Before we discuss the planning you will do and items you will need to overcome the calamities you might face, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers your preparation will need to cover.
Where you live places a role on the type of disaster preparedness you will need. There are numerous threats that exist in our natural environment. For the most part, it would be rare for your location to be immune to any event Mother Nature has to offer.
It is also important to take into account the types of catastrophes caused by sources other than nature that exist in your area. Factories, power plants, military bases, local rioting are possible sources of concern.
One also has to take into consideration national-level threats such as economic collapse, civil unrest or even military intervention that can warrant you to take notice. Knowing this will at least let you assess the potential threats to determine the course of action you will take in this case which problem would be a disaster to evacuate from home.
Staying at home during most disasters or crises oftentimes just makes sense. The familiarity of your surroundings gives you a tremendous advantage. It provides a level of comfort for your family when knowing intimately one’s home and area around your house.
Knowing your living space with certainty helps in figuring out where to adequately store, secure and protect your family members and essential supplies that will get them through the potential threat. For your young ones, staying at home makes a potentially bad situation less stressful and confusing thus, making it one less problem you will need to address, at least in the short term.
Additionally, knowing the area around you also gives you an ability to properly and successfully access where you might find needed supplies and resources you might need in an emergency in and around your immediate vicinity. You and your family being recognized within your community is also a plus. If you are fortunate to have friendly neighbors, you can tap into a vast knowledge base and valuable expertise from the people all around you.
During a crisis, your neighborhood people may thus provide those skills you may lack. Importantly, you and your family’s skill sets will also be beneficial to the people living around you. So it is apparent there are tremendous benefits in just staying put. It is therefore important to present strategies and tips on how to hunker down at home so you and your family are prepared to face any crisis with total confidence and peace of mind.
For many, the very first concern that comes to mind is how one is going to get or find the money to pay for being adequately prepared for an emergency. I am one who understands this very well. I think if one is able to be creative and work within one’s means, you will be able to adequately cover all your emergency preparations. Take into account that much of what you will need you probably already have. This will be discussed further.
Although my main focus here is discussing effective measures for ‘bugging in”, I will need to address when it may become necessary to evacuate from your current location to a safer location within or without the city, state or country you currently reside.
Hunker Down Plan
1. Get the Right Mindset
There are a variety of actions you want to take to successfully hunker down. The very first thing is to create a mindset that will if done properly make you ready for whatever may come. This is probably the hardest part of a system that you need to develop and incorporate into your personal and family regimen.
Because of the personal interest, you took in looking up this information, I would say you are on the right track. However, it has been my personal experience as well as for other preppers, the most difficult emotional and psychological tasks one may face is convincing your significant other to get with the program.
I am not certain if this is out of fear or embarrassment. Maybe it is because it is taking the road less traveled. Maybe it is the stigma of being called a prepper or survivalist. Whatever the case may be, it makes the forming and implementing of your bug in plan that much easier to do when they are accepting. I think the easiest way to get them to cooperate is to present the idea of preparing in small baby steps.
Therefore talking about the need to have supplies in the event of let’s say a hurricane may be a safe enough way for your loved one to accept this as a reasonable excuse. As they get involved with the necessary parts of the plan, you can introduce other ideas that may be a bit risque (ex. possible economic collapse) for her to swallow. Introducing these potential threats slowly and surely is the way for you to present them to your partner.
Although the need to incorporate your loved one(s) is important it is by no means critical. There are a few preppers I personally know where their spouse has completely refused to participate in such matters. Despite this, they have successfully pushed forward in getting things ready just in case. It goes without saying, it would be great to include the participation of other members of the family especially children. It gives them the opportunity to take an active role in all stages of your plan.
By showing and teaching your kids what to do, they will gain the confidence and skills they will need to use just in case you are not around when a tragic event might happen. Of course, their ability to be involved depends upon their physical and maturity level.
Once you get your head around forming a new mindset, there are some other key measures or practices you want to take into consideration. Those are;
- Developing a thrifty and frugal lifestyle.
- Attempting to be an open and independent thinker
- Being self-reliant as much as possible
- Ridding yourself of toxic people
- Becoming spiritual within yourself and with the people around you
- Willingness to work on your physical health & wellbeing
It is a difficult task to all of a sudden change the way you think, act and see the world. But I know it can happen. I have experienced it first hand. it can be done. I know it is easier said then done but as a very well known quote from Robert Kiyosaki said, “every journey of a thousand miles begins not with the first step but thought.”
2. Identify & Assess the Risks
The ability to decipher between relevant and irrelevant garble is a skill you want to master to identify possible threats that may affect the lives of you and your family. This means you need to keep abreast of the social, political, economic and weather events at the local, national and international level. This may be a difficult task since much of the information on the mainstream media on T.V. and radio is controlled. Making an effort to find some alternative media sites to find out what is really going on may be your best bet. But even this can be monotonous.
What I personally do is scan the alternative information sites on the internet. Not paying really close attention, I listen (using wireless headphones) for something that is being stated that seems out of place or peculiar. This is usually information that has some relevance and importance. This method of weeding out the noise really works well for me. So it is important to use whatever approach that best works for you. But the question remains what are you listening to or searching for? Below, is a list of phenomena both natural or man-made, that will get you thinking of such events to prepare for.
1. Tornadoes, Blizzards, Flooding, Firestorms, Sandstorms, Drought, etc…
2. Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanic Eruptions, etc…
1. Inner-City Chaos, Terrorism, Power Outage, etc…
2. Nuclear Plant, Chemical/Petroleum Facility, Prisons, Military Posts, etc…
C. “X” Factors
1. Civil War, Economic Collapse, EMP/CME, Martial Law, Pandemics, Job Loss, etc…
Knowing the potential disasters you might face, you want to ask yourself the following questions:
1. What natural or man-made disaster(s) am I (we) likely to face in the next 5 years?
2. How should I effectively respond to each of the potential threats?
3. Will the places where I (we) work, play, or learn have the appropriate infrastructure to help me and my family during an emergency?
4. If the disaster happens during the time I am away from home daily, do I have a plan and alternate routes to get me home safely?
5. Have I given my children adequate preparation on how to respond and act if a disaster occurs during the day if away from home?
6. Does our community have an early disaster alarm system?
7. How will we care for our pets during a crisis?
8. If you are responsible for elderly or physically challenged relatives, how will you prepare them and yourself to adequately address their health and safety issues?
9. Are there others in my immediate area who may be willing to cooperate with me and my family during emergencies?
10. What are the current resources (physical and mental) I currently have to use just in case?
Unfortunately, most of us do not have a crystal ball to know when or where any one of these events can happen. God only knows. You can be sure it will most probably happen when you least expect it. However, having at least an idea on how you might act to mitigate these dangers will make you more confident and less vulnerable.
You can also be rest assured you are one of the few in our society that even thinks about these serious issues let alone have a plan of action. There is something I need to mention. We have not addressed the concerns and response one will have if the need to evacuate becomes the only alternative. This will be discussed later in our plan.
3. Gather & Inventory Emergency Supplies and Resources
Now that you have gone over and thought about the possible dangers facing you, it is time to discuss the material items you will need to make through a disaster event. fortunately, you will be happily surprised to know, most of what you need you most likely already have. Any items listed below were suggested by experts in emergency preparedness or through my own personal experience. I know there will be surprise suggestions but I think they will help you tremendously.
There is one axiom used in the military and prepper community to consider. This rule goes like this, “one is none and two is one.” In other words, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy! It is always better to have more than you need than have less when you need it. Therefore, if one item fails to work for you, you always have a trusty backup. But for those on a limited budget, the need for extra is just a recommendation not an absolute.
If you are on a limited budget, start small. For example, when you go to the grocery store, instead of picking up one can of beans, pick up two. Slowly but surely, you want to target a month supply of provisions. When you reach this goal, work towards 3 months and so forth. With this in mind, the following are categories where I will emphasize important points and suggest gear or supplies for you to consider.
Most importantly is to account and record all of the resources you have collected (that includes any video, lists, books, magazine, guides and data sources). Then you need to share this information with others in your family or group. So in case you are not fortunate to make your way home, at least the group can gain access to all important materials and items you have gathered.
Water is so vital that without it, you will get sick and die within three days. According to one municipal government report, natural disasters such as earthquakes can disrupt and contaminate safe water supplies. In most cases, your urban water supply will continue to flow, even in most disasters, for a period of time. So you should have time to gather water before, during and after such an event.
How much water do you need? Emergency preparedness expert Dr. Arthur T. Bradley states one needs at least 2 gallons of water per person per day for at least two weeks. One gallon is used for drinking, while the other is used for hygiene This stored supply would give one ample time to locate a safe source of water to use for the long term.
Three vital factors you need to address are; where to find a source, how to clean it and how to store it. At first, when one ponders how to find water one usually thinks that without a running tap, no other water sources easily exist. But, there is plenty of places in and around the house that can provide you with an ample water source for instance:
- Hot water heater
Can provide from 30 plus gallons of clean potable water.
- Toilet Tanks
The water that can be used is not in the commode but in the tank. To prevent any loss of water when you are removing it, you need to close the water valve situated at the toilet’s base.
Bathtubs serve as a great storage source for water. Depending on the bathtub size you have, you will be able to save between 30-120 gallons. Cleaning the tub surface is a must before using it.
- Canned foods
Canned foods have moisture in them that will not only hydrate you but offer valuable nutrients to your body. When things are tough, it is best that you first use up all the fresh fruits and vegetables and then store canned foods for later.
- Ice trays/Ice filled containers
Ice is simply frozen water and you have for cooling drinks can be melted to give you good and clean drinking water. Remember to melt it is a clean environment to prevent contaminating it.
- Swimming pools
Although pool water tends to have many chemicals in it, it can be rendered as either a safe source of drinking water or for hygienic uses. The best way to make this water source drinkable is to use a high-quality water filter.
- Outside sources
Outside sources include rivers, streams, rain collection, as well as freshwater springs. It is, therefore, important that you understand your surrounding terrain to help you identify if any of these outside sources are at your disposal.
Solving the main problem of finding immediate and reliable sources of water, the next thing to consider is making sure the water you secure is safe to drink. Obviously, the thought of a filter comes to mind. This is where the idea redundancy really come in handy. I would pick at least 3 to 4 different ways to filter water. Remember the purpose of a filter is to not only to eliminate harmful chemicals but dangerous micro-organisms.
Personally, I have various means of cleaning the water I and my family might drink. Again budget and functionality come into play. There are very good but expensive options, however, I will give the rationale for the following suggested filtration systems:
Water Filter Choices
- Atmospheric Water Generator System
This machine works like a dehumidifier to pull humidity from the air and then filters it. It produces around 4 gallons at a time and is 99% pure. I personally owned two. It worked marvelously. However the drawbacks were: the initial cost was high, it ran by electricity and needed a continuous supply, it does not produce as much water in drier climates, replacing filters were cumbersome (not to mention the cost of the filters) and maintenance was necessary. Even with all of the negatives, I felt it was a great investment.
- Gravity Fed Water Filtration System
This system usually come in two main pieces then works to clean water in two phases. First water is poured into a top reservoir. Then the water drips through a number of filters. As the water passes through it is collected in the bottom portion of the whole contraption. This system can clean large amounts of water before the filters need to be changed. It cleans up two 99% of contaminants and organisms.
- Hand Pump Water Filter
These units tend to be compact so it is easy to store and lightweight to carry. They are simple to use. The plastic encasement makes these units hard to damage. Hand pump filters can provide 2600 gallons of clean water before replacing the ceramic membrane.
- Life Straw
As the name suggests, these compact tubes can be easily transported in a bag. They are easy to use. You just find a water source and like a straw, suck the water through the tube which is being filtered in the process. These straws are made for individual use but can be shared one at a time.
- Purification Tablets
The use of one tablet clean around 2 liters of water. These tablets can fit right in your pocket. The main issue with this type of filtering is the taste. Some suggest using vitamin C tablets for flavor.
Which every filtration systems you select, make sure you learn how to properly handle and maintain them. Learn to use the water filters properly. If not you might contaminate the water you clean. Click here for my suggested water purification items
Once you have secured various water sources, and have cleaned and filtered it, the next thing is to find ways to store it. Water storage may pose as a problem because of the amount and weight it poses. Though there will be an adequate amount you will be able to hold, you will need to gather more as you consume it.
Storing water for a period of time should not be an issue especially if you have purchased sealed cases or bottles. These sources can last indefinitely. If you collect it (and have it filtered), then stored, the water can last for a good period of time. However, FEMA suggests replacing this water stash with a fresh new supply every 6 months.
I propose using any one or combination of the following for water collection:
- Plastic Containers/Bottles
Make sure they are BPA free, easy to clean and store
Again look for those that are easy to carry and clean.
- WaterBob Emergency Drinking Water Storage
You place it in your home tub and fill it with water from the faucet. It can hold up to 100 gallons and keeps that water clean from debris.
- Water Barrel/Drum
This can be stored outside and ideal if you have a gutter water collection system.
Any method of water collecting you decide upon, make sure you practice with a system that keeps your water collection from getting contaminated. If not, you are liable to get any number of water-borne diseases such as Giardia or even worse. It can be deadly so be careful.
Although I have mentioned water, I want to include storing a supply of other drinks such as packaged milk, juices, and soft drinks. This might not be the best type of water replacement drinks but it may serve as a way of a psychological boost or feeling a sense of normalcy especially for young children.
When it comes to eating, one can go quite a while before serious health issues set in. Research suggests on the average a man needs about 1500 calories and a woman 1200 calories to maintain good health and bodily functions. According to the National Institue of Health, anything below 500-800 calories would be considered starvation. Limited in calories the process of starvation occurs.
The longer you go without eating, your body begins the process of self-cannibalization. You eventually begin to get weak and mentally impaired. if you do not eat food for three weeks, you succumb to organ failure then death. It is important to have enough food stored so you can wait out the crisis. You want to select foods that have a long shelf life, inexpensive and tasty. You can do this effectively. Most importantly is to buy the foods your family commonly eats and try to obtain these economically. Try to get a variety of food items from the four main food groups; Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fruits/Vegetables, and Fat to have a well-balanced diet.
From experience, try to buy foods that you truly will eat. It is a waste of time, money and space to buy the latest, greatest or long lasting just because. It will go to waste. Since I have personally collected and stored food throughout the years. These are my recommendations:
- Canned Foods
Believe it or not, this type of food can be economical, especially if you utilize coupons and buy on special), easy to store and can have a relatively long shelf life. You can find from canned bread to canned butter. Check the can for dents because air might get into a can and encourage the growth of deadly micro-organisms. You might want to find a local LDS Cannery Center The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sells long-term storage food at substantial savings.
- Freeze Dried Foods
Stocking up on ready supplies will give you an extra level of safety. The price for these packets or #10 cans may be more expensive than your grocer food but it keeps for up to 25 years. So select food items that your family will eat.
- Noodles, Pasta & Rice
These food products last a very long time and are very affordable. They are also satisfying and filling.
- Snack Foods
Comfort food is extremely important to have. It makes this potentially stressful time a little more bearable to deal with (especially for little ones). Candy, chips and soft drinks easily last between 3 to 6 months depending on temperature and moisture.
- Victory Gardens
Growing your own food is empowering. Having Fruit trees and vegetable patches will provide you and family with the necessary dietary vitamins and minerals during a time of possible limited food selection. I would recommend using heirloom seeds and organic mineral-rich soil if at all possible.
For the most part, the foods you commonly eat will last for at least six months. It is important to keep an account of the foods you are keeping and to replace and rotate your stored food. This will keep your food supply up to date with the oldest date items being used first to be replaced by the newly purchased replacement. To get the most shelf life, make sure that food items are airtight and are stored in cool and or cold conditions. I provide this article of suggested survival foods.
C. Safety & Security
There are many who believe by just having and knowing how to use a gun, their home and family will be safe and secure. But according to prepper experts, this is farthest from the truth. Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre, a well-known survivalist, who lived through the Argentine debt crisis back in the ’80s. believed that if such a crisis took place today in the US, the typical suburban home would not stand a chance against robbery or home invasion. This is because suburbia neighborhoods tend to be oblivious to everyday crime and violence that occurs in the big urban city.
So what is one to do? Aguirre affirms to what I have previously stated, you need to develop a prepper mindset to become as secure and safe as possible. This means you need to form what many call a “third eye.” You thus become awake and aware of your surrounding. You need to always be on guard and alert. It also means to do what is necessary no matter if is inconvenient or time-consuming.
It also means to do safety routines on a daily basis. So for example, make sure to lock your car door, lock your house doors when you are at home, check to see your window locks are one and so on and so forth. It also means when you are out an about you are monitoring your surroundings for any potential trouble. And if your intuition feels unsafe, listen to your inner voice and take the necessary action to avoid or eliminate the threat.
Remember the old expression, “Loose lips sink ships?” Do not tell everyone around you your business. It is not necessarily because they will be the ones to break into your home but those around that may be listening. Do not disclose what you are doing or the contents of your home. You avoid giving any temptation to a potential burglar.
With fostering a different mindset, the secrets in making your home secure are to have your home appear less attractive to potential home invaders and to be at least just above the security level of the typical home in your neighborhood. The following are suggestions on how to accomplish this
- Secure Your Perimeter
This means to clear or trim any bushes, trees or shrubs that can be used as a hiding place or used to get into your home. Remove any ladders, ropes or gardening equipment from around your home. These are often used by the would-be perpetrators to get into a less secure second-floor window
- Create Barricades
You are as strong as your weakest link. Create as many barriers between you and would be criminal. Have good working door locks. Place security bars against doors lodge a rod in the track of sliding doors or windows. Jam the security bar of your overhead garage door. Install screen or security doors/windows. These are but a few examples of simple but effective ways to keep unwanted individuals out.
- Add Additional Lighting
Motion activated lights are a great deterrent against breaking in. These lights should be installed in areas that are somewhat hidden or near walkways and porches.
- Install Alarms/Security Cameras
If there is a disaster event, chances are your alarm or cameras will have little to no effectiveness. However, under normal conditions, robbers would rather go to a home not equipped with an alarm or a camera. There are alarms and cameras that work without a service contract and are easy to install.
- Possess Self Defense Weapons
Guns would be an obvious choice. If you have some and know how to use them, then you have one of the best weapons to use against a would-be assailant. However, for a variety of reason, the possession of a firearm may not be an option. There are other armaments such as crossbows, stun-guns, knives, canes, baseball bats, slingshots that can be just as effective. Learning a self-defense technique would be a definite plus.
- Get a Dog
According to many security experts, this is by far the number one deterrent of criminals. A dog barking is a warning to you to be alert and to a thief to stay away. It does not seem to matter if you have a small or big dog as long as they bark.
I would recommend using booby traps, but for the most part, they are illegal. However, if the situation becomes dire, it won’t matter. So when taking the necessary measures to make your home safe, stay vigilant, alert and take action now.
Whether you live in a single family home, apartment or trailer, your home is your castle. Without adequate shelter, a person can perish within 3 hours. Most likely your dwelling has adequate protection against the harsh outdoor environment. You also want to keep in mind the need to have adequate ventilation. There have been incidences whereby a family was overcome by carbon monoxide.
Since you have made the decision to stay home during a crisis, you and your loved ones may find through circumstance be stuck in your house for a long period of time. Therefore you want to take these suggestions into consideration:
- Keep Your Home Clean and Sanitized
During a disaster, it is easy to neglect the daily duties of maintaining a well organized and clean home. Not just for cleanliness but for morale. If you have children, things can get pretty dirty very fast. It is extremely important to wash and disinfect food surfaces and bathroom on a regular basis. Sticking to a routine is necessary.
- Cover Windows
Besides keeping the room somewhat insulated, it prevents any flying debris from crashing through the window. You also want to limit anyone from the outside to look in. The least people know who and what is inside the better. It might serve you well to also have as little light as possible to be seen from the outside if the lights go out throughout the neighborhood. Don’t want to attract too much attention.
- Have Battery Power Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
During a time when getting emergency services would be next to impossible, the last thing you would want is for your house to catch fire. It may be a time when you will use flammable fuels to heat and light up your house when electricity might be limited. There have been situations where whole families have died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. I think you get the picture.
If a natural disaster or economic collapse occurs, the distribution of fuel and electricity would most likely be affected. In many parts of the world, this a common occurrence. What would you do in order to have heating, cooling or cooking? These are some ideas that can work for you.
- Heat Options
There are some choices you can have that will work. The ones you select will obviously depend on whether you have electricity available in your area. Small space heaters, compact propane heaters, kerosene heaters, wood burning stoves are some of the better options. However, you need to have adequate ventilation. It is recommended to have a battery carbon monoxide alarm nearby to warn you of potential danger. Monitoring is a must. It is even possible to use small candles. Believe it or not but candles do raise the temperature of a room. Maybe you should select a dedicated room to heat.
- Cooking Alternatives
If electricity or natural gas becomes limited, a barbeque pit would work well but it may not be a safe choice if you have little to no outdoor space or their local social unrest. An alcohol burner is extremely compact. But don’t be fooled, it works well to boil water or cook food. This can be made from a soda can. Because of its size, this could be easily stored in a bug out bag (discussed below). A portable gas stove is very affordable, works well and runs on a butane aerosol canister.
- Fuel Considerations
Because fuel shortages are possible, keeping some extra fuel makes sense. However, you do not want to overdo it and make your house a death trap. Be sensible. And if at all possible store it away from your living space. You are legally allowed to store 25 gallons of gasoline. Be aware that gasoline starts to break down around 9 months. So adding a gasoline stabilizer will extend its potency to 2 years. You want to also get kerosene. Stored correctly it can last up to 10 years. As for propane tanks or butane cans, propane gas can last indefinitely while butane has a 5 to 7 -year shelf-life
- Cooling Choices
This is often overlooked because it is the hardest to do. One method used is emphasized on optimizing air flow. If you have windows, especially those that the upper and lower portion of windows open, you want to create an air flow that sucks cool air into the house while letting the warm air out. Also having thick currents or shades to keep the heat from the sunlight from penetrating through the windows.You might be able to use fans that are powered by batteries, solar or by an inverter. If you have an inverter, you might be able to run a small room air conditioner in a small area for short periods of time. if you have some extra money You might consider purchasing an a/c unit that runs on a battery. It is called a zero breeze air conditioner. However, it cools 50 sq. ft. effectively.When it comes to a refrigerator, you might think of getting a small inexpensive compact frig. You will not be able to keep everything cool but you can keep essential items or medicines from spoiling. Again you will need a power source like an inverter to run it. If you are able to get find a way to freeze water, you could freeze large chunks to than use to keep food cool or place in front of a fan.
F. Power & Lighting
We live in an electronic electricity dependent society. But in the event of a power outage, we can survive with minimal power and light. Unfortunately, there are those who will not fare as well because of chronic medical issues that require machines powered by electricity. If this is your situation, I advise you look if there are other options available to you. For the rest of us, there are adequate solutions that can provide our power and lighting needs.
- Power Sources
Solar or water power would be tremendous but for the most part, it is out of reach for most of us. However, the use of small generators powered by solar can be used for small electronics such as phones or computers. So the next best option is a generator. There are limitations however to this kind of power source. They use a lot of gas or diesel, need to be used outside and tend to be noisy.A source that can be very useful is a power inverter. They run off a car battery and can be used to power up from small electronics to house appliances. Many just hook it up to their car and run a power cord into the house. One often overlooked power option are batteries. Although they eventually run down, the cost of replacement is nominal. Using rechargeables would even be better. You can recharge your rechargeables using a small solar powered recharger.
- Lighting Possibilities
Having numerous and varied sized flashlights is a must. There are some flashlights with powerful enough beams that when made to stand and point up the beam reflects off the ceiling giving sufficient lighting. There are those who are advocates of using kerosene lamps and lanterns. Their brightness is so great that you can even read a book. They are relatively easy to use, last long and inexpensive. There is, however, a minor concern over safety.If you are using vast quantities of these lamps, you will need to monitor them to prevent fires and have enough ventilation. Other than that, they work very well. At it goes without say, candles will work but not as well.
The ability to speak with your loved ones during a time of disaster is extremely important. It is also crucial to get essential news and the latest information regarding events and developments around your particular catastrophe. There are viable options to consider:
- Intercommunication Devices
These are your typical cell phones, two-way radios (Walkie Talkie), computers and hardline telephone systems.
- Intra & International Devices
If you had the extra cash, a ham and CB radio would give you access to talk to people far away from your area. Computers and hardline telephone systems if the infrastructure is working. Always have rolls of quarters available.It will allow you to use standalone phones found outside places like convenience or grocery stores. A hand-held AM /FM/NOAA radio or better yet a hand crank AM/FM/SW radio would be great to have. Many of the hand-crank version give you shortwave capability. You can listen to world stations that may give a different perspective than that offered on the local or national news.For viable communication devices click here for my list of options.
This you cannot overlook. During a disaster, it may be difficult to get adequate medical care or sanitation. For those with medical conditions, you really need to take the necessary precautions and preparations BEFORE disaster strikes. Even with those in good health, the need to keep your location clean and members of your family healthy is a must for the reasons I described above. Areas to prepare for are:
- Medical Concerns
If you need prescription medicines, try to purchase at least a six month to a year supply. If the system goes down, you may be out of luck trying to get them. Of course, having antibiotics on hand would be great but you need a prescription.I have heard of people using animal antibiotics as a substitute but I am not qualified to make that suggestion.If you need to use some kind of medical device that runs on electricity, using a generator or inverter may work but it all depends on the unit’s wattage and how long you need the device to work. Stocking up on first aid items can be beneficial especially that most are inexpensive to buy.Get plenty of pain relievers ointments and gels. Using essential oils and teas can work very well to relieve pain and stress. If you have extra funds, it makes sense to have an extra set of glasses.
- Health Related
We all need to keep our bodies in good shape. Exercise and weight train. Learn to eat properly. Provide a well-balanced diet for your family. There are some that think to be a little advantageous for the short term. But because you may be forced to have limited food rations you will lose the weight.
- Hygiene Issues
If there is limited water available, your hygiene (and potentially your health) will become affected. We take for granted that running water will always come out of the tap or fill our toilet bowls. In a grid down scenario, you may be without it for a substantial period of time. So you need to prepare ahead a time for such an occurrence.You want to have items such as buckets, shovels, cat litter to use when the toilet bowl does not fill.Because the sewers might back up with human waste, it might find its way into your toilet bowl. You will want to get a soft spongy ball to wedge up into the toilet bowl hole. You will want to designate buckets for fecal matter (litter or wood chips to cover it up) and another to throw your toilet paper which you can later be burned.It is without saying to get all the hygienic essentials before a crisis. Stock up on toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, etc… Also, include lotions and medicated creams for the skin. A few often overlooked product are baby wipes, dental floss, women sanitary pads, and contraceptives. Besides their intended uses, they can perform other functions (ex. pads to stop bleeding). Masks and gloves are a must.
- Pest Control
I think most do not even think about the problems that large amounts of refuse and the reduced level of cleanliness will bring. Pests and vermin become an issue. You want to have multiple ways to deal with this concern. Have a dog and cat will eliminate the threat of rats and small critters. But you also want to have lice, bedbug and other organisms that can pose not just a nuisance but also affect your well-being.There is a great source on home-made remedies that provide alternative solutions when getting medicines would not be easily available. Find it here.
I. Clothing & Footwear
The clothes you select should be appropriate to the climate and weather you currently reside. Make sure that you have an adequate change of undergarments and socks. You should have clothing that covers your extremities and face. This means having the necessary gloves, raincoats, hats, scarves, handkerchiefs for warmth, protection, and coverage.
When it comes to footwear, having different types of shoes will make sure to keep your feet health. Arch support is a must especially if you are forced to retreat by foot to a secondary location. Also, shoes that are either waterproof or rubberized are ideal in wet type of weather. Keeping your feet dry is important otherwise you run the risk of getting trench foot.
Having a variety of vehicles is highly desirable. The only reason for this is it gives you options if you are forced to evacuate or the disaster that presents itself prevents you from using that particular mode of transportation. Because you might have to carry supplies or water without a car, have a basket to attach to a bike, book bag to carry on your back or a rolling cart would come in handy. Also useful would be to have a wheel barrel.
K. Money/Precious Metals/Barter
If a crisis hits, your bank or ATM may not work. In a more serious economic collapse, your access to your money at a bank can be limited. There is even a chance that your money can be worth less. So it is prudent to have some other means to buy what you might need.
- Money Talks
Even in a total collapse money will be worth something in the short term. It has been advised by many financial experts in preparedness to have money at home to use. It should be in $20 denomination. Ideally, you want to have enough to cover expenses for three months. But, if you cannot swing it then as much as you can afford.
- Precious Metals are King
In an extended disaster or economic collapse, gold and silver become the preferred form of currency. They have historically held their value. Gold has a higher intrinsic value to silver. So it is worth more. You would silver for daily purchases while gold would be used for big-ticket items. I have heard when depression has occurred, 25 ounces of gold would buy an entire downtown block.You should get old silver coins (pre-1964) dimes, quarters, half dollars. According to experts, having 5 oz. of 99% pure gold should be safe to have without getting it confiscated.
To avoid the threat of confiscation, buying high-quality gold jewelry is recommended. How much should you have? As one financial expert says, “own enough gold to bribe the border guards!” As for silver, historically speaking, for a family of 4, the equivalent of 1100 oz. of silver would give your family enough to live comfortably for 10 years.
I mention this option because there are those who unfortunately do not have enough to save up for emergencies. However, if you have a skill, like working in construction, you may be able to get the goods you need by offering your services. If you are a musician, a hair stylist, rentable major heavy machinery, you can provide a service in return for what you need. Believe me, your skill or talent has some value.
L. Repair Tools
Having basic tools will be necessary especially if you are forced to hunker down. There will no doubt be repairs or property improvements you will do should the need arises. You can purchase many tools adhesives, nails, drills, saws for nominal prices at flea markets, discount stores or yard sales. Which basic tools should you have? Go online or to your local hardware store to figure out what you need. I am not by any means a handyman but I personally have all the basic ones to have.
4. Store Supplies Safely & Securely
Now that you gathered or are gathering your gear and emergency items, you need to make these supplies protected in a way that they are somewhat concealed or attract minimal attention but at the same time easily accessible when the time arises. Additionally, you need to account for everything you have so you can easily replace any survival item if needed with ease.
When it comes to money, precious metals or the like, you want to hide them throughout your house in places that are inconspicuous or among items that are least attractive. Places that may work are in crevices, under heavy furniture pieces, a/c vents under bottom shelving units, or in small cubby holes around the built-in appliance. You might even consider burying your valuables.
Remember you want to make sure someone you trust knows where to locate these items just in case. You might have some of the valuables that you are willing to part with easily accessible to thieves. This is a give way to throw them off and believe this is all you have. It may discourage them from further searching.
As for daily use items like food, you want to protect them against heat and moisture. Insulated storage areas are best. As mentioned, it is important to know what you have stored and to be aware of expiration dates. As you use up food and medicines, replace and rotate your supplies so you use the oldest first. If anyone questions why you are keeping a large number of supplies, answering with a response in a calm matter that does not draw suspicion is best. Saying that you are collecting to donate or for a possible hurricane or tornado might do the trick.
If you are storing flammables, make sure to consider ventilation and space that are cool and away from the sun. If possible store these away from your home and in a storage shed or detached garage. Have extinguishers visible and easily available (keep up with replacement when needed).
You want to take all the necessary precautions to make all your painstaking planning account for something. But fate can make all your efforts for naught. I want to recount to you a true story that illustrates this point. There was a time when I had all the supplies I needed for my family to make it through any disaster at least one year. I had it all stored in my insulated detached garage. I even had a full sized van with the gas tank full in case my family needed to evacuate from the city.
Well, one day my neighbor who had recently lost his spouse to the ravages of cancer. He became so despondent and distressed that he decided to end his misery. So he proceeded to ignite his home next door. So the running gas in his house exploded with all of the contents inside including a load of ammunition. While his house was ravaged by fire, the bullets he left were igniting all around making it hard for the firemen to put it out.
The fire was so near my house that the firemen told me the flames were going to jump over to my property. The part of the house that was going to burn first was my detached garage and my van that was next to it. The problem was not only that I had removed the battery from the van and stored it in the garage but all of my emergency supplies and gear were all stored there as well. Fortunately, the fire was brought under control and my stash was saved.
This taught me two things; first, that one has very little control over what will happen and secondly, to spread out all of your preparations in and around your property. This will hopefully minimize your loss.
5. Get Familiar & Practice Using Your Skills and Supplies
Let’s be honest, unless your an avid hunter, outdoorsman, or handyman many of you will be more like was is called “arm-chair” preppers. I by no means am an expert in everything that is in survivalism or emergency preparedness. However, I have tried to learn and experiment with many of the suggested approaches and techniques mentioned here. You will do what you think you need to do and figure out what is viable and realistic for your and family lifestyle.
The following are some suggestion to help guide you:
- Watch Youtube
There are thousands of how to videos on such things as organizing your prepper supplies to organizing your important documents. You can also find reviews on the prepper items you are considering
- Borrow Prepper or Survival Books from the Library
This will not only give you access to many titles but will save you time and money. The books or tapes you find most important, you can later purchase
- Get Involved with Local Organizations
From the Boy Scouts, Air Civil Patrol, University Extension Offices, Volunteer Fire Department to Gun shooting classes, you can find many of these organizations within your local community.
There is really no reason why you can not learn the prepper skills you need. If you have the time, you can learn with little to no money. You would also want to get your loved ones involved. Besides this being a way to spread the knowledge around but also the risk. What if you were unable to perform the necessary tasks it will take to make it through a crisis. This assures the others in your group will have the ability to overcome and survive.
6. Decide When Evacuation is the Only Option
Too many prepper and survivalist television shows have overly glamourized the bug out bag carrying prepper, who mobilizing from any number of fantastical scenarios, facing numerous threats or obstacles to fight his or her way in the hope of reaching a picturesque predetermined safe place or bug out location to wait out the imminent threat is truly criminal.
This disservice by the creators of these entertaining programs to those who are new to prepping an unrealistic and dangerous perspective. The idea to run from the relative safety of your current dwelling at the sign of some trouble is quite absurd.
Think about it. Why would you immediately head for the hills if you lose your job, high price inflation is occurring, there is rioting or looting, civil unrest in your city or the electricity went out? Why would you put yourself and or loved ones in harm’s way for an event that although concerning…?
Don’t get me wrong, there are situations whereby the only alternative is to leave or evacuate from your home is the only best option but from the research on the matter, it doesn’t make sense whatsoever. According to the experts, the only time “bugging out” makes sense is when you have no other choice or your situation becomes intolerable that your life is in danger.
With this, it does you well to consider the following:
- Secure all Valuable Items and Documents
Decide ahead of time all important documents and valuables you might need if you are forced to leave. Keep them stored with the rest of your preps but ready to take if needed. I would suggest hiding the rest of those items that though important but not essential.
- Pack a Bug Out Bag for All Your Family Members and Pets
The items to consider should be compact, easy to use and have multifunctionality (ex. knife to use for protection and cutting). You should have enough contents to provide you with enough survival essentials for three days.
- Find an Appropriate Bug Out Location
In most cases, it will be a temporary shelter. Make sure to the place accepts pets. Appropriate choices would be a family or friends home, hotel or a secondary unoccupied property you own.
- Set Mulitple Escape Routes
Depending on the time and type of disaster, main roads might be clogged with traffic. Using secondary roads might be your best option. Have maps (multiple copies) with routes highlighted ahead of time. The key is to respond and leave faster than the hordes. Maybe leaving by air or sea might be a better alternative.
- Have Various Bug Out Vehicles
This does not necessarily mean having a second car. If you are able to ride or pilot different vehicles, you have the ability to escape while others might not. Having a bicycle, motorized bike, ATV, scooter, boat or mini helicopter are but a few types to consider.
Although the likelihood the disaster is long-term is minute, but what if you are not able to return to your home? This is when you might think about the option of complete relocation. Depending on the severity of the situation, this might mean leaving permanently to another part of the state, country or completely expatriating. Off course, this topic would be too long to cover here in this article but you might want to begin thinking about it and talking with your family when and if this would even be feasible.
Having covered in length what it would take to stay put if disaster strikes, it will ultimately be your resilience and resolve that will carry to make the choices that best serve the needs of you and your family. With luck and faith, you will overcome and survive any obstacle that you may face. If you still need a complete survival plan you can implement right now, click here.