Jason Charles is a former New York City firefighter who was on the ground during the 9/11 terrorist attack. For the past decade he has been a “prepper,” or someone who prepares the equipment and skills they need to survive a disaster, including food shortages.
Charles said he began seriously preparing after reading William R. Forstchen’s book “One Second Later,” which deals with social collapse after an attack with an electromagnetic pulse or a nuclear device that knocks out power grids.
Above all else, Charles said his message to anyone who wants to be prepared for a disaster is to be mentally prepared for hardship.
“You have to be mentally prepared for whatever may come, whatever it may be. Because if you’re not mentally prepared, it doesn’t matter how much gear you have. You’re not going to survive if you can’t understand what’s going on,” she said.
Charles said that when he started preparing, he rushed to buy random items, didn’t prioritize, and wasted money.
“I started buying anything and everything and I started buying canned goods,” Charles said. “I was buying MRE [meals ready to eat] like an idiot on eBay. After doing all that, I calmed down realizing that this, this, whatever can happen tomorrow… [or] It will happen in 20 years.”
tips for beginners
To start preparing, Charles recommends thinking about what disaster scenario and how long your family will prepare for, and then making a list of the things you absolutely need. Things he just wants can be added later, he said.
He suggested salt, sugar, spices, canned beans, rice, freeze-dried vegetables and meats, water, essential medicines and medical supplies. Food preservation processes, such as canning and freeze-drying, can be done yourself if you have the time, money and knowledge, because they will be healthier and cheaper, Charles said.
He recommended writing down the expiration date on each item and rotating older items by using them before they expire.
With the possibility of having to treat injuries and trauma during the potential disaster, Charles urged readers to take a training course before investing in serious medical kits.
“If you are going to use heavy medical kits or heavy trauma kits, you need to take a class. You could improvise, but it’s better to do it right the first time,” said Charles.
He advised anyone looking for training to make sure the trainer who is conducting a “stop the bleeding” course has hands-on experience, such as a former first responder.
If you have to leave your house and go to a place where it’s safer, preppers recommend having backpacks packed for each family member, called “bug out bags,” in which you pack survival essentials like food , water, tents, flashlights. , maps, small cash denominations, first aid kits and weapons.
“You need what’s going to get you from point A to point B, and you have to figure out how far point B is from you,” Charles said.
Charles said his family has a few different plans to survive, including sheltering in place, driving or using electric bikes, using a raft, and having to go to a different point entirely.
He recommended having your family’s various disaster scenarios planned and practiced, when possible.
Communication should also be considered, he said. A radio or devices that do not depend on Internet service are a must.