As we enter September, National Preparedness Month, we want to help you find your footing when it comes to staying prepared for any kind of disaster. The one thing we’ve certainly all learnt over these past 2 years, is that we just don’t know what could happen.
This is not to arouse fear, but to simply put life into perspective. Toilet paper ran out, food ran out, and jobs were lost. Prepping is not necessarily going to solve all of those issues if they happen again, but if a problem does arise then you will at least be prepared.
For beginner preppers, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what you need in order to survive. We’ve put together a basic list of prepper must-haves to get you started on your journey to being prepared for anything. Everyone’s needs are different so you may need to adjust this list according to yours, but this is just an outline of some of the necessities.
This list is based on the premise that you will be stuck in your home for a while due to disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes or storms.
There's no doubt that having access to clean water is essential in any disaster, as dehydration can quickly lead to serious health complications. So it is vital to make sure you have a good supply ready to use.
But how much water should you store for each person in case of a natural disaster? And what are some other precautions you can take to ensure you have enough water during a crisis?
According to the CDC, there should be at least 1 gallon of water saved for each person in the house, per day. This is for drinking and cleaning, excluding cooking. This means you can bank on 2 gallons per person per day.
In order to store this much water you need to have an adequate water storage solution. This could include storing drinking water in containers like barrels or tanks that are made from food-grade plastic. You can keep a reserve of filtered or boiled water for cooking and hygiene needs in smaller containers or bottles too.
If the water has been filtered and containers cleaned (with a bleach solution) then it can last up to 6 months before needing to be recycled and refilled. Here’s a great video on how to sanitize and refill containers while also filtering the water using the Survivor Filter Pro X. Water can also be boiled to kill germs, bacteria and parasites.
Keep the water containers out of direct sunlight and make sure they are airtight so that there’s no room for any bugs or contamination.
You may think storing food is probably the hardest part of prepping, but there are actually so many incredible ways to preserve food and to store it for YEARS. As a beginner prepper you will want to keep enough food to last you and your household for 30 days, but once you feel more comfortable and you know what your family priorities are then you can slowly start to build up your supply.
Try to keep a list of all the foods you have stored and their expiration dates.
The easiest way to start is to collect canned food. These have a longer shelf life but once they’re in store they will usually last about 6 months to a year.
One way of storing food in the preppers community is to freeze dry everything and seal it in glass jars. There are no chemicals or preservatives used with this method, making it the healthier choice. If you’re not interested in doing the freeze drying yourself, there are companies who sell these products, which can last for up to 25 years unopened. A couple companies who do this well are Thrive Life and Augason Farms.
Keep foods that are also simple, for example: pasta, rice, dried beans or lentils, salt and powdered milk.
Having all this food is great, but you also need to cook it. In some situations you may still have electricity, but there is a great chance that power lines could go down so you’ll want to be prepared for that too. Most of these items are probably already in your house or are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.
A small gas cooker and gas: This can be a portable camping stove or something bigger. But if it works with gas then make sure you have enough on hand to get you through your 30 day food supply.
A can opener for if you are storing canned goods.
Utensils and plastic or metal plates that are less likely to break in case of an earthquake or evacuation.
Pots and pans, preferably cast iron because they tend to last quite a while longer if properly cared for, and they can be used over an open flame. But if you have some extra pots and pans lying around then that’s really okay too, do what you can.
This is probably the most important item on this list. You can’t look after yourself or anyone else if you are seriously injured or your body is fighting off infection.
Put together a full first aid kit with everything from bandages and gauze to pain pills and tweezers. You can also purchase first aid kits from most pharmacies or online if you’re not sure what to include.
Personal items would include things such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste and toilet paper. These items are often overlooked but you’ll be grateful to have them if you ever run out.
Other personal items would include clothes for any weather situation, keeping extra layers available in case the weather turns. This includes good shoes and socks in case you need to walk somewhere to find supplies or get help.
Beyond the items mentioned above there is still so much more to add. But to keep it simple here are a few other items that will have you mostly ready for any type of disaster:
Solar panels: these don’t need to be big, and can be used to recharge batteries, your mobile phone or even a light.
Batteries: having extra on hand will definitely save you time and stress about being left in the dark, both literally and figuratively.
Lights and candles: you’ll most likely want to keep a headlamp on hand, as well as a handheld/ hanging lamp to light up a larger area. Candles are helpful in case batteries run out, but you’ll also need to have some matches or a lighter.
A bug out bag: this is an emergency kit that you can just leave the house with. It can also live in your car if that’s the best place.
A multi-tool: it has everything you need!
A map: it is important, especially if you live in a disaster-prone area, to know your surroundings even if the scenery changes- if houses are swept away or trees are uprooted. You may not be able to drive or use familiar roads, so know your neighborhood and know how to read a map for good measure.
This list might seem quite extensive and ultimately very expensive, but if a disaster is something you’re concerned about then there’s no harm in slowly putting this list together for good measure. To quote the US government “the life you’ve built is worth protecting”, and we want to help you stick around for years to come!