What to Do When You Aren’t Prepared?

What to Do When You Aren’t Prepared?

by Frank from Texas


As preppers, we all know people, whether family or friends, who do not prepare for emergencies.  Some people blame their lack of preparation on a lack of finances.  Others may have the belief that the government will take care of them should something catastrophic occur.  Some believe that reliance on God means that there is no need to store up essentials for emergency situations (and/or that God would provide those things to them should an emergency actually occur.)  There are also a few who believe they can just steal needed supplies from others if the situation warrants.  For the non-prepper, times will be exceedingly difficult should catastrophe suddenly occur in their area.  If we prepper do not have enough resources to aid a family member or friend by giving food or supplies to them, what could we advise them to do the moment that the world disintegrates around them?


The first thing I would advise my non-prepper family and friends to do is to pray.  As a Christian, my faith is tied to Jesus Christ; I believe that God can and will deliver us through distress.  That does not mean that we would not be cast in the fiery furnace, but He is willing to walk with us through the flames (see chapter 3 of the Book of Daniel in the Bible.)  Prayer is very important because it allows us to submit to God, talk with Him about those things that are happening in our lives, as well as to prepare ourselves to be directed by Him.  Prayer does not have to be complex; Jesus even advises us to use simple words when we pray.  Prayer may not cause a package of goods to instantly arrive at your door (though God can and sometimes will deliver miracles in ways we would never expect) but it does show God that you place your trust in Him to guide you during these times.


You will want to account for all those who are in your household.  Communication may be problematic or impossible due to system overload or failure in cellular or landline systems.  Sometimes, texting may work, at least on a delayed basis, whereas a voice conversation may fail.  Try any and all means of communication you have available until you exhaust your options.  Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to wait until a loved one is accounted for.


The next piece of advice I would give is to not steal or commit crimes.  Though you need to find food and supplies for your family, helping them through a crisis may not be possible if you are in handcuffs or on the wrong end of a 12-guage shotgun.  People who have the things you want during such times most likely have the means to protect their possessions.  Preppers especially would be on guard for persons who are desperate enough to try and take the things they have worked hard to gather.  Police presence, which could include military and/or private security forces, would have no problem making an example of people that choose to commit such a crime.


The most important thing to obtain, if possible, is as much cash as you can get.  Without a functioning power grid, ATMs will probably not work.  A bank holiday or severe bank run would make getting cash from banks nearly impossible.  If your debit or credit card is not being accepted, cash becomes king.  Most places may not accept checks or IOUs, especially if there are questions as to the stability of the dollar or banking system.  Where and how can someone obtain cash under these circumstances?  There may be few, if any sources of cash available, but pawn shops and bartering probably would be your best bets.  Be prepared to take a severe beating on the cash amount that you may receive, especially if the things you have to pawn or barter are not very useful during emergency situations.  Gold and silver items probably would gain the most in trade.  Do not trade in your food supplies unless you get a larger number of food supplies in return. 


You should then look to find sources of food and water.  Many people do not have enough of these essentials to last them throughout a time of emergency.  When storms, power outages, and other catastrophes occur, these are the items that are cleared out of the grocery stores first.  If I were shopping during a time as this, I would steer clear of grocery stores and “big box” retailers (such as Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes, and Home Depot.)  The potential for violence, crime, and the goods you need being sold out is too great, especially if your area has a large population or has a great number of desperate people willing to do anything for those items.  Instead, I would shop at places that most people would not think to go first.  For example, there is a discount clothing store within walking distance that also sells kitchen goods.  Among the kitchen goods are cooking oils, mixes for bread, various snack foods, and water filters.  These items do not conform to my normal all natural/organic diet, but they can keep me and my family from starvation in the short term.  Another clothing and furniture store in my area carries similar items.  The pet store down the highway has bottled water and snacks for sale near the cash registers.  The local office supply store carries canisters of snack foods and large containers of water.  If you can go to other types of stores instead of grocery or mass merchandise retailers, you may have a greater chance of coming away with some materials to feed and hydrate your family.


Depending on the area you live in, you may have access to a body of water.  Be careful; the lakes or streams that appear to have clear blue water may be contaminated with toxins, heavy metals, or undesirable organisms that may not necessarily go away with boiling or chlorine.  If you do not have the right filtration available, consider the potentially contaminated water for other uses, such as toileting.  Believe it or not, the water from your toilet tank may be more suitable for drinking (after treatment by boiling or chlorine) than the lake or stream water.  Consider other hidden sources of water in your home as well, such as the hot water heater.


Obtaining information on the situation at hand is a necessity.  When “The End of the World as We Know It” (TEOTWAWKI) occurs, most people will have no idea what has happened, or who or what is responsible for what had occurred. .  Do not become one that stays in a daze when the unexpected occurs.  Find as many sources of information as you can.  Local media sources (television and radio) can advise you on places where aid could be received (such as churches, charitable organizations, or even a FEMA drop point if the government cares to deliver supplies to your area.)  Mainstream media could give information on the crisis from a national or global perspective.  I would expect the national networks to either skew the news or outright lie in their coverage.  Believe it or not, mainstream sources have an agenda that often does not have your best interest in mind.  Though few people have them nowadays, if your radio can receive broadcasts on the shortwave band (or you know someone with a shortwave radio,) try to seek information through those broadcasts.  Many shortwave broadcasts are independent of this government (or any government) and can give you various perspectives as on national and world events.  Some, but not all, alternative news and “conspiracy theory” programs more accurately portray news and information than the mainstream sources that you are used to.


Talking to your neighbors can also help you find out local information that is not advertised.  Be careful of the rumor mill; a few years ago, this led to a crowd in my area that awaited “free” generators in a parking lot.  The truck that arrived carried nothing of the sort.  The crowd that waited for several hours in intense heat went home with nothing to show for their efforts.


Be careful of crime.  Just because you may not be stealing from your neighbors does not mean that others abide by that moral standard.  If you do go out and about, never go alone.  Stay with someone who is armed, if possible.  I personally would not leave my wife and children alone at home, unless it was during the day and my wife was well armed.  If you do not have firearms, get as much defensive equipment as possible.  Kitchen knives, baseball bats, tire irons, and homemade slapjacks (i.e., heavy objects inside of a sock) can help defend against some attackers.  Maintain awareness of the environment around you.  Do not go in areas that you are not familiar with.  Keep a low profile and never discuss any information that can put you at risk (such as supplies you may have at home.)


Honestly, not being prepared for an emergency is as difficult a situation to be in as any.  Your standard of living will be much lower than what is comfortable.  Try to remain positive and grounded.  Take time to grow closer to God and to your family.  Spend time together; your family will rely upon your strength and confidence while the world around you crumbles.  Do not despair about what you do not have.  Despair will not improve or remedy your situation.  People have survived these situations throughout the ages and it is possible that you will get through it as well.  Never give up, despite the circumstances!



20 survival items ebook cover
Like what you read?

Then you're gonna love my free PDF, 20 common survival items, 20 uncommon survival uses for each. That's 400 total uses for these dirt-cheap little items!

Just enter your primary e-mail below to get your link:

We will not spam you.

12 thoughts on “What to Do When You Aren’t Prepared?”

  1. This post concerns me in several areas. Not only is there a good chance that ATMs won’t work in a true SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situation, cash will quickly become valueless. Gold and silver will have little value for those who are hungry, especially initially. Barter and force will be our commodities. Expecting technology (Texting, cellphones, and TV) to work is akin to expecting the government to work in a grid down situation. Have a non-technological plan to contact and meet your family. What to do when you are not prepared is probably going to be suffer and or die, depending on the severity and longevity of the crisis. History is filled with unanswered prayers. In the secular world, two hands working get more done than a thousand hands praying. Millions of people pray everyday to win the lottery, but stay broke. Some folks will get lucky in a SHTF/TEOTWAWKI scenario and find someone’s cache who couldn’t make it home or to their bug out location, but the great majority will not be winners.

    Start prepping now. An extra five or ten dollars a week in dry or canned goods can make the difference between life and death. Arm yourself, even if its a used Ruger 10/22 rifle. You don’t need a two thousand dollar AR-15. Buy a few $10 Wrist Rockets (slingshot) and spare parts and have fun practicing with it while you build your skills. The PLA used them in modern guerrilla warfare. They can be used to hunt small game too up until it is hunted out. Learn self defense. Find like-minded people. Get a Boy Scout Manual and learn and practice as many of the skills in it as possible. Plan and prepare as if its going to be 100% up to you, because to a great extent it probably will be.

  2. Good Post! I sent it to a friend who got me started prepping, but doesn’t believe she should prepare because the Lord will take care of her and her family.
    Thank you!

  3. Yes, pray! For the ones that say “God will provide”, that’s true. However, you don’t know WHEN He will “provide”! As the old saying goes, “you gotta make hay when the sun shines”.

    As my dear Mother used to say (RIP), “God gave you a brain and two hands, use them!”


  4. Great post, Frank from Texas. Wish YOU were in our group! DH and I recently did a Prep 101 for a small, local church. We taught what you’ve just said. May I add? Prepping IS a Biblical activity; one of the most well-known examples? Joseph, Egypt, and Israel. Joseph, sold into slavery by jealous stepbrothers at age 17. At age 30, they “bow down before him”, just as the dreams said they would. Joseph, upon the advice of G-d, leads Egypt during a 7-year period of EXCESS food supply to put aside 5% each year – they had so much in that 7-year period of excess that when the next 7-years came, the period of EXTREME FAMINE. that 5% was sufficient to save not only Egypt, but Israel, as well. But what did Holy G-d tell Joseph to do? He told him to “prepare” – i.e., prep. No, that word was not in their culture or their language, but that’s exactly what Holy G-d told Joseph to do; Joseph obeyed, and, as a result, two nations ate when others did not! Prep. It’s a Biblical concept, people.

  5. Frank exc.post- If all of us write letters to our local newspapers ,magazines, church bulletins etc.
    etc. we may raise more awareness
    to help people prepare-I just did that with a basic rather benign letter.I offered to do a column for free (of course I would use a pen name) .Interesting that Fema just sent out a general e mail encouraging people to prepare for an emergency.Sept is preparednes Month. (they ask too many questions for my preference People who buy cigarettes,beer ,tatooes, video games,fashions etc. that I know say they havent money for diapers or school clothes for their children etc.These folks need to prioritize.Others work hard and do everything correctly and have an accident etc.These people need the help.
    None of us can be prepared for every emergency. There are fires and tornadoes and earthquakes etc. If each of us prepares the fullest and deepest ways we can then we will all be better off as a society.
    Prayer is an essential tool for every day that we all can access. Arlene

  6. response to Rock Cowles- Who is anyone to judge the power of prayer vs the power of human effort?
    The wobderful dedicated nuns who taught us said 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration but do all things
    always with prayer included.Yes we must prepare and be as responsible as possible but even the medical
    community honors healing through faith- called miracles. Arlene

  7. Arlene, I appreciate your standing up for your beliefs, even as I feel inclined to share mine. James 2:17 makes my point perfectly; “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (NKJV)

  8. You made a difference Frank! My friend is going to put at least two weeks of food and water by! But she wants to hear no more of this prepping stuff from me 🙂

    Arlene, where did you find the info that FEMA just sent out a general email to prepare? I would love to read that!

  9. response to Bev-go to Fema.gov and sigh up for the preparedness e mails/link.Sorry I cannot directly send the
    link or I would. Keep sharing Bev- wow you are a woman to be admired !!

    Rock C- You have made some exc. points =thanks. Arlene

  10. Thank you all for the comments. Just wanted to add and clarify a few things. To Rock C: I understand this isn’t exactly prepper info, but rather some advice I would give to those who, either through ignorance or stupidity, chose not to prepare for catastrophe. You do raise some valid points; there may come a time that cash will be worthless, or that electronic communication won’t work. But for those who have done nothing to prepare, there are limited options of things they can do. I just wanted to share some of those options with preppers so that they can give this to their non-prepper friends and family when that time comes.

    To Bev: glad this article helped someone! I just wish my own family would listen!

    And to everyone else, thanks for the compliments and ideas. Hopefully we won’t have to worry about TEOTWAWKI.

  11. It s later than we think we have to prepare to take care of our family our children an granchildren looking for a safe future what are we to tell them, how can we look in there inosent eyes and say to them that or goverment looted thiere future?rob them of there future benefits?stole the last nicle they earn selling ,lemonade when the gestapo police raided there lemonade stand?what is a father a worior returning home wounded from the pains of war inflicted like a splinter in his mind the anger at not finding work to take care of his children,while our goverment took the last job that he had before he went to fight for our contry? what country is this ? when HIS job was shiped to a third world country for have the pay?WHAT IS HE TO DO TO SURVIVE? to take care of his liitle soft heart the innosense in there eyes not knowing ,DAD WHEN ARE WE GOING TO EAT? what have done to there future?please tell as many as you can our republic is being dismantle ,day by day, our children are sufering ,DAD IM SLEEPY MY STOMACK HURTS’ IHAVE SEEN THE FUTURE WE ARE IS TROUBLE..RGARDS TO ALL SSGT A.H.


Leave a Reply to Frank Cancel reply