary place, and so is Oklahoma. Living in Tornado Alley, you learn early on to be ready to take cover at a moment’s notice. Most people around here have their hidey-holes prepped with weather radios, flashlights and batteries and enough food and water and clothes to get them by if their home gets blown away.

Even so, I always took it for granted that if something happened, we’d get by. If I was ready to weather a tornado, then I guess I thought I was ready for anything. Then, in 2007, we had a devastating winter ice storm that blacked out a large portion of the state and left thousands of people stranded with no power, many for as long as several weeks. A lot of people died during that ordeal simply because they weren’t prepared and they turned to unsafe means of trying to stay warm, resulting in fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

This made us realize the importance of prepping for winter, and for the possibility of a lengthy power outage any time of year.

Still, the following year we moved to the city. Living just a few blocks away from a major grocery store and several fast food restaurants made us take it for granted that we’d be able to eat, no matter what happened, so we didn’t worry too much about stocking up on food or water.

Fast forward to this year – OklaPocalypse 2011. Early on in the year, we had our first official blizzard in decades, if not all time. The storm itself wasn’t quite as bad as the hype leading up to it led everyone to expect, and we were able to dig ourselves out for a trek to the aforementioned nearby grocery store after only a couple of days—only to find that everyone else in our part of town had done the same thing, and half the shelves were empty by the time I got there. It took weeks for the store to re-stock items because trucks had trouble getting through. We were able to stock up on basic necessities, but this made us realize that we shouldn’t count on the store to take care of our needs in a crisis.

The winter blizzard was followed by a worse-than-usual tornado season, which left a lot of victims in its wake and helped to put preparedness on everybody’s mind.

And then there were—or I should say ARE, since we had three more small ones over the last two days—the earthquakes. Up until 2008, Oklahoma’s fault lines produced on average three to six imperceptible earthquakes every year. In 2009, we had fifty, some of which were big enough to feel throughout the state. They’ve been increasing exponentially in quantity since then, and also in size. Earlier this month, we had three significant quakes, one of which was the largest in the known history of our state.

Whether you blame frakking, global warming or see it as a divine wake-up call, the fact remains that this trend suggests that Oklahoma is becoming a quake zone, and that it would be wise to be prepared for a major one to strike.

And then there’s what’s happening with the economy and the government. I love this country, and I tend to be a pretty optimistic person in general, but even I can’t deny that things are bad and only appear to be getting worse. It’s already apparent that we don’t live in the same America as the one we grew up in, the one where you get a good job and buy a house and build equity and stability to see you through the rest of your lives. Stability is out the window, and the future is filled with uncertainty. The dollar is rapidly losing value and financial experts are predicting a total global economic collapse within the year.

It’s a scary world, and we’ve realized that we no longer have the luxury of complacency. My husband and I have begun to prepare for the unknown, as much as we’
re able. This blog is about the steps we’re taking to get ready, and about what you can do to prepare yourselves and your loved ones for disaster, whether it’s natural disaster, economic disaster, or worse.

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