Sharon Hughes
Confessions of a reluctant prepper
By Sharon Hughes
September 28, 2014

September is National Preparedness Month, and so I thought there's no better time to confess my reluctance (and conversion) to jump on the "prepping" bandwagon.

I, like you I am sure, have become increasingly aware of not only the popularity of "survival" websites, products, etc., but of the growing acceptance of prepping as a viable action item to add to our "to do" lists.

I confess I have been reluctant to seriously look at this issue, mostly because of the history of "crisis claims" to stock up for impending disasters, aka Y2K, that never come to pass. However, as I have sought to educate myself, because of listener concerns and questions on the need for prepping, I have come to realize that there is wisdom in doing so.

Let me explain.

We don't give it a second thought when it comes to buying car insurance, or health insurance, or life insurance. We know that should an accident, or health issue, or death of a loved one occur, we will need the money that insurance policies provide. So, why should the idea of preparing for a natural or national disaster – i.e., fires, earthquakes, economic, EMP, terrorist attack, et al. – be any different?

I understand the distaste of fear tactics sometimes used by those selling "prepper" products, and some of the extremes "extreme preppers" go to. But, should that stop us from using wisdom in making sure that we are prepared, at least minimally as the Red Cross and other preparedness organizations advise, to help insure the safety of our families? I now say no.

There are several reasons for my "conversion," not the least of which is the growing number of reputable leaders who are pointing to real and present dangers.

For example, Michael Maloof, former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who has almost 30 years of federal service in the U.S. Defense Department and as a specialized trainer for border guards and Special Forces, and author of the book "A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe," who I interviewed on my radio show to talk about the threat of an EMP strike on America.

As Maloof points out:

"There have been warnings from scientists and other experts for years that the Nation's electrical grid system and other critical infrastructures that have almost complete dependency on electricity and electronic components are highly vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event either from natural or man-made causes.

"However, Congress and the administrations of previous and current presidents largely have ignored those warnings. Events such as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States and then the devastating Hurricane Katrina that revealed vulnerabilities to those infrastructures heightened that concern. Due to the lapse of time and a relatively calm period since those disasters, policymakers have been lulled back into complacency rather than take preventative action against what could be the biggest threat to US national and economic security in our lifetime.

"The threat from an EMP attack on our critical infrastructures either from an impending solar storm of serious intensity – expected between 2012 and 2014 – or a high-altitude nuclear explosion are threats that could have long-term catastrophic consequences for our society and our way of life." You can listen to my interview with Michael Maloof in our online archives here.

Also, in interviewing Joel Rosenberg – New York Times bestselling author of twelve books including "The Last Jihad," "The Twelfth Imam," "The Tehran Initiative," "Epicenter," "Israel at War," and "Implosion," and communications advisor with a number of U.S. and Israeli leaders, including Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has addressed audiences all over the world, including in Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey, as well as at the White House, the Pentagon, and to members of Congress – we talked about his book "Damascus Countdown," which describes a world where Israel successfully launches a first strike on nuclear Iran, and what it would mean for America. Obviously, a very hot topic, and a powerful two-part interview, which you can listen to in our online archives here.

These and other such interviews raised questions with our audience: should we personally be preparing for a national disaster? Which prompted me to seriously look at the need to prepare so I could address it to my listeners. As a result, my answer is yes, I believe we do.

Even the government's 2014 theme for National Preparedness Month is "Be Disaster Aware. Take Action to Prepare."

Now, for those who are reading this and are way ahead of me on this, I'd love to hear from you as to what you are doing, what products/companies you have found most reliable, for a follow-up article I'd like to do with good recommendations. (email to

For those who are where I was before my "conversion" on this issue, let me encourage you to do your own research, and at least start with the basics, as recommended by the Red Cross and other preparedness organizations. Such as...

Some things you'll need in case of a natural or national disaster:

Hand-cranked radio

First-aid kit

Flashlights & batteries, cell phone, Faraday cage to store in in case of EMP strike

Face masks, dust masks for each family member

Bottled water

Non-perishable food, such as peanut butter, protein bars, canned beans, tuna, etc.

Medicines, especially extra prescription drugs

Potassium iodide tablets for water purification


Candles, water-proof matches

Generator, camping stove

Bike, or other non-gas powered, for travel

Blankets (including thermal), jackets (ponchos with hoods), etc.


Family plan of action

Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject, and recommendations for reliable "prepping" sources that you use/know of, that we can check out and pass on.

In the meantime, I hope you will take more seriously than I initially did, the need to have some natural or national disaster 'insurance.' It's the responsible thing to do, especially in the day in which we live.

© Sharon Hughes


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Sharon Hughes

Sharon Hughes is Founder and President of The Center for Changing Worldviews and the host of Changing Worldviews & WOMANTalk radio on KDIA in San Francisco, NPLR and online at Salem Web Network’s Her articles appear in many recognized news sites and publications, including FRONTPAGEMAG. She also blogs for, a division of The Media Research Center, and has appeared on FOX News and other national radio programs.


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