CO Floods: You Don’t Have To Be A ‘Prepper’ To Be Prepared

Image: Betsy Dumm. All rights reserved.

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

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAK

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.


  1. jwm says:

    I don’t like to use the P or S word because of the misuse by the msm. But I’ve moved around a lot and I have first hand experience with a number of natural disasters(won’t even talk about the man made ones). I’ve experienced being snowed in, the 89 loma prieata quake, a tornado and was sideswiped by a hurricane. A hailstorm in Texas that caused fatal injuries to an elderly man and destroyed a lot of property. Because of my job at the time(federal employee) I was activated into FEMA for the flooding in WVA during the 80s.

    To cut to the chase. Yes, we should all be as prepared and equipped as well as our budgets and judgement allows us. I keep a supply of water, food, tools and emergency medical supplies at home and in our cars.

    I don’t live in a small community in the Colorado mountains. I live in a large urban sprawl in California. So I include shotguns and ammo in my preps. I like guns anyway, but it’s been years since I hunted or shot clays. Honestly, the smoothbores are just for a bad moment after a bad event.

  2. Nathan says:

    Up in Laramie we got lucky. We’re on a sort of plateau so there’s no major flooding, But there has been a crap load of rain for the past week. It cleared up yesterday, then came back

    1. Chris Dumm says:

      Boulder cleared up yesterday, but the rain is back today. After fires and floods, I think they’re expecting locusts next.

      1. Nathan says:

        Did you see the pics of UC-Boulder students bailing out their dorm rooms with trash cans?

        1. Chris Dumm says:

          I know some of them! This flood will be an education most people will never have.

  3. Derek says:

    Forest fires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, droughts, prolonged power outages; these are the things I point to when people scoff at “prepping”. The zombies and the Russians are a fun, albeit tired, exercise in fantasy. However, most people don’t realize how quickly things turn to shit when the power’s out and people start getting hungry and/or desperate. It doesn’t take an “end-of-the-world” scenario to leave you cold and hungry if you don’t have at least some supplies.

  4. Out_Fang_Thief says:

    3 days…try it for three weeks and see how you feel. I spent 3 weeks without power when hurricane Charlie hit central FL. In situations like this, fortune favors the prepared. And not just the food and water, but your whole mental state. You can die of a simple mental mistake faster than you’ll starve to death. If you survived the storm, don’t die in the aftermath. To do so is just old fashioned stupid. Not when it could be otherwise with a little preparation. Don’t be SOL and thinking if only…? First, beyond anything else you might need, have a water purification capability. Clean, safe water is primary. Without it, your chances of survival are cut in half.

    Got my 6 X 6 Deuce 1/2 in February and swapped the duelies for super singles. My floor boards are now 3′ above the ground. That’s 3′ of water work before my toes even get wet. The multi-fuel turbo diesel means it can run on just about anything.

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CO Floods: You Don’t Have To Be A ‘Prepper’ To Be Prepared

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