What could hurt you?

Fatal risks

Starting with what can kill you, in the UK you have a five in six chance of dying of old age via an unavoidable illness. So there is no point dwelling on that, although it is good news as you are unlikely to die of something you could have done anything about, meaning obsessing over health and safety can only take you so far. Guarding your health and safety really just tampers with the barrel in life’s game of Russian roulette, as that is the same chance of dying from health misadventure (accident, suicide, disease) – you are just improving the odds slightly, motivated by the feeling that a one in six chance of dying early at any age is still a bit of a rum do.

Assuming the chamber of chance spins against you, you will be the one in six people who die of an avoidable cause such as accident, suicide, heart disease, lung cancer, COPD, cerebrovascular disease or alcohol.

  • Men lose on average 7%, and women 4%, of their lifespan to avoidable causes.
  • Eventually dementia becomes the biggest killer of women and heart disease of men, but only because they live so long, and if you live healthily to avoid that then something else will get you later, probably dementia.
  • If your child under 5 dies it will most likely be a deformity you could do nothing about.
  • If your child over 5 dies it will most likely be suicide, so that is something to prep to avoid.
  • Adults in your family are most likely to die of suicide (especially young men), cancer, heart disease or dementia.
  • Statistically you are way more likely to die of having too much food than running out. Obesity costs 9 years of life and affects 27% of the population.

Non fatal risks

Hopefully, though, you are exercising enough, eating properly, sleeping enough, playing it safe by staying away from poisons, heights, water, guns, transport, salt, sugar, takeaways, alcohol and infections, and avoiding depression. In other words, get exercise and sleep, and avoid dangerous sports, junk food and chemicals. So you survive by avoiding illness, accident or suicide, only to live long enough to maximise your chance of being confronted by unavoidable threats to lifestyle or even life.

Personal disasters

The UK Preppers Bible mainly covers widespread disasters that extend beyond your household, but they are not the only disasters that can have the same effect on your welfare. Your own personal household disasters can achieve exactly the same result. So let us look at the classic non-fatal but major lifestyle risks: losing your health, job, relationship or home.

Ensure you build up a family that is healthy and wealthy enough to look after each other and replace your home, with insurance, medicines and health knowhow, a backup career perhaps even a backup home. That way, you and/or your family should always have their health, wealth and a roof over their head and thus be able to start over again, in a new relationship if necessary.

Being housebound, penniless, lonely or homeless is not a great place to be prepping, yet it is more likely to happen than what preppers normally prepare for. Due to their relatively high likelihood, they are probably what you should insulate yourself against before you worry about asteroids and riots.

For example:

  • Perhaps your extended family could share redundancy of preps by having spare rooms and surplus stashes of supplies.
  • Perhaps you can expand your social network so you would always have someone to go to.
  • Perhaps you need to build up a rainy day fund.
  • Perhaps you should get friendly with any medics you know and train in wilderness medicine.

What do we really fear?

The twist for survivalists is that adventurers are more likely to die of being an adventurer than others are to die of not having their survival skills, as adventurers lack one key survival skill – not taking risks.

For adventurers who also survivalists, they do not just want to avoid dying, they want to avoid not living, so it is not purely a case of ‘do not die’, it is ‘do not die of a dishonourable cause’.

It is remarkably similar for preppers, who, in America anyway, often have extensive waistlines and a penchant for booze and guns. They apparently are equally not set on not dying, they just do not want to die at someone else’s hand or by the hand of fate.

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