Why Should I Start Prepping?
It’s quite common among new preppers to attempt to prep for everything that “could” happen. From flooding, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes, to zombies, aliens and supervolcanoes. It’s a motivating factor for many to get all the latest gear and read every apocalyptic book on the market. Learning new prepper skills is great, but if you try to do too much in a short time, it can lead to prepper burnout. Seasoned preppers will tell you that after you’ve been prepping for a while, you will realize, prepping for every possible catastrophe is impossible.
What is the Most Likely Disaster in My Area?
Life is a roller coaster and you never know what it will throw at you tomorrow. It’s important to go slow and prioritize the reasons you are prepping. For instance, a prolonged period without power is much more likely than a meteor striking earth. Because of the latter, many preppers’ mindset is to jump right in with a pre-packaged year’s supply of freeze-dried foods stored in a bunker. Having freeze-dried food or a bunker in your preps is not a bad thing, but it is important to stop and think about what you are most likely to face in your area, then you can start a list of the more practical preps.
Prepping for the Long Term
The biggest mistake I find that new preppers make when they first see the light is, they want to have all the preps done overnight. The process of prepping is more of a marathon than a sprint and doing the sprint can get expensive, real fast. So first, sit down with your family or fellow preppers and make a list of the types of disaster scenarios you are most likely to encounter in your area. Then you can begin creating a list of things you will need to give yourself the best odds of surviving.
Prepping is Not Predicting It’s Acting
Now listing things that “could” happen could get pretty long, so keep it to most likely disasters first. As long as humans have been on this earth, they have painstakingly been devising ways to predict disasters before they actually happen. Most have failed throughout history so let’s not predict, let’s just act. Here is just a small list of things that could affect the majority of humans on earth.
First Stage Disasters or Personal SHTF’s
- Personal Crisis
- Medical Issues
- Job Loss
- Financial Difficulties
- Home Invasion
- Burglary and carjacking’s
- Assaults and robberies
- Car Accidents or breakdowns
- Stranded or lost
- Home issues such as frozen pipes or mechanical failures
As you can see, I didn’t list zombie or alien attacks. Although those are fun to fantasize about, they are not likely so let’s keep it practical for now.
Basic Prepper Supply List
Now let’s look at some preps that you should have no matter what disaster you are facing.
- First Aid
- Tools (knife, other basic tools)
- Personal hygiene items
- Water purification
- Extra prescription medication
A Simple Prepping List We Should All Be Able to Obtain
Water & Food
Looking over the list above you can see that they are, for the most part, things most of us already have or have access to. Water and food are prepping 101 and you should always have at least 2 weeks to a month of backup food and water in storage.
For the sake of this article, I am assuming you have shelter in the form of a house, apartment, condominium, or other permanent or temporary shelters. I will be discussing shelters more extensively in a future article.
First Aid Kit (FAK)
Everyone should have some sort of basic first aid kit on hand as well. I recommend a more extensive FAK that you keep in your home for more serious injuries.
Survival & Prepping Tools
Most of us have tools in our garages or sheds but you also want to include some specific prepper tools such as knives, fire-starting gear, flashlights, and extra batteries or a solar charging system. It is also a good idea to store dry wood and tinder in case a fire is the only way you have to stay warm or cook.
As with the other items on the list, most of us have personal hygiene items on hand. The issue is, what if you can’t get to the store for a prolonged period of time. I advise you buy two or three of what you normally by and keep backups on hand.
Backup Communications for the SHTF
Although our cell phones have become a part of our lives and they are, for the most part dependable, they can and will go down in a disaster. Getting a backup method of communication for emergency situations is highly recommended. I recommend you get familiar with short wave radios (HAM). They are affordable and worth their weight in gold during a disaster.
Water Purification for survival
There is only so much water we can store before we either run out of room or it gets too heavy for our storage area. Having a way to purify water after a disaster is paramount because water may be the number one prep item you will need. There are may affordable water filters to choose from such as the Sawyer Water filter to the more expensive Berkey Water filter system. Choose the one that is right for your situation.
Cash for a SHTF situation
Cash is a prep that is often overlooked in a disaster. If you have ever been in a long-term power outage that has affected a large area, you know that purchasing with a credit or debit card is not going to happen. I suggest you keep ample cash on hand to pay for things you may need in an emergency such as fuel.
Security in a disaster scenario
In a disaster, there’s often civil unrest that follows. This has been proven repeatedly and was front-page news during Hurricane Katrina and other large disasters. For some reason, the bad guys tend to get a little out of control when emergency personnel has their hands full. The last thing you need at a time like that is to become a victim.
I suggest you get a firearm and training, so you can defend yourself in this situation. Learn how to use it and the importance of handling a firearm with caution, safety first. If you are not comfortable with carrying a firearm, you could opt for pepper spray or a collapsible baton. Both work well when combined with self-defense training, so it is important to learn the proper way to use them.
Extra Prescription Medication for The SHTF
This may be a bit more difficult because it relies on third-party participation, your insurance company (eye roll). Many insurance plans allow for a 90-day refill and that is going to go a long way in a disaster. If you can’t get a 90-day refill, try to get your prescriptions filled just a bit early each time and put away the ones you have left from the last refill. Remember to rotate and never miss a dose. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv, so seek your doctors’ advice before making any changes.
Basic Prepping for Beginners
The steps and items I have laid out here are not hard to get and most of us already have them in our homes. Just buying a few extra items when you go shopping will add up over time. Remember, as I said before, this is not a sprint. Once you have your basic preps in place, then you can start thinking longer term. Once you have reached your first 2 to 4-week goals, you can set more long-term goals such as preps for a year.
Slow and Steady Wins the Prepper Games
Try to pace yourself and prep methodically while learning new skills as time permits. Do not rush the process or you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and burnout will surely set in. If you are one of the lucky ones where your family is on board, I suggest you make the process fun for all and a way of life. Get the whole family involved including the children and they are more likely to carry on the tradition of prepping when they become adults.
Preppers Don’t Forget to Enjoy Life
Finally, enjoy your time here on earth and your family. Don’t let prepping consume you and take time away from things more important. Life is too short to worry all the time but too precious to be unprepared.