Starting Your Preparedness Journey


By Lizzie Bennett

Regardless of what you think the future may throw at you there are some things that will put you in good stead whatever happens.

A crisis will fall into one of five categories:

  • Personal
  • Local
  • Widespread
  • National
  • International
  • Global

Each one of them is important if you happen to be the person living through it and dealing with the aftermath of it. The difference between making sure you have enough food in store to see you through the first few weeks after a job loss and having enough in store to see you through a global collapse just comes down to the amount you have in the pantry – the principle behind why there is extra food in the pantry is exactly the same.

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Getting prepared for future shocks can seem overwhelming but taking a step back, prioritising and actually getting up and doing something about it are the only three steps you need to follow.

There are four main things you have to consider when planning crisis management:

  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food
  • Fire
  • Defence

These five things are applicable regardless of the emergency. If you are out in the back country and a storm blows in those are the five things that will keep you alive. If you live in the city and are preparing for whatever comes those are the five things that will keep you alive.

When you are starting out on your preparedness journey You need to put those five key things into place. What you are preparing for is immaterial in the general scheme of things at this point, general preparedness is the initial aim. Most scenarios lead to a grid down situation so thinking about the problems that would bring is generally a good direction to go in.

You don’t have to rush out and clear the shelves of bottled water and take out a loan for a 20 year supply of freeze-dried food, you just need to start stocking up, buying extra each time you shop, working out how much you need to have in the pantry to get your family through a crisis.

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A gallon of water per person per day is considered the minimum you should store. Tap water with a couple of drops of plain bleach in it is fine to store in soda bottles or plastic water carriers, write the dates on the outside with a marker pen and use within six months. Tipping the water from one container to another, like into a jug, will aerate it and improve the flavour when you come to drink it. Buying a starter water-butt would be a great idea.

Three meals a day for four people comes to 12 meals a day, 84 meals a week 256 meals a month…

These don’t have to be traditional meals, indeed, planning to have a roast chicken dinner three weeks into a grid down situation is not the best plan you could have made when you think about it.

Meals in this context means that three times a day you eat enough that you aren’t kept awake by hunger. So, if cereal is your thing, how many portions will you get from a box? How many boxes will you need for the week? Many peppers frown on big box prepping but in the first instance it’s a good way to start. You can learn about five gallon buckets and mylar bags as you become more experienced. Your first aim is a three month food and water supply for your entire family including pets.

Remember, however much you store it will eventually run out…what will you do then? Planning is the key to survival. If you have a garden start growing veggie now, it takes time to learn and they take time to grow.

Those without gardens need to look into container growing and sprouting, both can provide useful yields.

Food supplements in the form of multivitamin tablets should be an integral part of your food preparations. Ensuring you can maintain your health and the health of those with you is of prime importance.

Here are a few articles about deficiency diseases and how to avoid them:

Fire refers to your ability to provide heat and cooking facilities. It may be a wood stove you already own that could provide heat and has a flat top that could take a pan. You can increase the heat output of a wood stove, do you know how?

Maybe you have an open fire and a Dutch oven – or maybe you live in an apartment or modern home where open flame is out of the question. Don’t be tempted to use a BBQ in your home, you will most likely suffer from respiratory problems from the smoke or carbon monoxide poisoning through a build up of fumes.

In these cases you have to think outside the box, does your apartment have a balcony? Do you have a cooker hood that vents to the outside? If you have an externally vented cooker hood taking off the filters so there’s an open space and making a SMALL cooking fire in a meat tin or on a baking tray on the top of the hob will allow you to heat food. Crack a window elsewhere in the apartment so the draft makes the smoke and fumes take the line of least resistance…up through the now disembowelled cooker hood.

A camping stove or BBQ on a balcony or back porch may be your only option and in modern homes without chimneys or porches outdoor cooking will be the way to go.

You may wish to include light in this section…do you have alternate lighting or a decent supply of candles? Do you know how to make your own candles?

This brings us to defence. Cooking smells carry a long way in the right conditions and hungry people, those who haven’t prepared will home in on those smells. Can you defend yourself and your family against unwelcome visitors?

Bullets will only get you so far, like your stored food they will run out eventually, especially if you are outnumbered and out gunned.

Storing food you can eat from the can has merits and these types of food should form a good part of your preps in the first instance. Once you have made sure your home security is the best it can be then defending your home becomes easier.

Once you have started your journey and have arrived at the three-month survival milestone breathe a sigh and sleep soundly in the knowledge that you are way ahead of the vast majority of the population. Then, after a congratulatory beer you are ready to start phase two.

What happens during phase two is your decision. The big five basic principles will still apply and you still need to continue adding to your supplies but you need to step it up. Seeds, manual tools, water filters, protective clothing and many more items will have popped up on your radar as you read and research. The order you get them in, or if you get them at all is your choice.

We all started somewhere, nice to have you join us.

Image: Natural Blaze, Pixabay

This article (Starting Your Preparedness Journey) appears on Natural Blaze courtesy of the author.

You can read more from Lizzie Bennett at her site Underground Medic, where this article first appeared. Like on Facebook and follow onTwitter

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