Food, water and shelter are 3 Keys to prepping and survival, and not in that order, but don’t forget about sanitation…When the S literally HTF.
We have all heard the rule of threes. You can go 3 hours without shelter, three days without water and three weeks without food.
At a very simple level these are good rules to go by, but they go quite a bit deeper than that, so let’s dig a little deeper into all three of these.
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[wptabtitle] Your Water Needs[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]
Take water for example, Most of us take for granted that we have access to water whenever we want, all we have to do is turn on a faucet and water comes spilling out in seemingly endless supply. It is impossible to run out of water right? Well yes and no. On a global scale there is just as much water as there has ever been. So the short answer is no, we are not running out of water in the literal sense.
About 3 billion cubic feet of water falls on the land surfaces of the planet per year, to put this into perspective that would cover all of the land masses on this planet with about 3 inches of water. Now take that 3 billion cubic feet number and cut that in half because of evaporation and water taken up by trees, grass and other plant life.
About 50 million cubic feet of the remaining 1.5 billion cubic feet of water flows out to the oceans and makes it
undrinkable. So this leaves 1 billion cubic feet of drinkable water that falls on the surface area of earth each year. Around 10% of that water is used to grow our crops, personal use, for industrial use and to generate electricity. The good news is that all of that water eventually evaporates and continues the never ending fresh water cycle.
The problem is that Water isn’t evenly distributed throughout the planet and population is a factor, not all regions require the same amount of water. Of the 300 million trillion gallons of water on earth, only 3 percent of that is fresh water, and of that 3% a little over 2% is taken up in iceberg’s and glaciers… basically it’s frozen.
This means that all of the rivers, streams, lakes, aquifers and groundwater expected to sustain the 7 billion people on Earth make up less than one percent of the total water on the planet. These days water scarcity is a result of short and long term droughts and human activity. The average person can use 100 gallons a day YES A DAY! And that only makes the problem much worse, much quicker.
This is why storing water, knowing how to collect water and filter water is so important. If water becomes undrinkable we will need to know not only how to get water, but how to make that water drinkable.
Not everyone will have the option to put a 1000 gallon water tank in their back yard, and even if you do have that option you will need to protect it. It’s not like you can hide a 1000 gallon tank under your bed, and once the water is gone people will do whatever it takes to survive, and if they know you have a year’s worth of water stockpiled you become a target.[/wptabcontent]
[wptabtitle] Your Food Needs[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]
Food storage is one of the most important aspects of preparing, this is exactly why we get labeled “hoarders” or “extremists” but think about it, what is more likely to cause mass chaos and disorder, not having money or not having food? If the dollar collapse and people still have a way to eat and drink they are far less likely to “flip out” because they have not become desperate. If they have a thousand dollars and they can’t buy a loaf of bread with it they become desperate and willing to do whatever they need to in order to survive.
I personally don’t want to be one of these people that haven’t eaten in three days and are fighting the masses for the last can of green beans at Walmart if our food supply line is cut off. This is exactly why I choose to store food as well as grow my own. Do I grow enough food to support me and my family? No, but I am learning these skills and that is what it’s all about right, planning for the future.
This is why it is important to at the very least have enough food stored to last you and your family 2 weeks if not longer. A grid down event could last anywhere from 3 days to 3 three months or even longer. And it’s a very real possibility that our economy could get so bad we need to have our own food source because the only grocery store around is in our cupboards or backyard.
Where to Start
As you begin formulating your food storage plan keep in mind that you don’t need 50 pounds of flour and a closet full of wheat grain if you don’t have the staples of your diet that your family eats every day. And if you don’t know how to make bread or biscuits from scratch all of that wheat and flour are going to be worthless, because freeze dried foods you can’t just add water.
A phrase that was coined a long time ago by Dr. Prepper is “store what you eat, and eat what you store” if your family is not used to eating rice every day you are probably going to have a hard time getting them to when the SHTF. Canned goods and food with a long shelf life is available everywhere and is a good starting point in your food storage plan. Boxed meals, spaghetti and freeze dried foods are also an option because the longer the shelf life, the less likely that food will go bad before you use it.
You have quite a few option when it comes to buying food with a long shelf life, you can get it from your local grocery store, one of the long term food storage suppliers like Mountain Man or Wise Foods or even learning how to can your own food. Whatever path you choose just remember “store what you eat, and eat what you store” and then work your way up from there.
One aspect of food storage that is sometimes overlooked is nutrition and calories. Sometimes we don’t give this a second thought because there is such a variety available to us these days we are bound to get the vitamins and minerals we need to survive. But what happens when we need to depend on our food storage and all we have is Ramen noodles and rice? Without the right amount of vitamins and minerals our body’s would begin to break down causing us to become sick and making a bad situation even worse.
I’m not saying we all need to become nutritionists and break down each meal based on our body’s needs, we just need to make sure we have enough of these nutrients for our body’s to function correctly. Our bodies basically filter out what it needs and the rest becomes waste. Just keep in mind that we want to maintain the same diet we are used to today if the S were to HTF.
The Big Picture
When you first start your food storage plan focus on your immediate future, but always keep the bigger picture in mind. You will be surprised how much you can accumulate in a short period of time, just by buying a few extra cans of something every time you go to the store you will have a several week supply built up in no time. By taking a slow, incremental approach, you will not get overwhelmed.
Starting small and building up will give you time to create a food management system that works for you. Having a food supply is one thing, but making sure it is rotated and not expired when you need it is a situation you don’t want to be in. You need to store this extra food and figure out how to handle its rotation so you don’t find a can of food in the back of the closet that is ten years old.[/wptabcontent]
[wptabtitle]Shelter & Sanitation Needs[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]
If you are reading this you are probably sitting at your computer, laptop, cellphone or tablet. And my guess is that you probably have a comfortable living situation, but what happens when that all changes? What would you do if the grid goes down, a disaster has destroyed your home or you were forced to leave because the golden hoard is at your front door?
Shelter is something we all need to think about and have a plan for if a situation arises that changes our current living situation. As they say you can only go 3 hours without shelter, now I know we can go all day without being at home or inside somewhere, but imagine you are on a hiking trip with just the cloths on your back and you need to spend the night, your first goal is going to be finding shelter right? A large rock that shields you from the wind, a tree to hide under when it’s raining or even a sleeping bag are considered shelter. A shelter is anything that protects you from the elements.
Unfortunately we could find ourselves on an extended camping trip that we didn’t plan on taking in the future and we need to have the skills and knowledge to find or build shelter. Depending on the situation shelter could be tying a tarp to a tree while you are getting to your bug out location to finding a vacant building for shelter from the elements and security from marauders to finding a place to live because a tornado destroyed your current home.
Finding shelter will be different depending on why you are without shelter in the first place, this is why it is so important to think about every possibility that would cause you to be homeless, and what you would do in that situation. Learning how to build shelter is great (and necessary) but you might also find yourself having to defend that shelter, whether that is a vacant building, a bug out location or your current home.
The most important part of defending your shelter is an escape plan. Unless you have the U.S. military defending your property there is always someone bigger and stronger than you, and if they want what you have, and they have the means, they will take it with or without your consent. And if our government decides that need your home for “national Security” reasons you would be fighting the military.
There are some measures you can take now to make your current home a little more secure like installing alarms, securing your perimeter, keeping all of you doors and windows locked and situational awareness.
Always know your surroundings and what poses the biggest threat. Get to know your neighbors and you will find out who the ones that are going to help you protect your home, and the ones who you need to protect your home against.
Don’t do things like hide the key under the door mat, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book and could be one of the first places a criminal looks. If you absolutely have to do this use something like a hide a key that is camouflaged to fit into the surroundings?
Situational awareness is even more critical if you are in a situation where you are looking for shelter, you will need to be more aware about you environment because you will not be as comfortable about that situation as you are in your current home, and there might be someone looking to take advantage of that who knows the area better than you.
There is no way to know exactly what situations could arise that require you to find or build shelter so all we can do is learn, practice and think about all the possibility’s we could face, and hopefully be ready when that situation presents itself.
Sanitation goes hand in hand with shelter because if we don’t have a way to remove waste from our home (human or otherwise) we will be facing far bigger issues than the elements. In a SHTF scenario medication and medical help will be in short supply, so the last thing you want is to be battling a virus or bacteria caused by human waste or bad personal hygiene.
As the saying goes “don’t S where you eat” and for good reason “poop” is full of harmful bacteria, A big difference between urine and poop is that urine is sterile while poop is, well, you know, not only smelly but full of bacteria, E. coli for example. So although your family might be a little reluctant I would devise a plan for “relieving yourself” somewhere other than inside your home.
There are a few options available that include composting toilets, insects that eat poop, digging a hole in the backyard to a five gallon bucket lined with a trash bag for easy removal…I’ll be giving this job to the boys.
Trash removal holds the same issues as human waste, and possibly worse. If you live in an urban area you might have your trash issue figured out, but the rest of the neighborhood might not. In just a few weeks without the trash man taking your waste to the dump trash could begin to pile up causing sickness from living in an unsanitary environment, and unfortunately this will be low on most peoples list of priority’s because they are starving or thirsty.
Because of the waste piling up in a SHTF scenario personal Hygiene becomes even more important than it is today. Anyone who has teenagers will understand where I’m going with this, if you don’t have teenagers just imagine the dirtiest home you have walked into. When you walk into your teenagers room you find dirty clothes everywhere, dirty dishes under the bed with stuff growing on them and who knows what you would find if you looked in the closet.
Imagine this room is your home and you’re going into your second month off the grid. All of these different molds, bacteria and viruses would be all over everything and even the air that you breathe. And maintaining personal hygiene by making sure you and your home are as clean as they possibly be will reduce your chances of getting sick, and we all know that sometimes when you get sick, you get diarrhea, and diarrhea can mean more than just a messy situation. It could mean dehydration and even death. It could also mean even worse sanitation issues than you were facing in the first place.
So to wrap it up Shelter is one of the most important aspects of your survival now and will become even more important in a SHTF scenario. And not only is having shelter and protecting your shelter important, you need to make sure your shelter stays inhabitable or you will be looking for a new place to hang your hat.[/wptabcontent]
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