The concept of ‘Day Zero’ is a pretty prevalent idea in our society, from what I’ve seen. It’s the day before you start doing something, because the first day is Day One. When talking about survivalism, the concept of Day Zero preparedness is extremely important. Typically, people who agree with Day Zero prep fall into two camps: catastrophists and pragmatists. I tend to be a pragmatist, thinking that the things survivalism can teach us (conservation, situational awareness, generalist self-sufficiency) are worth thinking about even if a horrible, apocalyptic situation never occurs. Don’t get me wrong, those types of things are never far, and the concepts of survivalism, in a broader sense, are dependent on thinking of so called ‘worst-case scenarios’ so no conversation about survival skills can avoid them, they just don’t have to include zombies or asteroids.
The reason I’m starting with Day Zero prep is because this is a concept that a lot of people (survivalists included) forget about. They think about what they will do when disaster strikes, but not how they will be ready for it before hand. Most people think you have to prepare for everything if you are going to prepare for any one event in which your priority will be survival, but that’s not necessarily true. The other end are the people who are ‘preparing’ now by stocking up on caned goods, ammunition, and other things they want to have lots of when society ends. Problem there is that the stocks will run our as well. I’m going to lay out a few concepts of Day Zero prep here that are accessible to just about anyone. Call this an ‘Intro to Survivalism for Pragmatists.’
Prep Step 1. Think of things that you take for granted on a daily basis.
If you live in the first world, there is an entire supply chain that gets necessaries to you on a regular basis. Food, water, electricity, climate control, garbage disposal, news and information, communication methods, etc, etc. Just as an example, potable water is one of the most basic necessities of life. A well-hydrated, moderately healthy person can survive for weeks without food. A person suffering dehydration can die within hours, depending on the weather. Get to know your supply chain, and see if there is a way you can begin to have a more local control on your supply. On the cheaper end you could create a rain collection system, locate and meet some local farmers, start a garden. On the more expensive scale, you could install solar / wind power, install a well, eliminate your petroleum usage. Realizing how much of a distance there is between you and the things that keep you alive is fairly important to your life now, not just for survival when that chain breaks down.
Prep Step 2. Meet your neighbors
This may sound silly, but in a situation in which most infrastructure is defunct, the people you are going to rely on are not your online friends, but the people physically near you. Your chances of survival are dramatically increased if you just know the people next door simply because then you can collaborate rather than target each other when things get scarce. Imagine a transformer on your street blowing up, then think who all will be standing in the street. Those are the people you need to get to know. But do more than just say hi, thinking about prep 1 you could form a community gardening plan and cover just about everyone’s food needs through a produce share plan. Talk about cutting the supply chain to nothing.
Prep Step 3. Identify the things you are responsible for
Start with yourself, because you can’t help anyone if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Then move on to the people you are responsible for. This may sound harsh, but pets are a secondary consideration (even though they do come before ‘stuff.’) Be aware of the things you are responsible for on a regular basis, knowing roughly where they are, what they are capable of on their own, and how they can be helpful to the group as a whole. Clearly identify strengths and weaknesses, and factor those in to your decisions about where those people need support, and where they need to lead.
There is a lot more to talk about with Day Zero prep, but these things are a great starting point. You’ll realize that it is more of a mental shift than it is any real system of being ready for the worst. Being a pragmatist, I’ll be offering some more thoughts on your ‘Survival Team,’ your ‘Survival Cookbook,’ your ‘Survival Skill List,’ and your ‘Survival Bag’ (and offering some resources for you to learn.) Hit me up here or on Google Plus with questions or comments, but remember, I’m a pragmatist, not a catastrophist, so I’m not going to have a ‘Zombie Survival Plan’ mostly since I don’t narrow my scope down that much.