Common Myths and Misconceptions About Preparedness

When it comes to preparedness, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths out there. Unfortunately, the mainstream media likes to focus on the fringe, instead of looking at the very real need to be prepared. Here are some of the top preparedness misconceptions I come across; sadly a lot of these prevent people from becoming more self-sufficient and prepared.

Preparedness is about preparing for end of the world disasters.

Asteroid Smashing into the Earth

Despite what you may see on T.V., prepping is not about preparing for the end of the world. While those building bunkers, in preparation for some hypothetical asteroid smashing into the earth, are often the ones who receive media attention, the fact is, preparedness is really about preparing for those small-scale events in life that can feel like the end of the world if you’re not prepared.

Things people commonly prep for include:

  • Natural disasters
  • Man-made accidents
  • Criminal attacks
  • Home invasions
  • Terrorism
  • Medical emergencies
  • Economic problems and job loss

Preparedness requires spending all sorts of money on fancy gear.

Lots of money

Preparedness doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact those who prepare by training , taking time to study the threats, and preparing themselves to physically and mentally face dangers are often the ones who come out on top; not the guy with the most gear.

Preppers are crazy tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists.

Wearing Tinfoil Hats from the Movie SIGNS

These terms are often used to discredit anyone who doesn’t fall into line with the mainstream news or government view of the world.

Listen you can bury your head in the sand — in fear that someone will call you a conspiracy theorists — or you can recognize the reality of the world we live in; bad things happen, disasters are a part of life, and evil really does exist.

The same people who use the tinfoil hat expression to discredit preparedness are the same ones who seem to forget events like:

  • The Great Depression (and countless recessions and economic collapses throughout history.)
  • Common cyclical natural disasters. (Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the Japanese Tsunami/Earthquake)
  • Constant wars (The Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, and the list goes on and on…)
  • Multiple civilizations and governments who have all fallen.

Preppers are paranoid and live life in fear.

Fearful women

First off, I don’t think fear is necessarily a bad thing – especially when used in the right context.

Everyone was born with something called the fight or flight response. This genetic gift has kept us safe since the beginning of time; alerting our body to danger, and pumping things like adrenaline to our throughout our body so we can react quickly during a life-threatening experience. That being said, living in fear is never a good thing; but I don’t believe that’s what preparedness minded people do. In fact, they do just the opposite.

Preparedness is the key to killing fear; it’s also the key to making sure it doesn’t overcome you when things do go bad. It’s those who fail to prepare that will someday be overcome by fear, all because they failed to prepare for events we know will someday happen.

While popular culture likes to portray Preppers as paranoid, I believe they are just doing what countless generations before us did; only know it’s looked at as some sort of anomaly.

Preparedness is all about wilderness survival

Forest in the Mountains

This is another idiotic notion largely fueled by the mainstream media and compounded by the rise of Survival T.V. Shows. It’s also one of the reasons I wrote my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World.

I’m not trying to knock wilderness survival, I spend a lot of times in the great outdoors; so it wouldn’t be very preparedness minded of me to not have these skills, but for the vast majority of people who find themselves facing a disaster, these skills provide very little real-world help. The fact is, there aren’t many resources out there for dealing with urban disasters, and unfortunately a lot of the so-called experts have very little experience dealing with urban disasters, threats, and criminal violence.

Shirts of Liberty

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  1. FANTASTIC article. I really enjoyed reading this. I feel if the rest of the population doesn’t want to prep they have a great possibility of being left in the cold. Don’t come knocking on my door.

  2. I agree…most people really don’t want to know that life, as they know it, could quickly deteriorate. Too many people are so dangerously reliant on power companies and electronic gadgets, that if the power simply went out for an extended period (as little as 2 weeks), great tragedy could happen. I shudder when I see a panoramic view of a crowded city like New York…can you imagine if the power grid went out there for a few weeks. People would resort to fighting and killing…just to survive.
    I find it quite satisfying to be prepared and self reliant. Don’t follow what the masses are doing, most are headed for the “cliff’s edge” (Lemmings).
    My goal is to gently, but quickly “wake up” the many sheeple. Keep up your good work..we are all in this together.

  3. Things people commonly prep for include… I would add: riots, pandemics, tornadoes, forest fire, ship crash, difficult situations like when your car brakes far from civilization etc.

  4. More thoughts on intel gathering after TSHTF, its not all beans, bullets and bandanas.
    I suspect most Hams, and probably preppers as well, think that the only radio comms gear needed is a short wave radio, and some form of communications gear for your group.

    Whilst its true that this type of equipment will be able to keep you in touch with international events, for local happenings, a good quality, sensitive AM radio will be needed as well.

    I suspect that when it happens, the powers that be will disrupt the local radio stations, both on AM and the more usual FM bands.

    Don’t forget that in intel gathering activities, the key is to not be discovered. I don’t intend to transmit for the first few weeks at least, unless its an emergency, as your location can be determined very easily with modern direction finding gear, and compromised.

    That said, you will need a decent AM radio, and having a good one will give potential access to local radio information that will be useful.

    What sort of radio ?

    Short of a dedicated communications receiver, the older AM only car radios, which can be picked up at the tip, are ideal. Bear in mind that some of them were cheap and didn’t feature an RF amplifying stage, so will not be as sensitive as others. Short of opening it up and looking with a trained eye at the circuit, you wont be able to tell from outside weather or not it has a RF stage. Side by side tests on the bench between several radios will show those that have the required amplifying stage. Ferris brought out a series in the 1970’s of car radios that were very sensitive, the 2700, 3700 and 4700 series were all very good and differed only in the power of the audio stage, which is immaterial in our case as we don’t need a lot of volume.

    You would think some of the newer digitally tuned AM/FM car radios are Ok, but they have a considerable amount of internally generated noise from the computer circuits that cause their AM performance to be quite poor, and as we are after the maximum performance, such radios cant be recommended. They were really designed for FM use, with the AM band tacked on. That’s said, some of the European types can give reasonable performance, as can some of the early AM/FM types that use the digital display only, but have analogue tuning. Some of these can be determined as the frequency steps on the AM band are 1 Kc, not 9kc (Australian station spacings) or 10 kc (European) station spacings.

    A modern car radio is designed to be used with an aerial of about 1 meter long, connecting it to a piece of wire 20 meters or long1`er can cause issues, such as cross modulation (where a station appears at 2 or more locations on the dial), overload (distorted audio), and susceptibility to damage by static discharges, such as during a thunderstorm, EMP and CME.

    In the 1950’s a range of thermionic valves were brought out that didn’t need hundreds of volts high tension to operate. The 12 volts from a car electrical system was sufficient, but they needed a transistor audio stage to get enough volume to run a loudspeaker. If you can find a working one, and they are now over 50 years old, they are ideal, giving the best of both worlds of the transistor sets low power consumption, with the valve radios immunity to overload, cross modulation and EMP/CME resilience. I have a couple of them and they are superb receivers, quite able to pick up the Sydney radio AM stations, over 900 km away, during daylight hours. These types of radios are also ideal for use with short wave converters to pick up short wave radio broadcasts in your car. (The short wave converter uses 1 cheap, easy to get integrated circuit, with a simple single coil to cover the main short wave broadcast bands. I have designed several types, including a extremely stable crystal locked converter for the Ham bands. The radio isn’t modified in any way at all). Be aware that any radio that offers AM stereo is a computer controlled one and should be left behind. Older type radios with an analogue dials and manual tuning are good candidates, and if it has a set of push buttons for station selection, that’s OK as well.

    If there is enough interest in the short wave converter, I can post the circuits. Its simple to build, reasonably stable, and cheap. Layout isn’t critical and it can be built in the “dead bug” style if you don’t want to use any chassis. It simply goes in series with the aerial of the radio and uses the standard car radio aerial for reception. Connecting it to a 20 meter piece of wire brings in the world.

    The converter works by using the car radio as a tunable intermediate (IF) frequency and uses the detector /audio stage of the radio.

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