Are you familiar with prepping? Is your pantry stocked, energy source charged, and medical supplies within reach? Or are you an average American, with a few cans of beans and an old corroded flashlight? If this COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that most of us are not prepared when disaster strikes. We’re too reliant on the grid. Sadly, we need more than a Netflix subscription to stay alive.
I’m Prepper Pete, LandCentral’s own Survival Guru. I’m here to help get you on the path to being prepared. What makes me a prepping guru? Well, I spend my days prepping for life’s little catastrophes. From hurricanes to zombies, I’m ready for anything.
My motto: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
While some preppers fantasize a Rambo type situation and tout they can last years off-grid if necessary, I take a more practical approach. I want to help the average person dip their toes into prepping so everyone can be more prepared when disaster strikes.
Today we’ll go over Prepping for Beginners – 4 Steps to Start Today:
Step #1 – Make Your Emergency Checklist for At-Home Survival
When COVID-19 first hit, you saw a mad dash for staples like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and rice. Then the other supplies started to go: flour, baking soda, yeast. All of a sudden we had a nation full of preppers, or should I say, hoarders. This created a clog in the system, causing mass shortages nationwide. True preppers knew better. True prepping means you already have everything needed to wait out the storm. That’s why you first need to make your Emergency Checklist for At-Home Survival:
- Money – Emergency stash of cash at home. Think $500 or more.
- Food –Non-perishable goods that require little preparation to eat.
- Water –At least 1 gallon of water per person per day for up to 2 weeks.
- Medical – Band-Aids, antiseptic, pain reliever. You know, the staples.
- Power – Flashlights, extra batteries, candles, headlamps, lanterns.
- Tools – Swiss army knife, axe, shovel, zip ties, oh and Duct Tape. Don’t forget the Duct Tape.
- Fire – matches, lighters, fire starters.
- Self-defense – No matter your stance, you’re going to want something to protect yourself. Body armor, knife, gun, whatever makes you feel safe.
- Hygiene – body wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, feminine products, diapers, and yes, toilet paper.
- Communication – a one-way NOAA radio or two-way ham radio. Remember, your cell phone may not work if the grid goes dark.
- Fun – Things to pass the time. Board games, deck of cards, books, etc.
- Documents – have a copy of birth certificates, insurance policies, deeds/titles, and pics of each family members’ ID. Keep printed copies and have a USB with digital copies. You never know.
- Emergency info – Keep a document of emergency #s and locations in your area. Remember, if the internet is down, you won’t be able to look this info up.
NOTE: This list should amount to enough supplies to survive at home for 2 weeks without any outside help. Oh, and don’t tuck it away in the back of your attic. Make sure you can reach it.
Chip away at getting the items on this list prepared, then move on to Step 2.
Step #2 – Build Your Bug Out Bag
I know what you’re thinking. What on earth is a Bug Out Bag? Simply put, it’s an emergency bag with all the essentials that you can quickly grab and go on your way out the door in an evacuation type scenario. Remember, Step 1 prepared you for survival at home. The Bug Out Bag prepares you for survival on the road. Here’s how to build your Bug Out Bag:
First, every member in the household gets their own bag with essentially the same supplies.
Next, fill up each bag according to the following checklist:
- Individual first aid kit
- 32 oz. hard canteen with stored water
- Water purification tablets (20 count)
- Meals Ready to Eat (10+)
- Lighter & matches
- Pocket knife/Swiss army multitool
- Waterproof pen and paper
- Toilet paper (one roll)
- Socks & underwear
- Hand sanitizer
- Print out of documents (birth certificate, SS card, etc.)
- USB charging cable and wall plug
- Li-Ion battery pack
- Storage bags (gallon size)
- Duct tape (one roll)
These bags should be packed and stored in an easy to reach location in your home. Evaluate each bag every 6 months to make sure the items are still appropriate for each member of the house.
Step #3 – Prepare Your Vehicle
Since your vehicle will likely be used to aid in your survival, it’s smart to have it well stocked with the basics as well. These can be kept in your trunk or glove box for as long as needed:
- Maps & compass
- Emergency blanket (Mylar)
- Jump start battery
- Jumper cables
- Seatbelt cutter tool & window breaker
- Tire wrench
- Windshield scraper
- Tire repair kit
- First Aid Kit
- USB car charger
- Feminine products/diapers (if needed)
Step #4 – Learn How to Survive
Now that you’ve prepped for the worst, it’s time to learn just how to survive. It’s one thing to have the tools to build a fire, it’s an entirely other thing to actually build one. I recommend all beginning preppers who just want to survive long enough for help to arrive to watch a few How-To videos on basic survival strategies. Here are my favorites:
- How to read a compass
- How to clean a wound
- How to use a ham radio
- How to build a fire
- How to use water purification tablets
Some preppers go overboard when it comes to doomsday fantasies. But we can’t all become Burt Gummers living in a fallout shelter wishing for a catastrophe to strike. Some of us have to keep living our lives while slowly building our emergency plan. I hope the 4 Steps above are enough to get you started. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t be. Just do what you can with the beginning steps. Some is better than none. Oh, and just to be safe, check out my list of super important Don’ts when it comes to prepping for beginners:
- Don’t blow your life savings on preparing for a disaster. That’s just stupid.
- Don’t buy already prepared kits at the store. They’re expensive and you don’t need them. Prepare a kit yourself and you’ll know just exactly what you have and don’t have.
- Don’t fall into the extremist rabbit hole. No, this isn’t War of the Worlds. No, we don’t all need to have bomb shelters. Just the basics to get by until society gets its act together. Because it will. It always will.
- Don’t buy the cheap stuff. When it comes to prepping, you get what you pay for. And in an emergency, do you really want to be relying on that dollar store pack of batteries to provide light for the whole house?
- Don’t assume your emergency will go according to plan. That’s not how emergencies work. Plan for a Shelter in Place emergency as well as a Get out of Town emergency and you’ll be sure to survive whatever comes your way.
- Don’t beat yourself up. If you’re reading this, you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to preparing for a disaster.
Remember, in the great words of Steven Cyros, “When disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.”
Now, you my friends, are on your way to becoming a prepper!