One of the most common questions I get asked is how getting started prepping is best done. The problem for most people is that they watch some of the television shows which claim to follow expert preppers around.
A lot of these television shows don’t portray the real side of prepping, focusing mainly on people that may seem a little “extravagant”.
With my background in search and rescue, I’m often astounded at seeing how people think disasters will unfold once they happen. For many, there’s images of them holed-up in an impenetrable compound, or underground lair, several machine guns by their side to protect their home, while the outside world falls into complete disarray.
While this could be a scenario in someone’s eventual future, I found that most disasters bring people together, to support each other and survive as a team.
That’s why I thought to put together this simple article, to try and alleviate some of the myths and maybe help new preppers understand what it means to prep for disasters.
The Getting Started Prepping Debate
Whilst most preppers agree on what items you should stockpile, there is a continuing debate about how many of the items should be stockpiled. And that is because of 2 very different points of view.
Whichever you choose, remember one key piece of advice. Some prepping is always better than no prepping at all.
The first belief is that every prepper needs to have 3 days’ worth of supplies. This comes down to the survival “3s”.
- minutes without air
- hours without shelter in certain conditions
- days without water
- weeks without food
The main item on that list is the third one, the one about the water. 3 days isn’t a lot of time and if you find yourself with no water, that should be your biggest priority. Preppers know about the water issue and thus ensure they pack plenty of options.
Not just a single option, but a few. A great article about this is here. Many feel that packing 3 days’ worth of supplies is sufficient to consider themselves prepared.
The second belief is that you need at least enough supplies to see you and your loved ones through a minimum of 2 weeks. That’s enough water, food, and survival gear to survive an entire 2 weeks. Even some of the emergency rescue sites now state that you should keep 2 weeks worth of emergency supplies handy.
Personally, I believe both options are correct and I’ll tell you why. Because if we suddenly announce that 2 weeks is the minimum, the costs associated with setting up that many emergency supplies may be enough to turn many away.
They may look at that bill and think it out of their reach. As I said earlier, some prepping is better than none. A decent 3-day bug out bag should already have at least a life straw in conjunction with emergency water rations.
That alone will take you beyond 3 days, provided you find a usable water source. When getting started prepping, always make your own survival a priority.
Simple Steps to Start Prepping
Step #1: Start with You
Two things exist that will interrupt your life more than anything else. Health and finances. Before you consider getting started prepping, start by looking at yourself and your affordability. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to never spend money you don’t have.
If you can’t afford to buy prepping gear without credit cards, you are not ready to buy them. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Start small, maybe a single item at a time.
It could be as simple as buying a single extra can of food and keeping it at the back of your pantry. Within a short couple of months, you’ll accumulate a couple of dozen cans.
Also, look at your health and think about how you would handle an emergency right now. Would you have the stamina to hike several miles out of harm’s way? Could your family? It’s not that difficult to start preparing yourself.
Taking short walks around your own home, maybe extending out into your neighborhood, is a great beginning. Not only do you build your own fitness, but you also build up knowledge of your surroundings.
Step #2: Prepare Your Home
Walk around your home and consider what would happen if all of your utilities were shut off right now and your exits blocked. Whatever you have in your home is all you could use for the next 2 weeks. How long would you survive?
Your first priority should be storing enough water to last for the period. That’s approximately a gallon of water per person, per day. If holding clean and drinkable water isn’t possible, try keeping water filters and emergency rations in place.
Next is food and you’ll need around 1500 calories per person per day. This kind of food should be edible either instantly or prepared with boiling water. Ensure you have supplies to light fires, lighting, heating, and cooling methods.
Communication is important, such as a portable HAM radio. Don’t forget your medications, hygiene products, and things to keep your mind occupied like books and board games.
Step #3: In Case You Need to Go Mobile
While your home might be the best answer for many emergencies, others will need you to evacuate. Bugging out isn’t unheard of and may prove to save your life if the approaching emergency can be outrun. But leaving home means leaving behind the bulk of your supplies. Unless of course, you have bug out bags.
Put simply, a bug out bag is a bag filled with all the survival gear you comfortably carry with you. Whilst there is much debate about the right things to add to one, always include the basics. Make sure you have emergency water rations, life straws, enough food, and all the tools you’ll need.
There’s also the need to have a bug out bag for each member of your family, including your dogs. Bug out bags for dogs are extremely popular and will make your escape much simpler.
Step #4: Learn, Rinse, Repeat
Prepping is an ongoing journey. There is new information written each and every day, giving you the tools to stay ahead of the game. Everything starts with a plan and by following some important steps, your plan will succeed.
If you have family members, they also need to understand your prepping plan; so show them. Prepping isn’t about hiding once an emergency strikes your area.
It’s about doing your best to help out and stay alive. Of course, your priority will be your immediate family and they should understand your plan down to the very finest details.
Keep updating your plan as better options come to hand. Keep updating your plan as your finances allow the purchase of better items.
Never close the door on your prepping, thinking you have a fool-proof plan ready to go. There are virtually thousands of possibilities when it comes to emergencies. Don’t ever assume you’ve planned for them all.
No one is able to plan for every situation. That’s what makes prepping so unpredictable, just like the disasters you’re trying to save your family from. Make getting started prepping a priority today.