“Prepping”, as we fondly call it, is the act of being prepared. It is preparing your household, BEFOREHAND, for any number of emergency situations that your family may face. People who prepare their household for emergency events are ‘Preppers’. The events you prepare for may last from a few days to weeks or even months.
These may include:
- * Economic meltdown (local, national or global)- having extra groceries in hand, after the loss of a job and your current income will be a life-saver.
*Natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes/tornadoes, winter storms, power outages- they may come quickly and last from a few hours to days into weeks.
*Pandemics- are unpredictable and can be simply disruptive to your family schedule should it be a mild one that causes localized illness, in your community. Or, it can be devastating if it becomes a global event that creates wide-spread illness and death, disrupting society and all the resources that you have come to know and love at your fingertips.
*Terrorism- an unknown threat that can be a localized event causing disruption in community routine or a large-scale event that causes severe disruption in our ‘essential services’ such as electric power and water.
Disaster could strike when we least expect it, the most prudent of US citizens are preparing for the worst. The best thing that every family can do is to begin preparing their households NOW.
Government agencies such as Homeland Security (http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html ) , FEMA, and the American Red Cross ( http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf ) have been promoting household preparedness for the past few years. It’s been a slow process getting the message widely accepted, and it is our hope that this is about to change.
Preparing your home for emergencies should not be a daunting task. You may already have many of the things you need at home. They are just in the back of a drawer, needing new batteries or scattered throughout the house. Take a look at the suggestions, below for various areas of home preparedness.
This will be your starting point:
- Take stock of your community. Assess what are the most common emergency situations that may affect your community such as floods, weather, terror due to military installations, etc.
Take stock in what you may already have on hand. Gather those items and put them in a box in one place where you can get to them easily.
If you have never considered home preparation before, any start that you have, any items that you gather and have EASILY accessible is going to help you, in the event of an emergency. Read over some of the suggestions that you find on this site and fill in as you are financially able. Check out your local dollar store. You will find a LOT of the items you need to get started there!
The agencies mentioned, above, have recommended a least 3 days up to a minimum of 2 weeks worth of household preparations in hand. Since the scope of a given emergency situation is unknown our American Preppers Network recommends that a household be prepared for a MINIMUM of two weeks.
- Two weeks = Having a well stocked pantry of AT LEAST two-weeks of ADDITIONAL groceries and supplies. This means ABOVE and BEYOND what you already have in your house on a given day.
These household preparations would include:
Water: Store at LEAST 1 gallon (preferably 3 gallons) per person per day. One gallon would be for consumption the rest for cooking and sanitation). Don’t forget your pets! NOTE: You could die after THREE (3) days without water! Water storage can be completed in a ‘three-tier’ system:
- • Store bought water you purchase and have on hand, ahead of time
• Clean, empty containers that you store and fill up when you have advance warning of an emergency situation.
• The ability to filter and purify water that you may need to collect after the first two water sources are used up. Coffee filters (to filter) and bleach (to purify) are the simplest methods.
Food: “Stock what you eat. Eat what you stock”-To get started, include canned goods, rice, beans & other non-perishable food items. Add a few extra items on each shopping trip. Use store sales and COUPONS. Look for sales and bulk dry goods. (Don’t forget your infants/toddlers and pets!)
Alternate Electric Options-To prepare for possible essential services such as gas & electric being disrupted, stock battery operated items, wind-up items and manual items such as hand mixers and manual can openers. If you have solar lights in your yard, you have an alternate light source already!
Alternate Cooking Options-Consider other ways to cook, if your electric stove is not working. You probably already have an alternate already in place: Gas grills & camp stoves use propane. Barbecue grills use charcoal. (Is there one of these in your back yard? On your deck? You can be a Prepper!)
Alternate Communications-Most homes now have cordless phones that require electric to charge the handset. Consider a ‘land-line’ phone that makes use of the telephone jacks in your home. Have a cell phone? Consider a solar charger to keep that line of communication open.
Alternate Sanitation- If trash removal is disrupted you will need plenty of extra LARGE/STRONG trash bags. Disruption of water may affect toilet flushing. Store a 5 gallon bucket with lid (you can get them for FREE from the bakery department of your local grocery store or Walmart!), plenty of plastic bag liners and you have an ‘emergency pottie’. (Get a spare toilet seat or just use one out of your bathroom). Have some kitty litter on hand to put in the bottom of the bag for absorption. OR … you can use the toilet in your bathroom, line it with a bag/kitty litter (Make sure the bag is secure and won’t slip into the toilet!) Or if you are financially able, you can purchase a camping-style potty.
Medical: Prepare a first aid kit. One that is BIGGER than the band-aids and antibiotic ointment that you probably already have in your bathroom or kitchen! If possible, obtain a 1-3 month supply of any necessary prescriptions and over-the-counter medications (allergy, pain relief, cough & cold, etc) for all family members. Don’t forget to prepare for any elderly or disabled members of your household. Get a GOOD first aid AND medical book. They will be valuable if you can't get to your local hospital or doctor.
Personal Documents & Records: In the event of an emergency, and we loose power, whatever is stored on your computer may not be accessible. If you have to leave your house during an event, you may not be able to return unless you have proof of residence. Make copies of Certificates of Birth, Wedding & Citizenship; Driver’s License, passport, misc. ID documents, deeds, Automobile titles, etc. Don’t forget to include medical records, a list of all relaltives with names, addresses & phone numbers for emergency contact. Store in a waterproof package like a large zip lock bag.
Make a Plan- Your family may be together or you may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance. Ready.Gov has good information on pulling a plan together: http://www.ready.gov/america/makeaplan/index.html .
Remember: This is NOT to be an overwhelming task. Take baby steps.
- If you have NO preparedness plans or supplies in place ANYTHING that you do from here on out is going to be a step forward. It will be a step for helping your family through an unexpected emergency situation.
It is our hope that as you look over the resources available on this forum, you will begin to collect the knowledge and the ‘know-how’ to begin your own family preparation. Welcome … to the new and growing ‘Prepper Generation’!
Edited for format -k