Great! You’ve decided to become more self-reliant by preparing for the unexpected. Unfortunately many new preppers give up because it seems so overwhelming. That’s not going to happen to you though… because I’m going to help you right now with the first 10 Steps to disaster preparedness. Now, some of these steps are going to cost you money, and I know that some of my readers are of limited financial means, but if you look around the house you may get to skip a few steps…and there’s no time limit here. The important thing is that you build awareness and begin to become more self-reliant.
Note: I’ve included hyperlinks to free government resources as well as the Prepography Amazon Store so you can see and research some of the products below. You can likely get a better price by adding those items to your cart when you’re at your local store, but if you do decide to buy them online, please do so from our store…it helps us offset some of the expenses of bringing you this information.
- Start with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website and make a plan.
- Next, follow FEMA’s Guidelines and assemble a basic kit. When you’re ready to move beyond FEMA recommendations… expand your kit over time by moving on to Step 2.
- Go to the Gas Station
- Fill up all the gas and/or diesel cans you have around the house. Rotate the fuel by pouring it into your car’s tank monthly (and refill the cans) monthly or treat it with a preservative like Sta-bil or Sta-bil for Diesel.
- Pick up a good roadmap for your state and for all the neighboring states for each of your vehicles. These can often be picked up for free at highway rest stops.
- Buy a can of Fix a Flat for each of your vehicles and put in each vehicle’s trunk
- Go to the Supermarket
- Buy a manual can opener and put it with your stored canned goods (see Big Box section below).
- Buy an extra (filled) Propane Bottle (or two) if you have a gas grill. Stock up on charcoal if that’s what your grill uses. Make sure to store the charcoal in a sealed tub to keep out the moisture.
- Buy one large box of strike anywhere matches per household member (not the kind that requires the box to light). Pick up a few multi-packs of disposable lighters while you’re at it.
- Go to the pharmacy:
- Order a 90 day supply of any prescription medications your family needs. Always keep at least a couple of months’ supply on hand and rotate your supply to keep it fresh. Order from your insurance company’s mail order pharmacy or from an inexpensive online pharmacy like All Day Chemist if you are paying out-of-pocket.
- Go to one of the Big Box Stores* (Sam’s Club or Costco) if you’re a member. Join if you’re not a member or go to your local Wal-Mart or Target and pick up:
- 10 cans of fruit for each family member
- 10 cans of vegetables for each family member
- 10 cans of meat, fish, stew or spam (remember George Romero’s advice…“don’t knock it, it’s got its own key”) for each family member
- At least 1 large jar of peanut butter for each family member
- Buy 1/2 gallon of cooking oil per family member (no more than 1/2 olive oil). Make sure to store any olive oil in the freezer as it has a more limited shelf life.
- At least 5 lbs. of salt for each family member. It’s a preservative…not just a spice.
- At least 1 gallon of unscented bleach for each family member. Whiter whites are great, but you can use each gallon of bleach to make up to 3,800 gallons of potable water.
- A large bottle of vitamins for each family member
- Buy at least 1 LED flashlight for each family member. Don’t forget to pick up extra batteries
- Pick up 1 industrial size bottle of hand sanitizer for each member of your family
- Pick up at least 3 cases of bottled water for each family member or if you want to save money…start keeping your used 2 liter soda bottles. Rinse out, put in a drop of dish soap and wash thoroughly. Fill with water and put with your stored food. Write the fill date on with a sharpie. Empty, wash and refill at least annually.
- Go online to:
- Print off instructions for emergency water purification. Laminate if possible and keep with your stored food.
- Browse for and save other information you’ll find useful both during your preparations or after the crisis/crunch/disaster/event…or create an instant Preparedness Library by downloading the 650+ megabyte, 99+ title Ultimate Preparedness Library for just $29. Make sure to save your references to a USB Flash Drive.
- Buy the best First Aid Kit you can afford.
- Buy at least 250 rounds of ammunition for each of your defensive firearms. Use this website to find the best value (remember cheapest isn’t always the best value). Don’t forget to test fire samples of the ammo you store…some firearms don’t function well with all types of ammunition. If you don’t know firearms, skip this step for now and sign up for a class. After you take the class, buy your first firearm then return to this step. Keep it legal…your local gun shop will be glad to help you if you live in a state that gets myopic when it comes to the Second Amendment.
- Get your documents together. Add copies (preferably laminated) of your important documents in case you are forced to relocate. Copies of insurance declarations pages, financial account numbers, social security cards, birth certificates, government ID cards, birth certificates and DD214’s (for military veterans)
- Rotate: Buy foods that you’ll eat day-to-day and rotate fresh stocks through your emergency food storage. First In should be First Out (FIFO). Rotate your stores through your kitchen and replace each item you rotate out…with interest. If all else fails, think of your supplies as your own little time machine…it lets you grocery shop for the future at today’s prices.
Once you’ve accomplished these simple, initial steps to preparedness you may want to develop a more detailed plan for your preparedness efforts. When you do so we recommend you consider planning through our Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine. You can start with Introduction to Full Spectrum Preparedness.
*Note, if you have access to a Military Commissary shop their case lot sales for many of these items.