This is my approach to preparedness.
Learn and practice skills that were common 100yrs ago; World War I is an easy exemplar to remember. Cooking from scratch. Baking bread. Growing food in orchards and gardens. Keeping microflocks of sheep, goats, cows, chickens. Making cheese, beer, wine. Camping. Kero or other liquid fuel lanterns and stoves. Woodburning stoves for cooking and for heating. Keep this in mind: just in time and other inventory controls means grocery stores have about 3 days supply on hand.
Consider water to be Job One. There is a useful (but distorted) saying that “you can live three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.” Most new preppers focus on food when water is the most urgent issue (well, air is, but if you are out of air you probably can’t prep your way out of it. Plus most folks have at least a few days food in the fridge or pantry. How many people have a few days water on hand?
Water actually presents two challenges:
- short term: having clean water stored for immediate use. A good rule of thumb is 1gal/person/day for a minimum of three days. As with other preps, check and rotate your water stock.
- longer term: water management, including making potable water. Remember that not all water needs to be made safe for drinking. Water for external washing, water that will be boiled in the process of cooking and water used for cleaning don’t have to be especially clean. Water for direct consumption and for internal hygiene (brushing teeth, etc) should be potable. Remember that boiling water is highly effective but generally expensive in terms of fuel. Make that fire do double duty! Chemical sanitization (usually with bleach or iodine) will probably play a role in longer scenarios.
Eat what you store; store what you eat. IMO this is an easy way to distinguish practical preppers and tacticool loons. Preppers store normal foodstuffs they get on sale. Loons have a garage full of ancient MREs. Storing what you eat (and rotating stock) means you will never waste a food dollar. It also forces you to look realistically at what you eat.
Remember to spend at least $5 and 5mins a week food prepping at the grocery store (credit to two Mormon ladies; will figure out who at some point). This is one of those great techniques for getting started and keeping going. Also encourages one to think creatively.
Sidestep the tinfoil hattery, conspiracy talk and and ultraright posturing endemic to the scene. It’s more prevalent and toxic amongst those that call themselves survivivalists than those who call themselves preppers. Corollary: ignore forum posts with extraneous punctuation , egregious spelling or grammar errors, or vague titles. It’s a great automagic killfile, for those of you who remember usegroups.
Get to know the neighbors. Turns out my neighbors are extremely proficient preppers, and I am grateful to know them. See below.
Canning meats is exceptionally simple. Start reading here. Credit for this idea goes to my multitalented LDS neighbor who encouraged me along that path.
Have a BOB for each member of the household. A Bug Out Bag contains bare essentials to get somewhere else. Have to evac your house due to flooding, fire, natural gas pipeline break? Pick up your BOB and walk calmly out the door. You can get nice used day packs at garage sales. I got a Jansport day pack for $2. It’s pink and dirty but who cares. Also use these packs for GHB, below.
Have a 72hr kit for each member of the household. Including the pets. Each kit contains enough food and water for one person’s needs for three days. I use pickle buckets; cheap, stackable, handles for portability. I print the content list and tape it to the outside. Makes for easy rotation. Rotate and repack each season. Maybe on the solstices and equinoxes as a memory aid?
Have a GHB in each vehicle. A Get Home Bag contains enough supplies to get you home. Water, a meal or two, a blanket, change of clothes, spare cellphone battery, flashlight, whatever.
Model likely scenarios and your preparedness for them. Some food for thought:
- trucker strike or fuel shortage stops inventory deliveries to stores
- weather (ice? flood? heat?) makes travel impossible, impractical, or dangerous
- telephone system goes down
- electric grid goes down
- city water supply goes down
These are not nearly as fun to model as “ELE asteroid hits earth”, “zombie apocalypse”, or “Chinese invasion” but they are much more likely.
more to come as I figure wordpress out