Preparedness blog

5 Reasons Why People Don't Prepare

By Ben from Ready Store
More from this author

When you hear about the reasons why others are “preparing for an emergency” or “thinking ahead”, it makes perfect sense. But when someone gives you an excuse for why they are not taking extra precautions, is there any logic behind it? Today, we will be exploring the 5 excuses people make with not preparing for an emergency.

Most emergency situations, like a natural disaster or civil unrest, happen with little to no notice. The people who give this excuse may have every reason to believe that their city is immune from an unfortunate event. However, we believe that it is important to be smart and plan for the unknown.  Even if that means having a simple 72-hour kit at the office or in your car, it’s always good to have a “just in case” plan.

5- I can gather what I need from what I already have

Yes, you probably have flashlights, granola bars, and water bottles. You may even have an empty backpack to throw it all in. However, you never know how much prep time you'll have to gather and go. Even more, if you do have time to throw everything together, you cannot assume that batteries will be fresh, you'll have enough ready-to-eat food on hand, etc.

4 – Even if it does happen here, it won’t happen to me

The likelihood of being affected by an emergency situation is relatively low. We live in an era where technology can alert us when we may be at risk for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. However, it’s hard to foresee when other events may occur.

“Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.” - Max Mayfield, Director National Hurricane Center

3 – Even if it does happen to me, it won’t be that bad

We spend a good part of our time assessing risk. In the human experience, we are forced to determine whether something or someone poses a danger to our life and safety. It is so innate that many times we don’t even realize we are doing it. We are making risk assessments all the time such as “Do I have time to turn before the car hits me?”, “Will my kid hurt himself if he jumps on the trampoline”, “Is that too hot to pick up?”

Fear is our intuitive assessment of the risk we face.

Risk = (probability of event occurring) x (impact of event occurring)

Like I said, fear is our intuitive mechanism to assess risk. On a daily basis, we experience both rational and irrational fear. Because fear is an unpleasant emotion we try to mitigate it by telling ourselves not to worry or be afraid. But, the better we are at assessing real risk and danger, the safer we will be. An improper risk assessment will cause us to make decisions that could put us in greater danger.

2 - Even if it is that bad, then I can get emergency supplies anytime.

There is no guarantee that you’ll have access to emergency supplies at any time. Depending on the type of crisis, most stores may be shut down or completely wiped out. Emergency preparedness, when done correctly, should be a part of your everyday lifestyle. If your budget allows it, buy a few extra cans of food or gradually save for 3 - 4 weeks’ worth of food storage. Making small changes will make a world of difference when you need it most.

1 - Even if I can’t get emergency supplies, then the government will save me.

In some extreme cases, it could take the government anywhere from 3 – 7 days to get to you. 72-hour kits were designed with the intention of helping you get through the first few days of a disaster.  The reality is, it could mean the difference between life and death if not prepared correctly.

Hurricane KatrinaAn advantage of working in the emergency preparedness industry is that we are able to see how people react to specific disasters around the world. People react differently, depending on how close to home the disaster feels. The terrible tsunami in the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26, 2004 was a disaster of catastrophic proportions. Over 300,000 people were killed and millions more directly impacted. While there was a great outpouring of concern, very few people took the message to heart and got prepared. Then the next year, Hurricane Katrina occurred with relatively minor flooding and loss of life compared to the tsunami. All of sudden, people all over the country wanted to get prepared.

What changed?

People realized the logical misconception of the 5 excuses. This can happen here. It can happen to me. It will be that bad. I can’t buy emergency supplies after the disaster has struck and worst of all, no, the government cannot save you. This was an eye-opening experience for the whole country.

5 years ago
Leslie Hendrick
12 years ago at 4:48 PM
We have become a society that lives for the moment. In the past homes were are small farms, we provided all our own food, had wells, we purchased very few items, mostly farming tools and textiles for clothing. Now we just run to the store 2 minutes away when we want. And yes we live the 5 excuses too often. I think of the old adage, give him a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he'll provide...
7 years ago at 10:46 AM
My favorite excuse that I hear is "I'll just go to your house". I have prepared for myself, but not for a bunch of folks who refuse to help themselves.
7 years ago at 2:11 PM
I don't have any of those excuses - I do believe it will happen here, that it will be bad, etc. I simply don't have the money to buy a years supply of food, more guns/ammo, solar generator, supplies to board up my home, etc, etc. There are so many people out there telling us how to prepare, but the idea that it takes money simply slips their minds :0)
Dennis Porter
2 years ago at 9:33 AM
Your spot on. The emergency preparedness is big business now. I agree with you. That is why when I do my preparedness presentations I show attendees what the can get from the dollar store and the .99 cent store. I constantly tour those stores for first aid , food and useable gear.
7 years ago at 6:59 PM
Charp hit the nail on head. I live in AZ. If the power goes out the weather during the summer time will kill a lot of people.
Cheryl Olson
5 years ago at 6:37 AM
(I used to be known as "Northwoods Cheryl" here) Up here where the weather can certainly kill you, preparedness is a lifestyle almost every single person I know, lives. We HAVE to. We are in a remote area where the temps often dip to 30 below zero in the winter. We have lengthy power outages as well. They DO happen in the bitter cold. The last time we had an outage, it was off from far northern Wisconsin down to south central. Well the south central area is more urban, and a LOT more populated so guess who got their power back on first? Yup, the southern most areas were first for obvious reasons, because they were the most populated. Up here, we are pretty much expected to be able to go it on our own as long as needed. We check on each other, and help each other out with supplies if need be. But, hardly anyone needs anything from the next person, the pipes don't freeze in the houses, livestock gets what they need, etc. BECAUSE everyone is prepared! Even the senior citizens. It's not only a good idea, but an ESSENTIAL one. People who think it costs too much, your life is worth MORE, believe me! You can spend even just $15 a month and come up with a decent supply of extras. You need to look at your life and see where you can save a little.. That's only 50c a day! I have spent much of my life (I am a single senior!!) living paycheck to paycheck and I manage to stay prepared for at least a year's worth!! It takes EFFORT. It takes COMMITMENT. It takes a desire to be more self SUFFICIENT. And, most of all, it takes COMMON SENSE. The times are changing rapidly as we are all aware these days. The time is nigh people!! A choice not to prep is a choice not to survive!
Cheryl Olson
5 years ago at 6:39 AM
That outage lasted 2 weeks and we all made it out alive and no one went hungry, cold, thirsty, etc. Neither did their pets and livestock!
Cheryl Olson
5 years ago at 12:15 PM
I am not sure what point you are trying to make, Sylvester. Your comment doesn't make sense in this context. Especially the last sentence..
2 years ago at 7:40 AM
Can anyone recommend a good cook book using only preps? ie; dehydrated foods for example
Justine Fisher
4 months ago at 2:14 PM
Thank you Miss Cheryl! When we were living in NY we experienced an ice storm in January. We were without power for 3 weeks. At that time it was my husband and our 3 children at home. The roads were not to be used except for emergency vehicles. I had a reserve of water storage along with food. I had been storing over the years leading up to this event. It doesn’t happen overnight. However if you keep working along on preparation it will happen and it will pay off. My husband and I are now living in Missouri. Once again we are sacrificing in order to prepare for another event whatever it may be. God bless you in your journey.