Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?
- I want to start preparing my family for disasters, but I don’t know where to start?
- There is so much information out there where do I begin?
- I don’t have a lot of disposable cash; can I prep on a budget?
- What kind of supplies will I need and what prepper gear is just plain gimmicky?
If you are reading this page, it must mean you want to be better prepared for emergencies. It can be overwhelming, in the beginning, to take in all the information, but it doesn’t have to be.
This beginners guide is written to make the steps to accomplishing your prepping goals easy and affordable. I will break it down into smaller steps and supply lists that will help you with your prepping supply decisions.
If you follow the steps below, you will be better prepared than most of America!
What Kind of Disasters Should I Prepare For?
First, I am not going to cover preparing for a meteor, zombie apocalypse, or alien invasions. If you are looking for doomsday prepping of that magnitude, this page is probably not for you.
Instead, I want to help you focus on SHTF situations and disasters you are likely to encounter in your area. This Beginners Guide to Prepping is a living breathing entity and is always being updated and revised. Situations in the World, like in life, are always changing.
Disasters That New Preppers Should Focus On
- Job Loss
- Severe Storms
- Power Outages
- Car Accidents
- Economic Turmoil
- Society Decline
The Steps to Getting Prepared
- Your Health
- Financial Stability
- Water Storage
- Food Storage
- Backup Power and Energy
- Home Protection and Security
- Prep Maintenance
- Motivating Others
- Miscellaneous Prepper Issues
Your Health as a Prepper
One of the most overlooked aspects of being a prepper is our health. I am guilty of this as are a many of my prepper friends. It is easy to get caught up in life and your other preps and let your health slide.
I am not going to go into how to get healthy because I am not a medical professional, nor do I play one on TV. Plus, I still haven’t figured out that magic bullet to getting in great shape so there is nothing regarding that I could tell you that you don’t already know.
I did put prepper health at the top of the list because, without your health, no other preps you have will matter.
Here are a few tips to keep yourself healthy before the SHTF:
- Keep your weight in check
- Keep a regular exercise regimen and stick to it (integrate some survival skills with your fitness to keep it interesting)
- Visit your doctor regularly
- Keep extra prescriptions on hand if possible
- Practice your family escape and bug in plans and fix weak points
- Address physical and mental conditions the best you can while things are calm
- Stock pile special supplies that you may need for these issues
- Prepare the best you can for children and the elderly
- Remember, there is no way to prepare for everything, so concentrate on doing the best you can with what you can get
Financial Stability for Preppers
I know it isn’t as exciting as the newest prepper gear, but it is by far more important. If you are in debt when the crap hits the fan, don’t expect all your debt to just be wiped out.
Try to get your debt paid off ASAP so you’re not a slave to anyone.
I am not a financial advisor, nor do I play one on TV, but I do know that having little to no debt has a phycological advantage in the event things go south.
So, before you go sinking a bunch of money into food and gear preps, get your debt paid down first.
Now I know that it is extremely hard to get completely out of debt. Most of us will have mortgages and auto loans. I am one of you, I have a mortgage and have to hope for the best when it comes to keeping my home if the economy collapses.
The fact is, you never really own your property. Private property is a falsehood, we lease it from the state, and we can only use it how they deem appropriate.
Here is some more info on paying down debt and a look at precious metals in a collapse.
Long Term Water Storage
Water is at the top of the prepper supply list because, besides air, it is the prep you are most likely to need. They say you can only survive three days without water, less time if you are in a dry hot area. I haven’t tested this out, but it seems to be the standard among those who know.
The standard water usage is one gallon a day per person. That is a lot of water when you start adding it up.
There are several ways to store water and many different ways to filter water. The following list is links to articles that go into more detail on water storage, water filters and other long-term water storage basics.
- Preppers Basic Guide to Long Term Water Storage
- Can You Use Tap Water for Long Term Water Storage?
- Top 5 Bushcraft and Survival Water Filters
Long Term Food Storage
Food storage has come along way, even over the last few years. You can store food long-term in mylar bags, purchase freeze-dried foods, buy canned goods and store food in your freezer.
There is a lot of misguided bad information regarding food storage out there on the web, so my goal is to collect and share the best information available.
There are pros and cons to each form of storage so choose one the fits you best. But I recommend you diversify and store food in many different ways for redundancy.
The following links should get you started with basic long-term food storage that fits your space and budget.
- Preppers Guide to Basic Long-Term Food Storage
- Canned Goods – Nutrition, Storage Advice and The Truth About Expiration Dates
- VIDEO – How to Store Food in Mylar Bags for the Long Term
Backup Power and Energy
One of the most important things you can have, especially if you are responsible for small children or elderly, is some sort of backup power.
There are many options out there and each has its good points and bad points.
Two of the most common forms of backup power are:
- Solar with Battery Bank
- Gas and Propane Generators
Choosing the right form of backup power could make or break your chances of survival in an SHTF situation. For instance, you don’t want a generator if you are in an urban area where the sound could give you away. On the other hand, you can’t have a solar array and a large battery bank if you live in an apartment.
Here are a few articles that go into more detail regarding solar, generators, propane vs petroleum and other forms of power.
- Tips for Basic Backup Power in a Power Outage or a SHTF Situation
- Propane vs. Kerosene – The Pros and Cons of Each Fuel for Prepping
Home Protection and Security
Protection and security are on the list because once you get your food, water and other supplies built up, you will need a way to protect them from bad guys. Further, even without prepper supplies, you should be prepared at all times to protect your family and property.
It is strongly suggested that you find a way to protect your family and get very good at it. It is also advisable to get some professional training in self-defense.
There are many different ways to defend your self and I discuss them in the links below.
Along with the many options and gear to protect your family and property, you will want to fortify your home to make invaders think twice before choosing your home.
Again, I am not a martial arts expert nor am I a former Navy Seal, so I am not going to teach you how to take down a marauder in one fatal blow. What I can teach you is how to make practical decisions when it comes to your home and your personal safety.
Here are some links that will dive deeper into hardening your home and personal protection.
- Avoid Normalcy Bias – Have the Mindset to Survive a Disaster
- Tips on How to Harden Your Home Against Invasion
- Tips on How to Protect Your Family in a Home Fire
- Improve Your Situational Awareness in Crowds and Traffic
Communications in a SHTF Situation
There are many forms of communication on the market today and they are getting more and more affordable. But what are they worth if they are wiped out by an EMP or you can’t charge the batteries?
Having a way to communicate with your family and friends in a disaster is extremely important for safety and morale.
You can’t always count on your cell phone working in an SHTF situation. This was evident during 911, Hurricane Katrina, and Super Storm Sandy where communication was down due to storms or overloaded cell circuits.
Here are a few links to help you get aquatinted with alternative and backup forms of communication.
- Communication in a SHTF Situation a List of Options to Consider
- Top 5 Free Emergency Alert and Safety Apps for Your Smartphone
- VIDEO – Alternate Ways to Power Your BaoFeng Two Way Radio
Prepper Supply and Skills Maintenance
Prepping isn’t just a set it and forget it game. You need to constantly be upgrading, updating, charging, rotating and learning.
Here is a list of just a few things that will need ongoing attention:
- Rotate your food stores so the oldest is used first
- Always keep your batteries charged
- Learn new skills and brush up on old skills frequently
- Keep your bug out bag (BOB), get home bag (GHB) and car bag up-to-date
- Keep your ears and eyes open to ongoing national and global events
- Monitor weather radio in dangerous weather
- Practice with your gear so you know how to use it in an SHTF situation where stress will be high
- Practice situational awareness in populated areas and while driving
Motivating Others to Prep
It may seem like a tough proposition to get a non-prepper to start prepping simply because some consider prepping crazy. The fact is, getting others to prep can only help our cause.
The best way to get someone on board with prepping is to give them solid facts. Further, don’t dive straight into prepping for the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI). Start small with local power outages and inclement weather or being stranded on icy roads or maybe even a job loss.
Here are a few articles to help you ease into motivating others to start preparing no matter how small.
Just remember you can’t prep for everything so start with the most likely scenarios in your area.
I will leave you with some links that contain extensive supply lists that can help you choose the right gear for your situation.
- Spring Severe Weather Preparedness Tips and Supply Checklist
- Safety Checklist and Tips for Traveling in Winter Weather Conditions
- Printable Prepper and Survival Supply Lists
- The Ultimate Prepper and Survival Supply Checklist
- What are You Prepping For? – A List of Possible Disasters
- 15 Items Every Get Home Bag (GHB) Should Have
I will be continually updating this page so check back often for new information!