UPDATE: After I wrote this article I realized that I completely forgot about First Aid (shh, don’t tell Lisa). Seriously though, first aid is one of the most important parts of prepping, and should be on the top of your priority list.
Here are a couple of articles Lisa and I have done that go over first aid supplies and skills. Just click the links to read those articles…
We have talked about the 5 areas of preparedness and how it’s important to keep these in mind as you are building up your prepping supplies, so let’s dig a little deeper into all of these.
This is the last post in the beginning prepping series, but we will be doing a few more articles about preparing for long term disasters and some places you can find some of these prepping supplies without breaking the bank or sacrificing quality…stay tuned for that.
When preparing for a week food storage is pretty straight forward…store what you eat. If you have enough food in your home to last you and your family a week, you are already more prepared than 90% of the country. The last thing you want to do is have to go to the store and fight the crazy masses for the last can of corn.
You don’t need to go to the store with a huge prepping grocery list, you can slowly stock up on canned food and nonperishable food over time. When you go to the store and buy canned vegetables don’t just buy one, buy a couple of cans. When you buy items like spaghetti and rice buy a little extra.
Along with spaghetti and rice you can also buy boxed meals like the Homestyle Bakes that already have canned meat, canned stews and other items that are high in calories and contain meat that is already cooked. Cooking from scratch could become difficult in a grid down situation (more on this later) so even though these are not the healthiest option, they will do the job in a pinch.
If you have children it is especially important to store what you eat. Children can be pretty finicky sometimes and if you try to feed them something they are not used to eating, you might be in for it. Over time you can get them used to eating new things, but for now stick with what they like.
When you are first starting out there is no reason to buy a large amount of long term food storage items, this is a good time to try some of them out though. Most companies have sample packs that you can buy to make sure you like them before you spend hundreds of dollars on something you have to force yourself to eat.
For a family of 4 you will need to store at least 4 gallons of water per day, that’s 28 gallons. Let’s round that up to about 50 gallons because we always use more than we expected. When you are preparing for a week you are not going to be concerned about daily showers, but we will still need water for cooking, cleaning, flushing the toilets and even our pets.
Storing water can be a little tricky because of the amount of space it takes up, but if you have ever been without water because the power was out you know how important it is, and how convenient it is to just turn on the faucet. Gallon jugs and 2 liter bottle will work, or you can also purchase water bricks which are a great way to save space.
The great thing about water is that it ddoesn’treally go bad, it might start to taste a little weird after a while, but it won’t go bad. 50 gallons might seem like a lot, but you can probably find places around the house where you can stash a gallon or 2. This might be a little trickier in an apartment, but it can be done. Closets, cabinets and under beds are all good places…just think outside the box.
There are a few different options when it comes to what you store water in. You can buy a water brick which costs about $30, but when you are first starting your water storage and prepping in general there are other free options available.
Containers that we use every day and just throw in the trash can be used for water storage. Milk containers, 2liter soda bottles and ice tea jugs are all BPA free which means they are food grade containers. I like the Arizona iced tea jugs because they are sturdier than a standard milk jug, but all of these will work.
If you don’t drink any of these soft drinks you can always ask a friend or neighbor to save a few for you, you don’t have to tell them you are working on your water storage, you can tell them you are working on something, or your child needs them for school.
The last thing about water before we move on to shelter includes being able to find water, and having a good water filter. Like I said, we will use more water than we expect, and it is nearly impossible to store enough water to last longer than a few months.
Think about the area around you and what you could do to find water if you need to. This could be ponds, streams and rivers. Keep in mind, if the water source has harmful chemicals in it, filtering won’t make that water safe to drink.
Filters range from a large capacity Berkey water filters to some of the smaller filters like the Lifestraw or the sawyer filter. These smaller water filters will most likely be used for short term situation (in your bug out bag), but for anything that will last for an extended period of time you will need something larger than one of these.
When we think of shelter we think of our house, but shelter is much more than that. Shelter is anything that separates us from the elements ranging from the home we live in, to a small tent to the cloths on our backs, the types of shelter you will need will be completely dependent on the situation you are in.
Shelter at home includes much more than 4 walls and a door, most of us already have that part taken care of. When it comes to our home we need to think everything inside and outside of our home. I will go into more detail about security in a moment, but just remember that keeping what you have safe is just as important as having it in the first place.
The way our homes are with power, and the way they are without power are completely different. Think about how you would keep your home warm or cool if you needed to. It will be much easier to heat or cool one room in the house if the power goes out than it will to heat or cool the entire house.
Because of the fact that we already have shelter in place there is not a lot of money that needs to be spent (other than security) in this area…for now. Right now we can spend some time learning how to build a makeshift shelter and get some ideas about what we might need to do in the event we did need to bug out.
There are quite a few things you can learn about when it comes to wilderness survival that even if you have no plans on bugging out might become useful. It doesn’t cost a dime to learn these skills, and you never know when knowing how to build a lean to or a field expedient water filter will come in handy.
Let’s be honest, you can go a week without brushing your teeth and taking a shower, it might get a little smelly, but it won’t be life threatening. At this point it’s about building the foundation and keeping everything as normal as you possibly can.
Even though we are only planning for a week at this point, you never know how long a disaster is going to last, it could be a day, or it could be months. As time goes on sanitation becomes more important and after only a week the trash could be piling up and it can get pretty stinky around the house.
We take it for granted right now, but think about the disease and sickness in in some of these third world countries, it is much higher than here because the level of cleanliness and sanitation is way below our standard. In any SHTF scenario, we could be in that situation.
Some items might include…
- Soap & Shampoo
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toilet Paper – And a way to flush / dispose of waste
- Female Products
- Household Cleaners / Disinfectants
- First Aid Kits / Supplies
In a disaster situation we will be working harder and getting dirtier doing it. You won’t be able to take a shower, but being able to do something as simple as washing your hands can prevent sickness, and at the very least make you feel a little better.
Medical supplies and first aid kits are included in sanitation because most illnesses can be prevented by good hygiene and sanitation. Accidents will happen, and a gunshot wound or broken bone might not have anything to do with sanitation on the surface, but if that wound gets infected it’s because it didn’t get cleaned properly.
When you first start out an expensive trauma kit is not necessary, you can start with the basics and work your way up. This post goes over some of the basic first aid supplies you should have when you are putting together a first aid kit. We have also written a post about the benefits of fish antibiotics, and a post about how to fight illness naturally.
Quality does matter when it comes to first aid supplies, but something is better than nothing. If your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase all these expensive supplies you can get some of this stuff from the dollar store, just make sure you are upgrading when you can.
You are really rolling the dice when you buy all these supplies and get yourself prepared if it can all be taken away without any resistance from “ill intentioned” individuals or agencies. Being able to protect our family and our supplies are both important.
Security means more than setting up claymores around the perimeter of your property, security starts with you. In the Personal Threats Assessment Guide I did, I talked about how we can sometimes make ourselves targets without even realizing it.
Who we associate with every day, and how much info we give out about ourselves might seem innocent enough at first, but what will these unprepared people do in a SHTF scenario if their best option is us? How many people know where we live, and we wish they didn’t?
How your property looks to people driving by is also something we should be aware of, if you’re the person in the neighborhood that always has their garage open and has the prettiest yard, you will be a bigger target than the person down the street whose house is completely unspectacular and ordinary.
Security inside the home is also important, think about what you would do if someone were able to gain entry to your home how would you defend yourself? How far would they get before you were able to get to a weapon?
Even if it’s just pepper spray or a baseball bat by the front door anything is better than nothing. Having different ways to defend yourself around the house will give you the upper hand is someone were to try and assault you. You can hide pepper spray under tables and window sills with Velcro, and even have them strategically placed around the house where you think you would need to run if you were attacked.
Don’t have all your supplies in one place, if someone were to make their way into your home you don’t want them to be able to take every last bit of food you have, leaving you with nothing.
Hide some of your food and supplies in plain sight, hide some in cabinets and under beds. Hopefully they will not take the time to go through every nook and cranny of your home, and you will survive the situation still having some supplies and food.