Ever heard of the American Redoubt? Me neither, until I read this article in the Washington Post. Basically, it’s a community of people scattered across Idaho and some neighboring states who say they’ll be ready “when the shit hits the fan”… i.e. when the world ends/the economy collapses/society crumbles (cataclysms they seem to believe would be caused by one democratic politician or another). These are people that have underground bunkers. These are people that have stockpiles of guns and ammo. These are people that never leave home without a weapon, because any day could be the day it all comes crashing down.
I have to admit that my first thought on reading this was, "Wow, these people are crazy." And my second thought was, "Shit, I’m totally unprepared." These people have months (if not years) of non-perishable food stored away, and I have like, some Ramen and a few bottles of water?
Unlike those who have headed out west, I’m not particularly scared that Hillary Clinton is plotting to take my guns away (because I don’t have any), I don’t think President Obama is waiting for the right moment to launch a race war, and I definitely don’t have a debilitating fear of immigrants, documented or undocumented. I do, however, have a little baby whose survival depends entirely on mine, which is a sobering thought.
Less than 2 months after I moved to New York City in 2012, a little storm called Hurricane Sandy hit. My family was lucky- none of us were hurt, and our home wasn’t damaged. We had plenty of food, and we never even lost power. When I say we were lucky, I mean extremely lucky. Dozens of people died in that storm. Others saw their homes flooded, burned, or otherwise destroyed. Some people lived without power for weeks, and some found themselves stranded when gas stations ran out of gas. If another storm like that hits (which global warming and common sense say is pretty likely), would we be so lucky again? Who knows, but it’s a chance I can’t take now that I have a child.
There’s no real reason not to be a little more prepared than I am. It’s not going to break the bank or take up too much storage space for me to have some extra canned goods and water on hand. Spare blankets, candles, matches? Certainly couldn't hurt to stock up. But it’s really easy to fall down the rabbit hole of paranoid thinking when deciding just what sort of emergency you might be facing. Battery operated radio and flashlights for a power outage? Sounds great. Potassium iodide for nuclear fallout? Ummm… maybe?
I’m not quite sure where I’m going to draw the line when it comes to getting my family ready to face whatever comes our way. But I do know that I won’t be moving to Idaho anytime soon, nor will I be investing in an underground bunker (unless they start selling them at Target or something- in that case, I’ll take the luxury model).
If you too would like to start prepping your family for the end of the world, or maybe just an earthquake or something, here’s what the Red Cross says you need.