Uh oh! It finally happened. Your neighbors discovered that you’re a prepper, and that you’ve spent the past few years stashing the supplies needed to help you survive any number of possible disasters. Rookies often assume being outed as a prepper isn’t a big deal. Although you may get some good natured ribbing, for the most part, people don’t care that you’ve turned a closet into an emergency supply pantry or that there’s a bug out bag hanging beside your front door. The only time being outed as a prepper becomes a problem is when disaster strikes. If your neighbors are suddenly short on supplies, they will come knocking on your door to look for a hand out. As much as you might like to, helping everyone after a disaster just isn’t feasible. That’s why OP-SEC is one of the most important aspects of prepping. If your nosy neighbors just figured out that you’re a prepper, here are the best ways to respond.
Mums the Word
If you remain mute on the topic of prepping, eventually the knowledge that you’ve stockpiled an assortment of emergency supplies will fade from people’s memories, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll forget all together. Whenever the topic of prepping comes up, do everything you can to divert the conversation to other subject matters.
Downplay Your Preps
When people first find out that you’re a prepper, they’re going to have questions and changing the topic during the early days won’t be easy. Instead of being blatantly rude, just minimize what you tell them. Give them the impression that you only have enough to keep your family going for a few days, that the only real emergency you’re worried about is a blackout or blizzard. Suggest that you buy in bulk just to save money. Tell them you stumbled on a good deal at the big box store. Just make it clear that your prepping isn’t a big deal so they walk away and shrug it off nothing major.
Hide Your Stash
When the SHTF, things will get dicey, and neighbors who have always been friendly will turn desperate enough to storm your home and steal your supplies. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your preps out of sight and difficult to find. You should also spread things out when possible. By having your stash of supplies stored in several different places, you will be able to continue to live comfortably, even if someone steals one portion of your emergency stash.
Plan to Bug Out Quickly
When the SHTF and the people who have outed you as a prepper start to feel hungry, one of the best things you can do is gather as many of your supplies as you can and bug out. By getting out of Dodge, you don’t have to look people in the eyes and tell them no, you don’t have enough to share. You have also removed yourself from a situation that could become forcible and has the potential to become deadly. By not being there, you don’t have to worry about protecting yourself from people you’ve always trusted in the past.
Protect Your Home
You already have weapons you can use to defend yourself. Now that people know you’re a prepper, it’s time to make your home difficult to breech. Reinforced steel doors, bulletproof glass in the windows, large dogs, and a scary looking fence go a long way towards making people think twice before asking you to part with your supplies.
Be Prepared to Defend Yourself
No one likes to think that they’ll have to pull a weapon on someone they consider a friend, but if the SHTF, that might be exactly what you have to do. Take the time to become proficient with all the weapons in your house and develop the mental toughness you’ll need if you ever have to protect yourself, your family, or your prepping supplies from someone who wrongly thinks they’re entitled to your gear.
Time to Move
Moving just because your neighbors discovered you’re a prepper might seem extreme, but if half of your current town now knows your basement is packed with enough supplies to last an entire year, moving really might be your best course of action. Once you’ve settled into your new place, make sure you don’t tell your old neighbors where you’re currently living and make confidentiality a priority. Tell no one in your new town about your preps and make sure every member of your family stays dedicated to OP-SEC too.
While most preppers take precautions to avoid their preps from becoming public knowledge, accidents do happen. Your neighbor might overhear a conversation or catch a glimpse at your garage full of preps while you’re carrying in groceries. When this happens, don’t just shrug it off. Be proactive to protect the supplies you’ve worked so hard to stockpile for your family.
How do you keep your neighbors in the dark about your preps? What would you do if they found out?