Here we are, on the eve of a new administration. It’s certainly got more than a few people alarmed, for a variety of reasons. And many people new to the prepping world are taking their first steps towards becoming ready for whatever emergencies life throws their way–be it a natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, tornado, fire, flood, or what-have-you) or a man-made one (war, economic collapse, etc). As promised in my last post, I’ve been looking over ways to get people started.
In my scouring of the web, I ran across the Family Survival Planning people, and bit the bullet to purchase some of their offerings. I was pleasantly surprised! They seem to be much less alarmist than many (read: almost not at all), and in going through some of their offerings, I found quite a bit to like. (I should note, while we’re here, that I’m not affiliated with them in any way, shape, or form.)
What I’d like to do, then, is loosely stick to their “Complete Book of Prepping Lists.” It’s available from their site–in fact, at the time of this writing, signing up for their newsletter will get you a copy–and chock full of good stuff. (And, as my long-time readers know, I’m a sucker for a good list.)
So, for this week, I’d like to go over the first list in their book: the Top 10 List for Preparedness on a Budget.
- Plan. Just one word, and they’ve already started down a road I like. What they mean is to think about what sorts of disasters can happen in your area. Likely events for the Florida coast are very different in many respects from likely events in the North Central Plains, or from the mountains in Northern California.
- Create a personalized list. Take a look at your personal circumstances, situation, and needs. Examine commercially available “emergency kits,” and think about whether they will fit your situation, or lack items, or vastly overshoot your needs. Do you have pets? Do you have chronic conditions? Are you taking care of elderly parents? Children? Consider all of these things.
- Budget. Treat prepping items as a ‘normal’ expense. Most people don’t have the money to throw at getting a full kit together in one fell swoop. (And I’d venture that most of those who get everything all at once aren’t thoroughly going through steps one and two…) Set aside a little each month to go towards your preps, or to improving them. Buy one ‘extra’ can of something every time you hit the grocery store. Even with small steps, things start progressing quickly.
- Save. Buy the best items that you can afford, but don’t go overboard. Shop sales. Clip coupons. Don’t be afraid to buy used. And be sure to maintain the things you have, to avoid the expense necessary in buying them again, or shelling out for repairs.
- Store. Make sure your containers are proper for what you’re putting away. The original list focuses on water (no need for bottled, but make sure your water containers are safe and disinfected), but I’d extend this out to your food storage, as well. (We’ll be talking storage in a later post, I’m sure.)
- Request prepping items as gifts. Your mileage may vary with this one… I have a relative who regularly ignores suggestions, and buys cheaply-built knock-off versions of what you’ve asked for. Perhaps gift cards would be better? Then you could spend them however you need.
- Think ahead. See? I really like these people. Strategic shopping, to save money. Don’t try to buy all your bread, milk, and toilet paper right before the big storm hits–you’ll be fighting everybody else, and prices may well have gone up. Use lists, to avoid stress and panic (and impulse buys).
- Review. Check your insurance policies (at least) annually. I’d throw in any other significant paperwork, medical records, and the like. When was the last time your vehicle had an oil change? Going over these things regularly will catch problems early, before they grow into disasters of their own.
- Update. Keep contact lists up-to-date. Update emergency supply inventories. Knowing that your info is accurate will remove a source of stress.
- Trade one night out to fund your kit. As the original list points out, one night out for a family of four could cost as much as one 72-hour kit. Think about spending an evening in, playing board games or something, and putting the money you save towards your preps.
And there it is! A simple list of things to get us started. About the only thing I might add would be a step between “2” and “3”: shop what you’ve already got on hand. You might be surprised how much of a decent kit you can throw together using just things you’d forgotten you have. That pup-tent and sleeping bag you got because you thought you were going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, but which are now gathering dust in the back of the closet? Perfect for the kit!
The next installment is on the 72-hour kit or Bug-Out-Bag (“BoB”); I’ve discussed them before, but it would be good to go over them again–and it’s high time I went through mine once more for updates. Please stick around! (And if you’ve got your own recommendations, I’d love to see them in the comments!)