I'll just say this right now: I realize I'm opening myself up for ridicule here, and believe me, I don't care to be ridiculed, but I'd consider myself remiss if I didn't try to offer advice to people, leaving them open to hardship they would have suffered had I not spoken up.
As I mentioned earlier in my first post on the Tornado thread in Everything Else, I have an emergency backpack that I always have at the ready at home. I should keep another in the car, but I've been lax lately. This is a pretty comprehensive emergency pack, some of the contents are: a hatchet, strong rope, waterproof matches, a comprehensive first aid kit (I need to ratchet that up with my EMT knowledge now), iodine to purify drinking water, a folded-up rain poncho, an emergency lamp (completely sealed light that'll run for about 100-150 hours), and some other odds and ends I can't recall at the moment.
I believe in preparedness. Maybe a bit more than most people do, possibly a little on the paranoid end, but the more prepared you are the better.
I generally also keep emergency provisions on hand, roughly two weeks' worth in the event that safe food and water become unavailable (I picked that habit up after Hurricane Andrew). I've also become a bit lax on that as well.
I read up on conspiracy sites and oddball places and such, but I keep my crap-o-meter turned on to avoid jumping at every big scare that comes out of the woodwork (believe me, there are many new ones every week).
However, lately the cries of "stock up and be ready for hard times coming very soon!" have ratcheted up several big notches. We could be looking at something happening within the next few weeks or the next several months, depending on who you listen to. But it's rather eerie how unanimously those cries are becoming.
Then, this gem appears on national news: Somewhat unexpected official advise to stock up
That kinda took me off guard. Sure, we see stuff like this a lot in regard to hurricane season (especially after the last two years), but to see them coming out this blatantly kind of took me back a bit.
So I guess I'm just going to say this: I've been lax long enough, and I'm going to restock my provisions. And maybe this time I'll do it for a month's time, not just two weeks' worth. Because frankly, the world's getting a lot scarier lately, and I believe we're heading for hard times soon. Very soon. Maybe not this month, or this year, or even next year, but sooner than any of us probably realizes.
It's part of the cycle of history. Civilizations run into major crises every so often, and the US's last major crisis as a civilization was the Great Depression. My grandparents lived through that, and the stories they tell are harrowing. Hopefully it won't come to anything like that.
So here's my advice: stock up now. Those of you in Hurricane Territory know how important this is. If you wait until you NEED the stuff, you won't be able to find it, or if you do, it'll be REALLY expensive.
And really, regardless, everyone should have emergency supplies just in the event of crazy stuff happening. Every part of the world has their own disasters that can leave you on your own for weeks at a time: hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, droughts, economic crises, wars, whatever.
Stock up. Provisions for two weeks' minimum is my advice. 1 gallon of water per person per day. A fully stocked first aid kit, with anything extra you are either qualifed to use or know how to use. Waterproof matches, something to cut with like a hatchet or hacksaw, emergency light sources, a weather radio, and anything else you can think of that you could need (not want, need) in a dire emergency.
Your food provisions and water should be stored someplace secure and relatively safe; it wouldn't do you any good to put them in a spot where flooding would immediately spoil them, or something else that you could easily prevent damaging your supplies if you thought about it.
Hopefully you guys won't mock me too much; maybe rib me a bit on my paranoia, but I really am leaving solid advice for all of you. Consider how embarassing this is for me because I know that most people aren't willing to listen to this kind of stuff, and I've been mocked for my emergency-preparedness before. All I know is, when things get dicey, I feel a bit better knowing that I've done what I can to prepare as best as possible.
Someone else started a thread about buying a gun to prepare for a doomsday scenario, and I'll say this: I've thought about that a lot. I don't want a gun, I don't like having them in the house, but I know that in an anarchistic situation, that could be all that stands between me and the loss of my and my loved ones' safety. I'm still debating that step.
Everything else I can do, I intend to.