I wonder if there are some of our folks who see the need to do some preparation to ensure their families well-being for emergencies long or short-term, but haven’t yet, and, who like me when I started, are so overwhelmed they don’t know where to start. So, if you fit this description, I’m going to give you some sound advice.
First of all JUST DO IT! When you go to the grocery store, buy extras of what you already eat. Get as many extras as you can afford, and store it – preferably someplace cool. Living in an apartment with no room for storage? What about in boxes underneath the beds? Food beats dust bunnies any day. Be creative. Use an old trunk for a coffee table and store food in there. Cover boxes of food with lovely fabric; place a lamp on top – end tables – for both living room and bedrooms!
Next, look around some of the survival sites. There is a wealth of information there. Find one or more that you feel comfortable with. Check out M.D.’s Creekmore’s site www.thesurvivalistblog.net, as his whole philosophy is prepping on a budget.. Others are in no specific order:, http://prepared-housewives.com, http://www.backdoorsurvival.com, www.survivalmom.com, www.survivalistblog.net, and you can find more by going to any search engine (like Google or ixquick) and typing in something like ‘top prepper sites’.
When you find articles of great value – PRINT THEM. Binders are really cheap at the moment with the back to school sales. If we have an EMP event, we will lose electricity, possibly for months or YEARS. If there is a major pandemic, we could also lose electricity, as many people may choose to stay home rather than go to work and risk their lives and those of their family. Many other SHTF (SH!% Hits The Fan) scenarios also include the loss of electricity. There are also many great books out there, which contain a lot of great advice for new preppers.
There are some really great magazines that embrace a prepper or self-sufficient lifestyle. Backwoods Home Magazine, Grit, Mother Earth News, Urban Farm (great for doing things in smaller scale when you don’t have much room), and they all have an on-line presence as well.
The library is another wealth of information – and free. Learn about edible and medicinal plants in your area. Remember those cheap school supplies? Buy a couple of notebooks and keep notes. Make it a priority to notice edible plants when you walk the dog, and/or make it a family game. Dandelions, for one, are very nutritious and are everywhere.
Get a free food storage calculator, like the one here: http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/03/09/long-term-food-storage-calculator. Don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of food needed, slow but sure wins the race (but make sure you are at least entered in the race – don’t wait). Start with working on a 3 month supply, unless you have lots of disposable income. If you do, go to Emergency Essentials, or COSTCO or Shelf Reliance, or… and buy a one year or more supply of food for each member of your family. Somehow, I’m thinking that most of us do not have that much extra cash lying around.
Don’t talk about your food stores to anyone. When people get hungry, they WILL remember you. I understand the idea of sharing and being charitable, but if things are really bad, unless you can afford to feed the others every day, it’s best just to keep quiet. Once they finish the food you have given them, they are likely to come back and want more. If you cannot afford to take care of them for the long-term, they could get together with others, and decide to TAKE your food for themselves. Don’t believe they’d do it? What would you do to care for your children who are starving?
While it is important to have a way to protect your supplies, do NOT go out and buy a million guns at the expense of storing food. You can’t eat bullets, and most of us who do have a good supply of food have guns as well. Further, we spend a great deal of time practicing and have worked out good scenarios to protect our stores. If this is a priority for you, and you have food tucked away already, find the best for you gun and get ONE and 500-1000 rounds of ammo for it. A .12 gauge shotgun is probably the best gun for home defense, and ammo is fairly cheap and plentiful. You can always buy more guns AFTER you have food to feed your family.
The same is true for purchasing precious metals – get them only AFTER you have enough to keep your family alive.
Find alternate sources for safe drinking water. We are all so used to just turning on the tap, and having a plentiful supply of clean, safe drinking water pour out. Safe water could also go the way of electricity in an EMP or pandemic. One gallon of water per person or pet is recommended, however, remember, if you are cooking up dried beans and grains, etc., you will use more water. We have a well, and a way to pump water even if electricity goes the way of the dinosaur. If you have a well, and need a cheap emergency hand pump, you can Google hand well pumps. The one we purchased, which will take a little work to install, and will require you to purchase additional PVC pipe, but is relatively cheap is: http://www.ezwaterwellhandpumps.com/
Having water is only half the battle. You have to be able to drink it safely, and not die from water-borne organisms. Remember, these recommendations are for water-borne organisms, not heavy metals, pesticides and the like. Those require filtration before sanitation. We will have another article on ways to filter water on this site soon.
Ways to sanitize water for drinking (after filtration if necessary)
- Boiling water. You don’t have to boil it for one minute, or 5 minutes or 10, by the time it is boiling it will have killed or rendered inert any critters, even at high altitudes.
- You can use purification tablets or iodine tincture 2% (about $3 – and yes, I know it says not to take internally, but you are only using a few drops to sterilize water to keep the critters from killing you). Use about 8 drops per quart or liter of water if the water is clear, double that if the water is cloudy.
The following ways are not my favorite, but in a pinch, is better than dying of some nasty critter.
- Save a few of your clear plastic soda bottles. Placing water in them and placing them in the sun for six hours if sunny, 2 days if cloudy. It is better if placed on foil to maximize the exposure to the UV rays. Glass bottles will not work as they block too much of the UV rays.
- You can add UNSCENTED bleach at 8 drops per gallon of water (or 2 drops for each quart/liter) and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Smell the water before drinking and be sure it has the faint smell of chlorine. If not, add another 8 drops and wait another 30 minutes. If you still cannot smell chlorine, discard it and find another source. The downside to bleach is that it has a short shelf life that you won’t find on the bottle, and it could lose as much as 20-50% of its effectiveness within a year.
If your life depends on prescriptions, either try to store extras, or find medicinal plants that can do the same thing. Don’t forget things like Kaopectate, OTC pain meds (like aspirin), etc.
Define the REAL necessities and purchase those FIRST. Food and water are needed to sustain life. Try eating a year’s worth of toilet paper. Might be great for fiber content, probably a little low on life-sustaining nutrition. It is not necessarily a fun thought, but “toilet paper” can be torn up rags, that are hand washed and re-used. Remember, before there were Pampers and Huggies, people used cloth diapers and washed them. Feminine products??? Where do you think the term “on the rag” came from?
Learn to garden. You can grow a lot of vegetables in pots if necessary. Dry extras in the sun if you don’t have a dehydrator or even if you do – the sun is free (bring them in at night if you get a lot of morning dew). Dehydrated vegetables take up less space than canned – just make sure they are really crunchy dry. Slice them thin for faster drying. You can use a nylon window screen to dry them on, and another to keep the bugs off or buy nylon window screen at places like Home Depot or Lowes and make a wooden frame with 1×1 boards.
I could go on and on, but too much information is likely overwhelm you. Remember, the Oath Keepers are here to support you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, the most important thing you can do is – JUST DO IT!
By Michele Cooper