Prepping- A Beginners Story
When I first started learning about prepping I was scared to death. There was so much to learn and I really had no place to start. My parents were preppers of a sort. My dad fished, hunted and we ate a lot of our own foods. My mom was a stay at home mom that canned often with my Nana and we always had a home cooked meal. There were always “supplies”, my dad used to call them camping supplies hanging around the house. We were prepared for just about anything. My dad even made his own ammo and has an impressive arsenal.
When I started prepping I was going off of a lot of what the media was telling me, it was right around the San Bernardino attacks and I was petrified that the earth was going to stand still. I raced out to the Dollar Tree and bought everything I could get my hands on for a reasonable price, next stop was the gun store right down the road. I began canning and stockpiling different things that I thought our household would need. I planned on bugging in, bugging out just wasn’t an option. I couldn’t phantom leaving our home, but then I got a reality check. Watching people in flooded areas sitting on roof tops, wars in other countries, people begging for help and I just didn’t want that to be us. So, I made a plan and I’ve stuck by it for the most part. I’ve made revisions on how I do things and I’m always learning something new, but that’s the fun part of prepping!
As you can see, I wasn’t being very realistic. Had I done my research, read what seasoned preppers do and have done I wouldn’t have found myself in a jam I now have to find myself out of. Believe it or not, there is a way and an order to prep and if you do things wacky you won’t be ready when the time comes.
See I prepped in the wrong order. I went for supplies first, protection second and food last. But there is so much more involved in prepping that I had no idea about and no idea how to go about doing it. That’s when I started doing research. Reading up on different prepping techniques, learning proper food storage, packing a good bug out bag and preparing to carry with me my EDC (every day carry) every day was just a few things I needed to learn and teach myself.
I researched websites like the American Preppers Network
I stayed away from government websites like FEMA. Their suggestion for preparation is about three days. The problem with this, it’s going to take about that long for them to set up a FEMA camp or fence off your hometown. Three days to bring in the rations of food and water and three days for people to be scrambling to the backs of the trucks that are handing out the food and water. Three days before chaos breaks out.
Those websites were and have been very helpful in showing me what I needed to do to get myself together and get prepping the proper way.
I don’t want to see others go through what I did. Everyone preps differently, but I am a firm believer that there is a way and an order to prep, at least for my family.
Here’s how I should have done it:
- Shelter – You just can’t survive the elements and even if you decide to bug in, you should have a plan to bug out and shelter is top priority. Things happen and you may have to leave the comforts of your home. Carrying a tent isn’t going to be practical. You have to worry about the bulkiness of it and the metal rods used to hold it up. It won’t fit in your bag at all. Use a tarp and some Para cord.
- Food and Water– When it comes to food try to have at least a 3 month if not more of food. I’m aiming for a year and I’m slowly getting there. It takes time, but it can happen. As for water, have one gallon of water, per day, per person and if you have pets you need the same. Don’t forget to stock up on pet food as well. If you are bugging out having a Lifestraw will enable you to drink straight from a stream, creek, lake, etc. without any boiling. It filters the water already for you. I would suggest carrying two water bottles in your BOB and keep them filled up as you come across a water source.
- First Aid– I lacked horribly here. I had nothing that could even wrap a wound. Once I got it together it was one of the first things I bought. Now I couldn’t get a bullet out of a person, but I could at least dress the wound. You don’t need a huge first aid kit, just one that fits in your BOB (bug out bag) or in your linen closet. I recommend one for each bug out bag in case you get separated.
- Protection– You need to be able to protect yourself. I’m not about to tell you how you should do this. For some it’s a gun and for other’s it’s a knife.
- Bug Out Bag– You can find a checklist of things you need for this bag HERE. You’ll need this packed and ready if you ever have to leave your home for an emergency.
- Heating and Cooking – Finding an alternative heating and cooking source is important. You can’t run an electric stove if the grid is down. A wood stove is ultimate, but if you can’t afford one or live in housing that doesn’t allow one you can always use a kerosene heater. It will take longer to cook, but it will work. Cast iron skillets are important for this. There is always the option of a grill or solar stove. I picked a kero heater so I could heat my home at the same time.
- Plan and Drills– It’s imperative to have a plan in place for every scenario you can think of, from home invasions to nuclear war. Practice drills with your family so no one has to guess what needs to be done in the event of an emergency. Everyone in the family should have a job and everyone in the family should know what to do. When things get chaotic people tend to forget. The point is to go over and over on the drills so it becomes automatic. Keep everyone updated on your plans as well. I suggest keeping a family binder with this information in it.
- Never Stop Prepping– There is always something you can be doing to prepare for an emergency. Stocking up on fuel, stocking up on food, stocking up on water, downsizing what you don’t need, drills, plans, keeping a journal.
- Fortifying your home– Make sure doors and windows are secure and there are no entry points that someone could gain entrance to if they realize you have something they want.
You can do a little of each as you go. You don’t have to work on one thing at one time. This was the lesson I had to learn. I was so bent out of shape after what happened in California I insisted we try to do everything right away. You simply cannot work it out that way. Most people’s budgets don’t allow for it and we can miss a lot of stuff doing it all at one time. You can work on each thing a little at a time with some budgeting and DIY work. If you have to, make a list and do a little bit each day. Budget in a little extra water when you shop. Learn how to can food so you can have a supply of your own food and you don’t have to depend on grocery stores or your freezer. Learn to garden and grow your own herbs. There is always something you can be doing to help prepare you for an emergency. Check out Facebook free sites, Craigslist and flea markets. I have found some awesome deals going this route and has helped me stock up on my supplies.
As always, thank you for reading! I’d love to hear your comments and please share to Facebook!