Do you want to be prepared for an emergency, but you are questioning your sanity? Are you trying to prep, but you just aren’t sure where to start?
Prepping for beginners is intended to walk you through the basics, providing sound and well-researched expert advice. When you are done reading this guide, you will be ready to handle crises arising in the modern world.
Some emergencies for our time include the following:
If any of these scenarios worry you, it is crucial that you start preparing right now. If you wait until you are compelled to act by outside circumstances, it may already be too late.
A 2018 YouGov survey showed that as many as 41% of Americans would be unprepared in the event of a natural disaster.
Fortunately, the percentage of unprepared individuals is headed down. On the other hand, the frequency of natural and man-made disasters has increased globally, necessitating increased vigilance.
People are realizing that in this ever-changing world, we cannot always count on others to save us.
There are two major reasons why prepping is shunned.
People tend to believe that disasters could never happen to them. This is attributed to behavioral tendencies such as the normalcy bias and the ostrich effect. People who believe this have no reason to prepare for a crisis.
Beyond a certain limit, normalcy bias poses a serious threat to life and property.
The year 2001 saw the beginning of the zombie film revival. In 2002, zombie fever spread the world over successfully up until 2015. And yet, despite the decade-long popularity of these zombie movies, preparing for disasters has become frowned upon.
To make matters worse, Doomsday Preppers made a debut on National Geographic. The documentary showcased people who have measures in place to survive tragedy and end-of-the-world scenarios.
The reality show focused on eccentric personalities who had extreme prepping ideas. Regular people who store a first aid kit or extra water and non-perishable food are not shown.
The last group of people who have given a bad name to prepping are prepping blogs and YouTube channels. A lot of them have replaced rational preparation with extremism and reckless misinformation.
Both real and scripted shows contribute to prepping being regarded as unrealistic and a waste of money. At worst, it has been associated with mental illness.
In reality, many of the situations that the Doomsday Preppers prepare for could happen. Admittedly, some are less likely than others.
The world has even experienced some of them recently. Here are the situations to be ready for:
Regardless of the emergency scenario you are planning for, keep going – there is nothing to be ashamed of.
The point of prep is to minimize the occurrence of major life disruptions, and to better your chances of recovering when disturbances occur.
You may not realize it, but even that fire extinguisher in the hallway is prepping! A large part of being ready does not even come close to building bunkers and buying bullets.
The right mindset is key to successful prepping and survival. This means that you no longer deny your vulnerability to disasters.
You must be determined to move swiftly when you are confronted with a catastrophe. When you know what to do and act quickly on that knowledge, you can survive.
To get to this level, research and plan on:
Safe water for drinking is the most important component of a supplies list. You can never store too much water.
Finding and purifying water is a life-saving skill to acquire.
A reserve of food needs space and finances, but you can shop during sales when prices are heavily discounted.
As you buy food, keep it stored in a cool and dry location.
You do not have to grow your pile in one day. Start with modest, achievable goals such as a stock of three days’ worth of non-perishable food.
It is safe to buy two cans of food per person per day. Keep working to store food that can last up to six weeks or twelve weeks. Canned Food Alliance has all the essential information on canned foods you must learn.
Note: Exchange your stockpiled cans of food every 5 years.
In the case of natural disasters, communities have often come together to help each other out.
However, in times of social and political upheavals, neighbors and friends have turned against each other. You cannot always predict how the members of your community or city will respond in a crisis.
This is uncomfortable to think about, but there may be a need to defend your family and supplies. Defense involves the possibility of acquiring a weapon and a means to secure your home from intrusion.
Invest in a biometric safe if you choose to have a gun and ammo in a family with children. Take classes on how to use and maintain your weapon of choice.
Note: If you wish to swap your food stash, donate what you don’t need to your local feeding program.
When you ask preppers how to begin preparing, the most common reply is, “What are you preparing for?”
Once you establish that, it is easier to tailor plans and supplies specifically for that scenario. This way, you do not stray into end-of-the-world fantasies.
However, the basic prepping checklist remains similar for 98% of disaster situations and individuals. Once you get past the essentials, you can start customizing the list based on your needs.
For example, say you are preparing for a tropical cyclone. You make a plan to reinforce the storm shutters. All the essential stocks like two weeks’ supply of food, water, and an exit bag (go-bag) remain the same.
The Pareto Principle or the 80-20 rule states that most things in life are not distributed evenly.
Maslow’s Hierarchy, on the other hand, states that human needs can be organized into a hierarchy. The five categories of needs in order of importance are:
Once you have covered your physiological needs, you can think of the next category and so on.
The Rule of Threes for survival states that:
These principles and rules are meant to guide prep and keep you focused.
A bug-out bag is essentially an emergency kit. You will be okay if it is the only thing you have or prepare.
This is the reason why the primary part of the prep is having one bag that is always ready to use. These bags are made to be portable on foot. You cannot assume that you will have vehicle transport.
A basic go-bag weighs 20 pounds on average. It should contain the following:
Having a bug-out bag on the ready can mean the difference between life and death, or at least the difference between a smooth transition and a lot of pain.
An emergency can strike while we are going about our errands away from home. Since we cannot carry a 20-pound bag around with us every day, we must work around this problem.
Outside the home, you can keep some supplies in places that fit into your daily life patterns. This may include work, school, or business trips.
For modern societies, alternative supplies may mean any or combination of the following.
This is a pack of supplies for when the nature of a crisis dictates that you should not or cannot get home.
Get home bags can be stored in the vehicle trunk, office, or wherever it can be safe and near you for most of a typical day.
For example, say you cannot make it home during a snowstorm. Having a GHB within your reach means a comfortable night in your car or office.
The GHB and bug-out bags (BOBs) are similar in many ways. Use the BOB checklist to customize your Get Home Bag.
Crucial differences between a bug-out bag and GHB include:
There are also items that you have on your body, purse, or backpack on a daily basis.
Every day carry (EDC) items are with you all the time, so they must be light and compact.
EDC items comprise the following:
You may be keeping a GHB in your trunk, but these additional vehicle supplies are for vehicle problems.
Basic roadside emergency gear is kept in the car since it is unlikely that you will need to carry it on foot. Common roadside emergency gear includes:
According to survival experts, great preparation is a mix of equipment, skills, planning, and practice.
This means you are not really prepared if you simply purchase the necessary supplies and then lock it away.
Government agencies’ preparedness guidelines normally encourage having supplies that will last up to 72 hours.
Although surviving for three days is better than not having anything at all, modern guidelines recommend being prepared for two weeks minimum.
Emergency responders, systems, and local supplies get overwhelmed in hours. This has happened during hurricanes, wildfires, or even localized earthquakes. People in those situations stayed without basic services for weeks.
The politics of budgeting for disaster response has made things worse. On average, it takes at least a week to coordinate outside relief resources to help during a localized disaster.
Build up your home to be self-reliant for two weeks. Home is usually the best place to go through a crisis. It is also where governments advise people to stay, especially during a pandemic.
When it comes to prepping, the most important thing is to take care of your physical and mental health above all else. Consider these points:
Once you have learned about prepping, share the information with your family members and close friends. Prepping is more effective when it is a communal effort. Going through a crisis as a lone wolf is only glamorous and practical in the movies. Things just do not work that way in the real world.
Encourage your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family to take the Community Emergency Response team courses. Upon completion of the course, you can be part of the community response team that is activated during a crisis.
Note: In as much as you can share prepping tips and advice, avoid showing off your food or equipment stockpile. Doing so can expose you to danger especially during hard times, as everyone knows what you have.