If you have been keeping up with the news and weather stations lately it is easy to understand why so many people are finally starting to take emergency prep seriously. One question I keep getting from my friends and family is, “Where do I start?” When you first begin prepping it is extremely overwhelming to say the least.
I decided to write a series of posts dedicated to my prepping process. When you start looking around for advice to begin prepping you will likely find that everyone has a different opinion of how to go about it. A lot of things factor in to how someone preps. Things like budget, chronic illnesses, climate, kids and allergies are just to name a few.
However, the overall structure of prepping remains the same.
Everyone needs food, water, shelter and clothing. Think of everything else as auxiliary needs and I will include those as I go. Fair warning though, we don’t have to many special needs here. I do however, take medications daily so I have a pretty good idea of how things work from a prepping and practicality point of view.
Another thing to mention is that emergency preparedness encompasses more than just food and water. Although, those are the most important in my book there are other supplies you will be gathering.
Let’s begin prepping!
Your 3 Day Supply
When I started prepping I found it easier to start here. I was able to gather basic supplies for a 3 day supply rather quickly on a limited budget.
We are NOT wealthy people by any means so this whole series will be covered through that lens. I could probably also name this series “how to prep on a budget”!
Essentials for a 3 Day Supply
The very first thing you should do is secure a 3 day supply of drinking water for everyone in your household. Don’t forget pets here too!
How much water do you need? The bare minimum recommendation for water storage is 1 gallon per person, per day. So if you are gathering a 3 day supply of water for 5 people, that is 15 gallons of water. Remember this is the BARE minimum.
Next start gathering food. Personally, I aim for 2000 calories per person, per day for everyone regardless of size or age.
The type of food matters here. I know most of us really enjoy feeding our families fresh whole food but in an emergency situation you will just be glad your kids are fed.
Food stored for a very short term emergency should be something that can be eaten with as little preparation as possible. In other words, the closer to “open and eat” you get, the better. This is because if you are utilizing your 3 day supply you are likely on the go. Perhaps evacuating for a storm or something. Heating food will be out of the question.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- granola bars
- peanut butter crackers
- dried fruit
- mixed nuts
- trail mix
You get the idea. Only store things that you KNOW that your family will eat. The last thing you want to deal with is a whiny kid complaining about how “gross” something is.
Also, if you have special dietary needs in your family take those into consideration when you shop for supplies.
- hand crank radio
- emergency blankets (1 per person)
- first aid kit
- extra batteries
- rain ponchos
- a change of clothes (don’t forget socks!)
- multi tool
How to Store Your Preps
You have probably heard the term “bug out bag” at some point. That is my preferred method of storage for our 3 day supply. The bags are pre-made and ready to go the moment we need to get moving.
However, I did modify it to fit the needs of our family. I didn’t feel that all our kids needed radios, to carry extra batteries, firestarter or the first aid kit in their backpacks so only my husbands bag has those things in it.
What about the water?
A 3 day supply of water would be insanely heavy to carry even for me. So trying to carry water solely in our bags was out of the question.
What we decided would be our best bet for our water storage was to store a combination of single gallon jugs and cases of individual 16 oz water bottles.
We use the jugs for sanitation and the bottles for drinking. In the event that we need to pack up and evacuate the water fits just right under the seats in our minivan.
In an emergency situation you need to have a plan for pet care in place if possible. Our vehicle is large enough to accommodate our pets as well as us and our preps.
I do realize that not everyone has a large vehicle. This is where a plan comes in handy. Decide ahead of time how you will handle this.
If you are able to bring your pets with you don’t forget to bring food and water along for them too. I pack a gallon of water per dog, per day and multiply their daily food ration by 3 to get a 3 day supply estimate.
Like I mentioned above I take a couple of prescription medications daily so I needed to figure out a way to include them in my preps.
I get my medications through the mail 3 months at a time and re-order AS SOON AS the mail order pharmacy will allow me to. Which is usually after 60 days have passed since my last refill.
This can be tricky, however I usually have a pretty good supply of my medication on hand. It is also important to note that not all medications can be purchased in advance.
Sometimes it is due to the nature of the medication and other times there is a restriction to how much an insurance provider will cover at a time. The best thing you can do is know your insurance policy. This goes for all of your insurance policies, not just your health insurance, do you know what you’re actually covered for within your various insurance policies? For example, does renters insurance cover bed bugs for you or not? Learning what you’ll be covered for and not will massively help you in staying calm and organized too.
You really should keep all personal documents pertaining to you, your family, vehicles and home with you at all times during emergencies.
We have a small weather proof safe that we can easily take with us. Again, remember to include any documentation you have about your pets such as insurance policy documents from your pet insurance providers, such as Pets Best or similar providers can offer for various family animals.
Remember we are just covering the basics in our 3 day supply
Would other things be helpful here? Sure. And so would loading up our entire house and taking it somewhere else. That just isn’t realistic.
Keeping things very simple here will come in handy if you end up having to walk somewhere. The more items you take with you the less room you will have in the car.
In next week’s how to begin prepping post I will cover how to prep a 2 week supply for sheltering in place. Since you are planning on “bugging in” things can be done a little differently.
Are you curious as to why I decided to begin prepping? You can read a little more about that here
When did you begin prepping? Are you just getting started or have you been at it for a while? Let me know in the comments below!