How do you explain prepping to non-preppers?

Let’s say that you’re a Prepper — not a hard core survivalist, but still well into preparing for a wide range of disasters — and some of your friends and family are not. How do you explain to them what prepping is all about? Should you use charts and graphs and visual aids? What about a powerpoint presentation? Maybe not — too complicated. Keep it simple, especially for a first conversation.

I have a few suggestions on how to broach the subject, just a few tips. But I will being by saying that the mass media is not helping. TV shows like Doomsday Preppers and news blurbs connecting prepping with all that Mayan Apocalypse nonsense make it harder to explain what emergency preparedness really is.

First, I suggest not talking about prepping to everyone and anyone. Choose carefully who you are going to talk to about prepping. Otherwise, you run the risk of being seen as a Doomsday Prepper, like in the TV show. Personally, my approach to prepping is more along the lines of emergency preparedness, rather than survivalist. And I think most reasonable persons can see the usefulness in preparing for ordinary disasters, such as hurricanes, snow storms, power outages, and earthquakes (depending on your region). So I would begin to explain prepping from the point of view of reasonable and prudent preparations for relatively common disasters.

Another good approach is to use the example of a recent moderate disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy. And even if there has been no major disaster, such as an earthquake, recently, you can argue that a moderate to major earthquake is an inevitability. Disasters will occur, and it makes sense to prepare for them. Now I also prepare for more severe disasters, that are more rare but still within the realm of possibility. But maybe that shouldn’t be the first topic of conversation. On the other hand, some preppers make the mistake of preparing for the most severe, but also rarest of disasters. I think that approach is impractical and difficult to defend.

Of course, I write about prepping, so I can talk about emergency preparedness from the standpoint of my blog on the topic. My posts themselves are a good defense and explanation of my ideas on this topic. But supposing that you don’t have a prepping blog (BTW, why exactly don’t you have a prepping blog?), then you might use a prepping book or a blog that you have read as a starting point for the conversation.

You might be surprised how receptive some people are to the idea of prepping. Some of your friends or acquaintances might be preppers, or they might have a story about how they coped with an emergency situation. And anyone who has been in the military or law enforcement probably will have skills and knowledge that can be applied to prepping and survival type situations. A lot of people can relate to the idea of emergency preparedness, even if they are not active preppers themselves.

If the conversation does not go well, you might give them some time to become familiar with the concept. Don’t press the issue, and don’t try to recruit a new reluctant prepper. Lending someone a book, or sending them a few links to different websites is a good way to wrap up the conversation, but leave an opening for continued discussion.

– Thoreau

4 Responses to How do you explain prepping to non-preppers?

  1. I use two analogies, first I explain that prepping is just an extension of insurance, IE the next common sense step after buying Life / car/ house insurance, and second I’m jut taking the extra common sense steps our grand parents did in times of plenty BEFORE the advent of supermarkets.
    Basically I just try to normalise it.

  2. My experience is to occasionally let close friends and family know what I’m up to with my preps (I know, most say NOT to do this!) and let them bring it up another day in conversation rather than me “force feeding” it to them. Lately, I’ve had some close friends and family finally come around to prepping to my delight and surprise.

  3. Keeping the conversation to a regional disaster scenario seems to be the most effective. I have been surprised lately as quite a few people whom I would never have expected, engaged in conversations regarding national and global issues and thought it was time to prepare.

  4. I explain that prepping is like getting ready for a camping trip but the campsite is at home. There is nothing scary or complicated about camping. Here it is in deatail:

    It may be something good to share with people who are thinking about prepping but have not started.