When people think of prepping, they often think of people preparing for some end of the world situation or Hollywood doomsday scenario. But the truth about prepping is it’s not about preparing for some statistical anomaly, but instead preparing for the real life challenges that we are all going to face at some point in our lives; the kind of situations that feel like the end of your world if you’re not prepared.
You never know when the next big disaster will hit and making sure your family is ready for it will ensure that your family survives no matter what happens.
At first it can seem overwhelming to think about "Getting Prepared." Bug out bags?, Stocking up foods and water supplies ? It seems there's so many things in the list and all of this stuffs can quickly add up at some point. Where should I start? Taking things one step at a time can only make prepping financially viable but at the same time help ease some of the anxiety related to start my own preparedness journey. STEP 1: MAKE PLANS
Create a home fire evacuation plan (which exits to use, where to meet after an evacuation).
Decide who will pick up your kids from school if you can’t be reached after a disaster
Choose an out-of-state contact person to call if you can’t get through to each other by phone or text after a disaster
After a disaster how will you get home if roads are impassable, and where will you stay if you can’t get home right away?
Decide on a designated place to meet back up with your family members if your home is not accessible.
STEP 2: GET EDUCATED
What emergencies are likely to occur in your area?
Hurricanes? Tornados? Flooding? Earthquakes? Tsunamis? If your area gets Tornados, then shelter is a BIG priority. Earthquakes? Store your supplies so they won’t be damaged or unreachable after the Big One.
What resources are available in your community?
- Are there emergency preparedness classes offered? - Where is the closest designated disaster shelter? - What are the tsunami or hurricane evacuation routes? - Does your neighborhood have an emergency preparedness group? If not, can you start one?
How long should you prepare to be on your own after a disaster? In some places, like large metropolitan areas, it’s recommended to have enough supplies for 72 hours. Out on the semi-rural island where I live we’re told to have enough food and water to last 4 weeks!
STEP 3: TAKE INVENTORY
There are lots of items you need for emergency preparedness that you probably already have
Food (spaghetti, mac-n-cheese, canned food)
Water containers (Like old milk jugs – wash them out with soap/water and bleach)
Camping gear (esp. pocket knives, sleeping bags, a tent, camp stove)
First aid supplies (panadol, prospan, anti diarrhea medication, antacids, band-aids)
STEP 4: GET STARTED, BUT PRIORITIZE
1) INFORMATION: Gather hard copies of important information (remember, your phone may not work) Keep them in the go-bag in your car.
Actual hard-copy photos of your loved ones and pets
A printed list of your medications and medical problems
Copies of health, home, car and life insurance information
Copies of utility bills to show that your house is your house
Copies of your children’s vaccination records
Copies of your pets’ vaccination records
Printed copies of you & your family members’ drivers license and/or passports.
2) SHELTER: Extreme cold or heat could make staying in an otherwise well stocked home very difficult.
- How will you and your family stay warm at home without electricity
Wood burning or propane fireplace
All sleep together
Wear (lots of) layers
Pile under lots of blankets
Sleep with friendly dogs (AKA bed warmers)
- How will you cool off without air-conditioning (or ice)?
Keep window blinds closed when sun is hitting those windows.
Close doors to rooms on the upper floor that are hard to keep cool.
Dampen your sheets with water before going to bed at night.Sleep in downstairs rooms on hot nights.
- What if you are stuck in your car for a while?
If you always refill your gas tank when it’s ½ empty then you’ll have reserve fuel to use for heating a stranded vehicle.
Keep some blankets in your vehicle in case you ever end up spending the night there
3) WATER: We can only survive 3 days without any water, so it’s a definite top-priority preparedness supply. We’re supposed to have at least 1 gallon per person per day.
Keep a gallon of water in your car, and/or a water filtering water bottle.Start with storing a 3-day supply of water, then move on to gathering a 7-day supply, then a 14-day supply, and so on. You can add a small amount of bleach to the water and it will stay good for a year before re-treatment is needed (1/8 tsp. per gallon, or 7 teaspoons for a 55-gallon barrel).Your hot water tank probably holds 80 gallons – you can drink that! If there is earthquake or a tornado, however, be sure to turn off the water to your house ASAP in order to protect the water quality of the water in your hot water heater and in your pipes. You can always turn it back on if the local water supply is determined to be OK.
4) FOOD: You can survive 3 weeks without food, but let’s not put that to the test!
Start by stocking up on 3 days of food, then 2 weeks (buy 1-2 extra items at the grocery store each trip). You don’t need commercial survival foods –buy food you and your family will actually eat, just a bit more of it.Watch for sales.Buy bulk (Costco, Sam’s Club). Save money by purchasing in bulk with friends and/or neighbors!Clip coupons.Start gardening and learn to can to preserve the bounty. Join a community pea patch if you don’t have space at home.Your 72-hour pack (for car) should have food, too (beef jerky, protein/energy bars, dried fruit/nuts) Use it in mini-emergencies like tired-kid-meltdown situations, then restock!
5) HYGIENE: Just the basics, and these items aren't very expensive, but they're still nice to have:
Extra (non-electric) toothbrushes and toothpaste
Extra toilet paper -- It's SO much nicer than wiping with pages from the phone book....
Baby wipes – for “sponge baths” when you can’t take a shower
Sturdy black plastic garbage bags, extra toilet paper and kitty litter will take the place of functional indoor plumbing in a pinch (put the bag in the toilet and throw kitty litter on tip after each use.)
Dry shampoo can keep your hair from feeling greasy so you can “splurge” on real hair washing once per week.