Hi friends, this is a post to say “thank you” to everyone who has supported what we’re building with Unprepared: a place for level-headed, rational advice to prepare for the worst. I’ve come under heavy fire on Twitter today for one of the strangest reasons I can imagine: for telling people to stay positive, no matter what.
Honestly, I feel foolish even talking about the possibility of nuclear war. It’s not what I wanted to write about. For my first week, I wanted to emphasize the importance of having a fire extinguisher because it’s amazing how many self-described “preppers” couldn’t put out a fire if their life depended on it.
Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin has put his nuclear forces on high alert. I personally believe that this is a scare tactic, but his recent actions have been sudden and erratic, so we cannot discount the possibility of the unthinkable. A lot of people don’t want to hear that. I don’t either.
Granted, “Nuclear war is bad. Very bad,” is the understatement of the decade. But the message is simple: don’t panic and never give up hope. Any survival expert will tell you that a positive mental attitude is a key factor in surviving any situation. “A person's attitude has a lot to do with his or her chances of survival in a disaster,” said John A. Call in Psychology Today.
I have been flooded with messages from panicked people and I’ve been trying my best to reassure them. To address this, I am working on a guide to surviving a nuclear attack, with clear and actionable information from experts beyond “positive vibes.” The guide will be free and I hope you never need it. I am hoping to publish it this week, but not until I’m sure I can convey accurate, understandable, and useful information.
Believe it or not, the experts, such as they are, say survival is more likely than you may think. I say “such as they are” because other than those who lived through the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there are no survivors of a nuclear war, much less a global one. Right now, we are all making educated guesses, at best.
Dr. Irwin Redlener, a disaster expert, published a short-but-fascinating TED Talk years ago to convey this very point. I encourage you to watch it.
But if you’re somehow excited at the prospect of nuclear war, I encourage you to read John Hersey’s Hiroshima. It is not a light read. I haven’t read it in years and I still have nightmares about it.
I’m not a tough guy, nor do I pretend to be. I’m just a regular guy who thinks too much about this stuff and I’ve been blessed with the ability to clearly communicate what actual experts say.
Many have told me you trust my advice, and I take that as a great responsibility. After the Texas freeze of last year, I received several messages from Texans saying that without our advice at The Prepared, they would be dead. That was a life-changing moment, and it is fundamentally what drives what I do.
I know you probably feel powerless in the face of this crisis. I know I do. For now, I’m living my life as normal. My son has a basketball game tonight and I plan to be cheering him on. In the meantime, I’m preparing as best as I can and helping you do the same. Other than donating to the people of Ukraine, it’s the best most of us can do.
We’re not giving in to fear at our house. If you read our guide to starting your emergency pantry, you might remember the silly jingle I wrote about preparing at Dollar Tree. My wife, a brilliant musician, offered to record it.
Putin wants us afraid. Yesterday, Russians flooded our Discord server in an attempt to scare us. We will never cave to fear. Instead, we’re going to keep laughing at him, no matter what he does. But we will be prepared.
Question I've had about fallout that I'm hoping you address in your guide, if possible: Is lead foil or leaded plywood that they use in X-Ray rooms an alternative to concrete or earth?