You are an educated civilized person, raised with good moral values and always attempted to follow the Golden Rule. There have been events that have raised your fears for your family’s future, such as the Iraq war, terrorism and if you are a baby boomer, the Vietnam war. You tinkered with the idea of how to begin prepping several times, but the crisis passed and you returned to your normal life.
Today’s world has your senses of pending doom on high alert. Our country is divided, there seems to be no right or wrong anymore, our moral compass is not only broken, it’s shattered beyond repair. Lying is acceptable behavior, Claims of fake news leaves us confused as to what to believe, criminals are running the country and there have been no good people to stand in resistance. You’ve had it. It is time to begin preparing for the coming collapse of society. Trouble is … how to begin prepping? What do you do? How do you start?
Take a deep breath and relax, part of survival prepping is never panic. I’m going to walk you through a how to begin prepping course that will set you on the right course. FYI … I am not God, I don’t know it all and you don’t have to follow my advise to a T. In fact I encourage you to structure your survival plan to your own specific needs. Let’s begin the lesson.
Who Are We Prepping For?
This simple Q&A will dictate our planning. If you have a family which includes infants, you must be prepared to store diapers and baby formula. Elderly parents live with you, a supply of prescription medications and over the counter antacids and pain relievers are a priority. Young children, 5 to 10 years old, require some sort of entertainment, board or card games. Remember, the grid is down, there is no computer, Ipad or whatever. So once we decide who will be involved in our survival planning, we make a list for their anticipated needs.
What’s the Likely Danger?
Anything is possible especially when dealing with man-made catastrophes, but look around you, what would be the mostly likely disaster you’re vulnerable to? Live near a river, even where it’s never flooded before. We are recording historically high flood levels the last decade, don’t discount the potential of be flooded out. Live on the coast? Catastrophic hurricanes are becoming a normal event. California, earthquake dangers. Live in a major city? Gangs and looters may run rampant. You get the point.
So How to Begin Prepping for such potential dangers? Ironically the preparations are nearly identical for any crisis survival situation, Water, Food, Shelter and Security. You will need these basics no matter what. The aftermath of what type of natural disaster you experience is the only variable. For instance, fires may be a problem after an earthquake, but not likely after a flood. Unfortunately SHTF somewhere in the world on nearly a daily basis. It’s normal to watch these events unfold on TV with empathy and amazement, but use these tragic events to learn what to do in order to survive the situation. What did those people do right or wrong? Learn.
How to begin prepping can be viewed as a learning experience, an opportunity to enhance your skills and broaden your horizons. Take an inventory of what you know you’ll need to know, but don’t now have the skills.
Can you start a fire without matches and charcoal lighter? Buy a striker and practice making tinder and starting a fire without matches.
Do you know basic first-aid, CPR or how to perform the Heimlich maneuver? Take a Red Cross First Aid class.
Have a weapon but not really sure how to take care of it or use it? Go to a firearms dealer or shooting range and take a course.
You don’t want to be trying to build your fire while shivering uncontrollably in a the frigid wind, or trying to figure out how to load your weapon while danger is plowing down on you.
Gather Important Documents
This may sound like the last thing in the world you’d be concerned about, but … Medical information could be a great help to first respondents.
You may need your drivers license/passport to prove who you are and that you belong in the neighborhood and are not a looter.
Have recent photos of yourself and family members. Let’s face it, in a catastrophe people will get separated and some will die. Having photos can help in identifying remains or helping in a search and rescue attempt.
Begin Building Slowly
There are a lot of catchy phrases, 5Ws, Pillar of 3, etc. which help you remember what you need in order to survive, and they all offer excellent information. However, it doesn’t matter if a tornado destroyed your town or King Kong, as a human you must have food and water to survive. Period … case closed.
Therefore the first requirement is fill those needs. You can find food calculators on the internet that will aid you in figuring out how much food is required for X amount of people, for X amount of days. It’s a good guideline to refer to.
I can’t stress this enough because it’s the biggest reason people who attempt to prep fail, you don’t need to break the bank trying to stockpile everything you’ll need to survive when the SHTF. Begin slow. Buy a couple of gallons of water, it’s cheap, when you do your grocery shopping. Buy exactly what you normally buy, except instead of 2 cans of tuna, buy four (4). Slowly build until you have a 30 day supply of food and water for the number of anticipated people you’ll provide for. That goal alone will put you far ahead of 97-98% of the people in the United States. Don’t go out and max the credit cards, it’ll only cause problems.
Make a Plan
In how to begin prepping this may be the single most important thing you can do to help ensure your survival. In fact you don’t make 1 plan, you make 2 or 3 plans for every scenario you can think of.
Where you going? The most popular answer to that is “I’ll go to the countryside or bug-out to the mountains.” Really. Do you own property in the countryside or in the mountains, because I guarantee you you’re not the only one planning on bugging-out to these places.
How long do you figure it’ll take for rural peoples’ good nature to turn sour and start refusing the roaming hordes? You know as well as I do … there is a certain segment of people who are just plain assholes. These are the ones who will steal and destroy property forcing rural people to resort to arming themselves for self protection.
People who are stationary and not on the move are much more equipped to defend themselves. They have the fire-power and have allegiances with their neighbors that will enable them to easily fend off a roaming mob of hungry and unprepared looters.
Make a plan for staying at home and not bugging-out. You may have enough supplies stockpiled for an extended crisis, but surviving alone is nearly impossible to do. A group can divide the work that will be required and can help defend one another. Get to know your neighbors, you don;t need to be hugging buddies, but a wave and an occasional short chitchat builds a bond. As a lone wolf survivalist, even in a family group, you must sleep and eat and long term survival alone is not feasible.
You may want to add a PS on how to begin prepping when it comes to communication and bonding with your neighbors as a potential ally. The famous WWII saying Loose Lips Sink Ships applies to today as well. There’s no need to announce to the world how much food, water and armament you have stockpiled. Let everyone think you’re as desperate and unprepared as they are. That does not be heartless or a scrooge. Help people when you can, but don’t paint a target on your back.
The saying no man is an island is true. Events, no matter good or bad, will affect you in some manner. Therefore, it’s important you utilize situational awareness which simply means pay attention to what is happening around you. It does little good to have a years’ stockpile of food and water if you don’t know a looting mob is approaching your street and you’re caught outside, off guard and defenseless. You must be aware of your immediate surroundings but also neighborhood, region, state and country events. Have a weather radio if you’re concerned about tornado or hurricane warnings. Have a hand crank radio and/or walkies talkies for outside communication. Just be aware anything transmitted through the air can be heard by the bad guys as well as the good guys.
This can be a rather sticky subject. Many people think how to begin prepping is a signal to turn their home into an armory. That mindset is OK if you have the money to fund the en-devour, but firearms are extremely expensive and the cost of some ammunition will leave you stunned with sticker shock. Don’t get me wrong … you must have firearms in order to protect yourself, but with limited funds, one rifle may be adequate instead of two and spend the other $1000 on other supplies and equipment.
The cold hard truth is you cannot defend your house against everything the world can throw at you. If someone can observe your daily actions long enough they will find holes in your defense. For instance, you’re shelter is well fortified, but every day at noon the family has a sit down lunch. By building family unity and problem solving discussions you have left yourself vulnerable. Prepare the best you can, but never think you are in a thoroughly protected situation as there is no such thing. That’s why building a neighborhood coalition is important. You couldn’t see you were being stalked, but your neighbor could see the strangers lurking around and raise the alarm.
Preppers will tell you prepping is a lifestyle not a part time hobby. You can’t loose sight of the end goal, which is …. being prepared to survive a SHTF situation. How to begin prepping must be initiated with a mindset that you will not stop no matter how fatiguing or long the journey may seem. Everything in life gets old. Having fun gets old after awhile. Ever learn a new and exciting game that you could not stop having fun playing, only to discard it because it became boring after awhile. Ironically you are preparing for something you never want to happen. View it this way: you have an emergency savings in case you get laid off or injure yourself and can’t work. You don’t get mad because you didn’t lose your job or hurt yourself so you couldn’t spend the emergency money. Same with prepping. Sounds kinda silly to get aggravated and stop because you didn’t get caught in some kind of catastrophe.
The last thing I’m going to offer you is a list of potential survivalist supplies to consider buying as part of your prepping plan. Preppers are big on lists … maybe because we have short memories, I know that’s a problem with me. Believe it or not, this list is no where complete. So here goes:
It’s normal procedure to have at least a 30 day food supply to start and build from there. A lot of these staple foods you can pick up at Sam’s or Costco.
5 Gallon buckets – For food storage, these are a must have for your bulk, dry, & staple foods. Make sure you get the gasket lids.
Mylar Bags – Combine these with your 5-gallon buckets to store your food. Just drop a few oxygen absorbents in the bag once filled and seal them up and you’re good to go.
Sugar– You can store this indefinitely if air tight. Sugar is useful for all sorts of cooking as well as doubles as a nice comfort food.
Salt – Another essential storage item, As you cannot survive without salt intake. Salt, useful not only for flavoring but for preserving foods as well, and a healthy body needs the minerals & electrolytes it provides. Salt will also be a powerful barter item if the local stores are closed. Estimates are about 4-5 pounds per person for 1 year.
Honey – Honey can last forever and is not only a natural substitute for sugar but an effective antibiotic for colds and sore throats, energy booster, as well as treatment for burns and wounds. Honey stored in glass jars will preserve it best so that it will not crystallize. If it does it can be heated back to a liquid form.
Rice – Simple and cheap to store. Buy the white rice as the brown rice has some natural oil mixed which doesn’t store as well as.
Beans/Legume – Beans & Rice combo makes one of the best long term food storage options for your prepping strategy. Combining rice and beans together is packed with protein and is a perfect substitute for meat. This is why some many cultures eat rice & beans at meals. Pinto, navy, black, and Lima beans make good choices here.
Oats– Another staple, that is super cheap and can be stored for up to 30 years.. Oats are perfect because they only require boiled water to prepare, then just add some cinnamon or sugar and you have breakfast. It also helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol. Oats can also double as feed for most animals.
Wheat – Another must-have in your long term food plan.
Flour– Flour should also be included in your long-term storage. However, if storing grains or beans you can grind that into flour using a simple grain mill.
Pasta– Pasta is nice, because the packaging as is, is usually good for a solid 2 years. This makes it a great short-term food option. To get longer shelf out of pasta you will need to seal it up in a Mylar bag. Note, pasta has very little protein and although it fills you up. The beans & rice combo will be much more important for survival.
Powdered Milk, powdered milk is recommended to store 16 lbs. per person per year. Make sure it is not the instant milk, but powdered dry milk.
Powdered Cheese– Who doesn’t like cheese? For long term storage though, it will be best if you buy the dry powdered kind.
Canned Cheese A little company in Australia, called Bega, makes a wonderful canned cheese that can last for an extended time! The manufacturer says that the shelf life is only 2 years, but canned goods if handled properly can last much longer than that.
Red Feather Butter What can be better than canned cheese than canned butter coming all the way from New Zealand. Not powdered or freeze dried but real creamy butter made from pasteurized cream and salt.
Peanut Butter– High in plant protein and packed with nutrients, peanut butter is a great item to stock up on. However, because of the fat/oil content it contains, it will most likely go rancid after 10-12 months. So you will need to rotate your stash if you stock up on peanut butter.
Corn Starch– Will last forever if stored in a cool dry place. Apart from a sauce thickener, good for heat rash, sunburn, underarm deodorant, and works as a shampoo for pets.
Spices– Left in the original jars, most spices will last for 1-2 years before they go bad.
Soy Sauce– Loaded with sodium this will last almost forever and is a great flavoring agent, especially to bland rice. However, with the high salt content, you better make sure you have your water storage filled to the top!
Vinegar/Apple Cider Vinegar– Great for both cleaning and cooking, several bottles of vinegar should be in every pantry. Drinking apple cider vinegar mixed with water also makes a great energy tonic.
Canned Tuna/Veggies– This is one of the easiest ways to start prepping for food. Next time you go to your grocery store pick up a few extra canned veggies to jump start your food prep. Canned tuna, corn, beans, green beans, etc… all make great starters.
Power/Energy bars– While probably not the best for long-term storage, they make great for bug-out bags and short term food plans.
Freeze Dried Option – Just add water! Nothing beats freeze dried foods & having a nice selection of #10 cans in your storage plan is a wise choice. Lots can be said here, and this option will definitely give you the longest shelf life, but it is the more pricey choice. There are some great food companies that offer freeze dried storage packs. 3 reputable food storage companies are:
Coconut Oil– can be used as substitutes for cooking oil, butter, & health salve. Most cooking oils will go rancid in a very short time. However, extra virgin coconut oil can last 2-4 years if stored properly. It has many uses including cooking, dry skin, energy boost, reduces inflammation, and even heals diaper rash, but my favorite is to use it for popping popcorn. Gives it a nice buttery flavor.
Baking Powder/Soda– Must have for your long term storage as there are many uses for this: cooking agent, doubles as a toothpaste, household cleaner, and also great for heartburn mixed with a little water!
Coffee– This bean is a great all-around thing to have in a doomsday scenario. It gives water a nice taste, increases energy and alertness, and will always be a great bartering item due to many who need their morning fix.
Tea– Tea bags as long as they are vacuum sealed away from moisture should keep awhile.
Can Opener– If you’re going to store canned goods, you will definitely need a nice can opener. Be sure to buy 1-2 extra, you will want a backup of this item!
Unbreakable Dishes– If an economic collapse really does happen and chaos ensues, fine china won’t last long. Having some unbreakable dishware around especially if you have children will be prudent. Plastic or enamelware camping tableware will work well in this scenario.
Paper goods, plates, cups, utensils– In addition to the above, having a nice stock of paper plates, cups, and utensils will be extra convenient. Next time you see a super sale on these items at Costco’s or Sam’s try to shoot for a 1 month supply. These can always be used in a short-term crisis, as well as for the first month in a long term to eliminate washing while other critical things needs to be done.
Cast Iron– Good cast iron can last a lifetime if properly cared for. Cooking at home or over an open fire makes this versatile cookware essential.
Wood Burning Stove– These are great for not only cooking but if you love anywhere where there is snow on the ground 6 months out of the year can make great heaters if the power goes out. The price range can vary substantially depending on the size and quality of the stove.
Grain Mill– These can be useful if you ever intend to grind/mill flour for breads. Since wheat berries store much better than flour, these can really come in handy. Unfortunately you ‘get what you pay for’ when you start researching around. This can also double as a coffee grinder & nut butter maker.
Hand Processor– If you use an electric food processor or blender often, consider grabbing a hand or manual food processor as backup. Makes cutting and chopping much faster if only knives are available.
Solar Oven– Yes you can use the sun to cook without anything else. Although you’re not going to reach temps of 400F for all-around baking, 200 – 250F is enough to slow cook most food.
Heirloom Seeds– Storing some heirloom seeds could be a smart choice. Apart from growing fresh vegetables from the ground, seeds will be a hot commodity which will always have value & be useful for bartering.
Pet Food – Last but not least in the food department don’t forget to stock up on dog food, cat food, chicken feed, etc … for any and all animals or pets that you have.
Probably the most important item when considering prepping is your water storage. You can go several weeks without food, but water just for a few days. And given its bulk and weight storing water takes a little planning and prepping.
It is recommended to store 1 gallon of water per person per day. So for a family of 4, you will need ~120 gallons of stored water for a 1 month supply.
Food Grade Plastics – Many plastics will leach dangerous chemicals into your water supply. For long-term storage be sure to get food-grade plastics.
WaterBob – This is a nifty way to fill up 100 gallons of water in an emergency situation. It is a plastic bladder that fits in your bathtub for quick fill up.
Rain Harvesting – Harvesting rainwater is an simple and easy way to collect water for storage. If you have a roof, gutters, and spout system you can start immediately. The main concern is keeping the water bacteria/chemical free, especially if you are harvesting it off your roof or gutters.
Storage Tanks – Water storage tanks are important and can be anything from 1 gallon jugs to 50 gallon barrels or 2000+ gallon water tanks. An important concept is to have a ‘dirty’ water tank and a ‘clean’ water tank. So if you need to collect water from a nearby pond or river, you can store it first in the dirty tank and then filter it to the clean tank.
Water Bricks– Patented design for a water and food container, is a stack-able and portable water container for easy water storage.
Water Filters (Big Berkey) – Water filters come in all shapes and sizes. This little compact filter can cleanse over 6,000 gallons of water with 2 black filters. For a family of 4, that is over 4 years of water filtration if you assume 1 gallon per person per day!
Bug Out Hand Carry Filters– There is no shortage of ‘pocket’ filters. The following 3 all caught our eyes:
Lifestraw– Great for the single person in mind, hiker, backpacker, and for general emergency preparedness. 1 ‘straw’ can filter and purify 1000 liters of water. Simple, compact and convenient. Throw one of these in your bug out bag.
- Steripen– is an ingenious hand held ultraviolet water purification system. Just dip the wand in the water that needs to be treated and it kills 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa, including cryptosporidium and giardia. They even have a military grade version.
- Katadyn– The Rolls Royce of water purifiers. The Swiss made Katadyn, besides your standard hand held water filter, they also carry tablets,and desalinates for larger water amounts. This little hand held filter is good for 13,000 gallons!
Chlorine Tablets – While not a long term solution, these can treat immediate water needs for about 5-10 gallons.
Medical is another critical group of items that should be well-stocked. The most important thing about this is the individual needs of yourself and your family. Special antibiotics, diabetic medicine, hearts medications etc.. will vary from family to family. Aside from the basics be sure to understand your family’s special needs as well.
Hydrogen Peroxide– this can be a go-to natural first-aid cleaner & topical antiseptic to prevent infection from minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. The best part about hydrogen peroxide is that it is dirt cheap! Grab some next time your at the grocery store.
Band Aids – Always need to have a stocked supply both large and small for unwanted cuts. Especially if you have kids, keep these handy.
Neosporin– Great antibiotic & antiseptic ointment. This could be your backup to hydrogen peroxide, yet somewhat more pricey.
ACE bandages– For general injuries, recovery, and compression, have several bandages in different sizes
Rolled gauze– Clean & sterile gauze are a must for dressing woods and stopping bleeding to keep infection at bay. Keep in mind, variety is key when it comes to medical supplies like this.
Butterfly bandages / If suturing is not your thing, butterfly bandages are a must.
Burn Jel– for fast and minor relief of burns, should be included in every burn kit.
Duoderm– this stuff is absolute gold! It is a sticky covering for external wounds that give optimal healing and prevent infection.
Tape– first aid tape should also be kept in your medical supplies. 3M makes all sorts of medical tape.
Scissors/shears– trauma shears should be handy if needed to cut through tough material.
Splinting material– portable splint devices used in the field and for medical emergency teams can be very useful.
Blister/moleskin– if you’re doing lots of walking or hiking nothing can stop you quicker than bright red blisters. Have some moleskin in your kit for those unwanted blisters.
N95 masks– if there is ever a pandemic, having a mask can be invaluable. Flu, Ebola, etc… when the crises hits these be will go fast, so stock up on some before they are needed.
Nitrile gloves– when dealing with blood, infections, etc… high quality disposable exam gloves can be very useful.
Quick alcohol pads– another first-aid antiseptic. Clean minor cuts, disinfect medical gear, or prep skin prior to injections. Although stingy, these are very compact and useful when cleansing wounds.
Tylenol/aspirin– always need to have a quality pain reliever or fever reducer in your medical kit.
Thermometer (mercury free)– measuring your temperature should always be available. Make sure to get a mercury-free thermometer and an accurate one at that!
Snake bit kit– depending on where you live, not a necessity. But if you’re out about in the country especially in the southern half of the US, having a snake bit kit is wise. These kits usually come with a powerful suction extractor that can double for any poisonous bite or sting.
Benadryl– very useful for allergies or allergic reactions as well as a general anti-histamine.
Vaseline– this topical ointment is primarily used for skin protection, windburn, rashes, etc …
Pedialyte– can be very useful for dehydration or diarrhea issues.
Aloe-Vera– this little plant is also useful for sun protection, rashes, and burns.
Sutures/needles– while this is more of a skill, sterile sutures could be a handy item to have in store.
Tweezers– don’t want to get a splinter without having these handy.
Hand-sanitize– when you’re on the go, having a portable sanitize and disinfectant is extremely important in prevention of disease and infections.
Syringes– disposable syringes are recommended if there is ever a need for a quick injection. Especially if there are special needs
Quick Clot blood stop– very handy and used by the military to stop bleeding fast!
Q-tips/cotton balls– Always need some cotton balls and q-tips handy for cleaning wounds and scrapes. They can also double for gun cleaners, tinder, and preventing blisters.
Essential oils– Having a good stock of essential oils will be very useful if the system goes down and its hard to find quality medicine. Essential oils are inexpensive and needs no prescription to buy them and can be used for antiseptics, relieve headaches, promote sleep, reduce anxiety, treat wounds, etc
Vitamins / prescription medications– Find a good multiple-vitamin for you and your family. Specific supplements that you may need based on your health and current needs should also be well stocked. If you’re on any prescription medications, research how you can store up a several month supply if possible or alternatives that maybe sufficient.
Insect repellent – A strong repellent for insects and bugs, especially if you work & live outdoors. If the grid goes down, everyone will be ‘working’ outdoors …
Chapstick– as you spend more time outside, Chapstick will be equally important.
Smelling salts– inhalants that are used when light-headed or just dizzy. If you need a jolt to wake up, use smelling salts!
Charcoal tablets– charcoal tablets are used for many types of digestive and stomach issues. They contain lots of small cavities able to absorb unwanted materials and gases sitting in the gut causing bloating, pain or gas.
Antibiotics– the scary thing about an economic collapse will be the scarcity of antibiotics and prescription medicine. IF you’re not a doctor/nurse and don’t have access to such medicine, there are some alternatives. Some people say, some animal antibiotics use the same ingredients as the one for humans.
Potassium/iodide tablets– it’s wise to store Potassium iodide or KI in your medical emergency kit. This is a type of salt that can be used to combat radiation poisoning. Potassium Iodine will block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland. KI (potassium iodide) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine that can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, thus protecting this gland from radiation injury. The thyroid gland is the part of the body that is most sensitive to radioactive iodine.
Isopropyl alcohol– this is another useful topical agent for disinfecting items, cleansing wounds, and general antimicrobial liquid.
Sun Block – More time outside, more sun on the skin, get some sun block.
6 mil plastic– this can be useful in case of a bio-hazard. Creating a safe room requires 6 ml plastic, some duct tape and proper ventilation. This type of plastic sheeting has lots of other uses as well such as rain collection, or for sheltering or a tarp.
First Aid Manuals– a solid first aid book that covers the basic should be on your shelf. We rely so much on the internet, that if the grid went down, the only information you would have are the books on your shelf.
Next on the list comes safety and security measures. You want to be able to protect your home and your family in case anarchy ensues and there is no law & order. Think weapons and ammo and a home fortress. The first thing we will look at on the list are guns.
Handgun– While there is some argument on the perfect caliber, 9mm, .40. or .45, owning a pistol is essential for defense. This can be your go-to gun by your bedside to things that go bump in the night. If you want a simple point-shoot go for the revolver.
Shotgun– Many will argue if you could only have 1 weapon for home defense, the shotgun would it. The ammunition is inexpensive, is a long gun so there are less background checks when purchasing one, and can always double as a hunting gun. Also, if someone is in your home, and they hear the pump of a shotgun, it will scare any would-be intruder.
Long rifle– For hunting and long range needs you will need to have a long range rifle for 400+ yards out. Suggested calibers are the .30-.06, .308, or the .223.
Knife– You should always have a knife in your bug-out bag or as an everyday carry. The uses of a knife are limitless.
Short range rifle– The .22 LR rifle is regarded as the Survivalist best friend. The ammo is plentiful and extremely cheap and could always double as a barter item, so stock up!
Ammo– whatever your choice of weapons are both handguns and rifles, be sure to stock up on as much ammo as possible. Prices will skyrocket and ammo will be non-existent if there ever is a collapse scenario that unfolds. Guns and ammo will always hold their value.
Neighborhood defense– Get to know your neighbors now! If law & order ceases your neighbors will be your closest allies or enemies. The more neighbors who are prepared the better. If you can develop a plan even better.
Guard dog– Man’s best friend can prove indispensable in an end-time collapse. German Shepherds or Rottweilers are standard guard dogs, but any decent sized dog will be of great aid. Remember to stock food/water/medicine for your canine friend.
Tasers/ pepper spray– If guns for some reason are not an option, at the very least own some tasers or pepper spray for home defense.
Pre-cut plywood– This can be a wise strategy if you leave in a high risk area. You can use pre-cut plywood to board up your windows to harden your home and make it more difficult to enter.
Security cams/alarms– Strategically placing security cams or alarms around your home can notify you of danger in advance. Some will say this can make your home more of a target because the average home doesn’t have cameras. Your choice. There’s also the option fake cameras to deter would be thieves. Actually fairly cheap for $6.
$500 cash– While this would fall more under financial security having extra cash in your home could prove wise in a financial collapse scenario. Credit cards may stop working and having a decent supply of 20’s, 10’s 5’s and 1’s for buying essentials for at least 1 month is a prudent strategy.
Precious metals – you could write a whole article on preparing yourself financially for an economic doomsday scenario. Investing in precious metals is one of them.
Lighting for home– A well lit home is less likely to be targeted at night. Security lighting around the perimeter of your house my encourage the riffraff to look elsewhere. Go for the solar-powered option here.
Power & Heat
When the grid goes down or power from the state is no longer reliable how will you power your home or keep warm during the winter. What alternatives from electric power do you have? The following is a short list of options
Blankets – Thick and heavy blankets, enough for several unwanted guests that may pop in as well.
Sleeping bags– Along with blankets, having a solid sleeping bag for each member in your family is also recommended. Be sure to check for temperature rating and type of insulation.
Batteries– An ample supply of batteries should always be in your prepping supplies. One tip is to use battery operated devices that use the same type of battery preferably AA, which is the most popular out there. Then you only have to stock up on 1-2 kinds of batteries as opposed to every size of battery.
Rechargeable batteries– Some tools eat batteries like candy! You will want some rechargeable batteries to go the extra mile.
Spare fuel– Whatever fuel you have to power your car/generator/stove etc… you will want to have store some spare fuel.
Gas cans– Gas cans are needed to store spare fuel.
Power inverter– A power inverter enables a 12 volt DC to be converted to a 120 AC.
.Solar power watt kit– A solar power watt kit allows you to power your RV, home, cabin, boat, etc… all from the power of the sun. Solar power especially in the south can be very attractive as an alternative power source. To piece together a solar power kit you will need, solar panels, charge controller, batteries, connections & wiring, as well as a power inverter.
Flashlights– Remember to try and stick with the AA flashlights to standardize your battery selection.
Candles– Emergency lighting at its best! Candles are great for short-term light needs around the home, which also provide a small source of heat as well.
Oil lamps– Another short-term light source that are somewhat better than candles and can be used in power outages, outdoors, or just for camping fun.
Head lamps– Head lamps are extremely useful when working, exploring, camping or whatever and you need your hands free with a bright light.
Propane– Heat for cooking will always be a priority, and nothing works as good as old-fashioned propane. Although not super cheap instant fire for cooking and heating is a worthy trade-off if there is no power or gas coming in.
Solar cooker/oven – Solar cooking has been around for hundreds of years. They are amazing and you really can cook with the sun, though it does take some patience. A proper solar cooker can easily reach degrees of 300F so cooking should be no problem! And what more abundant energy source do you need as the sun.
Fire extinguisher – Prepping is about preparing for the unknown. If the Fire Department no longer exists, catching a small flame before it gets out of hand could potentially save you your home! Be prepared and get a small extinguisher.
Generator– Generators are great in emergency situations, especially if power is crucial for medical reasons. Long-term however there is debate at how viable generators can benefit as you will need a constant supply of fuel as well as fuel storage. Not to mention if the power has been down for months and would-be scavengers are rummaging the neighborhood when they hear the sound of a generator running? If you do plan on getting one, look for triple-fuel generators.
Bio-diesel fuel– while not a particular item to stock, the skills and know-how to make bio-diesel could be a life-saver if fuel is critically needed. Bio-diesel is just a renewable fuel to replace diesel fuel, and can be homemade with the proper equipment.
Iron stove– A wood burning iron stove maybe a smart choice for a solid heat source as well as double as cooking outlet. Northern winters are brutal, and a wood burning stove will do wonders to heat your house and offer a place for cooking. Some popular brands are Ashley, Heartland, and Franklin.
Firewood & matches– For those that live in colder climates, preparing and storing firewood should be an ongoing prep. Wood is free and abundant if you live off the grid and with a little labor can be used to heat any home with no power. Also never hurts to stock up on strike-anywhere matches.
Tools & Miscellaneous
Adequate tools and equipment will be crucial for survival in a complete shutdown of the system and economy. Begin to stock up on useful tools, equipment, and items now before they are needed.
Ax– A solid ax will be useful mainly for cutting wood. Now that you have your wood-burning iron stove, you will need to procure firewood to heat your home.
Buckets– Buckets are very versatile and can have tremendous use for life hacking and different situations.
Wire– Wire can be a life saver for makeshift repairs. Use it to fix chicken coops, machinery, fences, etc… very useful when things breakdown and you can’t go to the store and buy a new one.
Shovels– Practical, shovels are useful for camping, hunters, hikers, etc… outdoor use is endless. Have 1-2 quality shovels in your garage or shed.
Wheelbarrow– Like a shovel, a sturdy and durable wheelbarrow will be highly useful as we move more to a agrarian society again.
Hammer & Screwdrivers Standard tools again, make sure you have some.
Nails/screws– Building up a nice supply of mixed nails and screws will be a smart choice when you can no longer buy them. Home and fence repairs almost always include a hammer, screwdriver & some screws.
Jumper cables– always have a pair of jumper cables.
Bleach – Good ole fashioned bleach has many uses in a survival situation. Bleach can be used for purifying water, disinfect supplies & tools, as well as general purpose cleaning.
Duct tape– The go to item for makeshift repairs. My favorite brand is Gorilla Tape.
Epsom salt– Epsom salt is a cheap medical alternative to treat sprains, soak in, cramping, athlete’s foot, general laxative, and to relax and distress. You can pick up some Epsom salt at your local grocery store of pharmacy.
Siphon tubes– Moving fluids from buckets and gas is easy with a proper siphon tube. These are handy to have around the home.
Zip ties– Zip ties are another universal item for makeshift repairs and keeping things locked together. Somewhat like duct tape, their uses of infinite.
Gadsden Flag– Made popular by patriots, the yellow flag with a coiled rattlesnake and the words Don’t Tread on Me has become more and more famous. Flying this flag sends a message to like-minded patriots where you stand.
Dish washing liquid / Gloves– Never hurts to have an ample supply of dish washing liquid/soap and proper gloves for cleaning your dishes and utensils. Several extra scrubber pads and steel pot scrubbers can help ease the pain of doing the dishes.
Garbage/Trash bags– Another item with endless uses. Gathering trash or other items, trash bags cannot be beat. Make sure you get the heavy duty kind!
PVC Piping– Extra PVC pipe can be useful for DIY plumbing, most likely there won’t be a plumber to call if chaos ensues.
Glass Jars– Very useful to store foods and liquids.
Toothbrush/paste– Extra toothbrushes will be very useful.
Writing pencil & paper– If the grid goes down, and there is no electricity, paper & pencil will again come to the forefront.
Diapers & baby stuff– If you have little ones, or are planning to have a baby anytime soon. Store up on diapers and other essential baby products.
Ziploc bags– Ziploc bags are versatile and useful for storing small loose items and keeping them dry.
Backpack (bug-out bag)– It is very useful to have a bug-out bag packed with essentials for about 3-5 days. If something threatens your neighborhood or home and you have to leave, a bug-out bag could sustain you the first 36-72 hours of the emergency.
Land maps– We rely on the internet and free digital access for everything! What if the net goes down? Land maps of your surrounding area could be very valuable especially if you’re new to the area or are out in the back country. Make sure these are water and tear proof.
Tent– Another useful item to have along with sleeping bags. Gives you mobility and shelter out in the land.
Bicycle– Bicycles could become very popular again if gas prices skyrocket or energy shortages appear. Have a good quality mountain bike with spare tires and tools to make repairs to keep it running.
Tarps– Tarps can collect rain water, provide cover from the elements as emergency shelter, hide tools and equipment, and the list goes on!
Bungee Cords– Another all-around multiple-purpose tool. Very strong in securing and tying down items. You usually don’t hear about bungee cords in prepping,
Welding Kit– Welding will be a useful skill down the road, and having the tools before they are needed is prudent.
Sewing Kit– Fixing ripped clothes, tents, tarps, sleeping bags, etc … you will need a proper sewing kit and gear.
Screwdriver/wrench set– It’s best to stock up on everyday tools now, especially if you don’t have any. DIY, makeshift equipment, and machinery will be more and more common and having the proper tools will go a long way in keeping things running.
Multiple-tool– Carrying a good multiple-tool is essential for the outdoors-man. A multiple-tool is about efficiency and usability in a small compact tool.
Rope / Para-cord– Rope is needed in all things outdoors. .
Compass– A sighting compass is a smart and useful tool out and about. Again think of no electricity or if the power goes down, this can be convenient for navigation.
Hand saw– Handy for most woodwork, tools dealing with wood will become very valuable if a collapse occurs.
Flint starter– A fire starter if your matches ever run out. For heat, warmth, and cooking, fire will always be important.
Hatchet– A solid hatchet is ideal for chopping kindling and small firewood.
If there ever is a major catastrophe, EMP attack, or the grid goes down, the ability to obtain information as well as communicate with others will be a critical resource. Below are several items to help you in getting started in communications prepping.
HAM radio– The gold standard in communications, HAM radio or amateur radio, has always stood the test of time when all other communication fails.
Hand crank radio– An emergency radio for disaster situations to keep you up to date on weather and basic FM/AM radio stations.
Pocket list of contact numbers/frequencies/channels– Important numbers and all relevant contact numbers should be written down somewhere for quick access.
Faraday cage– A Faraday cage will protect your electronics in the event of an EMP, which disables any object with a circuit.
You might say how to begin prepping begins with lists. As I stated earlier, this list is no where a complete itemized list, but it’ll give you a good starting point and an example of a prepping list.