National Preparedness Month is upon us. I love that a month is devoted to helping people prepare for natural disasters and more. As a prepper, I really want other people to be prepared so I do not have to worry about them. I want to encourage everyone to have a plan and supplies in place to be ready for whatever life throws at them.
Being prepared means covering the basics of what you need to be ready. The basics of preparedness are food, water, shelter, warmth, security, medical, and light. I would also add that sanitation, communication, and money are also important, but I would make sure that you have the first seven basics covered before you get into the rest.
Beginning and experienced preppers need a plan before they get started. You should make a list of what you need to purchase and what you already have on hand. Many people do not realize that they have many items on hand to start their preps like flashlights, batteries, buckets, cleaners, blankets, and more. By taking an inventory of what you have on hand, you can plan better for what you need to get started.
After having a plan, I can not stress this next step enough. Please get all your important papers in one place and make it easy to access in case you have to leave quickly. Many places have printables or binders that you can record important information, but you will still need to have on hand:
– Driver licenses
– Birth certificates
– Social Security cards
– Bank accounts information: address and phone number of the bank and account numbers
– Insurance policy information: policy numbers and phone numbers
– List of important phone numbers and emergency contacts – do not rely on having these just in your cell phone! Cell phones can die and could be rendered useless.
– Credit card information and phone numbers for the companies
– Important medical information: list of medications taken, any health conditions, and where you doctor for each member of your family
I would also make a copy of all these documents and put them in your to-go bag or another safe place to be easily grabbed as a backup. Having copies of all these documents will make replacing these documents much easier in the future. You can keep all the copies in a binder that you can grab in an emergency. You can find a great tutorial on how to put one together here: How To Make an Emergency Grab-and-Go Binder.
Water should be your next step to getting your family prepared. The experts say that you can live three days without water, but why would you want to? The suggestion is usually one gallon a day per person in your household or group. That is pretty lean and I would suggest three gallons a day per person. You will also need at least a gallon of water a day for pets. You also need to consider what you need for cooking and sanitation. I have a great article here that will talk about water needs and ways to stock up. Also, check out Why You Should be Storing Water which also takes you in-depth on storing water.
Food is one of the most important steps to getting prepared. I know they say you can go three weeks without food, but do you want to deal with someone that hungry? Most people are used to very regular meals and missing more than one would bring out the inner jerk of many people. Food storage can be daunting and should be done with a realistic plan of what you will need in a day meaning meals and snacks especially if you have little ones.
Food storage starts with a meal plan based on what your family normally eats in a day and a week. After you have a meal plan, you can begin storing food. I would start with a week of extra food on hand and increase it by a week as your budget allows. Ideally, you want at least three months of extra food on hand and, in some cases, up to a year of extra food. What foods you want to store is completely up to you and what you are preparing for in the future. I choose to use a three-prong approach to food storage which helps me cover all the areas. I also have some fellow bloggers who have great advice on what to store:
A Working Pantry and A Storage Pantry
Your Prepper Pantry and Why You Need One!
10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month
Healthy Food Storage
What Does Food Security Look Like?
Top 10 Items You Need For Your Food Storage
Nourishing Foods For Your Food Storage
Shelter, warmth, and light can immediately improve a bad situation when you have them. You need to have a roof over your head or the resources to find shelter if you need to leave quickly. The shelter should protect you from the elements and give you a feeling of safety. Whether that means you have a house, a shed, a camper, or a tent, you should be able to provide protection from whatever is happening outside.
Warmth is also a key prep especially when cold weather is upon us. Having extra blankets and sleeping bags helps people stay warm. Warm clothing will also be key – wool undergarments and socks, stocking hats, balaclavas, mittens, gloves, scarves, and snowsuits – to help you retain warmth and deal with the cold. Warmth also comes in the way of making a fire which you can read more about in this article: The Ultimate Guide to Making Fire.
Light is also a key prep because the light is comforting. Light helps the dark seem less scary. Light also makes you feel more secure. When the weather (or the world) is going crazy, you need light to help you see in your shelter. Having candles, lanterns, flashlights, and more will help you to cope better when the power goes out. Check out my article here on 9 Ways You Can Light Up Your House When The Power Is Out.
Security is also important inside and outside your home. You should be personally prepared to provide your own security at and away from home. While this can be a controversial subject, this shouldn’t be. You need to provide some way to defend yourself, whether a gun, pepper spray, knife, or baton. You should be able to use self-defense techniques to fight off any danger. At home, you should have your home prepared by using window locks and deadbolts, keeping brush trimmed away from the house, and other techniques. The article How to Improve Your Home Security has some great tips on keeping yourself and your home safe from others.
Last, but definitely not least, is being prepared medically. This comes as a two-fold preparedness. You should have a good first-aid/medical kit to treat and stabilize injuries until help can come. You also need to know how to use that first-aid/medical kit which means basic first-aid/CPR training. I would expand that training if you have the chance, but you need to have basic first-aid training. Medical preparedness also means having extra of anything you take or use on a regular basis. This includes prescriptions, supplements, and over-the-counter medications. You should also have an extra pair of prescription glasses, extra hearing aid batteries, and any other medical equipment needed. Some more great articles from fellow bloggers:
D.I.Y First Aid Kit
Build Your Own Vehicle First Aid Kit for Minor Emergencies
How to Make Your Own DIY First Aid Kit
As I said before, preparedness is more than just these areas, but these are the basics to be prepared. You can expand into different directions, whether self-reliance, homesteading, or survival. You can just focus on being prepared. I would take some time to figure out what you are preparing for and how that aligns with your life. You might find being self-sufficient is a good way to go and start doing what you can for yourself. The choice is yours. If you would like more food for thought, I would like to offer these articles for your reading:
What is a Prepper?
Preparing for Disasters
Gather Emergency Essentials For Your Family
Home: The Last Prepping Frontier
Bug Out Bag List for Babies and Kids
10 Totally Free Prepping Things To Do
I also wrote a book about prepping on a budget and over the course of the year. This book breaks down the prepping into five tasks a month plus two bonus tasks every month to help you be more prepared. The Prepper’s Yearbook is a downloadable, printable book that you can use over and over again to help you get your preparedness game on. You can check it out here: https://selfrelianceandsurvival.com/product/the-preppers-yearbook/?ref=5
Before I wrap this up, I want to thank my fellow bloggers at Self-Reliance Bloggers for sharing articles for this article and my fellow preppers at Prep Club for their wisdom and insight in making me a better prepper.
Thanks for reading,