by Gaye Levy
29th October 2013
There was a time when I was a newbie prepper and to be honest, that time was not that long ago. The memory of getting started is still fresh in my mind and to this day, I am in awe of those that seem so far ahead of me. That is not to say that I am not prepared; it is just that there is still a lot I need to learn to feel really comfortable in my own prepper shoes.
These days a lot of my prepping tasks – I refuse to call them chores – have to do with learning and becoming skilled at new things. How to use my gear, how to use a pressure canner, how to make my own healing remedies, the list is endless. Added to that is the desire to add to my food stores and the need to establish better relationships with like-minded members of my community.
With all that is left to do, I believe that there is still room for considerable awesomeness.
Whether you are just getting started or you are an old hand at prepping, today I describe 13 ways to become an awesome prepper along with some useful links to guide you along the way.
13 Ways to Become an Awesome Prepper
1. Have an emergency plan
Ask yourself this: “What would I do if there was disaster that affected my home and my family?”
Think about the risks inherent to your geographical area and your own vulnerability when it comes to those risks. Once you do that, come up with a plan for preparing, responding, and recovering if the worst should happen.
2. Put together an emergency kit
Assemble the items you will need to get through an emergency safely. In addition to flashlights, batteries and an emergency radio, you are going to need other basic gear plus hygiene items, medications, cash and some extra clothing.
Your kit should be portable and light enough that you can handle it on your own.
3. Store plenty of water
Clean water is something we all take for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. It is plentiful, it is clean and it is drinkable. Learn where to find it, how to store it, how to purify it and how to filter it. Whether you are a prepping newbie or an experienced survivalist, water should be high on your list of prepping priorities.
4. Have emergency food supplies
Fortify your home with enough food to get by for a minimum of seven days, and longer if you can afford to do so. Don’t get discouraged into thinking that you need to spend thousands of dollars on a year’s worth of specially packaged “survival” food. That is, of course, a great option but not the answer to the call for emergency food storage.
Inventory what you have then come up with some reasonable goals for adding to your food supply weekly, with every visit to the grocery store. Build up your food supply using foods you like to eat that also have a long shelf life.
5. Plan for your pets
Don”t forget about your pets. Be sure plan for their food and water needs. In addition, recognize that they may or may not be able to stay with you if you are forced to move to a shelter. Luckily, the Red Cross and other agencies are recognizing that people may put themselves in danger because they will not abandon their pets. As a result, they are beginning to set up “pet shelters” along side the people shelters.
6. Be a good neighbor
Learn to be a good neighbor so that you build a solid foundation of folks that will be there to watch your back and help you out if you become incapacitated or need post-disaster assistance. A good neighbor will be there to help you long before the government or the first responders.
7. Remember those with special needs
Perhaps a family member is handicapped, elderly, medically dependent or has other special needs. Be prepared to deal with these special needs as you build your kit and your food supply. In addition, be prepared to help those with special needs during an evacuation.
8. Learn how to safely shelter in place
Identify, outfit and prepare an area of your home that is suitable for a “shelter-in-place” emergency. If possible, select a room that is isolated from exterior doors and windows, and outfit it so that you can remain there in relative comfort until the emergency passes. Keep in mind that if you shelter in place, you will rely upon supplies in your emergency kit as well as specific shelter-in-place items such as sheets of plastic and duct tape.
9. Prepare to survive without power
One of the most common emergencies does not need to be an emergency at all if you are well prepared. I am referring to a grid-down, short term power outage. As recent events have taught us, a freak storm can bring the power grid down for a few days, a week, or even longer. Learn to cope with plenty of light sources as well as cooking and heating facilities.
10. Have an emergency fund
If you have ever been shopping and realize that you left your credit card at home you will understand the need to have some spare cash on hand. But what about the bigger emergencies? Perhaps the car needs to be repaired, or like me, you are faced with an $800 refrigerator repair bill. The need for an emergency fund goes beyond short-term cash needs. Unemployment and a medical crisis may also require you to dip into emergency funds.
Building up an emergency fund when you are barely scraping by may be difficult but it is not impossible. Go slowly and you will be surprised by how quickly those dollars add up.