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One of the most forgotten areas of prepping is financial preparedness. It’s as if we all think that whenever the brown stuff hits the air movement device, all debt and other financial concerns will disappear. While that might be true in a few situations, like an EMP, it’s not something we can count on. We’re just as likely to be faced with a scenario which causes us all to lose our incomes, while still being stuck with the mortgage on our homes and the loans on our cars.

Planning our finances as preppers can be challenging. We are faced with the problem of planning for the same things our non-prepping friends and neighbors do, while also planning for any number of possible disasters. So we have to have a plan for retirement; a plan to survive short-term disasters and a plan for surviving a TEOTWAWKI event.

 

This makes investing a real challenge. The things most people invest in, stocks and money market accounts, can’t be relied on in a post-disaster world. For that matter, trusting in them in a normal world is a bit dicey, as the stock market can always crash. But that doesn’t eliminate the need for investing; just like everyone else in the world, we need to have our investments in order, both for the good times and for the bad.

This really means investing in such a way as to protect ourselves in the event of a disaster. If we do that, then our investments should carry us through the good times as well. What we need, in addition to our stockpile of supplies, are things that we can invest in, which won’t lose their value, even in a post-disaster world. May I suggest the following…

Gold & Silver

This one is obvious. Perhaps the most classic investment of all time is precious metals, specifically gold and silver. During times of financial crisis, these metals always increase in value, even when everything else is dropping in value. In addition, precious metals are what people are likely to return to when needing some sort of money to trade with. So, as long as you have them, you can do business.

If you want to learn more you can check out this book. It provides specific and essential wealth-protecting ideas, techniques, and strategies.

In this regard, silver is actually better than gold, as its value is less. So when it comes time to barter, you’re not dealing with a one-ounce gold coin, which has a huge value. That might be useful when trying to make a major purchase, but not when trying to buy food.

Land

When I’m talking about land here, I’m not talking in the typical way of investing in land. What I’m referring to the land your home is sitting on or land that you can use for homesteading. One of the best investments you can make, especially for surviving a financial collapse, is ensuring that you own your home. That way, it can’t be taken away from you.

Granted, it is hard to pay off your home and the land it sits on; but if you will make an additional payment of say $100 each month, that money will go directly towards the principal on the loan, not the interest. I don’t have the exact figures at hand, but check it out; that could cut your 30 year mortgage down to 15 years or so.

Food

As preppers, we’re already stockpiling food. But we need to realize that our food is an investment too. Even in normal times, the cost of food is rising faster than the inflation rate. So, that food will increase in value faster than a savings account. Of course, in a time of crisis, it will be invaluable.

A Cottage Industry Business

Many major disaster scenarios are serious enough that they affect the world in which we live in, as well as the economy. Rather than just investing in things, think about investing in the skills, knowledge, and tools to make a go of it, if your current job falls apart. You don’t want an internet business here, but rather something that you do with your hands.

Repair businesses could be an excellent choice, as they do extremely well after a financial collapse. Many of the old trades would do well after the loss of the grid. Ideally, you want some sort of business which will provide an income after as many types of disasters as possible. Start with the skills you currently have and look at what might work well for you.

Alcohol

People will hang on to their vices, feeding them, more than they will hold on to their most basic needs. in this, I think that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is wrong. People will feed their vices, even at the cost of their lives. That’s why alcoholics and drug addicts spend the money they need for food and heat to feed their addictions.

But you don’t have to be an alcoholic to want alcohol. People drink and use drugs to escape their problems. So in a time of severe problems, many will trade away the food they need, just to get a drink. This makes alcohol one of the most powerful barter goods there is.

Tobacco

Tobacco is like alcohol, in that it is a vice. People smoke to deal with stress and in a post-disaster world, there will be plenty of stress. Having a stock of tobacco on hand could be extremely valuable, perhaps even more so than silver.

I wouldn’t recommend investing in cigarettes, as they can go stale. Rather, invest in raw tobacco and rolling papers. If people want to smoke, they’ll learn to roll their own.

Coffee

There are even more coffee addicts in the world than there are alcoholics and smokers. If you want something that people are going to be lusting after, willing to trade just about anything away for, this might be the golden ticket. Just about anyone is going to want coffee.

Whole beans will store better than ground coffee, even if you are keeping it in airtight containers. That means having a grinder on hand as well so that you can grind their coffee for them.

Ammunition

Some have said that ammunition will become the common coin in a post-disaster world, especially a post-EMP world. There will clearly be shortages, even with all the people who have already built stockpiles of ammo. Concentrate on calibers that are useful for hunting and self-defense. Probably the most popular caliber for trade will be the .22LR.

Gasoline

Gasoline is difficult, as it doesn’t store well for prolonged periods of time. The more volatile hydrocarbons tend to evaporate off and there is some oxidation of other components of the gasoline. Adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas can extend the life, but then only to about a year.

If you can store your gasoline in sealed metal containers, it will last longer than it will in plastic gas cans. I’ve kept gasoline in a sealed steel barrel for over a year, without problem. And that was without adding fuel stabilizers to it. Even so, I would consider gasoline only a short-term investment, as it won’t last forever. You’ll want to cash in on this investment faster than others.

Toilet Paper

There have always been alternatives to toilet paper. In the pioneering days, they used corn cobs and the Sears & Roebuck catalogue. But for those of us who have grown up accustomed to toilet paper, making that switch will be difficult. I’d say that it will be even more difficult for women.

This one is a bit of a gamble; but I think that toilet paper will become highly valuable in a post-disaster world. You just might want a few extra cases, over and above what your family is going to use, that is.

Seed

If it comes down to long-term survival after a TEOTWAWKI event, probably one of the most important things to own will be seed. Not only will you need it, so that you can plant a large vegetable garden and grow food for yourself and your family, but everyone else will need it too. They’re also going to need your knowledge about gardening, so that they can get their gardens going and feed their families.

This is probably only a short-term investment but could have big returns. I say it’s short-term because once they grow their own crops, they can harvest the seed as well. So you shouldn’t have people coming back to you for the next growing season, looking for more seed.

 

That concludes my mission for the day. Let me know what you think. If you find the time. Or something to add. 

Have a good one! 


Other Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

The Lost Ways (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation)
Backyard Liberty (Liberal’s hidden agenda: more than just your guns…)
Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)
The Lost ways II (4 Important Forgotten Skills used by our Ancestors that can help you in any crisis)
The Patriot Privacy Kit (Secure your privacy in just 10 simple steps)

With all these EMP risks in mind, it only makes sense to be prepared. That’s not a chance we can afford to take.

I’ve discovered something that was rather surprising – that the ways we do things today aren’t necessarily the best ways to do them. As we look back in time we see that our ancestors had many ways of doing things that have been lost to us today. While today’s methods meet today’s needs, they may not be the best ones around. There are many cases where the tools our ancestors used produced better results than what we manage today.

You can still find many of these tools, often at garage sales and flea markets. People look at them as novelties today, but if we ever had to return to a simpler way of life – such as after the destruction of our electric grid – those methods would be the only way that we could do many things. Therefore, it makes sense for us to prepare today, buying the tools and learning how to use them.

While there are still places where these tools can be bought new, they can also be found at garage sales and especially at estate sales. Often, the people who have them have no idea what it is that they have, so they are willing to let them go cheap. That gives you and I a chance to pick them up at a great price.

Kitchen Tools

Since we’re talking about homesteading, let’s start out with kitchen tools; there are a lot of them. An incredible amount of effort has gone into making the job of the homemaker easier, mostly because it is very profitable to do so. So the modern kitchen is filled with electronic appliances, many of which are highly specialized devices. But that doesn’t mean they are the best way to go.

Cast-iron Dutch Oven

Cooking outdoors on the grill is one of the great American past times, especially in warm weather. It’s a great time to get together with family and friends over some good food. Cooking outdoors makes it especially nice because we don’t have to heat up our kitchens. Only. . . we still heat up our kitchens. Maybe the meat gets cooked outdoors, but we still cook a lot in the kitchen. Why not cook all the rest of that food over the fire as well? With a cast-iron Dutch oven that’s easy, as it won’t be damaged by the heat from the coals. You can even bake in one, heaping coals on the lid so that the baked goods are surrounded by heat.

Pressure Cooker

When I was young, before the time of microwave ovens, pressure cookers were still fairly commonplace. Cooking under pressure causes water to boil at a higher temperature, cooking food faster. While it is not as fast as a microwave, the food comes out tasting a whole lot better.

Food Mill

Anyone who is growing vegetables in their garden needs a food mill. This isn’t anything like a food processor, but rather more like a strainer with some emphasis on it. Purees, like puree of tomato, is pushed through the cone-shaped screen, providing an easy way of filtering out seeds, skins, stems, and other solids. Not only does it work well, but it’s fast too.

Meat Grinder

18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales meat grinder

Whatever happened to the meat grinder? Once upon a time, you couldn’t have a kitchen without one. Not only did people make their own ground beef, but they used it to make sausage.

The meat would be ground, seasonings added, and the meat run back through the grinder to stuff it into the sausage casing.

Just about any type of sausage or lunchmeat can be made the same way. Salami, in all its variations, is essentially nothing more than a sausage that has been made this way, then left to cure. The salt and nitrates in the mixture are what cures the meat, preserving it.

Lever-arm Juicer

I’ve used many juicers in my day and I don’t like any of them. At least, I didn’t until I brought a lever-arm juicer back from Mexico. Rather than using a motor or depending on your muscle power to squeeze the juice out over a ribbed cone, my lever-arm juicer is a squeezer, with the advantage of having leverage to squeeze out the juice from oranges and other citrus. Faster and easier than an electric juicer, it also gets more juice out of the orange.

French Press

If you go to a fancy coffee shop, and want a “fancy” cup of coffee that’s not espresso based, it’s probably going to be made in a French press. This is one of the easiest ways there is to make coffee, but few kitchens have one anymore.

The French Press is nothing more than a glass container with a plunger that has a screen on it. Coffee grounds and hot water are put into the press and allowed to sit for four minutes (I usually shave this considerably). Then the plunger is pressed down (hence the name), pushing all the coffee grinds to the bottom so the coffee can be poured off. Quick and easy, and even better coffee.

Grater

Long before anyone invented the food processor, there was the grater. Food items were pushed across a variety of different sorts of blades, set into a stainless steel plate. The better graters had four sides, with different types of blades on each side. Food was shredded as desired, depending on the blade used.

While modern food processors can do the same thing, most people just seem to use the chopping blades. Then they have to clean the whole thing up, which is much more work than cleaning a grater.

Apple Slicer & Corer

18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales apple slicer

Slicing apples is a pain, one that we put up with regularly. Yet this problem was solved long ago by using an apple slicer and corer.

This simple device consists of a number of blades, mounted into a handle. All one needs to do is center it over an apple’s core and press down. Presto! Apple slices, with no core.

Manual Eggbeater

I don’t remember when the last time was that I saw someone use a manual eggbeater. Today we break out the electric mixer for just about anything, even if it is to just beat two eggs. To me, it’s much easier to break out a manual eggbeater and give it a spin. Not only does it do a great job, but it’s less cumbersome than getting out the electric one and putting the beaters in. If you put it in water right away, giving it a few revolutions, it just about cleans itself.

Meat Hammer

The meat hammer is something else that’s rarely seen in the modern kitchen. Instead, we use chemicals to tenderize our meat – chemicals that really aren’t all that good for us. It would be a whole lot healthier and not a whole lot harder to use a meat hammer to break down the meat’s natural fiber and tenderize it.

Workshop Tools

Since homesteading is about being self-sufficient, most especially in growing your own food, it only makes sense to look at tools which will help with building things and gardening. If we’re going to be self-sufficient we need to be able to make what we need, as much as possible, rather than running out to the store to buy it. That takes knowledge, skills and the right tools.

Blacksmith Forge & Anvil

Back before there were hardware stores everywhere, filled with factory-made tools and hardware, you couldn’t count on just hopping on your horse and running across town to buy what you wanted. Rather, you’d go to the blacksmith and order the hinges for your door, a pair of pliers, or andirons for your fireplace. He’d make them to your order, having them for you in just a few days.

I’ve seen blacksmiths at work; my dad was trained as one. It’s amazing what they can do with a forge and anvil. While the blacksmith was the expert, there’s a lot that people can do themselves if they have a forge and anvil. That was common on homesteads and ranches. Granted, we might not be able to do artistic work, but we can build a lot of basic things we need.

Wood Splitting Wedges

If you don’t have a sawmill available to you, wood splitting wedges allow you to split logs, either for making split log floors and furniture, or to turn them into rough-hewn boards.

Adze

Once logs are split you need to straighten and smooth the surface. This is where the adze comes in. This tool looks like a big flat scoop, mounted at right angles to the handle. Used with a swinging motion, it cuts out the high points on that split log, making it possible to flatten and smooth it.

Drawknife

The drawknife is an incredibly useful tool for working with logs of all types. With it, you can strip bark, smooth a log, shape it into an axe handle and even make wheel spokes.

Gimlets

Gimlets have to be the simplest way there is of drilling a small hole. They are essentially drill bits, permanently mounted to a D handle. Usually limited to a maximum size of ¼”, you can drill holes into wood faster with a gimlet than you can get your cordless drill set up and into action.

Carpenter’s Brace

For heavy-duty drilling, the carpenter’s brace is the way to go. A two-handed tool, one hand provides downward pressure, while the other hand is the “motor.” Even though you can’t drill as fast as you can with an electric drill, you don’t have to run extension cords or recharge the battery. When the power goes out, the carpenter’s brace will replace the cordless drill as the tool of choice.

Sewing Awl

Leather has long been a useful material for making a variety of things. Stitching leather can be hard, though, especially if you aren’t used to it. The sewing awl makes this much easier, combining the functions of the awl and the sewing needle.You literally stitch as you make the holes. That makes it much faster to stitch leather together. It can also be used for other heavy materials, such as canvas.

Old-time Nail Puller

I’ve had plenty of frustration pulling nails out of boards so that I could reuse them. If you’ve done any carpentry work, you have too. The claws on a hammer just don’t do the job. But back in the 1800s they had a nail puller that worked, even on nails without heads. It combined the jaws of pliers with leverage. Puling the handle both tightened the grip of the pliers on the nail’s shaft or head and provided the leverage to pull it out. It works better than anything invented since.

I’ve discovered something that was rather surprising – that the ways we do things today aren’t necessarily the best ways to do them. As we look back in time we

As of right now, only extreme weather affects our daily lives, but in a doomsday scenario we would need to know the weather to properly adapt shelter, make sure our rain barrels are ready, or to know the right time to plant our seeds for the garden.  In the event of a coming disaster you should have already purchased a solar charged or hand cranked radio equipped with NOAA.  Ideally, this would provide a way for you to hear news from the outside world and let you know if a giant hurricane or tsunami is headed in your direction. Every good little prepper should have a back-up plan in the event the hand radio had to be used in defense against a hoard of zombies, or there is no one left to broadcast the weather and tell you the latest news (cue in eerie, dark music).

Believe it or not, humans have found ingenious ways to predict a coming weather event for centuries.  Long before Doppler and satellites, people used animals, their senses, smoke, and even a cup of coffee to tell the temperature or forecast a coming storm.  Here are a few tricks and tips (none of these are foolproof or guaranteed but the last time I checked the Weather Channel wasn’t throwing out guarantees either) that may give you an edge when preparing and provide you with the knowledge you need to plan and protect your family and belongings from a weather event.  If nothing else, you can wow all your buddies at the next cookout.

Bubbles in your coffee

Pour a cup of coffee into a mug and watch the bubbles form. If they move rapidly to the cup’s edge, expect good weather. But if the bubbles stay in the mug’s center, clouds and rain could be on the way.

The reason? High pressure pushes the bubbles to the edge, and high pressure is an indicator of good weather.

Use your body

Can your body tell you when it’s going to rain? Arthritis pain and physical discomfort kick in when the barometric pressure changes. It seems Grandma wasn’t lying after all.  Many people with joint diseases, bad teeth, recently healed broken bones, and even corns and bunions report feeling aches as the barometer drops. Low barometric pressure often indicates that clouds and rain are on the way.

Sinus and facial pain caused by changes in the barometric pressure can also be an indicator that precipitation is coming. The pain can become so severe that it can even lead to migraines. Headaches can also indicate other weather conditions such as extremely hot or cold temperatures and high winds.  It can also mean that your wife just isn’t that into you.

The animals know

When a storm is approaching it’s believed that birds fly lower in the sky. This may actually be the case. When the barometric pressure drops, flying at great heights becomes difficult for birds. The pressure drop is also believed to hurt birds’ ears, prompting them to fly at a lower altitude.

Counting the number of times a cricket chirps can be a surprisingly accurate means to determine the temperature, because a cricket’s metabolism changes as the temperature changes.

Try this next time you are out on a warm summer evening.  Count the number of times a cricket chirps in 14 seconds and add 40 to that number. The resulting number should come close to the temperature in Fahrenheit (I apologize to all my metric friends, you will need a piece of paper to do the conversion).  And, if you are single, this will surely win you some points with that lucky lady or fella.  If nothing else, you can prove you can count and do basic arithmetic.

News flash – cows aren’t just lazy when they lie around in the grass.  Anyone who has lived near farmland has heard the notion that if cows are lying on the grass, rain is coming. While it’s not a perfect predictor, there could be truth to the theory. Animals are known to be sensitive to changes in barometric pressure. Some experts theorize that cows sense those changes and lie down so they are positioned on a dry spot of grass before the storm begins.

If you can’t hear the sounds of cicadas when they’re normally causing a racket, it could mean that rain is coming. The reason? Cicadas can’t vibrate their wings easily when the humidity gets high, and high humidity can mean rain. So the cicadas’ silence can indicate rain is near.

Have you heard this old saying about horses?

Tails pointing west, weather’s at its best;

Tails pointing east: weather is least.

Turns out, animals tend to graze with their rear ends pointed toward the wind.  Don’t we all?  A westerly wind usually indicates good weather, while an easterly wind sometimes means bad weather is approaching.

The saying, “Trout jump high when a rain is nigh,” could have some truth to it. When air pressure drops, it could cause trapped gases on the bottom of a body of water to be released.

This release causes microscopic organisms to disperse into water, which prompts small fish to start feeding. The small fish attract larger fish that prey on them. Eventually, all this feeding can cause such a stir that the fish start jumping.

Ever notices animals acting strangely?  I have, especially when our cat won’t stop mewing because she needs filtered ice water and her food is an hour old.  I hate that cat.  But if you notice anything amiss with animals that dwell underground, the behavioral change could predict a major seismic event. Before a disastrous earthquake in Italy in 2009, a colony of toads mysteriously evacuated its pond. Similarly in China in 1975, hibernating snakes emerged from their holes prior to a major quake in Haicheng.

Scientists surmise that ground dwelling animals can sense a chemical change in the groundwater caused by rocks in the Earth’s crust releasing charged particles. The disturbance can lead them to seek safer havens.  So if you find toads in your bed, you better look out.

Look up

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight;
Red sky in the morn, sailors take warn.

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight;
Red sky in the morn, sailors take warn.

This saying dates back thousands of years and I have heard my mother repeat it many times so I know it has to be at least a thousand years old (sorry, mom). There may actually be scientific truth to it because weather tends to move west to east in the Northern Hemisphere.

A red sky at sunset will most likely result in beautiful clear skies, indicating that high pressure will keep the storms at bay.

If the sky is red in the morning, the sunlight from the east could be revealing moisture in the air, indicating that a storm is coming from the west.

This example is even in the Bible which states, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’’’ (Matthew 16:2).

A Ring Around the Moon,
Rain or Snow Is Coming Soon

A Ring Around the Moon,
Rain or Snow Is Coming Soon

The visible ring sometimes appearing around the sun or the moon is a result of ice crystals in cirrus clouds refracting the light off these celestial bodies. Since cirrus clouds generally indicate foul weather to come, you can assume that it is time to start waterproofing.

Layers of clouds moving in different directions (east and north, for example) indicate that severe weather could be on the way. When cloud layers start moving in different directions, it means an area of low pressure is nearby, and that often leads to clouds and rain.

Rainbows in the Morning Give You Fair Warning

There isn’t always gold at the end of a rainbow, sometimes there is a storm. A rainbow in the west in the early morning hours could mean the sunlight from the east is striking moisture. Moisture could indicate a storm is approaching

Keep in mind, light winds or breezes don’t necessarily indicate foul weather, but if the easterly winds grow suddenly strong, it can be an indicator of a shift in barometric pressure, another sign that a storm is approaching.

When clouds appear like rocks and towers,
The Earth’s refreshed by frequent showers.

When clouds appear like rocks and towers,
The Earth’s refreshed by frequent showers.

Tower clouds, or cumulonimbus, as they’re known scientifically, can indicate that severe weather is approaching. Also called thunderheads because of the extreme weather they tend to precede, the clouds gain their flat-topped shape from high winds and often have dark bottoms.

I can feel it comin’ in the air tonight (cue Phil Collins)

Wind direction can tell you a good deal about the weather. Easterly winds can indicate a storm front is moving in, while winds blowing west mean good weather.

The nose always knows. Prior to a storm it’s possible to smell the scent of ozone, a sweet odor, being carried to lower altitudes. Meanwhile, during a low pressure system and rain, molecules from decomposing plant matter are released from the surfaces they’ve attached to, such as soils, and often smell like compost, which can also indicate rain.

Flowers smell best just before a rain.

Everyone is familiar with that smell that occurs after a good summer rain, when the air is rich with the smell of plant life. This is a result of an increase in air moisture or humidity, which drastically increases the strength of smells in the air and the distance they carry.

When ditch and pond offend the nose,

Look for rain and stormy blows.

Unfortunately, it’s not rosy all the time; it is believed that the smells of swamps and marshes are held down near the surface when atmospheric pressure is high, but low atmospheric pressure allows these foul odors to rise and carry. Both the increase in humidity and the drop in atmospheric pressure associated with these proverbs are signs of wet weather to come.

Smoke gets in your eyes

Chimney smoke descends,

Our nice weather ends.

Keep an eye on the smoke from that roaring campfire you just built. If the smoke rises in a straight stack, you can anticipate fair weather to come. If the smoke rises in a stack as normal, but appears to be buffeted downwards once it reaches a certain height, you can bet that a storm’s a-brewin’.

All of these tricks are not scientific, of course.  They are simply good indicators of possible weather proceedings.  If you really want to ramp up your meteorologist skills, a barometer might be on your short list of emergency supplies for a looming catastrophe.

Read the Clouds

Clouds are an excellent indicator of weather that can be used in conjunction with the methods above. For a really great site with detailed information and photographs you can visit the Section Hiker site.

Tools of the Trade: The Barometer

Barometer

Although, using nature and animals can be helpful, some signs cannot be properly read or measured without the proper tool.  With a barometer, you can measure atmospheric pressure that will provide the warning you may need before a cataclysmic weather event.  Basically, a barometer tells if there is high pressure which indicates lovely weather abounds, however low pressure will signal wet weather is around the corner.

First things first.  Most barometers are aneroid barometers and contain zero liquid.  They do, however, contain a spring which is calibrated using a dial or knob located in the back.  To calibrate properly, go to  http://www.weather.gov/ to get your local weather.  It should include the current barometric pressure and you should adjust your barometer accordingly.

Once your barometer is calibrated, you can reference the following which was taken from Skills for Taming the Wilds by Bradford Angier.

 

Barometer Change Indicator

BAROMETER WIND WEATHER
High, steady SW to NW Fair with little temperature change for one to two days
High, rising rapidly SW to NW Fair with warmer weather and rain within two days
High, falling rapidly E to NE Summer: rain in 12 to 24 hours
Winter: snow or rain with increasing wind
Very high, falling slowly SW to NW Fair, with slowly rising temperatures, for two days
High, falling rapidly S to SE Rain, with increasing wind, in 12 to 24 hours
High, falling slowly S to SE Rain within 24 hours
High, falling slowly E to NE Summer: light winds, fair
Winter: precipitation in 24 hours
High, falling slowly SW to NW Rain within 24 to 36 hours
Low, rising rapidly Shifting to W Colder and clearing
Low, rising slowly S to SW Clearing soon and fair for several days
Low, falling slowly SE to NE Rain for one or two more days
Low, falling rapidly E to N Northeast winds heavy with rain or snow, followed in winter by cold

Note: These measurements only indicate proper pressure for the U.S. and Canada. I apologize, but invite any of our friend across the pond to submit any weather folklore or barometer guidance in the comments below and we would love to post it.

As of right now, only extreme weather affects our daily lives, but in a doomsday scenario we would need to know the weather to properly adapt shelter, make sure our

I have been asked before by friends how I got started with prepping. It seems the concept can be pretty daunting at first for some people. I can understand how it is when you start to think of the literally hundreds of important items that you need to consider for your family. My first list of “needs” took up an entire sheet of paper. On first glance, this undertaking can appear to be a giant behemoth and some people throw their hands up immediately and give in. I have heard excuses from not having enough money to not knowing where to start. While I agree that some prepper items require money (sometimes a lot!) often there are alternatives to spending a ton of money, but knowing where to start should never be an issue.

The uncertainty of knowing where to begin prepping could stem from the motivation that is driving you toward emergency preparedness. If your desire to be prepared is driven by some external threat that seems real and tangible like living in Tornado Alley, the starting point might be easier to find. If the motivation to be more prepared is due to what I would call common sense; which is telling you to be prepared for anything, the sense of urgency being lower in some cases might make the choices about where to start and what to do more complex.

In this article, which will be broken into a few different parts,  I will try to lay out what I consider is a basic guideline for how to start prepping with a list of areas that I have placed in order of importance. This is just an example of one methodology, but your personal needs, resources or experience might shuffle some of these around. This list was designed for the perspective of the person who is brand spanking new to prepping and is looking for a template of sorts they can follow to get their homes prepared for most emergency situations listed above (within reason). This does not address bugging out but is designed primarily for sheltering in place. My wife loves lists and something like this breaks everything into nice little chunks that is easier to digest and then she can cross off one at a time, so this type of list is designed for people like her.

Step 1 – Priorities

First things first, before you do anything it is important to understand a few things. This is also known as “So you want to be prepared, now what?” For me, it started with a gut feeling for lack of a better word back in 2008. I have said before that I believe someone was trying to get my attention so I started to listen. There was no driving natural threat like earthquakes or hurricanes, wildfires or mudslides that prompted me. I do not worry about the poles shifting too much or aliens attacking from planet Niburu (look that one up) but I did have a sense that society as we know it now is too fragile. Within this fragile society we are dependent upon systems and processes that are created to address the problem of Just in Time inventory management and if those systems break down, so does society. When society breaks down, so do people. When people break down, all hell breaks loose.  As Gerald Celente says; “(when) People Lose Everything, They Have Nothing Left to Lose, And They Lose It.”

The example that gets used pretty frequently is natural disasters so I will stick with that for a moment. Looking back at Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina, the people in both of those situations saw how quickly society could come crashing down. In both Katrina and Sandy, gas shortages, grocery stores wiped clean and looting happened almost overnight. Power outages, of course, happened right away and within 24 hours people’s lives were turned upside down.

Now, imagine your family and what you would be faced with if you were in a similar situation. But I don’t live anywhere near the ocean you say. OK, now forget about tornadoes earthquakes, fires, nuclear meltdowns, comets with aliens living in them and all of the other natural disasters. What if there is a major fluctuation with the price of gas and the grocery stores are no longer filled by the trucks that drive down the street every day? What if the trucks were rolling, but with the high price of gas, they were only able to come half as often as they were in the past? What if there is a terrorist attack at the port of Los Angeles and shipments are delayed for months? What if there is a stupid basketball game that doesn’t go right and there is rioting on your street? What if the police declare martial law because a bad guy is running around and they prevent you from going out of your house for days or weeks?

The point I am trying to make is that there shouldn’t be one single reason you are preparing for. You should want to be prepared for anything. The chances of any single event happening to you are too small, but the chance of something happening at all that could disrupt your life is much higher. To understand what you need to be prepared for, think less about the event that could cause disruption and more about the potential for disruption and what you would need to live comfortably through that disruption.

Water is easy to store now and it will be there when you need it. These containers stack to reduce storage needs.

There is a saying called the rule of 3’s and it goes like this. A person can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. We will use these as a guideline for prepping going forward. In some cases, the rule of threes can drive what you need to focus on.

Step 2 – Water

Assuming for a minute that you can breathe and have or can obtain shelter easily we will skip over to water. Water is an obvious necessity, it is probably the easiest survival item to procure before any disaster and yet most people still don’t have enough of it to last the normal duration of what we might call your “usual” disaster. Without trying to be funny, a normal disaster is not measured in hours or days. At a minimum, if you are faced with a severe emergency like a tornado, hurricane or earthquake, services and life as you knew it probably won’t return to normal for several weeks. To verify this just look at the people who lived through Katrina and Sandy. There are people still that can’t go back into their homes and this happened back in October of 2012. At the time of this writing, that is 7 months ago and Sandy was only a Category 1 hurricane. Imagine the destruction had it been much stronger.

A good rule of thumb for water storage is to have one gallon per person per day. This includes cooking and cleaning, but that amount could change depending on the weather, the health of the individual and the physical activity they are participating. Still, one gallon is a good rule and it is simple to figure out. I like nice round numbers.

For every person in your home, you should plan on storing a gallon each for as many days as you can envision needing clean water. FEMA recommends 72 hours’ worth or three days. The general concept is that you need a 72 hour kit for each person for survival. I think that in order to be well prepared a minimum should be three times that amount. For a 4 person home, you would need to store 4 X 9 = 36 gallons of water.  That is a great start, but having twice as much that would be even better. Twice as much would be closer to 21 days which works out nicely with your 3 weeks of food so now for that same family we are looking at 84 gallons of water.

For water storage, the problem is space for most people. If you have a large basement or storage building, storing a couple of hundred gallons of extra water is easy. In an apartment, this is not the same because you will usually only have a small closet and some pantry space if you are lucky.  Regardless of your situation, water is an essential aspect of planning and should be one of the first items you consider for your survival kit.

For storing water, it is easier and more space-efficient to store at least 5-gallon jugs of water as opposed to a case of individual bottles. There are plenty of relatively inexpensive options at your local big-box stores or online. Just search for 5-gallon water storage and you will have plenty to choose from. For those with more space, 50-gallon barrels are ideal. Because I don’t have the storage space I incorporated two 50 gallon barrels as rain barrels outside attached to my gutters. This water will need to be treated, but if it rains I can have a fresh 100 gallons fairly easily. For inside the house, I went with 5-gallon because that made the most sense for our available space. We got ours from the Ready store and they stack easily which helps with space.

The bottom line is getting some water stored for yourself and your family. It’s easy and doesn’t take any preparation at all.

You can read more about storage and water treatment options in our article that deals specifically with water.

Later on in Part 2 we will discuss the rest of the basic options which will cover Food Storage, Firearms for Self Defense and Financial Security.

I have been asked before by friends how I got started with prepping. It seems the concept can be pretty daunting at first for some people. I can understand how

It is the final backup plan for a lot of us in the case of a disaster. A generous supply of cold hard cash to buy our way out of trouble, pick up as many last-minute supplies as possible or to acquire resources that are unavailable to anyone with a credit card in a world where the electricity is out and the internet is down. We frequently talk about having cash for emergencies, but how much cash should you have if the grid goes down? What will you be able to purchase with your doomsday supply and how long would it last in the first place?

One of our readers made a recommendation the other day to have between $500 and $1000 in cash for your bug out bag and at the time it prompted me to consider again if this amount makes sense. In my personal preparedness plans I have a supply of cash but I am always trying to figure out if what I have is enough or too much. Will it even matter when TEOTWAWKI comes and how can I best use the cash I have to survive?

Why do you need to have cash on hand?

You want to know the time when you will need cash the most? It will be when you can’t get to it. How many of you right now have no cash at all in your wallets or purses? I used to be the same way. I never had cash and relied on the ready availability of cash machines or most often the ability to pay for virtually everything with a debit card. How convenient is it to never have to make change or worry if you have enough cash when with the swipe of a card your bank account funds are at your disposal. This is a great technological advance, but the problem is that this requires two things to be functioning. First, the card readers and ATM machines require electricity. If the electricity is out, neither of these two machines works. The second thing is a network connection. If the network is down, even with electricity the transaction won’t work and you can’t pay for goods or get cash from your bank.

 

In a disaster, one of the first casualties is electricity. This doesn’t have to be due to some cosmic solar flare that has rendered the grid useless, it could be as destructive and common as a fire, flood, earthquake, tornado or winter storm. It could also be from simple vandalism or perhaps terrorism. A major fiber optic cable was cut in Arizona leaving businesses without the ability to accept payments. When the electricity is out, you aren’t going to be able to access your cash via the normal means so having a supply on hand is going to be a huge advantage for you in the right circumstances.

Even if there is no natural disaster, you are still at the mercy of your bank. What if your bank closes or there is a bank holiday declared because of some economic crisis. In any of these situations, if you are dependent on access to money that is controlled by either technology or physical limitations like a bank office it is wise to have a backup plan should either of those two conditions prevent you from getting cash.

What is cash good for in a crisis?

I think there are two levels to consider when it comes to keeping cash on hand. There is the bug out scenario mentioned above where you would have some “walking around money” to take care of relatively minor needs like food, a hotel or gas. The second is for a longer or more widespread unavailability of funds. Let’s say the economy tanks and the price of everything skyrockets but stores are still open for business. Your bank is one of the casualties, but you had a few thousand dollars of cash stored away that you could use to purchase food, gas and necessary preparedness items for your family. In this scenario, the government is still backing the fiat currency and vendors are still accepting it as a form of payment. For this scenario having a few thousand dollars makes sense.

 

 

But what if we have an extreme event where the currency is devalued and is essentially worthless? Your thousands of dollars might only buy you a loaf of bread. Don’t believe it can happen? It did to the Weimar Republic after WWI so it can happen again. That isn’t to say it will, but you should balance how much money you have squirreled away under your mattress with supplies you can purchase now that will last and keep you alive during that same event. My goal is to make sure I have the basics I need to survive at home for several months to a year without needing to spend any cash. This way, if the money is worthless, I still have what my family needs to survive.

If we have a regional disaster where you can bug out to a safer location, your cash should serve you well. Of course if you are in a safer location, assuming electricity was working your access to bank funds should still be working. If this is truly the end of the world as we know it, how long will that cash you have be worth anything?

It is surprisingly simple to disrupt all credit and debit transactions. Do you have cash instead?

How much cash do you need?

So the million dollar question is how much cash should you have if the grid goes down? I always try to plan for the worst case scenario. My rationale is that if I am prepared for the end of the world as we know it, I should be just as prepared for any lesser disaster or crisis I may be faced with. The way I see it is if we do have a disaster, you aren’t going to be using that cash most likely to pay your mortgage, student loans, rent, or your credit card bills. Cash will go to life saving supplies and this will need to be used in the earliest hours of any crisis before all of the goods are gone or the cash is worthless. Once people realize for example that the government has been temporarily destroyed, they aren’t going to want to take your $500 for a tank of gas. They are going to want guns, food or bullets.

Hiding cash is easy with these fake containers, just don’t forget where you put it.

I also don’t see you using your cash to buy passage to another country, but that’s just me. I know there is a historical precedent for that, but I am not planning on that being something I realistically attempt with my family. I am also not planning on bribing any officials with cash either. My cash is for last-minute necessities and then it is back into the hopefully safe confines of my home to plan the next steps. For that I have only a couple of thousand dollars in cash stored away. I figure if I need more than that I didn’t plan well. Also, I would rather spend my money on supplies like long-term storable food and equipment than having a large horde of cash. With that amount, I figure I can make one last run if needed or be able to weather any short-term emergency when I can’t access cash.

What is the best place to hide cash in your home?

I wrote a post few days ago titled, How to hide your money where the bankers won’t find it that had lots of good ideas for reasonably safe places you could store cash. As I said in that article, you do have risks involved with keeping cash in your house, but I think you have just the same, if not worse risks relying on banks to keep your money safe and give it back when you want it. There are a million places to hide cash, but you can get tricky and buy a fake shaving cream safe to store several hundred dollars in there. Just be careful you don’t throw that away. There are other options like wall clocks with a hidden compartment inside that might be less prone to getting tossed in the trash. Your imagination is really all that is needed for a good hiding place, but I would caution you that you don’t store cash in too many places or you could forget where you hid it. This happened to me when I had hidden some cash behind an item that I ended up giving to my daughter because I thought I didn’t need it anymore. Imagine my surprise when she came into the living room and said, “Dad, I found an envelope with a lot of money in it”. I gave her a twenty for a reward…

What about you? How much cash do you think you need to have on hand and what do you plan on spending it on if the grid goes down?

It is the final backup plan for a lot of us in the case of a disaster. A generous supply of cold hard cash to buy our way out of

In a discussion the other day concerning the GPS, I opened my big mouth and mentioned “the proper way to do that would be…”.  An additional comment got me to thinking about how reliant we have become on modern technology and the pretty much lost or dying art of navigating using celestial bodies, including the sun, moon, and stars.  Our ancestors used the sky to guide them day or night, across oceans and deserts.  Sure, our ancestors got lost from time to time or maybe they did not hit the exact point they were aiming for with pinpoint, GPS accuracy, but they did manage to get where they were going.  Like any other survival skill, navigating takes some practice and it is best practiced when you have other items (like a compass or GPS) to rely on in case you fail the first couple of times you attempt it.

If you happen to be navigating with a map but without a compass and you do not find yourself lost in the flat desert or on open water, you should be able to orienteer yourself out of trouble.  This is probably the quickest and easiest form of navigation to master when you have a map and visible terrain features or landmarks that are also marked on your map.  Where most people go wrong with orienteering is they do not take the time to determine where they are on the map.  They get in a hurry, guess, and days later find out the hill they thought that they were standing on top of was actually 10 kilometers north of where they were actually standing.  Finding your location without a compass will require you to place yourself on top of or next to a landmark that you are certain is the correct landmark from which to start navigating.  Finding that landmark may require some extra walking on your part but that extra walking will probably save you thousands of “lost steps” later.

Once you have determined where you are on the map, you will need to orient the map to the North.  This is where using the sun will come into play.  The quickest and easiest method to determine North, anywhere in the world, using the sun is the stick and shadow method.  You will need to find a reasonably straight stick approximately three feet long, a reasonably level, open spot on the ground, and a method for marking two locations on the ground.  Place the stick upright in the ground and mark the first shadow point.  Wait ten to fifteen minutes and mark the second shadow point. Now, stand with the first mark on your left and the other mark on your right and you will be facing North.  The first mark you made will always be West and the second mark you made will be East, creating an East/West line.  Naturally, behind you will be South.  Most maps are printed with a North Arrow in the legend, so orient the map the direction you are facing.

Once you have oriented your map to North, determine which direction on the map you need to head to find safety, and the approximate distance to that location.  In most cases, you will not be able to see where you ultimately want to end up from the point you are standing on the ground, so study the map and identify natural or man-made terrain features that are visible from your location AND between where you are and where you are trying to navigate to.  Determine the distance to the terrain features (orienteering points) and  keep an accurate pace count as you walk.  From that point you simply navigate from terrain feature to terrain feature, orienting your map to North as required to keep yourself on a reasonable course.  If you stop to camp for

The Stick and Shadow Method

the night, I would recommend stopping early enough to get your East/West line established before the sun goes down and making a permanent mark on a tree or lining up rocks pointing North and the direction of travel you need to head at first light.  Orienteering works best in the daylight when you can see things and even the most experienced navigators/orienteering experts tend to walk in circles in the dark.  If you do not have clear visibility of the night sky and the knowledge to navigate using the stars, I would always opt for stopping for the night.

If you do have a clear view of the night sky, you can use the stars and moon to guide you.  It is important to note, that the stars and moon can and will be obscured by clouds and canopy, so if you are attempting to navigate at night and lose sight of them, it is always best to find adequate shelter until they are visible again.  Many people have been fooled by the thought that they can continue to walk the necessary course with no visible navigational aids and find themselves right where they started at first light.  Doing this will only waste precious energy and mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation.

Personally, I find determining North at night easier than determining North using the stick and shadow method during daylight hours.  If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, finding North is as simple as finding the “Big Dipper” (Ursa Major), determining the pointing stars (the two stars that make the side of the Dipper opposite of the handle), and estimating five times the distance between the two stars in the direction they point.  There you will find the North Star (Polaris) and visualizing an imaginary line from the North Star straight down to the horizon will give you North.  The North Star does not move in the night sky, so once you locate it, you will always be able to reference it.  The “Big Dipper” does rotate around the North Star throughout the year, but the pointing stars always point to the North Star.  As an additional reference in the night sky to locate the North Star, you can find Cassiopeia, which is directly opposite of the “Big Dipper”, and is a five star constellation which forms a “W”.  The center star of Cassiopeia, or the middle peak of the “W” points to the North Star.

Facing the North Star, West will be on your left and East will be on your right, with South at the rear.  As a reference on East/West, locate the constellation Orion.  Orion’s Belt, the three bright stars that form a straight line across the middle of the constellation (the only three bright stars that form a straight line in all of the night sky)  rise in the East and set in the West no matter where you find yourself in the world.  Since Orion moves through the night sky, you will need to establish a good visual on where it rose and where it will set, by observing it as you navigate.

Once you have determined North, East, and West, stand facing the North Star and visualize yourself standing on the dial of a compass.  The North Star will represent “0 degrees” on the compass, if Orion’s Belt is rising it will represent “90 degrees”, and if it is setting it will represent “270 degrees”.  With an idea of which course you need to take from your current location, rotate away from the North Star until you are facing that general direction and reference your viewpoint of the North Star and Orion’s Belt from where you are standing.  If you can make out an identifiable terrain feature or other recognizable feature as a reference point mark it and start walking toward it.  If you find yourself without terrain features and can maintain sight of the North Star and Orion’s Belt, you can keep yourself on course by referencing them as you walk.  It is important to keep in mind that stars, including Orion’s Belt, move through the night sky.  The North Star is really the only constant here, so unless you are plotting a course due North, I would not recommend picking a star on the horizon as an orienteering point.

Now, unless you keep a sextant in your pocket and know how to use it, orienteering or navigating using celestial bodies will never get you within plus or minus 50 meters of an eight digit grid coordinate.  It should not be looked upon as an exact science and before you even attempt it, you need to go ahead and prepare yourself for some frustration.  However, it could, with some practice now, save your life one day when you do find yourself without modern technology.

As with any other survival technique, there are plenty of other ways to determine North and navigate without a compass, map, or GPS.  I only discussed a few here, but there are modifications to the stick and shadow method that take more time and are more accurate or you can use an analog clock/watch to determine North with the sun.  There is a whole host of other means of determining direction using stars or the moon.  I selected the methods that are easiest for most people to grasp, understand, and implement for this article.  If you are interested in discovering other methods, there are entire books dedicated to this very subject.

In a discussion the other day concerning the GPS, I opened my big mouth and mentioned “the proper way to do that would be…”.  An additional comment got me to

Disasters, both big and small, bring on a range of emotions. These emotions can include fear, confusion, uncertainty, anger, and others. Include with those emotions the possibility of danger and dealing with a situation you may not have dealt with before and you could experience panic.

What is panic? It is a state of emotional being that causes you to act uncontrollably, freeze, shut down and/or react in a dangerous or illogical manner. In other words, it means you are unable to think well enough to act properly. Panic is not going to help you in a disaster situation.

In this article, I will help you learn how to recognize panic, combat the onset of panic, and react in a logical and helpful manner in spite of your initial emotional state. With some practice, you can prepare now so that when emergencies happen, you will be able to lead and less likely to panic later.

Panic is an extreme state of fear, terror, dread, horror, anxiety, etc. It will either cause a bad reaction to a situation, or even worse, to freeze and not react at all. We’ve all been uneasy, anxious, or afraid. Panic is an extreme onset of these emotions. If your mind is racing, your body is tensed, your heart is beating extremely fast, and you can’t think straight, you are well on the road to panic. So, what can you do?

If you feel panicky, stop and take a deep breath. Calm yourself and think through the situation. Determine your priorities and then act. Easier said than done, for certain, but there is a three-step process to help you with situations you can reasonably expect. You must Predict, Prepare, and Practice.

PREDICT future scenarios

Determine situations and scenarios that may occur, from most likely to least likely (i.e. severe weather and nuclear war, as two possible extremes). List them out in order from most likely to least likely. Then decide what your reaction should be. Once you have decided what your reaction should be, decide what you will need to react to that situation. For instance, for severe weather, have appropriate clothing and know where the best place in your work, home, etc., is for you to shelter from that weather.

PREPARE now to keep family safe

For each of the scenarios you predicted above, determine what you will need to act appropriately. For instance, in the severe weather scenario, have appropriate clothing where you can get to it. Whether this is warm clothing, rain gear, rubber boots or other gear, obtain it and put it where you might need it. You may wish to place some gear in the trunk of your car for commuting or trips. You may want to pre-position extra gear at work or keep an emergency poncho in your briefcase or backpack. The point, get what you need and put it where you need it. A warm coat and gloves left at home, do you no good if a blizzard hits while you are at work.

PRACTICE situations you may face

This is a critical thing to holding down panic. For each of the scenarios above, practice what you would do. For severe weather, have a tornado drill and have your family all go to the safest room in your home. For a fire at work, take a walk down the emergency escape route (as long as you don’t trigger any alarms). For things you absolutely cannot practice, think through the scenario and decide what to do ahead of time. You can’t practice for every possible situation, but if you spend the time practicing for likely scenarios, you will practice keeping calm and thinking through the situation, then acting accordingly. You’ll find that even in scenarios you may have never practiced, you’ll be much calmer, and a calm person makes better decisions. That brings up the importance of preparedness training.

Do your family members, employees and associates know what to do in the case of an emergency? Sure, you’ve probably done a fire drill or two, but what about other emergencies or disasters? Are you always going to evacuate the building like you would for a fire? Probably not.

In some emergencies you’re safer if you stay inside, at least temporarily. For example, what if a chemical spill happens near your building or home? If you just run out into the street, you may run right into the fumes. Emergency responders can help you decide which way to evacuate, and when is safest. If there is civil unrest or a riot going on out in the street, you may want to wait until it subsides or the police direct you to safety. The same thing applies to terrorist attacks, as you don’t want to evacuate your building right into the line of fire.

In other types of emergencies, you won’t have time to evacuate the building. Do your family members or employees know what to do if a Tornado approaches, or if an earthquake occurs? Knowing where to go ahead of time can make the difference between safety and possible life-threatening injuries.

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Staying in place is generally a good strategy when there is more danger outside than inside. Staying inside is known as “sheltering in-place.” Sheltering in-place is usually a temporary method of staying safe until the danger subsides. For example, if a tornado warning is in effect for your location, it is safer to shelter in-place until the danger passes and the warning is cancelled or expires. Also, the place to shelter is not next to a big plate-glass window!

Still, there are emergencies where it is absolutely advisable to get out of the building as expeditiously as possible, such as a fire or gas leak.

The point is, the time to decide what to do is definitely not when the emergency occurs. You should think through the different types of emergencies and what your best course of action is for each. This is where emergency preparedness training comes into play. If you take the time to inform your family members, neighbors, or employees, you can ensure their safety, and therefore your own.

Everyone should be trained on what to do for each type of emergency. They should be taught in which emergencies to evacuate and where to meet up to ensure everyone got out safely. This will help the first-responders know if they have to rescue anyone and how many there are.

In addition, train your family members or employees on when not to evacuate. Examples include earthquakes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, etc. They should also know where, in particular, to shelter. For tornadoes, an interior, windowless room on the lowest floor is best. For earthquakes, however, choose a sturdy door-frame or shelter under a sturdy, non-glass desk or table.

The whole point of this article is to emphasize that everyone must be trained to:

  1. Understand the dangers and hazards that may occur in their location
  2. Know what to do in each particular case, including where to go
  3. Actually practice what to do in these situations.

The way to do this is to work through a Basic Plan for your business or organization, including your personal organization, your family. Then practice it!

Remember the three Ps: Predict, Prepare and Practice! Doing these things will help you learn how to keep from panicking. Perform the three Ps as much as you can, and you will be in a much better position to hold down panic and act accordingly. It may just save lives!

Disasters, both big and small, bring on a range of emotions. These emotions can include fear, confusion, uncertainty, anger, and others. Include with those emotions the possibility of danger and

Do you have an awesome bug out vehicle already sitting in the garage of your remote bunker somewhere miles away from the nearest highway? Do you have a fully stocked Bug Out Bag crammed under your desk at work with all the supplies you need including 200 feet of rope to shimmy down the windows of your 8th floor office? Do you have an entire craftsman tool cabinet full of medical supplies loaded up and ready to roll into action? If your AR-15’s are all oiled and neatly stacked in the family safe, if your camouflage is pressed and neatly hanging in the closet and everyone knows where their favorite flavors of MRE’s are, but nobody knows the reason for these supplies, you might have a problem.

As preppers we can easily tick off a lot of needs. We need to prepare. I need to get additional tactical training. Our family needs more medical and first aid training, not to mention a larger garden. We need to be more self-sufficient. We need to know more about living off the land and on and on. Like I said in other posts, prepping is a lifestyle not a destination so I don’t have too much faith that the Needs in my life will ever go away. I should always need something if only to learn more, give more and think more. Needs only stop when you stop living and I don’t plan to do that anytime soon, but what we need to do before almost any other prepping activity is just that. PLAN. It is great if you have that gear I mentioned above, but if the SHTF, do you have a SHTF Plan?

Why do you need to have a plan?

Having a SHTF Plan for what you would actually do if the SHTF is the very first thing you need to do and it will accomplish a couple of things. First, it will help you take into consideration your current state and responsibilities. Most of the preppers I talk to have some driving idea that makes them want to be better prepared for whatever life throws at them. It could be they are worried about an Economic Collapse, or it could be something as simple as a winter storm. All of the people you see at the grocery store right before a big storm want generally the same thing that preppers want. The only difference is that they wait till the last minute to do anything about it. These last minute shoppers who wipe out the grocery store shelves are thinking about the storm and how they need to prepare just like you and me. The lesson I am trying to preach is that we know storms come every year. We know that the power could go out. It could get really hard without some of our normal conveniences and we need to plan for that well ahead of time. Having a plan will help you think of all these things that the people grabbing the last gallons of milk off the shelf are thinking of, but you will have the benefit of doing it while you are calm and the lights are still on.

The second thing a SHTF Plan will do is give you a checklist that you can use to both purchase supplies you need or plan on amounts of items you should have stocked up appropriate to the amount of people you are preparing for. Which leads to the second point.

Who should be included in your SHTF Plan?

Most of us aren’t single bachelors or bachelorettes. Humans are social people for the most part so when we talk about taking care of ourselves during a crisis, there is almost always someone else involved. This might be a girlfriend or boyfriend, parent, children, sibling or elder relative. It might just be your best buddy Joe. When you start to put everything you need to account for in your SHTF Plan you will also need to expand the scope out to the others in your prepping circle of influence. Water is one of the first items to check off on this plan but you need to take into consideration how many people will be using that water. Fortunately, water is just about the easiest survival prep that you can plan for. One gallon of water per person, per day. So for 4 people for 1 week you would need to set aside (4 X 7 = 28) gallons. The amount of water you need to store should be the first and easiest thing in the plan in terms of supplies.

For myself, I have a family. We also have 2 relatives within a short distance so I am already planning on my family plus 2. Then you have to consider pets and other relatives that might show up if the disaster allows and timing is right so my plan could have to adjust to an additional 8 people if I was truly prepared. In reality, I have started with my immediate family and I am building up from there so the extra 8 is a goal, but not yet a reality. The point is that having a plan will help you come up with these numbers.

It may be that your SHTF plan involves others at a different bug out location. In this case, the food and water requirements might need to be allocated differently and as opposed to storing these all at your present location; caches at your alternate location or hidden along the route might be needed. In this situation the plan will likely involve several families and be much more collaborative than a simple plan you scratch out on the back of a notebook.

Where are you planning to go if the SHTF?

Since we mentioned an alternate bug out location above, the plan will obviously need to take that into consideration for two main reasons. First, who will be at this location you are planning to go to and how will you get there. The first part is usually when we get into trouble as larger groups start to intermingle because it is hard to stay civil in a high stress environment and even harder to accept rules that you might disagree with. Tempers can flare and in a situation where your plan is to bug out with Joe and his family to his hunting cabin in the woods you could be in for a nasty surprise. Joe’s wife Lisa might have told three of her friends who all show up with their families and plan on eating the supplies you and Joe have stocked up.

To be equitable, Joe could be the problem too. Once you show up, Joe might not be as accommodating as he once was. If the stress and fear is high enough, Joe might greet you with a sawed off shotgun and tell you to turn your fully loaded suburban around. Anything like this can happen regardless of any plans you have made with Joe, your oldest buddy since kindergarten even with a plan. Having a plan isn’t going to guarantee that people won’t change their minds. The best SHTF Plan in the world won’t keep you from getting double-crossed, but the sooner you and Joe can agree on a plan and the longer that your family and Joe’s family works on, discusses and debates the plan, the better off you will be.

If your plan is to shelter in place, then you usually only have to worry about the disaster coming to your street. This could be the weather/event or it could be your neighbors that you have to consider. Which leads to…

What do you need to consider if the SHTF?

This is the real meat and potatoes of the plan and isn’t easily constrained to a paragraph or two. For me, I lump almost everything survival related that I “need” into 4 main categories; Water, Food, Shelter and Security. My survival plan takes all of these into account based upon how many people I need to consider in my plan and where we are planning to be then multiplies those figures by the duration I am planning to be prepared for. This is just the baseline, but it is something you can easily build off of because the essentials are there.

So, let’s say you have to take care of 4 people and you are planning on sheltering in place. You live in a decent sized city, but not a large metropolitan area and you want a plan to initially cover 1 month of not being able to access any other supplies. You would know that at a minimum you would need 120 gallons of water to keep 4 people alive and healthy for 30 days. Next you would need to plan on 30 days’ worth of food for 4 people taking various considerations like food storage if the power goes out. Depending upon where you live and the time of year, shelter could be a very real concern. If you lost power or the ability to heat your home in the middle of winter, what would you need to do?

Assuming you check the box on the essentials, you have to consider security. If you are living through an emergency that lasts 30 days, there will be others that are living through that emergency too. There will be people who haven’t made any preparations to survive for a month without daily trips to the store. There will be yet others who simply want to take what you have and it is possible with the right circumstances that you could have to defend your home and protect your family from these people.

Security is another large subject, but we cover a lot of those aspects on Final Prepper so I won’t go into specifics here.  I would recommend you have something in the way of security to deal with the potential for these situations and add this to your SHTF plan.

How will you take care of X if the SHTF?

Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”  Are you going to be able to plan for every conceivable option? Are you going to develop the most perfect prepper checklist in the world that accounts for every single variable known and unknown to man? No. What you can do is start with a good plan though and the sheer act of planning will open your eyes to a lot of different potentials. For me personally, I have discounted a lot of different scenarios from happening to me and haven’t planned specifically for them because I don’t believe there is a high likelihood of anything similar happening to us where we are at this time.

Planning has given me the opportunity to make these mental arguments with myself and discuss things with my spouse. We have had the ability to think about things in a way that I wouldn’t be able to as easily or as effectively do in a crisis mode. If there was a genuine crisis, I would revert to action based upon the preparations that we have already made. Most of us would do the same but the good thing about the plan is that I have already had these thought exercises. I have already stored away provisions that could be used in any number of different emergencies and we have thought about a thousand what-ifs already. Even if a disaster I wasn’t expecting occurred, the plan would be what we could fall back on. If everything failed and the plan had to be thrown out, we would still have the experience of thinking through the problems we could encounter if the SHTF and that would give us a huge advantage over others who wait until the last minute. Make a plan now and I guarantee that your life will be easier no matter what life throws at you.

Do you have an awesome bug out vehicle already sitting in the garage of your remote bunker somewhere miles away from the nearest highway? Do you have a fully stocked

Helping others

It has been discussed here at Final Prepper that helping others may be a vital component to your survival strategy. While protecting yourself against bandits and those that want to do you harm is a top concern for individuals and groups when SHTF, you are likely to come across situations where helping your own group or helping those you come across will not only be the right thing to do ethically, but will also be tremendously advantageous to your situation.

But following major natural disasters or other sudden, large-scale emergencies, first aid, even advanced medical services, may not be enough. Here are some other factors to consider when preparing your skills and gear for coping with a disaster event.

Organization and Triage

Effectively organizing a disaster scene can be as difficult and as important as directly treating victims. Prioritizing which survivors are in need of immediate care, cordoning off sections for different levels of need, and helping those who will most benefit from immediate attention can reduce treatment times, decrease the burden on those administering aid, and bring some sense of order to what is sure to be a chaotic scene.

Triage Code tags makes identifying and prioritizing people with injuries simpler.

The practice of triage is a time-tested method for effectively managing personnel and resources in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. The system works by categorizing victims into three categories:

  1. Those who are likely to live without treatment – survivors with only bumps and bruises, non life-threatening injuries, and unharmed bystanders can be immediately categorized as low priority.
  1. Those who are unlikely to live regardless of treatment – Medical personnel working in the field can often do little for those who are barely clinging to life, and while every life counts, there are likely victims who could benefit much more from immediate attention.
  1. Those whose lives could be saved by immediate care – these are the highest priority victims, and should be where medical personnel’s resources should be focused in the early stages. Victims who need tourniquets to stop bleeding, burn kits to mitigate damage, and measures to avoid victims going into shock can all be applied immediately in the field and can be the difference between life and death for the victims.

Prioritizing survivors in this way can be facilitated with triage kits that include color-coded tags, tarps, and markers. While you may not be able to set up a perfect triage clinic in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, being familiar with how these operations are organized, and preparing yourself with the adequate tools for the job can go a long way.

Communication

Natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes can come without warning, leaving victims tremendously disoriented and potentially panicked. Similarly, building collapses, terrorist attacks, and structural fires have the tendency to induce chaos and confusion in their aftermath. In a situation where the institutions we depend on to return order to a scene are no longer able to fulfill that function, you may need to contribute to restoring calm and jump starting life-saving procedures.

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho – Staff Sgt. Kalani Kaauamo, 366th Medical Group, performs triage after a simulated car accident at the base hospital.

2-Way radios2 Way radios can be essential tools for communicating both with off-scene resources as well as on-scene organizers who are managing resources. Having a few 2-Way radios and spare batteries will help you get the most out of personnel.

Bullhorns – Sometimes, you need to communicate to a large audience all at once. Giving instructions, warnings, tips, or procedures during the commotion of a disaster scene can be impossible without the aid of technology. Using bullhorns can help speed up the communication process while improving its overall efficacy.

Combined with a working knowledge of how to triage patients, these tools can all contribute to effective emergency management. While these may not be at the top of your bug-out list, you should consider keeping them handy at the office, at your home, or in your car.

Personnel Safety

The scene following an emergency can continue to be a dangerous area. Damage to surrounding structures, the possibility of a second disaster, and lingering environmental effects like air pollutants and hot surfaces can all bring severe injury to otherwise healthy survivors. Hard hats, dust masks, safety vests, goggles, and work gloves should all be on hand to keep response teams safe while survivors are triaged or removed from the scene altogether. CERT kits often include all of this gear for quick access to everything you may need to respond to disaster.

Medical Aid

This is typically the first thing people think of when they imagine treating a disaster area. As we’ve discussed, there’s a lot more to successfully managing the immediate aftermath of a disaster. With that said, proper medical tools and training will be the most direct aids in saving lives and mitigating the effects of injuries.

Trauma kits Trauma kits can be purchased in a variety of sizes and should include blood clotting materials, burn care kits, sterilizers, tourniquets, hardware like paramedic shears, and various assorted bandages and first aid essentials. Make sure you’ve got an accurate inventory of what tools are available and get at least a basic grasp of first aid.

Finding a Job

Even if you’re not directly administering aid, there will likely be a job for you to make things better. Serious medical attention should be left to trained personnel, as unskilled hands could wind up doing more damage than help. But if you find yourself at the scene of an emergency, especially in a post SHTF scenario, there are going to be dozens of jobs for you to fill. Finding survivors, directing them to the proper triage zones, fetching tools for those administering aid, and generally contributing to a calm and orderly atmosphere can go a long way towards saving lives.

Being able to navigate the confusion and panic surrounding a disaster event is difficult even in the most developed and high-functioning societies. If an emergency situation were to present itself following an economic collapse or in the midst of an unrelated failure of the support infrastructure we so often take for granted, it will be those closest to the event that will need to step up and help those around them.

Helping others It has been discussed here at Final Prepper that helping others may be a vital component to your survival strategy. While protecting yourself against bandits and those that want

When SHTF and you find yourself needing to replenish your quickly dwindling supplies, do you know where to look? I can tell you right now that if you try to head to a local grocery store, hardware store, or other popular shop, you are putting yourself and your family at great risk.

Humans are creatures of habit. Stores and places that people used every day to get supplies are going to quickly be overrun and cleaned out following a collapse. In addition, gangs may be lying in wait at these popular places because they know it’s a great place to prey on desperate people trying to find supplies post-SHTF.

So, if you find yourself in need of supplies, what do you do instead? Perhaps your stockpiled supplies were somehow ruined or even stolen or confiscated or you just underestimated your needs.

How do you provide for yourself and your family without putting yourself in the way of additional threats?  The trick is to know where to find supplies post-SHTF in those buildings where other people won’t think to check right away. You have to be creative, think outside of the box about what you’re in need of and where you might find it OTHER than a grocery store, hardware store, etc.

Instead of going to places that would normally stock the supplies you need, think about which places in your area USE or STOCK the items you may need. Trespassing and breaking and entering are illegal and not something to be undertaken lightly and should be avoided if possible. But in a disastrous event, where your family is in danger and government and other emergency services are unavailable to assist, you have to do what needs done.

We’ve given you some examples below along with a few things you might find at each place. We also have this other list of places to avoid when the unthinkable happens.

Physical Therapy Clinics

One of the places to find supplies post-SHTF that almost no one will think to look is physical therapy clinics. You won’t find a ton of food here, except a few things the staff kept on hand in the staff lounge. But you will find things the therapists used to treat their patients during appointments. Look for things such as ace bandages or wraps, crutches, analgesic creams, hot/cold packs, walkers, a wheelchair.

One thing you will find that most people won’t know can be used are large rolls of TheraBand. This is long stretchy sturdy material, similar to an industrial rubber band. It’s used in therapy exercises. Therapists cut off the length they need for each patient during appointments and that piece can only be used for that patient, so they keep large rolls of it, usually hanging on the wall. You may have seen something similar used it during an exercise routine.

TheraBand can be used for a wide variety of things other than therapy including to make a rope, make a slingshot, tie things to your pack, or make a sling for a sprained or broken arm.

Public and Private Schools

Any public or private schools that aren’t being used as an evacuation center or shelter will most likely be abandoned. Depending upon the type of SHTF and how quickly it occurred, these buildings may not even be locked. Public and private schools stock food and beverages so they can feed children breakfast and lunches every day. Most people won’t think of this as a resource. You may be able to find some of this food still intact that you can use.

Industrial Buildings and Manufacturing Facilities

These buildings will be abandoned quickly, especially if the power is out indefinitely. But they can be a great place to find supplies because other people won’t think to look in these buildings and they are often located away from densely populated parts of the city. This means you can avoid huge crowds of desperate people and still find supplies you need.

Check the employee lounge or offices for things like personal first aid supplies, water, and food. You may also find things like walkie talkies, tools, first aid kits, generators, and batteries. Depending on the type of facility you could also find fuels such as propane, kerosene, and gasoline. Look for abandoned company vehicles. These could be parked, fully gassed up and ready to go Monday morning. Keys are usually hung in a box on the wall in the maintenance or shipping office.

Daycare Centers

Daycare centers, preschools, and other facilities designed to care for children during the day will likely be quickly evacuated and otherwise abandoned post-SHTF. These are the perfect place to look for supplies that you may need, especially if you have children. If the facility has an on-site kitchen for feeding lunches, you may find stockpiles of food. But even if there is no kitchen, you can find snack foods such as crackers, peanut butter, etc. that was kept on hand to provide lunch for a child whose mother forgot to send one.

The other supplies you may find at daycare centers are things such as diapers, wet wipes, blankets, cleaning supplies such as bleach, and even some spare clothing. You could also find some medications and first aid supplies. Daycare centers keep these things on hand to provide for the children in their care. In some centers parents are required to send in supplies to be kept at the center for their child. All of these will have been abandoned in the chaos.

Nursing Homes

Nursing home facilities that care for the elderly and the ill will most likely be evacuated or abandoned post-SHTF. Some facilities may be used as shelters for other patients evacuated from smaller facilities. But nursing homes stockpile a lot of supplies to care for their patients that you could use post-SHTF.

At nursing homes, you will find stockpiled food used to feed their patients. In fact, you’ll likely find nutrition packed food such as Ensure, Gatorade, or even Pedialyte that was used to make patients were getting what they needed. In a nursing home you will also find medications (possibly locked up but still there), medical supplies, blankets, sheets, and towels, and even spare clothing left behind when the patients were evacuated.

Restaurants & Coffee Shops

One place that many people may not think to check right away for supplies are abandoned restaurants and coffee shops. These can be a source to find supplies post-SHTF because they stock food to have available to cook and serve their customers during normal times. Sure, some places may choose to try and stay open but cash will run out quickly and customers won’t be able to pay. Staff will want to get home to their families, so many of these locations will be abandoned.

Once inside, find the food storeroom and check their cooler area to see what is still cold. Depending on how long it’s been abandoned, you may find food that is still usable. You’ll also find utensils and other things to cook with if you are on the run. There could be a first aid kit somewhere near the kitchen. Even grabbing several of the tablecloths could come in handy.

Veterinarian Clinics

One of the places to find supplies post-SHTF will be veterinarian clinics and hospitals. In most cases, these buildings will be abandoned. Hopefully any pets there at the time of impact will have been released or otherwise cared for. And yes, some people will think to check here but not as many as will flock to local pharmacies.

At a vet clinic, the thing you may find are medical supplies and some pharmaceutical grade antibiotics. You can also find old blankets and maybe a first aid kit. Check desk drawers and closets in case the staff kept a small stash of medications for their own use. Look for things like Tylenol, Benadryl, and things most people would keep in their desk or locker at work.

Hospice Centers

Facilities designed to care for patients who have terminal illnesses and are dying can be one of the places to find supplies. Hospice centers focus on treatments that keep patients comfortable and free of pain. Unfortunately, hospice patients need a lot of care and many of them won’t survive long without someone to look out for them.

Some of these facilities will be abandoned by staff. But hospice staff are dedicated individuals so there may still be at least one staff person who remained to care for the patients. Approach these facilities as a last resort and with the understanding that you likely won’t like what you see inside. You may have to plead your case with a staff person through negotiation or force.

Once inside, look for medications for pain such as morphine, analgesics and steroids. You’ll also find items such as syringes, needles, bandages, medications, antibiotic ointments, gauze, blankets, sheets, and pillows. You should find some food and perhaps some antibiotics.

Health Food Stores

Although health food stores are a place known to have food, they are a specialty store. In the United States, many people won’t think to look for these because they’ve never set foot inside one. They don’t know what’s there and may not even know that a health food store exists in their town or city. This means you won’t be as likely to run into large crowds of people.

Health food stores stock lots of foods that are all natural, healthy, and nutritious as well as vitamin supplements that can be used to augment your diet in the coming weeks and months.

Thrift Stores

One of the places to find supplies post-SHTF that can be a veritable treasure trove of goodies is your local thrift stores. Believe it or not, some of these will be overlooked by people who are looting. They will focus on chain stores and places with “new” items.

A thrift store can be a great source to find extra clothing, books and furniture to burn for warmth, blankets, a tent, and cookware. In some thrift stores you will also find a hardware section that will have tools, string, duct tape, and other supplies you may need.

There you have it. A whole list of places to find supplies post-collapse that hopefully won’t be crowded with people, won’t have someone lying in wait to ambush you, and won’t be completely picked clean. Regardless of how well you think you have stockpiled supplies, it’s always a good idea to have a map pre-marked with the locations of some of these types of places. The more supplies you have at your disposal, or know how to find quickly, the better your odds of surviving for the long-term.

When SHTF and you find yourself needing to replenish your quickly dwindling supplies, do you know where to look? I can tell you right now that if you try to

Prepping in its most basic form to me is about proactively taking steps to ensure you and those around you are ready with skills, supplies and a plan to react to emergencies or disasters in a way that promotes your survival. The core of short-term survival I would argue is something that many of us take for granted and that is water.

Why do you need to store water for emergencies?

The simple answer to that question is one that you probably already know. We all need water to survive and if you go without it for a while your health deteriorates. You can get headaches, become lethargic and weak. Go with water for more than a couple of days and you die. Water or lack of sufficient, clean drinking water, more than almost anything else (I will go into the other things later) will kill you.

That much is pretty simple. Usually everyone can accept that premise without even blinking an eye. What they frequently have problems with is this idea that you could ever find yourself without clean drinking water. We in virtually all of the developed world have water treatment facilities, plumbing and systems that bring clean water inside the house or our offices and you would be hard pressed to walk anywhere in even the smallest cities without quickly finding nice clear, plastic bottles of water for sale. But what if the water in the tap was tainted? What if the tap no longer put forth clean, shiny water? What if the stores with all of those bags and bags of bottled water were empty? This is where prepping begins.

To prepare, you have to do something proactively.

It isn’t wise to sit back and say things like “that would never happen” or my own personal favorite, “the government will take care of us if that happened”. In any large emergency, you will be reliant upon yourself as evidenced in almost every case in recent history. Yes, disaster relief organizations and government assistance will usually mobilize, but do you want to wait for that to happen? Even the government tells you to prepare on its website, ready.gov. If they are saying not to wait for them, what does that tell you?

fema-sandy-closed

I don’t know why anyone would count on the government. Maybe they will do something right, but I wouldn’t bet my life on them saving me.

How much water do you need to survive?

So we agree that everyone needs to stockpile water, but the next obvious question is how much? The amount of water you need vary greatly depending on a few different factors. A general rule of thumb is that you need one gallon of water per person per day. This assumes hydration needs and hygiene. You won’t necessarily drink a gallon of water, but you might need it for reconstituting freeze-dried food, cleaning cooking implements or washing your body. On some days you might not even need a gallon of water. Other days you could end up needing much more than one gallon if you are exerting yourself physically or the temperatures are elevated and you are losing fluids to perspiration.

In my opinion, water is one of the easiest preps to cross off your list and since it is so vital, it made the cut as the first in this series. To calculate how much water you need, just multiply the number of people you are prepping for by the number of days you want to be stocked up for. In my family, I have those who live with me (4) as well as extended family who I plan will come to our location (another 4 potentially) as well as some friends (add 4 to that) so I am looking at potentially needing to supply water for 12 people. 12 people for one month is 12 X 30 = 360 gallons of water.

Where is the best place to store water?

That is only for one month. What if the emergency lasts longer than one month? What if the town’s water supply is still not safe for drinking at that point? 360 gallons takes up a lot of room no matter how you look at it. If you have 55 gallon barrels in your basement that is still 6 barrels and again that assumes everyone is staying at or under their one gallon a day limit.

I have a few different ways to store water. The first is stored in heavy-duty plastic containers that hold 7 gallons each. These are great because they are more portable, they stack and I can get some storage in smaller spaces, like the shelves of a pantry. I can also easily transport a few of these to my Bug Out Vehicle if necessary. This storage only lasts a week.

If you have the space, larger water storage containers work best.

After that I have rain barrels that hold 50 gallons a piece. The great thing about rain barrels is that they can be refilled by Mother Nature without you having to do anything except make sure the water is disinfected. But, this requires an outside location and not everyone has a home on land where they can back up a barrel under the gutter. People who live in apartments have different space limitations.

For apartment dwellers, I would recommend using the stack-able storage, but diversify that around your apartment so you don’t have weight all in one space. Usually any apartments are built on concrete substrates so even several hundred pounds of water in a closet wouldn’t risk compromising the floor. You can also try storage facilities if necessary.

What do you do when the water runs out?

But no matter how much water you have stored up, it could still run out in the worse emergencies so it is important to have an alternate plan to acquire good water afterward. Actually, I think it is more important to plan to procure water than it is to stockpile it in the long run.

Platypus GravityWorks Filter System, 4-Liters of water in minutes.

Water borne bacteria and viruses are not something you want to encounter in a disaster situation. Stomach bugs, even minor can put you down and give you diarrhea. Who wants to worry about getting sick when the world ends much less crapping yourself all the time when the toilet paper is in short supply anyway? A simple and reliable method of making your water safe to drink is also very important.

Boiling water is a sure-fire way to kill all bacteria and viruses. The drawback to this approach for me is that you have to start a fire and use a container. The fire could alert people to your location and that might not be what you want. Also, you have to wait for the water to cool before you can drink it and boiling isn’t going to get out any sediment, it will just make your water safer to drink.

I prefer gravity filters for their ease of use, compactness and filtration ability. With a filter like the Platypus Gravityworks, you can quickly filter 4 liters of water just by filling up a bag and it’s ready to drink in minutes. Literally, I filtered 2 liters in less than 2 minutes.

There is also using bleach to disinfect ,water purification tablets and even iodine, but these aren’t without their drawbacks too and do require you to wait for the chemicals to work. Your choice, but there are options.

Make sure you have plans to supply the water needs of your own survival group at the initial point of any emergencies and long after by crafting your water preparedness plan now.

Prepping in its most basic form to me is about proactively taking steps to ensure you and those around you are ready with skills, supplies and a plan to react

 

A lot of preppers do not possess the proper skills for surviving in case of any natural disaster even though it is essential to do so. The main reason for the lack of adequate skills is that many people lack the proper survival skills training to cope with any emergency situation. In the subsequent paragraphs, we are going to mention 8 important survival skills that anyone must have in his or her kit.

Locating and purifying water

It is said that an individual cannot survive for more than three days without drinking water. However, in case he or she needs to survive in a severe environment, it might not be possible for him or her to survive even that long.

Water is essential for the human body to function properly and this is why one of the most important survival skills will be to locate and also purify water. In case you’re able to light a fire then you might consider boiling the water. Otherwise, you might also store sufficient water prior to leaving for an exploration. Although it might not solve your problem entirely, it is the best thing that you can do during a survival situation. We all know that nature is our best friend and we should make it a point to learn which plants will provide us with drinking water; however, it might prove to be disastrous for you in case you fail to understand it properly.

Making a fire

It is definitely tough to figure out which particular survival skills are the most important in a disaster situation; however, one cannot ignore the importance of making a fire in this respect. A fire will help you in many ways such as purifying the water, keeping yourself warm and comfortable, sterilizing surgical equipment, making tools, cooking food, signaling for help and also safeguarding yourself from wild creatures. Above all, you will feel much more confident by having a fire.

Building a shelter

While you are outdoors, things can change all of a sudden at any time of the day. For example, there can be a great fluctuation in the temperature. Although you might be experiencing a dry climate in the morning, you should not be surprised if it rains heavily at night. While you are trapped in an emergency situation, you might use your vehicle as your shelter in case you happen to be with the car. Otherwise, think of some natural resources that you can use as your shelter. It will not be a bad idea to safeguard yourself from the inclement weather by taking a refuge inside a cave.

Predicting weather

Casio Men’s PAG240-1CR Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch – Compass, Barometer and Altimeter.

In most situations, we are hardly concerned about the climatic condition in our daily lives unless of course there are some natural calamities like tornadoes and floods. Being able to forecast the weather is an essential survival skill that you should have during any disaster situation. In case you happen to be in the wilderness, you can be affected very badly by any change in the weather conditions. You might find it extremely hard to light a fire if there is a heavy precipitation as well as a strong gale. You will never be caught unaware if you are able to develop this particular survival skill. But how is it possible? Below we have mentioned some fundamental forecasting skills the majority of which will depend on natural phenomena like:

  • Air pressure – Although it is impossible to measure the air pressure physically, you should be able to ascertain the direction of the air flow. Usually, the clouds will be moving from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area.
  • Clouds – You’ll be able to forecast strong wind as well as rain by observing the clouds. Under normal circumstances, heavy precipitation can be expected in the presence of dark and low hanging clouds.
  • Wild creatures – Animals are able to understand any change in the weather by their natural instincts. For example, you can predict rain in case the insects start to disappear.
  • Hunting skills – Often you can suffer from lack of adequate food during an emergency situation. In that case, it is essential to have the ability to hunt wild animals who can provide you with a steady supply of food. In case you are a beginner, you should focus on catching some smaller animals like rabbits, fish and so on instead of going for larger creatures like the tiger, deer, etc. Hunting fish will not be much difficult for you but you should be careful while catching them. There might be other creatures like alligators in the water that you must avoid at all costs. Moreover, catching fish is not a joke and you need to be properly trained to do so. You might also try to set a trap near the river which should help you to catch some fish within a few hours.

Identifying edible vegetation

In case you are trapped in the forest, don’t go out eating everything you run across that looks good since they might even be poisonous for you. You might be starving, but you must have the ability to identify the plants which are edible. Consuming these plants will help you to avoid cooking as well as saving your precious time. There will be no need to hunt for animals, make a fire and cook. Moreover, these plants will provide you with the energy which you need for survival. Some edible plants that you can find in the wilderness include asparagus, burdock, and cattail.

Making use of survival tools

It is essential to choose the appropriate survival tools since these will help you to perform many jobs such as making your shelter or even repairing the one which you already have. Apart from this, they will also aid you to collect wood for making a fire which you will need to stay warm and also cook food. Some of these survival tools include a flashlight, emergency candles, tactical folding knife, hiking backpack, scissors, hammer, nails, pliers, etc.

Attitude 

Your attitude is going to play an important role if you get caught in any type of emergency situation. You must have the confidence that you will survive. Losing hope can prove to be fatal in the long run. Having the proper attitude along with a few survival skills will help you to overcome any tough situation.

  A lot of preppers do not possess the proper skills for surviving in case of any natural disaster even though it is essential to do so. The main reason for