Welcome to Prepping 101: Real World Prepping for Real World Problems. Before we get too far, let’s start with the very basics. Like the beginning of any new class, there are introductions to be made. I’m Rick Dembroski, your host in this series that I hope will get you on the path to self-security and self-reliance in the event that you are confronted with a disaster-type scenario.

I’m betting that your first question is something along the lines of “Who is this guy?” I am a veteran of nearly 10 years service in the U.S. Air Force. I’m a service-connected disabled vet who was honorably discharged in 2002. I had the honor of serving in what is the backbone of the U.S. Air Force, the Civil Engineers.

The wartime operations of the USAF Civil Engineers covers a wide range of missions, from force beddown, to bomb damage assessment, to the day-to-day operations of a forward operating air base. To explain 10 years of field problems and training in a paragraph is impossible, but in short terms, we learned to assess, evaluate and repair buildings, infrastructure, and basic services like roads, runways, fuel and power distribution systems after natural disasters or after some sort of attack, be it a bomb, missile, terrorist, or nuclear, biological or chemical incident.

The other large element was what we called “expedient methods,” where it’s just what it sounds like, get things that were broken back to operating safely as soon as possible using whatever was available. I believe the Patron Saint of ALL military engineers is MacGuyver. So you can begin to see that I’m very skilled in the way of prepping. It was my job for nearly 10 years and I have continued that direction in my current career.

What makes my experience different from anyone else?

I hear that a lot when I talk about prepping in general. Here it is, short and sweet: Like the title says, “Real World Prepping For Real World Problems.” If you are looking for zombie apocalypse prepping or some anti government prepping info, please go watch Walking Dead or National Geographic: Doomsday Preppers. Those shows are completely unrealistic and will only help you to 1) look like a nut job, or 2) cause you to spend huge amounts of money on things you will never need.

So if you are ready to get educated and prepared, read on.

What is a Prepper?

“Prepper.” It’s a word that instantly conjures up a thousand images ranging from people with poor hygiene, a whiskey still in the front yard, and on the fringe of society, to the rugged survivalist with the latest in gadgets and gear, usually armed to the teeth. What is fact and what is fiction? Is “Prepping” just paranoia, or is it an insurance policy that you hope you’ll never need?

You’re just paranoid. The Government will help us in an emergency, that’s their job.

Plea for help from FEMA during Katrina
Plea for help from FEMA during Katrina (Photo Courtesy: Chickaboomer)

This phrase is repeated over and over around lunch rooms in the work places of North America. It’s a phrase that eases some people’s minds, but makes me cringe. Recent history has shown that governments mean well and want to protect and provide for their citizens, but are often overwhelmed by the shear magnitude and chaos of emergency situations.