If 2020 was anything to go by, we never know what the future has in store. It is always good to be prepared for anything life throws at you. This is the basis for preparedness.
Preparedness can be done in a general sense, or for a specific event/emergency like an earthquake, power blackout, civil unrest. This is also known as ‘prepping’ for survival, which is very common nowadays.
It encompasses home security, food and water security, family protection, financial security, self-defense and anything else.
Preparedness is simply having all the gear, resources and knowledge to deal with the unknown.
Who Should Prepare?
It is vital that everyone prepares for disasters to an extent. If you have a family and a home, this becomes more important. Being prepared doesn’t take extensive periods of time or have to break the bank. It can simply be devising an action plan or purchasing long life foods - like tinned soup, which can be stored for long periods of time.
Our guide will cover everything you need to know to have you ready.
How to Start Preparing
Identify Threats to YOU
Preparing in general is important, but it is worth considering imminent threats to you.
These are likely based off geographical locations, and potential threats are different everywhere.
If you are in the South your imminent threats are hurricanes and flooding. If you live in the Mid-West, you will want to have a tornado action plan. Residents of California are aware of the potential San-Andreas Fault threat, and will want to be prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis.
Further threats include job security threats and economic and financial threats.
Food and Water Supply
The most essential step of general prepping is having enough food and water for you and your family. The general rule of thumb is to have enough supplies stockpiled for 14 days.
When looking for good options, steer clear from fresh produce. These items need constant refrigeration and have short lifespans. The ideal items are long life foods such as tinned or canned foods, dehydrated foods or foods with preservatives such as granola, muesli bars.
Alternatively, you can buy pre-made survival food kits that have pre-prepared freeze dried and long life meals and foods. A great option if you are time poor and looking for a quick solution to stockpiling!
To work out quantities to stockpile, you must first work out the amount of calories that needs to be consumed per day for each person in your household. Here is a daily calorie calculator that can be used to do this based on gender, weight, height and age.
Here are our top 5 foods to stockpile:
- Canned soups
Great option for sustenance and can easily be heated - has a shelf-life of years!
This is one of my personal favorites, a bowl of oatmeal can keep you full of energy for hours. Cook the oats in hot water, or just room temperature water by soaking overnight.
- Canned Meat and Fish
These are another staple for your food stockpile and can include any canned meat or fish ranging from tuna and salmon to ham or chicken.
- Muesli/Energy Bars
Muesli/Protein/Energy bars are great snacks to have on hand. They are small and don’t take up much space, yet are a satiable and delicious snack. Just be sure when purchasing these to check the expiration date - some are longer than others! Some protein bars can last for months! They are the ideal item to stock in your pantry.
These are also great if you have kids as they are a fun snack.
- Nut Butters
Another personal favorite of mine is nut butters. These are a crowd-pleaser (pending no nut allergies!) and are a high-calorie, filling snack that is full of protein and healthy fats. Nut butters can also last for years past shelf expiration dates which is helpful.
This is just a brief overview of some good long-life foods. If you are interested in a more comprehensive list you can check out Our Survival Foods Shopping List here.
We have also compiled our favorite prepping recipes that can be made from other longlife foods here.
Water is essential. Humans can only go without water for up to 3 days.
We recommend storing approximately 1 gallon of water per person per day.
The best way to store water is to purchase some top quality water storage containers. This is definitely something to purchase good quality products. We recommend the X
Here are some other great water storage containers below:
This is a must especially if you live in a colder climate. Your body is only able to survive 3 hours without maintaining core body temperature.
Firstly, make sure you have easy access to layers of clothing. Thermals are a great investment. Socks, gloves and a wool hat are also worth it.
It is also worth purchasing 1 bivvy per person in your household.
A bivvy is a water and windproof sleeping bag that retains your body heat.
Mylar Blankets are also great.
These are the single use space blankets that reflect or retain the heat, and are weatherproof.
Cooking/Water Boiling Methods
In an emergency, likelihood is you will not have power. With your stockpile of food or water, you will want a means of cooking/heating foods or boiling water.
Many people have different preferences when it comes to this. Popular choices for alternative cooking methods include:
Or our favorite: the EcoZoom Rocket Stove
The EcoZoom Rocket Stove is great for conserving wood. Where wood fires burn through wood , Rocket Stoves can produce heat using a minimal amount of fuel and can work using twigs and sticks!
We recommend definitely having a stockpile of firewood to cover you over a 2 week period just to be sure!
Self and Home Defense!
Protecting yourself and your family and home is different for everyone.
For many it is having firearms at the ready, and stockpiles of ammo should disaster strike. A must have is a bulletproof armor vest for everyone in your home. These bulletproof vests can be purchased for both adults and children. Check out our top bulletproof vests in our comprehensive guide here:
Have peace of mind knowing that everyone in your house is safe from threats wearing body armor.
Knowing basic (or advanced) martial arts skills would also come in handy.
Home defense can be having comprehensive home insurance and alarm systems but there are extra security reinforcements that can be taken.
Motion sensor lighting:
A great deterrent for intruders are lights that illuminate when the area is entered. Motion sensor lighting is recommended to be installed near ALL entry ways into the household.
Here are some of our top picks:
Security systems can be purchased at any budgets - from a simple camera installed, to a full blown, all the bells and whistles security system.
A great budget option we have found is the Ring Doorbell Camera which comes in at less than $100.
Security cameras are effective as they not only deter potential break-ins, but record evidence.
Survival Skills and First Aid
There are a whole range of survival skills that can come in handy, one of the most important being first aid.
Being self-sufficient is important, as in an emergency you may not have access to an ER.
Having a good first aid kit is essential as well as knowing how to use the contents.
This can include completing a first aid course. You may also want to invest in resources like a first aid book that can provide knowledge, tips and tricks for any disaster.
Here are some of our favorite first aid kits that contain any basic medical equipment you need.
A Bug-Out Bag
Bug-Out Bags are necessary for disasters or emergencies!
In the event that you have to flee, having all the equipment you need in one bag is vital to save time.
If you are unfamiliar with Bug-Out bags, essentially they are a backpack that contains essential items for survival.
You can buy premade bug out bags if you are short on time, or we recommend building your own. Building your own allows you to customise the contents and add items on your terms.
If you are choosing the latter option, the first step is purchasing a durable, waterproof backpack.
It is advisable to not use any cheap backpack as these might deteriorate or take on water under extreme conditions.
The best choice is to get a medium sized waterproof backpack with a MOLLE system, buckles and many compartments for storage. Depending on the age of the person, backpacks with volumes of 36L to 48L are of ideal size.
Once you have the bag, it’s now time to fill.
Some essential items include:
Just to name a few…
If you are looking for an extensive list of the must-have bug out bag items - check out our guide on the 75 Bug-out Bag Essentials
Gas Masks are often forgotten items, but to many preppers it remains one of the most important.
In any sort of riot, emergency, natural disaster - the air can become polluted easily and FAST.
The threat of chemical attack is always present and having a gas mask at the ready for everyone in your household can save lives.
Other events were gas masks can be used include:
Riots and Protests - tear gas
Wildfires - ash and smoke
Our team has tried and tested the best gas masks to find the best ones for the price and quality:
Our favorites include:
Other Prepping Gear That Is Good to Own!
A Hand Crank Radio
A hand crank radio is one of the best pieces of equipment to own in a disaster. The electricity will most likely be off, and you will still need to access vital information.
These radios are very good as they mostly run off batteries, but can be recharged by a hand crank.
A good quality hand crank radio that has access to AM/FM and weather channels will keep you updated with all the information you need in a disaster.
Important: Being Self-Sufficient - How You Can be Prepared for More than 14 days
Once you are prepared for short term emergencies and disasters, having systems, methods, skills and knowledge for long term survival is your next step.
This is what is known as self-sufficiency.
The reality is most of us are not self-sufficient. We rely upon stores for food and other basics like clothes, electricity for heating, cooking and much more, and emergency services for help in the event of a crisis.
Self-sufficiency will ensure you are only reliant upon YOURSELF.
Here are some strategies to start becoming self-sufficient.
Homesteading, Start Your Own Backyard Garden
- One of the most popular strategies is to grow your own foods. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to become self-sufficient. That way, with your non-perishable survival food stockpile you can still have fresh foods.
You can even raise your own animals like chickens to have eggs.
Growing medicinal herbs is also a great for becoming medically self-sufficient.
Find Your Community
You would be surprised at the number of people who are actively prepping. Build a network of like-minded individuals in your area. Prepping forums are heaving with people from all over, so reach out and start connecting to find people around you.
That way in an emergency, you can have groups to share resources, skills and knowledge. The bigger your group is, the better off you all will be.
You’re All Set...
If you follow our 6 essential steps then you have checked all the boxes for basic preparedness.
There are still plenty more things you can do to ensure you are fully prepped for anything.
This guide could go on and on for all the different strategies and knowledge you could have.
Our advice is to START NOW.
It is easy to fall into the rabbit hole of reading and reading about prepping given the magnitude of information available.
Start applying the information you learn as soon as possible. Create a good prepping foundation and build off this.