The immediate reaction to a disaster is the most basic level of preparedness you should aim for, but longer-term emergency plans require at least some self-sufficiency knowledge. Even better, self-sufficiency increases self-esteem, feelings of competency, and saves you money! It's amazing to learn to rely on yourself more, whether it's repairing your car, growing your own food, or fixing your toilet. Some people become fully self-sufficient (aka "living off the grid"), but every person should learn how to mend a torn shirt.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” -Seneca
Prepping gets a bad reputation in a lot of circles. Doomsday preppers, preparing for the Apocalypse, Michigan militias hiding in the woods, white supremacists, people who believe economic collapse is imminent in America, people who believe our government is one step away from concentration camps, etc. etc. That's not me. And that's not a lot of other preppers in this country, though they may be the mostly-silent majority.
I'd just like to survive Sandy again. But I'm open to the idea that other disasters are possible and should be planned for. Disasters happen far more frequently than we think, whether it's a brush fire, an earthquake, a house fire, a flood, a tornado, a tsunami, a drought, a job loss, an asteroid, riots, economic collapse, or the zombie invasion.
This isn't a conservative or liberal topic. It's not a male-dominated field. It's a matter of taking the best care of yourself and your family that you can under various circumstances. The stereotype is a middle-aged white Christian male gun-advocate who lives in a suburban or rural community. Well, I'm a flaming liberal young orthodox Jewish woman living in NYC. If that isn't breaking the prepper stereotype, I don't know what is.
Why a Jewish-specific site about survivalism and disaster prep? Because Jews who follow Jewish custom and law (however they interpret that) have special needs and considerations not being covered by what passes as the "mainstream" sources in the topic. You have special needs and our community has different questions to ask. For example, when would you feel enough in danger to eat un-hechshered food you believe is kosher? What about actual treif food? Would you choose to be vegetarian/vegan instead, even though it might affect your health and chances of survival? I don't have answers to those questions, but I hope to raise the questions so that you and your family can consider what is best for you.