I had a post in progress a few days back, took a break to check out some blogs and found this! This is what I had started, but since Ranger Squirrel already had it posted
I’m a relative newbie when it comes to preparedness, but I’ve learned a lot in the year or so that I’ve been slowly building my family’s preparedness level and I figured I’d share what I’ve learned to help others move along the same path a little more quickly than I did.
Step 1. Answer the “Who?”
If you’re married, you need to convince your spouse to get on board. If you have kids, you should get them involved. Make a gentle attempt, and if they don’t come along, prep for them anyway. Lead by example and quit preaching. The biggest obstacles to getting people on board, in my opinion, are 1) the reasons you give to them about why you’re doing what you’re doing; and 2) their own desire to continue as if everything will be okay no matter what. When it comes to reasons, let me just caution you against conspiracy theories. No matter how much you believe in them, you need to realize that most other people don’t. Furthermore, so many preppers have evangelized to others about their fears that every day when people find out I store food, they initially think I’m nuts. I’m not nuts, but I am a father, a husband, and a sole earner, and it is my responsibility to make sure my family is cared for. I have life insurance, medical/dental insurance, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and now I’m building food insurance. My wife can understand that. My kids can see the wisdom in that. My friends and family, for the most part, don’t think I wear a tinfoil hat (except when I get on my soapbox about GMO foods and organic stuff).
Step 2. Answer the “What?”
Have an honest conversation with yourself about what you are preparing for. Preppers/survivalists prepare for lots of different reasons, and it’s not my place to judge any of them. Personally though, I have a family to feed and I’m the sole earner. If I stop working or lose my job, my family goes hungry. That’s a lot of responsibility. Before we started prepping, we’d have had maybe a week’s worth of food in the pantry, and without supplementing it, that would have made for some odd meals … “Kids, tonight we’re having rice noodles and baked beans! Yum!” Having been unemployed before, I know how scary it is to think about your family going hungry. I work hard at my job, but I also feel like I’m expendable in the long run, so I prepare for us to go without a paycheck for 3-6 months. I figure that’s how long in this economy it would take me to either find a job or somehow better our situation. I also prepare for major weather problems. That’s a direct result of having to live through an ice storm in the South where electricity was out for 11 days and all the stores were closed. Even when they reopened, there was no food to buy. Having money in your savings account isn’t enough. Money is no good if there is no food to buy. To me, these are the most realistic threats faced by my family. Therefore, we store food, we find ways to keep ourselves warm if there is no heat, and we try to save money. That’s just good common sense.
Step 3. Answer the “Where?”
Where do you plan to be? You need two answers. The terminology is bugging-in and bugging-out. Plan for staying put, and plan for getting out if you need to. If a tree falls on your house or your place burns down, all the preps in the world in your garage might become useless. Keep that in mind and have a backup plan.
Step 4. Answer the “When?”
If your answers to 1 and 2 are compelling enough, there is only one answer to when do I start – NOW. The hard part of this is setting goals to when do I finish? Set incremental goals: 1 month of cash needs in the bank or safe at home somewhere. 2 weeks worth of meals in the pantry. 2 months of cash needs in the bank. 1 month of food in the pantry. Etcetera. Just a note: when you’re buying foods to store – buy foods you actually eat. Eat what you store and store what you eat. That’s really rule #1.
Step 5. Answer the “Why?”
Why does it make sense to prep? I think I covered most of the answer to this in step 1, but here is one more reason. If you have 30 meals on the shelf in your pantry, ready to go, you’re never put into a position of buying food that is not on sale. Ideally, you would never “need” anything because you’ve got several of that thing at home, so you can buy only things that are on sale. In the long run, storing food saves you money. If you think of it as an investment the price of food has gone up consistently over time at a much higher rate than the stock market. Converting money into food is a good investment.
Step 6. Answer the “How?”
Once you’ve done the first three steps it’s time to plan your approach. You’ve got to deal with a few things: shelter, medicine, water, food, transportation, alternate plans, and home defense. The things you consider threats will have a great impact on your priority of work. The first step is to figure out what you already have and get organized. Put all of your medical supplies in one place, take an inventory, identify needs, and then store them in a way that makes them easy to find if its dark and you’re under stress. Then do the same for winter clothes. Food. Water supplies. Etcetera. You’ll identify a list of needs, and it will seem overwhelming. Seek help. There are books, forums, blogs, DVDs, and even chat rooms full of information. Two places I’d recommend that are loaded with resources: www.americanpreppersnetwork.com – www.thesurvivalpodcast.com. Be cautioned, in both cases, that there are people participating in these resources who are HIGHLY political and who you may disagree on many subjects. There are also people that most would consider as being on the fringe of sanity. That doesn’t make them bad people. It also doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. I have many friends in these communities, some of whom I disagree with on almost everything. I’ve learned from all of them. Look for people who are actually doing and ask them for advice – but as always on the internet – think critically about what you read. Their solutions may work for you or they may not.