This FDL Salon talk with Mat Stein, author of When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival, is auspiciously timed for me. Last night, on the way to a school event for my daughter, my wife and I got caught in an epic traffic jam caused by an accident just five miles ahead of us. It took over two hours to move those five miles, during which several cars pulled over to the side of the road and shut off their engines despite the cold. I wondered if they had been in danger of running out of gas, and what they would do if the road didn’t reopen. I have to say, despite being stuck, it felt good to know that we had plenty of gas in the tank, along with food, water, sleeping bags, and various other essentials in the trunk. Even if we’d been forced to spend the night there (and it looked like that was a real possibility at one point) we wouldn’t have been unduly uncomfortable. All it took as a little preparation.
Preparation is something I’m big on personally. I’ve read a couple excellent books on the topic, and last summer I took a week-long course called the Self-Reliance Symposium with Cody Lundin’s Aboriginal Living Skills School (I wrote about the experience here). So I was of course delighted when FDL invited me to host this talk with Mat. Doing so is a chance to talk with an expert on how to cost-effectively be more prepared for a grid-down situation, and was also an excuse to take time out from an overloaded schedule to read his excellent book. I highly recommend that you do the same — for just a few bucks and a few hours, you can acquire knowledge that could easily be life-saving down the road.
Anyone who has life insurance, health insurance, or fire insurance already understands the idea of preparing for a bad event you hope won’t happen, so I’m often surprised by how reluctant otherwise thoughtful people are to consider what they might do to make sure they and their loved ones are better prepared for an emergency. We had Katrina in New Orleans, we saw what happened in Japan after the Touhouku quake and tsunami in Japan, we just had Hurricane Sandy in the northeast, and there are countless other examples, some relatively small, some major, that provide ample proof that civilization and its protections and comforts aren’t things we ought to take for granted. If you’re here today, you’re already sensibly concerned, and having read Mat’s book, I can guarantee you’re about to acquire valuable information that combined with your existing concern will make you better prepared.
Thanks Mat for the great book and for taking the time today. Let me ask the first question: why do you think so many people are reluctant to take even basic steps (socking away extra drinking water, for example) to be better prepared for a possible problem?
[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]