Hawaii’s Missile Scare and What We Can Learn From It

Its 8:07am on Saturday morning.  Today started off like any other.  You are drinking your morning coffee, driving your kids to a ball game, or sleeping in on your day off.  Then it happens.  The emergency alert goes off on your smartphone.  At first you don’t think much of it, dismissing it is an Amber alert or one of those tests, but curiosity gets the better of you and you look and see the words “MISSILE THREAT INBOUND” and “THIS IS NOT A TEST” jump out at you.  A pit starts forming in your stomach.  Your adrenaline starts pumping.  All your previous concerns fade away and your mind is racing.  Panic overtakes you and you realize you don’t have a plan for this.  This isn’t something you have even considered a possibility.  You are ready for something simple like a flat tire, getting called to pick up a sick kid, or even running out of gas, but this is something else entirely.  What do you do? Where do you go?  How much time do you have?  What about your kids?

This may read like the start of a fiction novel for some but millions of people found themselves dealing with this very scenario on January 13, 2018 when an emergency alert was mistakenly sent out.  Hotels were scurrying vacationers to their basements and native residents were in a panic. Some quickly headed to their stocked bunkers or boats to get off the island and try to get out of harms way in time.  Even on the mainland word spread quickly and everyone was wondering what would happen next.  Stop and think for a minute, what would you have done in this scenario?  While you may think you live nowhere near Hawaii and are safe from an international missile attack, you may want to reconsider.  There are many disasters that can occur without notice.  It could be a missile attack, a dirty bomb, contaminated drinking water, large scale power disruption, earthquake, busted oil pipeline or other natural or man-made event that disrupts the flow of supplies or resources we depend on in our daily lives.  Preparedness is simply planning and preparing for the loss of access to those supplies and resources.  Nothing more!

Don’t Wait
Running a preparedness store and website, I see the response when given warning that a disaster is approaching.  When a hurricane is bearing down on the east coast or a bad winter storm is inbound, our freeze dried food shelves are cleaned out as well as those of the local grocery stores.   Since most freeze-dried food lasts 25-30 years when stored correctly, you may ask yourself, why do some wait until the last minute to prepare?  Some obviously feel the need to prepare but wait until disaster is imminent.   Unfortunately you don’t always have the luxury of a warning or you may only have a 20 minute warning as with the Hawaii Missile warning.  Even if you do have time, you will be competing with everyone else who failed to prepare and there is never enough for everyone.  Additionally you would waste valuable time doing things  you should have done ahead of time.  The key is to prepare early and have a plan in advance.  Then if/when something happens you can follow that plan instead of reacting in a panic.

Prepare Today for a Worry-Free Tomorrow
If there is one idea that I could instill into the minds of our customers, it is our Motto: “Prepare Today for a Worry-Free Tomorrow”.  I have heard some say they don’t want to prepare because they don’t want to live life thinking or constantly worrying about the future.  They assume that those that prepare for the future are constantly worried about it.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Preparation isn’t about worry.  In fact it is about the opposite of worry.  “Prepping” has almost become a four letter word these days.  Why is that?  Everyone prepares.  Do you wear a seatbelt?  If so, do you worry you are going to get in a wreck every time you meet another car?  Do you have a spare tire in your car?  If so, do you drive white-knuckled anticipating a blowout any second?  Do you have a fire extinguisher?  If so, do you worry that your house is going to catch on fire every time you switch on a light?  How about life insurance?  If so do you worry that your heart my stop beating at any moment?  The answer to these questions is obviously NO!  You do these things not because you worry they are going to happen at any moment but because you want to be prepared in the event that it could happen.  Disaster preparedness is no different, but it is amazing to me that so many people don’t feel the need to prepare.

Preppers Aren’t Extremists
There is another common misconception circulating and that is that preparers are somehow extremists.  This is largely in part to the reality tv show known as “Doomsday Preppers”.  Of course for viewing audiences they always choose the extremes of any situation and twist it to make for good tv.  As a result there is a large stigma that all “preppers” are “out there” and over the top just like those on the now famous tv show.  While the show was sometimes informative, it really didn’t do the world of prepping any favors.  Through our store I see many people every day and have interviewed many for various positions with our company.  One of the questions we like to as is “Do you consider yourself a ‘prepper’?”  Almost always the response is “definitely not” as if we just asked if they were a child molester or something else equally as heinous.  But when you start asking more questions, they would often keep stores of freeze dried food, have a water filter and have other preparations most would consider prepping in nature. They just don’t want to be considered that four-letter “P” word.  Well we have a secret for you, “Prepping” isn’t bad.  It isn’t extremist.  It isn’t something you should only whisper to your closest friends under a shroud of secrecy.  You might be surprised to learn that we cater to everyone across the economic spectrum.  White collar workers, blue collar workers, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, mechanics, nurses, and everyone regardless of background, they all share one thing and that is the desire to prepare for the unexpected disaster that may be looming in our future.  Prepping is not a four letter word.  It isn’t something you should be ashamed of doing.  It is no different than any other insurance you purchase for any other potential calamity (fire, flood, accident, etc).

Start with the basics.
When first planning for disaster, you can be easily overwhelmed.  Where do I start?  What disaster do I prepare for first?  The good news is that all disasters share preparation.  Whether you are preparing for a winter storm, a hurricane, an earthquake or even nuclear attack, you prepare by planning for the unavailability of lifes necessities.  These are things you may take for granted today such as food, water, healthcare, shelter, power, and indoor climate control among others.  While some consider preparation a lifestyle, it doesn’t have to be.  Just like anything, you can start simple and expand as needed.  Start with a 7 day supply of freeze dried food, a family sized water filter and a comprehensive first aid kit.  You can branch out from there… or not.  Everyone has their own preparedness level.  Some may feel adequately prepared with a week of food.  Some with a month.  Some with 6 months or even a year.  It’s  up to you.  We can help you get there.  To evaluate where you are in your preparations, check out our new Preparedness Assessment.  You might learn something about yourself!

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