I Hate Emergency Preparedness

by Kellene

Yup. You read that right. I hate emergency preparedness. I loathe the use of the phrase “emergency preparedness.”  I suspect that some psychotic Anarchist came up with the phrase in an attempt to capitalize and commercialize fear.  The word emergency is intended to quicken the heart beat, make the breathing more shallow, make one feel out of control and vulnerable and replace confidence and competence with debilitating anxiety. The very use of the word “emergency” sucks all of the peace out of the word preparedness. To me “emergency preparedness” is much of an oxymoron as is “stimulus bill.” It’s no wonder the words

prepper, survivalist, and food storage get the reactions that they do today.  I’ve never once seen the term “emergency preparedness” in the scriptures. In fact, I don’t find the word crisis, chaos, or emergency anywhere in the scriptures. (That should tell you all something, by the way.)

Emergency Preparedness doesn't always bode well in conversation

Picture this. You’re at a big dinner party. You’re mixing and mingling with folks. Interacting. Asking about their lives, work, families. Heads are bobbing mutually in polite enthusiasm and smiles. Conversation continues as the awkward phase between two strangers commence in an effort to create a new friendship.  Every great relationship has to start somewhere, right? I’m sure you can all relate to this process of socializing.  I love it…until I hear “the” question.

“So, what do you do for a living?”

“Darn, I think to myself. And we were getting to know each other so well!”

Regardless of which component of my work I share with them, I know that I’m likely to get one of the three following responses.

1- Boring and useless: When I see this expression I feel about as sexy as Michael Moore in an American flag printed Speedo. They can’t relate whatsoever to what I do, what I’m passionate about, and why I care. They go from gregarious to bordering on rude.

People sometimes view emergency preparedness experts as a little "crazy"

2- Crazy: Most of you know what I mean by this response. The people who think I’m crazy are wondering why Martha Stewart was put in jail and yet somehow I’ve managed to stay on this side of the bars.

3-Know it all: This is the most painful response of all.  Those who think they know all there is to know about preparedness are dangerous not only to themselves, but to those they share their “wisdom” with.  My mom always said that the only thing worse than being alone is being with the wrong person. I like to apply that motherly advice towards knowledge in the world of preparedness—the only thing worse than being ignorant is knowing the wrong information. To make matters worse, these people actually tend to be the ones who actually put the word CRAZY in survivalists.

So really, why does the term emergency preparedness cause such abrasive and caustic responses? Why does it have the ability to divide loved ones as powerfully as abortion rights, gun rights, and political beliefs?  The answer is actually quite simple.  And if you want to be more successful in influencing others that you care about to jump on the preparedness band wagon, you’ll embrace what I’m trying to teach you today.

The only “emergency preparedness” folks relate to is the stuff that Hollywood depicts on screen.  They know that’s not real, right?  You know, that Armageddon, The War of Worlds, Meteor, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 kind of stuff.  Couple that with what little they know about the cataclysmic events in the Old Testament, and you have an absolutely foreign world.  It’s true. You’re more likely to get someone to believe that human beings descended from apes than you are to get them to believe that they need to have a year’s supply of food and water on hand.  Such an apocalyptic scenario is completely unrelatable to most, which is why they truly think that people who believe in the need for emergency preparedness are crazy. Sure you can enjoy the entertainment of science fiction movies, but  you don’t believe in this stuff, right?

The term emergency preparedness makes no sense to the rational mind.

This is why I’ve come to loathe “emergency preparedness.”  It’s an ineffective approach to helping people get prepared. In fact, it has the opposite effect. It’s ridiculous to think that folks will ever prepare for something that’s so far fetched.

A worldwide war? Nah. Our government will protect us

The Hollywood version of the Last Days is what most people think of when they hear "Emergency Preparedness"

A complete financial collapse. How’s that possible? Can’t we just print more money?

A food shortage? I’ll just go hunting and get water from the nearby lake—like thousands of other people.

A massive earthquake? Nah. We haven’t had one of those for 100 years.

A pandemic? No. That’s what immunization shots are for.

Successful preparedness only happens when you can actually relate to the reality of a scenario in which you would need to be prepared.  Admit it. Even YOU didn’t jump on board at first with some of the scenarios I’ve mentioned above.  Some of you haven’t embraced all of them yet either. It takes time, process, studying, digesting.   Why? Your heart and mind are still maturing and resolving how you’re going to handle such a scenario.  Your consciousness simply cannot solve a problem that it cannot accept as being real.   However, there ARE plenty of more relatable scenarios that will better compel folks to becoming better prepared.  The believability of the scenario is what compels folks to be prepared, not the term “Emergency preparedness” accompanied by the theme song from the movie, “Jaws.”

I hate shots. I really, really have a hard time with them. Why? Because no matter what I do, I simply cannot prepare and properly anticipate how much they hurt.  I remember having a “diagnostic test” done.  It was supposed to be “painless” and feel like nothing more than what an acupuncture treatment.  However, 45 minutes later I had honestly endured the most painful experience of my entire life. During the procedure I had literally prayed that Heavenly Father would just take me then and there instead of me having to endure it any longer. I was sobbing the most pathetic cry I had ever heard come out of me.  Yup. NO way to prepare for that kind of an experience right now—not if you still want me to go through with it.  Unfortunately, I think that many people view “emergency preparedness” the same way.  Most rational persons block out the horrific.  They don’t trust that they can endure it.  They are afraid of what strength they will be called to provide, never having been tested in battle against an unfathomable opponent.

Here’s the reality of things.  When I come home from a long day and I’ve got less than 40 minutes to get ready for my next appointment, freshen up, and prepare a meal for my husband. Then my phone rings. Leslie has just had her baby. Can I take a dinner over to her--tonight?  Now you see?  THAT is a realistic “emergency” to me. Can I get through it all without biting my husband’s head off because I’m tired and hungry?  Can I actually cook something nutritious and stay on budget without having to purchasing expensive, processed garbage?  Can the food be tasty enough that the woman and her family don’t later ignore me at church?

Getting the kids to where they all need to be. Utility bill rising 700% over a period of three months.  Learning your oldest son struggles with depression. Having a family of 8 move in with you due to their home being destroyed in a fire. Gas going up to $4 a gallon. Fixing a flat tire on an 8 lane freeway. The death of an immediate family member.  A hurricane runs through your community. Raising a child with Downs Syndrome. Discovering your spouse has been unfaithful. Getting lost in downtown Baltimore.  A “noreaster” ice storm.  Being accidentally locked in a public restroom. Your household loses its primary breadwinner. Discovering that the pillar of your church and community is really a drug dealer and a sexual predator.  Your minimum mortgage payment doubling while your home’s value plummets to 70% of your existing loan. The lap top’s hard drive crashing.  Your family is involved in a serious car accident. Etc., etc., etc. THESE are all realistic “emergencies” to be prepared for so that you can minimize the stress and strain and make it through with the maximum amount of peace possible. THESE are scenarios that we can more readily relate to. THESE are emergencies we can overcome and conquer in strength and dignity with some preemptive steps of preparedness. If folks will begin to think of preparedness in terms of realistic scenarios then their mind and heart can tackle such battles mentally and physically. Every crisis which is averted and every one of life’s scuffles that we make it through, allows us to be prepared for bigger and better.

A full pantry equals peace of mind

You’re not crazy. Your understanding of an emergency has simply elevated to a level which is unfathomable to others.  The more you can realistically conceive, the more you can be prepared for.  Yes, we’ve all got to start somewhere. Us “crazy folks” are simply further along in our mental process than others whose idea of stress is when the mean girl doesn’t get voted off of “The Bachelor.” Understanding this will help you to be more successful in helping others with their preparedness efforts. When you’re discussing preparedness with others, leave the term “emergency preparedness” out of the conversation. Make their thoughts about preparedness more about self-reliance, independence, and adaptability to change. And provide them with realistic scenarios that actually apply to their life. To encourage their more advanced mental preparation, give them realistic “what if” scenarios to mull over. Back up your scenarios with calm and intelligently laid out data. The only emotion that you want to bring into the conversation is that of the sincere love and concern you have for the well-being of the person you’re talking to.  Keep in mind that the very word “emergency” garners panic, chaos, and fear.  Who in the world wants to be prepared for THAT?  Make sure that you keep learning as well.  And remember, preparedness is peace. Emergency is fear. Good luck with your efforts to help others prepare and to advance in your own preparedness efforts.


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I think I have always had this mindset. When the nearest hospital, or grocery store is 50+ miles away on a gravel road, you have to learn to plan ahead.
So I guess I've always been a "wingnut".
What I can't understand is the reaction from people. It seems so obvious to me.
Murphy's Law "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." and usually at the worst possible moment.
We see real disasters on TV nearly everyday. Yet most people will not take responsibility for themselves. It's almost like they are children and want someone else to take care of them.
So I've tried to back off and pray that folks will "get it" about preparing. If they ask, I'll share how I did it and where they can get info. I haven't given up.
But if what's happening in the world does not convince them to try and help themselves, I don't think anything I say will make a difference.

When I first looked into food storage and eating from the pantry, I was amazed that people said they went to the cupboard and made a meal from what they had. I have always done that, when things were on sale I always bought a few to last me til the next time. I thought what is the big deal about this. Then I had enough for about a month, maybe a bit more. Now I have a lot more and have included home canned chicken, beef, pork, hamburger, spaghetti sauce, southwestern pulled pork, as well as home canned meals, beef stew, beef bourgonion (sp?) chicken al la king, sweet and sour pork, as well as home canned vegs and fruits. Canning is very addicting. I have rows of canned beans, soups, crackers, baking stuff etc. Whole grain wheat and rice, sugar and salr, as well as home dried vegs well you get the idea. And it makes me feel good. I stock up for my DD and SIL who don't get it and for my SisterIL and her DH, who also doesn't get it. I don't think most people have the mind set to be prepared, they just think it can never happen to them and God help the rest of us when the day comes that it does.

I have to admit that being prepared has been the way of life for us since we were married. We were just out of college in the 70s recession and no job and had twins! We lived very poor the first five years of our marriage and if we had not turned to wheat, rice, a big garden and learning to can, we would have been in big trouble. Now almost 35 years later, we are still preparing, using, growing and canning. Those early years also shaped us in being very frugal with finances and avoiding debt like a plague. They were hard years but we have learned some lifelong lessons that I am truly grateful for. It does give me peace of mind and so much satisfaction to look at my shelves and see what we have taken from seed and raised, eating and canned for future months. It's a cycle that I feel is meant to be for everyone.

I have a hard time developing mental scenarios. I haven't seen many hard times in my life, and I feel incredibly blessed to have enjoyed so many good times. Yet I know what IS to come and I want my family to make it through those times alive and well. I agree that the term "emergency" begins to garner fear in the hearts of people that you talk to. I think that mental preparedness is one area I need to work more toward. Even seeing such devistation like in Haiti affects me at the moment, but seems so unreal when the images are gone from the screen. I know that could easily be the Wasatch front, except our buildings are better constructed (I hope). I think I will work on developing better understanding of scenarios in which my supplies could be utilized, and fill in gaps according to that training.

I felt the same way. I could imagine so many ways for things to go wrong that I basically just dithered. I knew I needed to do something but where to begin?
I took just 1 scenario an "Economic Collapse" of some sort, Hyper inflation or deflation. Okay my money isn't worth as much or I don't have enough to pay bills.
Well I'll need food, water,security, heat and shelter. Better get it now and as much as possible. What if I can't make my house payment and lose it. What's my back up plan?
Funny but no matter what happens you still need those basics.
Go back through Kellene's blog archives, I read right through all of them. I felt I had a friend that could walk me through step by step and understood what I was feeling. It's not about Doom and Gloom. It's about gaining control of your destiny/future.It's fun learning new things, I felt empowered, I felt peace of mind.
You will have some initial investments, but then you will start saving money. This does not have to cost a lot of money.
It's just an insurance plan that you are doing for yourself. Most insurance plans cover you in the event of death or injury. This is an insurance plan for continuing your life and health.
That's it Kellene you are an "Independent Insurance Agent"

Excellent, outstanding, tremendous, terrific, superb angle. Did I mention Great? People indeed raise an eyebrow and move an inch or two further away if I speak of potential pending disasters and the need to prepare. More low-key realistic “what-ifs” is a great tactic. Thanks Kellene!

Read any story about the food and water riots happening now, in Haiti. That'll get more than a few of the skeptics to think about laying in stores.

I live alone so I have no one to fight with about prepping. My Mom has been fighting a major battle nearly every week with my Dad. It's funny because he scrimped and saved for his retirement. He still works has several seasonal jobs, volunteers, active in civic groups though he is retired. The man is great, I don't know if he's bought into the whole prepping thing? But at least he's no longer fighting my Mom on it. I think he just gave up. Mom can leave you feeling like you have been run over if you get in her way.

I do get quite a few folks say it's easy for me to do, and then come the excuses of why they can't/won't prep. I am seeing more of that rather than just the crazy look.
I'll start after my classes are done. Lot's of work at the office I just don't have the time/energy. There is not enough time to clip coupons and comparison shop.
I guess that's progress of a sort. :)

I really am proud to be a prepper, but it really is insurance. For example "Disability Insurance". You have a greater chance of being disabled than killed. That's why disability insurance is high compared to life insurance.
Now SSD (Social Security, Disability) WILL NOT PAY for 6 months at a minimum. That's the waiting period to see if you really are disabled. 2/3's of all applicants are refused on the 1st application. Reapply and it starts again from the begining. It's about the same for SSI. Usually 18-24 months on average.
So if you are disabled without insurance. you will have a min wait for any kind of money. Did you get one of those nice little letters sent out from social security on your monthly benefits. If you are disabled that's what you get per month. Let's assume that you don't lose everything after not paying any bills for 6 months. Could you live on the amount of money that SSD gives you?
I have been through this process. I was lucky, my medical bills came under VA.
I can just imagine my medical bills after MRI,Cat scans a week in the hospital and 3 months in an Extended care unit.
I had parents that could paid my bills. Even at that I still went in to debt to them.
I am single and had no family to support. Much lower than average debt, patted myself on the back that I wasn't like those other idiots. Well "Pride goeth before the fall".
I could have died, lost everything I worked for. I no longer wanted that big screen tv. I wanted to take a bath by myself with no help, to comb my own hair, to make a small pot of coffee and pour myself a cup. Dying would have been easier, most folks really put me on long odds to survive. Several of the ole boys at the VA hospital did tell me they were glad to see me walk away even with a "Walker" Cause they expected me to be carried out horizontal. Those ole boys no a bit about dying and watching folks die.
One thing about hitting Rock bottom, You got no where to go but up or sideways.I swore to myself never again. I'll get out of debt, I will be ready for the next fight. I will stack the odds in my favor, I won't break the laws of God. Government laws only if they are incredibly stupid. I'll render unto Caesar things that are Caesar, but if the government defies the document I swore to protect and defend. I might find myself defying them.
Do not get down, we are the folks that still have that pioneer spirit! We are the ones that are keeping that flame alive! WE THE PEOPLE! the government works for us not the other way around. We are, or are becoming self-sufficient. It's scares the bejeebers out of government when they can't control us.
Every time you take responsibility for yourselves and your family. You lessen the government's reach and control. You defy them, how dare you?
That in and of itself is a reason to get animals, grow a garden and protect yourself. Be that shining city on the hill. Be the one that helps those folks to know "Lady Liberty".
We are Valley Forge, we are the Alamo, but we are better prepared.
Now let's Roll!!

Bravo! Now if we can just get the term "food storage" out of your vocabulary too. *grin*

Poking around your blog, I found it through Pinterest.
I really like this post and many of your others. I have issues with a lot of people over preparedness. I've been called crazy, hippie, pessimistic and some really not so nice things. I've never tried to instill fear in anyone to get them on board. I explain my reasons...
As a kid my parents didn't have a lot of money and I remember watching them struggle. As a teen my parents were divorced, we lived with my Dad who went into such a depression that from age 15-18 we had no power, gas or much of anything and a parent who went to work and slept and not much else. My brothers and I all with no vehicle and a 7 mile hike to the nearest store or gas station had to fend for ourselves. We were so excited one night to find a can of pork and beans and an old stale box of crackers, we were allowed to burn our trash there so were cooked the can of bean over the garbage fire and ate it with stale graham crackers. As an adult my husband once lost his job while I was pregnant and a stay at home mom to our 5 & 1 year olds we ended up having to move in with a friend and go on welfare just to survive.
I do NOT ever want my kids to have to survive what I have. I don't want debt, bills or to have to worry if I can feed my kids or have a roof over their heads. Now we have 4 kids ages 11 to 2. If you prepare for the worst you won't be disappointed or caught off guard and if the worst doesn't happen then you may end up pleasantly surprised.
If nothing else my food storage and our goals for self sufficiency will make retirement easier.

I hear you. I don't worry

I hear you. I don't worry much about the BIG things... but I'd like to know that I'd make it through the LITTLE things. As a new prepper, I'm reserved in the choices I make and who I talk to them about. Hence, looking on the internet. Kudos to you for making it plain that it isn't crazy to want to be sure you can make it through all those little crises. TEOTWAWKI can take a backseat to just wanting to be sure I don't have to struggle through the next snowday power outage. After all, when did Noah build the boat? Before the storm. Kudos. Thank you.


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