HomePosts Tagged "How to Start Prepping" (Page 2)

With a budget of almost 14 Billion dollars in 2013, you would expect that FEMA would have the resources at its disposal to really be able to assist the public prior to any disaster. If you haven’t already; I recommend going out to the FEMA website to see what their recommendations are for getting prepared. FEMA, through their Ready.gov website is the government’s office that addresses most of the specific topics of the prepper movement so I was surprised at the information I found on their site.

Regardless, I went out to see what I could learn from FEMA. I say that because I truly believe that our government should have the smartest people in our country in positions like this, right? I mean if you are an agency that deals with disaster you need to have the top disaster experts in the world giving out advice, right?

FEMA breaks the topics on their website down into a few categories to start with:

  • Be Informed – This is where FEMA says you can “Learn what protective measures to take before, during and after an emergency”.
  • Make a Plan – “Prepare Plan and stay Informed for Emergencies”
  • Build A Kit – “Build a kit for disasters to be prepared.”

So at first glance this seems like a good start. I went under “Be Informed” to learn what protective measures I could take and decided to start with pandemic. The first thing to notice is that they mention influenza pandemic and I didn’t see anything about Ebola, but let’s just assume that anything bad enough to spawn a Pandemic would be covered by FEMA. They mention having a two week supply of food and water, plenty of prescription drugs, copies of your health records and to talk with family members about how they should be cared for if they get sick. Lastly they ask you to volunteer and get involved.

During an actual Pandemic (this is the page that FEMA has for Pandemic information) they recommend avoiding close contact with people who are sick (Really??) staying home from work if possible and the usual suspects of covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands.

A pandemic by definition is when a disease is prevalent throughout an entire country, continent or the whole world. I am going to add my own addendum that there must be a relatively high loss of life. With that definition, the only other pandemic any living person has seen (I don’t count AIDs or SARS) was the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-1920 that killed an estimated 30 to 50 million people in two years. In the United States alone over 675,000 people died in two years!! When FEMA is supposed to be informing you about what to do for a Pandemic that is the best they can do?!!!

Lists of phone numbers does not prepare you for a disaster

Maybe I am over reacting and this is sound advice? Perhaps, but look at Ebola where they say you are contagious for up to 21 days. If you are supposed to stay indoors for three weeks, you would be mighty hungry that last week if you only stored two weeks of food wouldn’t you? The World Health Organization states that people with Ebola can still transmit the disease though semen for up to 7 weeks after they have recovered. Is it possible that a two week plan might leave you seriously under prepared for the next pandemic?

Obviously I take issue with the plans FEMA seems to have for sheltering in place should that be necessary during a pandemic so I went over to their Make A Plan page and then down to the Plan to Protect yourself and your family link. The page seems worthless to me and the most prominent item on the page is a link to download their Family Communication Plan which is really just a sheet for you to write down phone numbers, a meeting place and medical insurance information. I don’t see how this is a realistic plan. Phone numbers are helpful I guess and having your dentist’s phone number would be a good thing if you are having a tooth emergency but I expected more again from FEMA.

A family survival plan is more than just simply writing down phone numbers and being truly prepared requires more than two weeks of food; especially during a pandemic. FEMA it seems has always recommended the most basic information and supplies that anyone probably already has on hand. Is this preparing or are they trying to cater to our lazy side? Is this the lazy person’s way to prepare? Just write down some phone numbers that won’t help you at all and keep the regular amount of food you probably already have on hand and no worries! But while you’re at it, FEMA does recommend some social messaging shout outs you can use.

FEMA doesn’t have a plan for you

You can go lots of places on FEMA’s website and there is some good advice, but on balance I get the sense that either FEMA is trying to lower everyone’s expectations for any real disaster to the point of leaving millions under prepared or they are simply out of touch with reality. I know people who have been without power for longer than two weeks in the winter and this wasn’t considered a disaster by any stretch. When we imagine disaster, it will probably take FEMA two weeks just to get out and do anything if you are foolish enough to believe that you only have to hold out until they get there. Once FEMA does arrive, they are no magic savior. Remember Hurricane Sandy when the FEMA office closed? They actually had the mental sharpness to hang up signs informing the public, who presumably was going to the offices for assistance, that they were closed “due to the weather”. You can’t rely on anyone else in a disaster so it’s important that you take the responsibility for your life and the lives of those you care about into your own hands.

FEMA doesn’t want to get out in the storm to help you.

So what are my solutions since I seem to know everything? First thing is that will admit that I don’t know everything but I don’t believe there are any one size fits all plans for preppers. You can’t just say store 2 weeks of food and think that will do for just about any disaster. Everyone has to have their own plan that has been carefully structured based upon the needs, resources and skills of your family/group with a strategic consideration of the potential threats you face. Here’s my take on FEMA’s 3 points.

  • Be Informed – Make sure you know what is going on in your home, city, region, state and country. Staying informed doesn’t have anything to do with sports scores, reality TV or what the latest star is doing that has gotten her in trouble. Being informed is knowing what is going on around you (situational awareness) and what is going on that could affect you. Learn as much as you can right now about different ideas and perspectives. I like to think we cover a lot of bases on Final Prepper, but there are dozens of other sites out there that offer a ton of great information too.
  • Make a Plan – Once you have considered who you are prepping for, it then makes sense to ask what are you prepping for. Once you have the answers to those two questions you can start working on a plan that will work for you personally, that addresses the needs of your family with regard to the threats you have identified. Your plan won’t look like mine, but there might be similarities. What works for you might not work for a single mother in the city.
  • Build A Kit – I don’t think the normal supplies I would consider for someone to be adequately prepared would fit into anything I would call a “kit”. A kit sounds like a box that sits in the closet. If you want to be prepared you will need to begin stocking up on supplies and that means different things to different people. There are lots of bases to cover but the most important begin with food, water, shelter and security.

Food

Water

Shelter

Security

Make your plan to fit your family, to take into consideration where you live and what you are dealing with. You will make better choices than any bureaucracy and your family will be better off with you than at any FEMA shelter regardless of the disaster. FEMA doesn’t have a plan for you. They have a plan to maintain order for the masses and hopefully prevent chaos. You are the only one that is going to keep your family’s needs in the front of your focus. Take steps now to ensure you aren’t living with FEMA’s idea of what is important.

What’s your plan?

With a budget of almost 14 Billion dollars in 2013, you would expect that FEMA would have the resources at its disposal to really be able to assist the public

Where to begin prepping?

I imagine a lot of people are like me when it comes to how you were introduced to the subject of prepping. In 2007, there was no Doomsday Preppers TV show that I could look to for ideas, perspective and some humor. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for really, but it all began for me with a sense of urgency. It wasn’t like I was experiencing cold sweats at night in bed or anything like that, but I felt that as a father and husband I needed to get ready. Ready for what? I didn’t know at the time, but I would eventually figure that out.

When I first started prepping I didn’t know specifically what I was supposed to do or what prepping was to be honest – only that I felt that strong need to do something to protect my family. This was a gnawing thought in the back of my mind; like the kind you might get when you see someone whose face is familiar, but you can’t picture where you know them from. When this happens to me, I can’t really think of anything else until I realize where it is that I know that person. It usually passes, but this lingering thought that I needed to get prepared would not go away.

I started to research home security topics first because I imagined someone harming my family and that was an easy jump to make. I needed to get a gun in case of an intruder. I had small children and a wife, so this was logical I thought, but as I was shopping and researching, I entered other areas that increased the world of things I could see as potential problems.

In my mind there was doubt and uncertainty about the future and the only thing that made sense for me to do was to prepare for the worst. It never really occurred to me that I was blowing anything out of proportion or that I should just sit on my 401K until things got better because I knew that eventually bad times were coming. I had energy and a sense of purpose even if I didn’t have my wife on board at the time. I listened to a lot of voices tell me what I should focus on. I read a ton of articles and watched days of YouTube videos but I still felt more urgency than a direction. My gut told me I should be doing something, but still I had no clue where to start. Where to start prepping?

We have a lot of readers on Final Prepper who have been prepping for years. but for this post I wanted to go back to the beginning and try to share what I have learned, what worked for me and what didn’t and hopefully give you some direction that I didn’t have. I know that our readers will help by adding to the conversation in the comments below.

What Every New Prepper Needs to Know:

You are not crazy!

There are a million things we talk about on the subject of prepping, but it all boils down to this. The goal of Prepping is to keep you alive. You prepare for bad things happening in your life. Your preps are those resources (skills, supplies, gear, relationships) you have that will allow you to ride out the bad things with as little negative consequences as possible. Trying to survive isn’t crazy and making sure you have a plan for bad things isn’t nuts either.

Start with visualizing what you are concerned about

In the beginning I focused on a lot of things that I could worry about from the standpoint of my family. There was the possibility of so many things: economic collapse, tornadoes, riots, nuclear war, government tyranny, global pandemic, global warming, global cooling, peak oil, terrorism, peak water, EMP, Zombies, rabid Bigfoot…. OK, I am kidding about the last two obviously but the point here isn’t to focus on a specific threat to your life although thinking about something you are concerned about can help you plan.

Are you ready to start prepping?

How to Start Prepping

Understand what everyone needs for survival

Every human on earth needs the same basic things to live. You need water, food, shelter and security. Can you live without water? Yes, for a while depending on where you are but not for long. Can you live without shelter? It depends; are you in the desert or the mountains of Colorado? Food is probably the one thing you can live without the longest, but lack of a fairly constant source of nutrition will harm your health and make you less able to deal with other issues as effectively as you need. You could have all of these bases covered, but someone who failed to prepared might see you and want to take them away from you and give them to his family.

Read as much about prepping as you can. Learn and get different perspectives before you make snap decisions.

You need all of these survival items, regardless if zombies from outer space are wreaking havoc on earth or the stock market takes a dive and never returns. If almost any of the “threats” mentioned above happened; you can plan on disruptions in your life. They could be minor or they could last years. You can use these things to judge your preparedness level by how long you could survive if you had to count on yourself to get water. If you had to provide your own food, how much would you have? If you couldn’t call the cops would you have some means of defense?

Identify areas where you need to prepare

I think the best thing to do before you start prepping is to think about what your family needs to survive and choose a time-frame. You can start small, take two weeks to begin and start figuring out how much you would need to last for 14 days.

  • Without access to water
  • Without access to food
  • Without access to power/heat/air-conditioning/a house
  • Without the possibility of calling the police

Food and water should be simple. How much food do you need for your family and anyone else who might stop by if you had to stay indoors for 14 days? This should be food that doesn’t need refrigeration that your family eats already. How much water would you need to do the same thing? A good average is one gallon per day per person.

Two posts that might help with your food preps:

Shelter and Security get into different things depending largely on where you live and your personal beliefs in the case of firearms. They also might require licensing and in some cases a higher entry point – cost wise to prepping than food and water.

Start acquiring supplies, gear and skills

You should have at least a short list now of things you need to consider for basic survival for two weeks. How much of this do you already have? Do you have water stored? Do you need containers to store water?

Take care of food and water first because that is the simplest thing to do. Once you have food and water stored for two weeks, identify other aspects you could need like security, first-aid, alternative power, fuel.

Reevaluate and adjust as necessary

If you followed the plan above you have the basics you need to last for one week. Congratulations! This puts you ahead of 98% of the rest of your neighbors. You should have a sense of accomplishment but you may feel like you have only scratched the surface. My personal goal is to prepared to live for one year without access to food, water, the police, power or fuel. I still have a way to go in some areas, but each day is a journey for me. Some days I make great strides. Other days, I have to step back and regroup, but I am always looking down the road.

Looking back over the 8 years I have been prepping, I learned that you don’t want to jump into most prepper purchase too soon. Food and water are easy and I didn’t start buying freeze-dried food until I had 6-months of food stored in my pantry first. I didn’t go out and buy the first gun I saw, I gave some serious thought to what could afford and what would be the best gun for home defense if I could only chose one. I had a long-term plan on firearms, but I didn’t buy them all at the same time.

Ammo was another area that I constantly worked on because at some points in the last few years, you simply couldn’t buy any ammo. I had enough to start with to last me for two weeks of anarchy and built from there alongside my food, water, power and other preps. I tried to not let any single prep get too much attention and slowly grew my supplies evenly, when I could get a deal and not at the expense of something I needed more. One key to remember here is that you don’t have to have everything right now.

Relax but don’t quit

In the beginning, I was consumed with the thought of prepping and how I was so far behind the curve. Since that time 8 years ago, I have witnessed thousands of times where disaster was right around the corner only to wake up the next day to find the world still spinning. This will happen to you, but you shouldn’t give up on your prepping efforts. That is another reason not to pin your actions on a specific event or threat. The people who prepared only because of the Mayan calendar 2012 issue were likely disappointed when nothing happened but this shouldn’t happen to you.

Prepping is a lifestyle that will see you through events we might not even see coming. By preparing now and continuing slowly as your resources allow you will give yourself security. You will give your family protection and a chance at survival. You will be someone who can lead in a disaster and give hope when there might not be any left.

For more information you can start with our Prepping 101 series – How to get started prepping.

I know some of this was remedial to my experienced readers, but hope this was able to help give some perspective to those who may just be getting started prepping. Now, you can go and get someone else to join you too. Together we will make it through whatever the future has planned for us.

Where to begin prepping? I imagine a lot of people are like me when it comes to how you were introduced to the subject of prepping. In 2007, there was no

Do you have a prepper on your shopping list? The occasion doesn’t matter really. It could be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or Hanukkah, birthdays or just because. But sometimes finding the perfect gift for the prepper who has everything can be tough. Why is that? Well, most preppers already have some of the gear (toys) they deem valuable and it may never have even crossed your mind that a gas mask would be something they wanted. Who knew how excited they would get over a hand crank radio with a built-in solar charger?

Well if you are looking for the best prepper gifts for that special person on your list, you have come to the right place. There are other lists of survival items on the internet and the usually pop up close to those big shopping holidays. Some of the best prepper gear lists are broken down by dollar amount, but I wanted to do a little something different and recommend items based upon the type of disaster your prepper is planning on. If you know what gets their survival juices flowing, we have some ideas below that might make your present, the best prepper gift they have ever received. Hey, they might even share it with you too.

Disaster Scenario #1 – Weekend Vacation Chaos

This could also be the rush evacuation from oncoming flood waters, approaching wildfires, car wreck in a blizzard or rioting on the next block over. What are some of the best prepper gifts for the survivalist who wants to be ready to go in a moment’s notice? What could they possibly carry with them wherever they may roam that could offer an advantage if they encountered trouble?

WaterSawyer Mini – When it comes to survival water filtration, there aren’t any other options I can think of that are as durable, lightweight and compact as the Sawyer Mini. I have these as backup filtration in my Bug Out Bags and when we go backpacking. This little 2 ounce wonder of a water filter will give your prepper the ability to make up thousands of gallons of fresh drinking water from even the nastiest of sources.

The Sawyer Mini, compact water filtration for bad times

Food – Emergency Rations – In a survival situation, an empty stomach can be a demoralizer but putting a sandwich in your carry on isn’t usually recommended either. Emergency rations add a little weight to your gear, but the right ones like Mainstay are virtually impervious to extremes in temperature and one pack gives your favorite survivalist 3600 calories of living saving goodness. Well, it is 3600 calories and that brick can save their life if food options are scarce. Yes, you can certainly live for longer than a weekend without any food, but who wants to do that?

Pack it in your bag and when you need it, you will have 3600 calories that could be enough to last you through the disaster.

Pack it in your bag and when you need it, you will have 3600 calories that could be enough to last you through the disaster.

A different prepper gift option could also be used backpacking and would probably taste better. For grid-down meals that are pretty tasty, a couple of Mountain House entrees fit the bill nicely. I got something like this for my Dad, who is not a prepper and didn’t see the humor to boot for last Father’s Day. Any freeze-dried foot you get will need to have water, usually hot water added to it so it can reconstitute. A Jet Boil is a great system for backpacking meals that works just as well if you have had some type of disaster as long as you have the right fuel.

Shelter – Fire Starter/Wet Fire – Sure you can buy waterproof matches, but a fire starter that can never be put out commission in water is supreme and it looks so much cooler when the sparks start to fly. Add to that some wetfire cubes which can even be lit when they are sitting in water and you have the perfect fire making combination. You can also throw all of this in a dry bag for your prepper to add other fire making materials and to keep them organized.

Two great tastes, that taste great together.

SecurityTactical Folding Knife – I am not sure you can even call yourself a prepper unless you have at least two knives. A good survival knife can help you in so many ways, but you don’t always have to have the most expensive knife in the world. A good quality folding knife can help you cut a lot of things but not break the bank. If they already have a good folding knife, a multi-tool extends their abilities in roughly the same size factor.

Cold Steel Recon 1

X-Factor – Seatbelt cutter – For the Prepper who has almost everything except a seat belt cutter and a glass punch in their favorite bug out vehicle, the resqme (get it?) Keychain car escape tool combines both in a small footprint that is affordable and its compact size makes it easy to add to your preppers EDC kit.

Resqume Seat Belt cutting tool with glass breaker.

Disaster Scenario #2 – Month Long Viral Outbreak Quarantine

For those preppers on your gift list who are planning for a little longer-term event, they need gear designed to work a little harder or to last a little longer. The following prepper gifts will ensure that your friend will be able to last at least a month before the all clear is given.

WaterPlatypus Gravity Works filter – I fairly recently came across this filter at the suggestion of one of the readers of Final Prepper and I couldn’t be happier. The Gravityworks filters 2 liters of dirty creek water in under 2 minutes. That way I can collect water, stow it my pack, and get back to safety. Unlike chemical treatments like bleach or iodine, there is no bad taste and I don’t have to boil the water and wait for it to cool.

Filter a whole lot of water quickly with the Platypus Gravityworks.

Food Chef’s Banquet All-purpose Readiness Kit 1 Month Food Storage Supply (330 Servings) – Food storage is on the mind of preppers everywhere, but sometimes you want a simple buy it and forget it option. The benefit of this option is that it comes sealed in its own 5 gallon bucket so all the prepper needs to do is store it in a cool dry place until it is needed. If you purchase more buckets, they will easily stack and reduce your storage footprint.

Month worth of meals in a handy-dandy 5 gallon bucket. When the food is gone, you can use the bucket for a makeshift toilet.

Month worth of meals in a handy-dandy 5 gallon bucket. When the food is gone, you can use the bucket for a makeshift toilet.

Shelter – 2 Man Tent – It may be that your survival depends on getting out of the city while a virus runs its course. Before you head for the hills, make sure you have a good tent. The Big Agnes Scout UL 2 is a two-man tent that is very lightweight (only 2 pounds!) and compact. Your bug out bag and your back will thank you for switching to this option. Instead of the poles common to most tents, the Big Agnes Scout uses your trekking poles and sheds the weight. You can also just use sticks to prop up the tent or tie one end off to a tree.

Accommodations for two at just 2 pounds.

Security – Fixed Blade – Tactical folding knives are great, but if you plan on living in the woods for a month, you will want a bigger, stronger blade. I have the Gerber LMFII but there is a newer Gerber, the Strong Arm 30-001058 that takes some ques from its cousin. This knife will allow you to make firewood by batoning and hold up to a lot of abuse. It even comes with its own sheath that straps to your belt and the Coyote finish should blend in with your surroundings.

The Gerber StrongArm for when you need a little bit more from your survival knife.

X-FactorNight Vision Monocular – The threats your survivalist is preparing for don’t end when the sun goes down. In order to have an advantage at night, they could use a Night Vision Monocular. This will help them see what is lurking in the dark and give them an upper hand in the fight. This monocular boasts a 1000 ft. viewing distance to help you see what is coming or that big game walking up to your stand from a distance.

Night Vision is a huge advantage when the lights are out.

Disaster Scenario #3 Total Collapse due to EMP or Zombie Apocalypse

When it has all gone to Sh*t, your prepper gear will be put to the test. Knowledge and training and I would argue, luck are all more important than the price tag of the shiny piece of metal you are carrying in your Get Home Bag. However, longer duration use requires more durable equipment. That tactical folder may be perfect for a weekend, but what would you do if it became damaged? What if your water filter was rendered inoperable due to the high use? Below are some additional prepper gift ideas for the prepper who is planning to ride out the end of the world as we know it.

Water Big Berkey Water Filter – The water filtration methods I mentioned above are great if you are mobile or only really need to filter water for yourself, maybe another person. If the disaster lasts a long time or you need to filter water for the whole family, day after day, you will need something a little more substantial. The Big Berkey can filter 2.5 gallons at a time and only requires you to pour the unclean water in the top. Gravity does the rest and it even has a handy spout to fill your Nalgene bottles up again with clean filtered water.

Filter Gallons of water easily with gravity fed Big Berkey.

Food Survival Seeds – Yes, the grocery stores are all long plundered of anything you can eat and the burden falls to the prepper to produce food for their family, going forward. A box of Survival Seeds will give them the necessary seeds to start that survival crop; hopefully their garden is already started well before now, but the seeds in this container can be opened in an emergency and provide the ability to grow a big crop of food for the compound. This can also be useful as barter in a pinch.

Do you have the seeds you need for a bountiful survival garden?

Shelter Hammock – Tents aren’t meant to last forever but with proper use you can get several seasons out of them. Sleeping on the hard ground is tough though and your prepper might want the comfort of a hammock if they are going to spend the rest of their lives in the woods. A Hennessy Expedition comes with rain fly and a mosquito net to keep the bugs off you and packs down small and light (under 3 pounds) as well making it a great alternative if you are trying to lighten your bug out bag.

Hammocks make a great solution for sleeping outdoors and they can really lighten your bug out bag.

Security – Crossbow – Maybe it is the premiere of the new season of the Walking Dead that has me thinking of this item, but a crossbow has a lot of appeal in a grid down/apocalypse scenario. For starters you can hunt very quietly and there is no point in alerting everyone else that you just brought down that big buck. Add to that, when the ammo is all gone, you can still make arrows, if you have the right skill and that could be limitless ammo for your new weapon. Or you could just do what Darryl does and pull each arrow out of the skull of your victim and move on. The Barnett Penetrator Crossbow would do just that with 116 foot pounds of energy, penetrate and could make an excellent weapon in a total collapse. Don’t forget the extra arrows.

With a crossbow, they won’t hear you coming until it’s too late.

SecurityMachete/Parang – When all else fails you may need something that can cut a little deeper. From chopping wood to clearing brush or solving problems, permanently, the Parang is a nifty little weapon. Gerber has a nice Parang Machete from Bear Grylls’ line that could help your prepper defend themselves and their family, maybe you from the bad guys. Or zombies.

Bigger than a knife and easier to conceal than a sword.

X-Factor – Gas masks – If the world really has gone to hell, you might need to protect the air you breathe. There could be NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) agents, viruses, tear gas or who knows what. This Military and Police Tactical mask with the right filters will protect your prepper from inhaling any particles that could bring them down. You can also throw in some Potassium Iodide tablets for a companion gift.

If this comes out, you know it has gotten bad.

So there you have it, my list of over 20 of the best prepper gifts for survival. What’s on your list?

Do you have a prepper on your shopping list? The occasion doesn’t matter really. It could be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or Hanukkah, birthdays or just because. But sometimes

There is always a very healthy dialog on all sides of any issue when it comes to Survival or the Preparedness movement. From Bug Out Bags to firearm recommendations and caliber pros/cons. What an individual should be Prepping for, or more precisely how they should start prepping themselves is no different.

If you take everything we could cover on the subject of prepping and list all of the permutations for each scenario, the list would be rather lengthy. Actually thinking about this list and everything you need to do can start to hurt your brain. Everything that needs to be done and purchased and planned for can be overwhelming. I have personally spoken to people who begin to wake up to the idea that they need to prepare and they feel a sense of urgency and then one thing leads to another and they shut down. “Why Bother”? There is no way they can do everything that needs to be done.

It is at this time I like to recall one of my families favorite movies, “What about Bob?” and the mantra that the main character is coached to say over and over again is “Baby Steps”. If you have never seen the movie, here is a clip below.

So, how to start? You can never have every tool, skill, weapon, supply or retreat option that you will ever need and most people won’t have the resources to buy everything they need before they may need it. You have to start somewhere.

Start with a Plan. – A plan is what gets you thinking about everything you need to do. I personally scoured websites for a lot of information, read several books and watched a ton of YouTube movies on the subject. Then I wrote down everything I thought I would need to get me to “Phase 1”. What was Phase 1? That was my imaginary line in the sand of the basics. Just the minimal supplies and equipment that I thought I would need to be marginally better off than 90 percent of my neighbors. Think about who you are prepping for. Are you only looking out for yourself or do you have others in your family? Do you have kids younger than teenagers who may not be able to carry their own load? Do you have older parents or grandparents you need to care for? Knowing the scope of people you will be responsible for, or who you think may count on you when the SHTF is important for a couple of reasons. First, you can begin planning based on numbers (6 people plus 2 pets for example) and second you can start thinking about what you will need to do when people you haven’t planned for come knocking.

Establish a priority – If I were to take everything I need or think I need to be 100 percent prepared it would be that long list we talked about. Now, if you are anything like me you aren’t a billionaire with money to burn so I have to pick and choose what my family is going to purchase and when. There is no secret formula for this and every situation is different but here is how I would prioritize things. Water, Security, Shelter, Food, Money.

Water – If you haven’t heard of the rule of 3’s it goes something like this. “A person can survive for three minutes without air,three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food.” Now you may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t you put air first”? And if you are, it’s because I think that if you don’t have any air, we have bigger problems. Nobody should be worried about lugging around oxygen tanks. OK, so lets take the most likely scenario and deal with shelter next. You don’t have water. A normal person needs 1 gallon of water per day to survive that counts hygiene also. I think that you can skip a few showers and it wouldn’t be that much provided you aren’t sweating a lot but lets stay with 1 gallon. If you have 4 people in your family and a couple of pets lets say 5 gallons of water gets you one day. You can buy 55 gallon jugs, fill them up and start that way or you can buy 5 5-gallon jugs and that gets your family 5 days without any water. Is it enough to last you for the entire zombie apocalypse? No, but its a good start. If you are near water, buy a good water filtration system or install rain barrels to really increase your supply.  Baby Steps.

Security – This category will be worth a hundred other posts but for this one, lets just say you need a way to protect yourself and your family. Again, every person’s situation is different. You may live in New York or Chicago where firearms are basically illegal. Maybe you have a baseball bat. That isn’t ideal, but its something. You need to think in terms of how you can defend yourself. It may be that all you can do is carry a taser or mace. That’s a start. Maybe you get the Crovel? For others I would say ideally you need for each adult member of your family a handgun, shotgun and AR or AK. That can quickly add up, so if you are starting from scratch I would recommend a shotgun before you purchase anything else. Why? Because they are relatively cheap (less than $200), you don’t need a permit to buy and can not only scare people but they can do a lot of damage. After that you have to consider your options. An AR would be the best bet, but since the latest flurry of government threats to take them all, the prices are off the chart and supply is very low. You can probably still score a good deal at a gun show, but time is running out I think. Get your shotgun while you can and then move on to a pistol. I won’t debate pistol caliber’s but a 12 gauge shotgun is a great start. Baby Steps.

Shelter – For most people you have a house, apartment or somewhere to live so why do you need to worry about Shelter? Just look at Hurricane Sandy or Katrina. What if you couldn’t live in your house or had to evacuate for some reason. Shelter would be nice to have.  A tent that you can carry (think backpacking) is great. A tarp and means to support it (para cord works great) will suffice. If you have or are in cold weather, I also count as shelter sleeping bags and plenty of warm out-door gear to include great footwear. You may be walking. Or, the power or heat may be out. Do you have a heater that doesn’t use electricity? Barring all else, to you have warm clothes and blankets? Baby Steps.

Food – This is one area that I think we initially make over complicated. The average family doesn’t have more than 3 days worth of food in their pantry according to some experts. I think it would more likely be that people could make it a week. Again, they wouldn’t be eating well, but they could exhaust everything they have. You can think about this in terms of how long you want to go without being hungry. You can run out and buy boxes of freeze-dried food or you can simply buy some more items that you normally eat. Ideally it would be both, but we are starting here. It is pretty easy to take your one week supply and build that up to two weeks, then a month if you put your mind to it. It does take discipline and remember this isn’t like Christmas. You shouldn’t go put another month’s worth of groceries on the credit card. Build your supplies slowly, rotate your stock and you will begin to be more ready for any supply disruptions that happen.  Baby Steps.

Money – There are a lot of ways you can do this depending on what you believe is the most likely scenario. Even if we are talking about $20 a month you have to start saving and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the bank. I personally think each person should have cash on hand and some precious metals like Gold or Silver stashed away. The first thing to happen would be that you can’t get your money out of the bank. It does you no good to have $10,000 in the bank if they won’t let you take it out. We will discuss later why this is a very real possibility. So buy some Silver; its cheaper than gold, keep some cash on hand and this will give you some security if it all heads south before you can make it to the ATM.

Is that all you need to do? No! I don’t want you to think this is an all-encompassing post either, but it is a start for people who don’t have the first clue where to begin. My personal list was probably a whole page of notes and included a lot of things I don’t yet have, and in all honesty may never acquire but that’s OK. I am not going to sweat what I don’t have (too much) but I will keep striving to be better prepared. I am still working on my preps too, but I have most of the basics covered and I feel more comfortable about building on the preps I have. You will too, if you start with Baby Steps.


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