This week’s Biblical-style flooding in Colorado hits close to home for me. I grew up in the mountains west of Boulder, and I’ve spent the last few days watching YouTube videos and Twitter photos of familiar landmarks which are now underwater. My family’s homes are all high and dry, but not all my friends have been so lucky.
My parents’ mountain home is undamaged, but it’s almost completely cut off from civilization. Every road in or out has been washed away and blocked by mudslides in several places. It’s only three miles to town as the crow flies, but that crow would have to fly over steep terrain with saturated soils. My Dad is stuck there at the moment, but he’s got no worries despite his temporary TEOTWAWKI predicament. Why?
Because he’s sitting on several months worth of canned and dried food, a 500-gallon water cistern, and a generator with enough fuel to keep the refrigerator cold until he can eat everything in it. Another friend, stuck in hardest-hit Jamestown, Colorado, is a DIY mountain man with a Bobcat, a chainsaw and a surplus Army 6X6 truck.
These are people you really want to have as neighbors. They’re not in any danger, and they don’t need anybody to rescue them. But don’t call them preppers; they’re just prepared. Yes, they were both Boy Scouts. And yes, so was I.
Mindset, Skillset, THEN Toolset
If you don’t have the right mindset (I will survive anything) and the right skillset (physical fitness, first aid, camping, self-rescue) then all the tools in the world won’t do you any good when things go more than momentarily wrong.
Luckily we’ve all got (more or less) the ability to eat and walk and dress ourselves, and once you adopt the ‘I will survive anything‘ mindset a few tools can go a long way during a natural disaster. Whether it’s a Biblical flood like Colorado is getting, or a stuck elevator or a long power blackout, even a simple EDC kit can make a difficult situation much easier to navigate. There aren’t many disasters where you won’t find yourself wanting a good knife and flashlight.
My bug-in bag lives, as shown above, in the trunk of my car. Among other goodies it’s got three days of food and water, clothing for hot, cold or wet weather, rudimentary shelter, first aid, fuel and tools. Paracord, knives, a multi-tool, and a sharpening stone. It won’t get me through a nuclear war (and what will?) but it get me through a few days in a car stuck in a blizzard, and on foot in decent weather it will get me home if I’m within thirty miles
I’m prepared, but I’m not a prepper. It’s not the focus of this article (and you’re free to disagree, of course) but I don’t particularly believe that the world as we know it is coming to an end. I do, however, believe that things go wrong, and that they will continue to go wrong as long we we’re living in this world. As a sentient tool-using animal it’s up to me to equip myself with the tools that will maximize my and my family’s chances of survival.