Take baby steps
not let your fear or lack of experience overwhelm you.
There are lots of encouraging articles and blogs online
to set you on your way. And please, don’t let naysayers
who are too lazy or too stupid tell you that it is not
Start out slowly
Don’t worry about the long term. When you
are getting started, plan for a 3-day emergency supply.
When you have more experience – and more confidence
– you can expand to a 7-day, 30-day, or even an
annual emergency supply. This means water (5 to 10 litres
per person per day), non-perishable food items, some first
aid supplies, packets of prescription medications, and,
if you have pets, some pet food.
Plan for a power outage
An extended power outage is an event that occurs
hand-in-hand with many other disasters. Pick up some extra
flashlights, batteries, candles and waterproof matches.
Later on, when you have the budget, you can purchase the
more esoteric items such as an inverter or generator.
If you have a gas barbecue keep a spare gas bottle.
Determine the most likely natural event in your area
Every geographical area is predisposed to some
type of emergency. Do live in a flood zone? Then that
should be your focus. The same thing applies to earthquake,
flood, and volcani areas. Live in the city? Perhaps you
should prepare for civil unrest.
Create an emergency contact list
Well in advance, prepare a list of emergency
contacts for police, fire, doctors, hospitals, and family
members and close friends. Be sure to include telephone
numbers, cell phone numbers, and email addresses. There
is no guarantee that any one method will work if the emergency
Stockpile as much water as you can and learn to purify
Store as much water as you can. Also check out
secondary sources of water that you can use in an emergency
(like ponds, creeks, or lakes) and learn how to safely
filter and purify water for drinking purposes. At the
least get hold of a few empty plastic 20lite containers
that you can fill somewhere.
Gather important documents
Obtain copies of your drivers license, passport,
marriage license, emergency contacts, and medical history
and keep them somewhere handy so you can grab and go if
you have to. These documents will assist rescue workers
and first responders in identification and in providing
you with adequate medical care, if needed. It also would
not hurt to include some pictures of yourself with family
members. I like to store this information on a flash drive
along with other information such as survival manuals,
home inventories and such. Also, it could be important
to have account information and insurance policies handy.
Develop a communications and transportation plan
If the SHTF and you are not at home, what then?
This is where a plan becomes important. Make a plan that
identifies how loved ones will connect with each other
in the event there is a natural disaster or other crisis.
Come up with a meeting place, and if possible, run a drill
or two so you become familiar with the process.
Purchase beans and rice and learn how to cook them
Beans and rice are chock-full of calories and,
in the case of beans, extremely nutritious. Stock up on
dried beans and rice then learn how to cook them off grid,
and outdoors over an open fire or rocket stove that you
can build yourself. For very little money and with very
little skill, you will keep hungry bellies full when there
is no other food to be had.
Come up with secondary sanitation solutions
This is a topic of vital importance. In some
situations, the infrastructure can fail so thoroughly
that you no longer have running water or flushing toilets.
In that situation, what will you do? You can stock up
on supplies for hand hygiene. You can also use kitty litter
and a bucket to make a temporary toilet for the family.
Also keep a good stock of toilet paper.
Work toward optimal physical fitness
Exercise regularly and stay in shape. This does
not mean that you have to be thin. Rather, build up your
stamina and strength so that you can perform manual labor
for extended periods. Hike, power walk, lift weights,
bicycle; just pick something and stick with it so that
you reduce body fat and build up muscle endurance and
Learn basic skills
Learn to garden and grow some food. Anyone can
learn to grow lettuce and potatoes! Start preserving food
and learn to preserve what you grow! Take up fishing or
hunting. Go camping and learn to build a fire and sleep
outdoors. Fire up the barbie and learn to bake bread,
steam vegetables, and make pancakes on on open grill or
fire. The possibilities are endless plus, you can involve
all members of your family while turning basic skill building
in to a hobby.
Get to know your neighbors
Get to know your neighbors, or, if you live in
a remote area, the people in the surrounding community.
These are the people that will watch your back and help
you out if the SHTF and you are really in trouble. And
likewise, you should be inclined to help them out if they
are worse off than you following a disaster. I am not
talking about giving assistance or handouts to free loaders.
Develop a community of like-minded preppers
Regardless of where you live or your family situation,
become a community with others. Even if your community
consists of only two or three persons, these few people
will serve as your support group and sounding board for
the tactical decisions you will make when things get tough.
In addition, you need at least one other person to watch
your back as you will watch theirs.
Create a survival library
No one can remember every single detail about
every single subject. As practiced and skilled as you
may be, there will always be a situation where you either
forgot or just plain do not know. Build up a survival
library. Binders full of paper are good but so are electronic
readers and tablets that can easily be powered using inexpensive
Put together a basic emergency (bug out) bag
If your home is no longer safe, you may be required
to bug out. This may as simple as retreating to a friend
or relative’s home or as complicated as hiking in
a storm to the nearest shelter twenty kilometers away.
Regardless of where you bug out to, you are going to need
some basics to help you get by. A basic bug out bag that
is light enough to carry when fully loaded, is something
every member of the family should possess.
Practice an evacuation plan
Sometimes a disaster occurs that causes your
home to no longer be safe to live in. If this occurs for
whatever reason, plan to leave. Map out an evacuation
route in advance. Determine two or three different ways
to physically exit your home and then two or three ways
to find your way out of the immediate area. At least one
of the routes should avoid major streets and arterial
locations. Once you develop an evacuation plan, practice
by traveling each route at least once annually. Don’t
forget that events can occur that would require you to
leave on foot. Make arrangements for this possibility
as well, and include the needs of your four-pets in your
proposed course of action.
Plan for comfort foods and amusements
When panic and fear set in, there is nothing
like a bag of cookies, some crackers and cheese from a
box, a juicy paperback and, for kids of all ages, a snuggly
teddy bear. Add some coloring books and colored pencils,
playing cards, board games, popcorn (which can be popped
over an over fire), and a book of Sudoku and you are all
Learn the basics of first aid and survival medicine
Put together a comprehensive first aid kit that
includes trauma supplies as well as protection gear to
keep you safe in the sick room. Acquire extra prescription
medications as well as antibiotics and essential oils.
Learn about herbal medicine and keep a good book on survival
medicine on hand as a reference.
Be prepared to defend your home, family and supplies
This is a very unpopular part of preparedness,
and it is what causes others to look at us like we’re
crazy. But, as unpleasant as it is, in a crisis people
can be depended upon to behave badly. And the more desperate
they become, the more dangerous they are to you, your
family, and your supplies.