Prepping can be intimidating to those who are unfamiliar with it. When considering your commitment to prepping and survival, you should consider the fact that you have a genuine and rational threat to prepare for. From a simple power blackout to a full-on catastrophe, most people accept disaster can strike at any time, anywhere.
Many people feel will like an oddball or a weirdo when talking about prepping or survival topics. At its base, survival is a genetic response, when triggered by a threat, to protect yourself and your family. So, it is no surprise that the majority of the survival community is made up of families. It is human nature to survive. So there is no need for anyone to feel weird or odd. Even FEMA advises that, at a minimum, all American households should have a three-day supply of food and water and a backup plan.
So let’s get to the basics.
Reasons to Prepare
The question you should ask yourself is what is logical and the most likely scenario for your area. Tornadoes, flooding, riots or heavy snowfall/storms? Or, are you more concerned with global catastrophes such as solar storms, meteors or war? Answering this question will help in targeting your specific needs.
Hunkering In or Bugging Out
Evaluate your threats and make a determination; do they require you to bug-out from your current location? In most situations, when you are located in a heavily populated or metropolitan area, a bug-out is necessary. Let’s be honest, when the status quo turns to shit, most people do not play well with others.
In rural areas, it is likely you will want to hunker down. However, you have to evaluate your situation. If you are located below sea level in a rural area, and a hurricane, massive storm, tsunami, etc is imminent, you will need to bug out to a higher elevation. Common sense and deductive reasoning are your tools when making determinations about your location.
Hunkering down in a shelter requires food and water stockpiling. You can start with a basic list of staples to add to your supplies:
When a bug-out is required will you need a bug-out-bag (or BOB for short) for each one of your family members? Your BOB should have at least 3 days of food and water as well as an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) and other items deemed necessary in your scenario/area.
How Much Food Do You Need?
First, you will need to determine, based on the most likely scenario, how long you and your family will have to go without a grocery store. In past disasters, grocery stores’ shelves emptied in as little as 24 hours (mass hysteria is also human nature). When making your assessment, understand that approximately 1,500 calories a day are required by the average person to stay healthy. And depending on the situation, you may expend 5,000 calories or more per day. Multiplying the number of people in your group by 2,000 calories, times the number of days expected to be without grocery stores will provide you and your family enough calories to remain healthy.
For the human body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total non-caffeinated beverages a day. For women, it’s 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) total non-caffeinated beverages a day. Remember, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it forces water out of your body through urination. So the formula for stockpiling water should be 3 liters times number of men times days without a water source. And, 2.2 liters times number of women times days without a water source.
You should have a backup supply of water for cooking and cleaning if you are hunkering down.
There will always be evil in the world, and if your scenario includes losing your local police force, things can go bad quickly. Think of all the TV news scenes of cities turning into war zones, looters smashing and grabbing anything and everything. So what can you do to defend yourself and your family? Purchase a firearm. Take safety and shooting classes and involve your whole family.
Determine the force required for local threats. Do you live just outside of a major city? Or near a prison or county jail? If those walls come down there will be bad guys running amuck and I can guarantee they will try to take what you have before providing for themselves (that’s why they were in there). In this case, you will need a weapon with a large capacity. Revolvers have only 6 shots and typical semi-auto handguns hold 10 to 15 rounds. In a scenario where you have hordes of bad guys, or even medium sized groups of malcontents, the time it takes to reload your weapon could be all the time they need to disarm you.
AR 15 and AK 47 type rifles are reliable, have 30 round magazines and are easy to shoot and maintain but require accuracy. Shotguns hold 5 to 8 rounds, aren’t as easy to shoot (especially for smaller/weaker individuals) but are effective self-defense weapons, don’t require as much accuracy and are able to clear groups of marauders with more of a point and shoot type action.
If you live in, or bug-out to, a rural area with little threat of hordes of baddies, then a simple handgun will do. Choose one the whole family can handle and also uses popular ammo sizes. 9 mm and .22 cal being two of the most common.
Basic Hygiene and First Aid
It’s very possible you won’t have a hospital or doctor or dentist to go to so don’t forget hygiene in your repertoire. When building your stores, don’t forget the toilet paper (baby wipes are great for this), toothpaste, soap, cleaners, etc.
Enroll yourself and your family in basic first aid courses, CPR classes and any specialized course you may need such as infant/elderly first aid.
First Aid Kits and Supplies should be a part of your BOB, home stash, and vehicle. There should be an IFAK for every member of the household. As well as a larger, more comprehensive first aid kit to cover a wider variety of injuries.
Power goes out all the time. In some areas, like the area in which my mother lives, if a snowflake contemplates even thinking about the possibility of maybe falling out of the sky, the power goes down for 3 days.
Your lights, entertainment and most importantly, your fridge rely on that power. An instant loss of all these essentials can be a real morale killer. Prepare for this situation by stocking up on batteries, fuel, alternative energies such as solar cells, gas generators, wind turbines, etc. Determine your needs and assess the time you will be required to live without town supplied utilities. When you make your determination, add a few more days to be on the safe side.
Funding for Supplies
Prepping can and will get costly. If you can’t afford to go out and get all the supplies you need at once, a clever way to stockpile food is during every grocery store trip, grab one item (a large bag of rice, a bag of dried beans, Ramen noodles, etc). If you do this, which effectively adds only a couple dollars to your overall budget, you will be surprised how quickly your stockpiles up. And, of course, if you live in a rural area you can grow and can/dehydrate your own veg.
For the bigger items like vehicles, generators, tents, a lot of people are into trading. Example: You have two lawn mowers. Your neighbor has a generator he doesn’t need but needs a mower. Win win. There are also websites dedicated to this practice. Google “online bartering” and you’ll find what you need.