Return of the Prepper #3 : What am I prepping for?

In a comment on yesterday’s Return of the Prepper post, @livinguktaiwan asked what I am prepping for – “a natural disaster or for some unfortunate reason you have financial difficulties?”.

That is a perfectly reasonable question and one that I do ask myself regularly.

As a keen watcher of post-apocalyptic movies it is quite easy to get carried away with heroic visions of fighting off hoards of zombies, leading the resistance against invading aliens or being the gallant survivor whose immunity provides the miracle cure against some virulent plague.

But the reality of course will likely be much more mundane. With my age, health and limited resources and skills I would be unlikely to fulfil any such dramatic roles.

Prepping is about being prepared for difficulties at all levels – from losing one’s job and income to being snowed in on the mountain to strikes causing food shortages to everything beyond.

I have over my years of prepping developing a little ‘disaster scale’ to measure my prepping activities against.

I gave this scale the grandiose title of…

Pennsif’s Personal SHTF Scale (PPSS)

Threat Level Threat Area Examples
0 Family house fire, death of immediate family member, loss of main source of income, major illness
1 Local major flood, explosion at a chemical factory
2 Regional widespread flooding, terrorist dirty bomb, severe earthquake
3 National extreme weather destruction across the country, multiple terrorist attacks in several cities, government collapse, cyber attack on the electricity grid
4 Continental outbreak of war with Russia in Europe, major pandemic, terrorist detonation of a nuclear bomb
5 Global major meteor strike, worldwide pandemic, outbreak of nuclear war between USA and Russia / China


I am sure someone, some body or some worthy institution has codified this in a much more elegant and robust fashion. But this works for me and acts as my onboard scale for planning and prioritising my prepping activities.

Every prepper will likely have some variation of such a scale, and every realistic prepper will likely know what point on that scale that could actually deal with.

Personally while it might be bold and brave to aim for the big #5, in reality the best my family could readily cope with would be #3.

Moving up to the continential type threats of #4 might be doable with some luck and good fortune but I think it would be all survive and no thrive at that level.

So for the here and now I set the targets for our family preparedness squarely at be ready for level #3 threats. Maybe in some areas, overspill of our preps will move us up to #4.

Certainly, with only a casual glance at the news these days, with incidents in Iran, with the latest Chinese coronavirus outbreak and with ever hastening climatic dramatics, it is not difficult to make a strong case for seriously wanting to up our prepping activities to be ready for level 4.

That though can begin to get just too awful to imagine and contemplate.

That is the stuff nightmares made of.

Time, I am sure, to go to sleep…

[ image from ]