I recommend that the very first step you take when prepping is to evaluate the most likely risks specific to your geographical area and your personal domestic situation.  Most, if not all, city, county and state governments will have emergency management websites that will help you sort through the most likely disasters to occur in your area.  Take advantage of these public resources.

Heat: Emergency blankets made out of a metallic Mylar material are small and handy, and can double as ground cover or tarps for shelter. We like this pack of six Mylatech XL blankets. For a great bonus option, we love this indoor heater that uses the same small propane tanks as the camping stoves. Avoid cheaper ones that aren’t safe for indoor use — two weeks after first publishing this guide, a neighboring tent in our campground caught on fire because of a cheap propane heater that tipped over while a family slept inside.

Last week our electricity went out for several hrs. We discovered that our oil lamps that had been sitting on the shelf for yrs and yrs, didn’t have oil in them – oops – Not much good with out oil in them. It was cold and snowing, so really didn’t want to walk to the garage (not attached and about 100 ft) to get some. We did have candles and flashlights. We decided we liked using the headlight type of flash light the best – so are picking up a few more. I can make my cell phone into a WiFi spot, other wise there is no connectivity if your system is down. Yes there isn’t much to do if you don’t have TV or your computer – yes we are spoiled. We are lucky that we have a propane heat stove as well as a propane cook stove. So we weren’t cold, and we could have a cup of coffee. Was a good reminder to have things ready.
This is a very basic guide to bunkers. Many areas such as bomb blast related pressure as it relates to entry door integrity really deserve much more coverage. And the section on construction techniques completely miss the point on culvert strength which is primarily related to earth arching and not the strength of the culvert material - look at the huge plastic highway culverts that are a few feet underground and support multi ton trucks. This book is a start but you need much more information to plan any kind of shelter.
I’ve taken the better part of a week to read this, something always comes up, so forgive me if I missed something or forgot. If you are in the city, food is an excellent investment but in the rural parts, a second best investment. Fact is, nobody can store enough, long enough should upheaval come to term. I think though we can skip the Mad Max scenario, there will always be laws. Seeds is what I think could be the best investment, but only if you know how to grow them to fruits. One can have a continuous amount of food, and do it without everybody at the grocery store of delivery business knowing it. Reading a book or watching TV is not knowing how to grow stuff, it’s watching them grow stuff. Knowledge is by studying but wisdom is the thing you need, and get, just after you needed it.
Finally something other than right wing sound bites. There are a lot of us out here that are concerned about survival and where our country is going that DO NOT buy into the baloney that is saying that liberals/progressives are the source of our problems. Yes, people on the left were beaten, imprisoned, and harassed for their beliefs. And yes, there are intolerant jackasses on the left, but the amount of violence, intimidation, denial of rights, and harassment coming from the right far outweighs any other source. I do not care about party labels-right wing democrats in the first 2/3 of the 20th century were responsible for much of the above.Look at the history that does not get taught-Rosewood, Tulsa, Southern Arkansas, and the thousands of lynchings that occurred. These were not done by progressives/liberals. Research history, read about our history, learn what really went on. Then proceed with making survival plans that are positive for our future.
You make good sense about starting with a years supply of preps. Without putting any emphasis on myself it is easy for me to forget that I was born in 1953. What we call prepping is what my grandparents called normal living. They never stored water, of course we had plenty of it back then, but food, preserved, canned, dehydrated, powdered, and in just about every other form was everywhere in their lives. And they were not big farmers, just small timers with no bills, no agenda, no nothing except the ability to have plenty in the toughest of times. Those people taught me a lot and I thank Christ for them every day. Well, that’s enough about me. Best wishes to you and keep up the good work.
No, an EMP would be much less devastating than a nuclear attack. With a major nuclear strike you’d get the EMP as well, because every weapon would create a localized pulse. Then on top of that you’d have the physical destruction, potential climate effects, and of course radiation. I’d be much happier learning to live without electronics than riding out the fallout.
You should be doing your homework and putting in practice ahead of the fateful day, not counting on whipping out your manual in the middle of a crisis, but knowing how to best deal with any given situation is too good to pass up. In lieu of first-hand experience, a good set of instructions can help carry the day. I really like the Pocket Ref guides for general knowledge and skills, as they are tiny and positively packed with useful info.
Here’s an idea that is very useful. I found at the dollar store some space bags. I used one per person and filled it with winter gear, a multi tool, matches/lighter, a small solar light, a bit of emergency food, an emergency blanket, some basic first aid supplies, etc., then removed the air. If you pack it right, you will be able to fold it over and (I used a bungee cord) place over a strap for easy carry. Now you have an instant (and weather proof) instant kit. I also did this with a pillow (small personal one), blanket, sheet, towel, etc. Not only are they portable and protected, they store in less space.
14. Canned Cheese – A little company in Australia, called Bega, makes a wonderful canned cheese that can for a LONG time! The manufacturer says that the shelf life is only 2 years, but canned goods if handled properly can last much longer than that. Here is one prepper who opened them after 13 years, and the cheese still tasted great! Grab some Bega for your next camping trip, and see how you like it, may make a nice addition to your long term food storage plan!
FoodSaver Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.
How many mals can you get from a can of baked beans? You can get 14 servings from a pound of beans. Grains of all types can be cooked like rice hence a pound of grain can give you a weeks worth of meals. Plus you can grind them into flour and make bread or pasta, Beans and whole grain keep almost indefinatly but once ground or cooked (even canned) have alimited shelf life. Just a bit of humble advice.
One of the biggest issues with GMO food is the allergy cross-over. Because genes from nuts, fish, soy and other highly allergenic plants/animals are used in the to give the need seed the desired characteristics, they can trigger serious allergic reactions in people who had no way of knowing the food was dangerous or even which food it was that caused it! If that wasn't bad enough already, it will certainly only be worse in a grid-down situation where medical care is limited at best.

What research have you done on this? Are you simply making assumptions, because that's what it sounds like. The needs of someone trying to grow a couple tomatoes so the kids can see what they look like growing on the vine one summer are verrrrry different from the concerns of preppers who are thinking in terms of potentially supplying food for their family for many years.
I don’t care if freezing doesn’t kill the bugs. The flour will be used to cook something. It will go into a baked item or be used to coat something for frying. Now I am not saying we shouldn’t take precautions against infestation. What I am saying is there has to be a balance. At what cost (in money, time and effort) is it worth it to make something absolutely safe? Personally, I don’t want to lose focus.
Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise?  Heck no.  Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer?  Perhaps a month but not much longer.  Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety (read about the top survival food brands here) as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.
But if you stay, take note of the time. When the outage strikes, the clock is ticking on the food in your refrigerator and freezer. The USDA says food in a fridge will stay safely cold for four hours if the door isn't opened and a full freezer will maintain temperature for about 48 hours (if it's half full, that's 24 hours) as long as you keep the door closed. And don't rely on just looking — and certainly not on tasting — to see if the food's safe, they say. Instead, keep appliance thermometers in the fridge and freezer. You want to see 40 F or below in the fridge and 0°F or lower in the freezer. When in doubt, take individual foods' temperature with a food thermometer.
One newsletter deemed by some to be one of the most important on survivalism and survivalist retreats in the 1970s was the Personal Survival ("P.S.") Letter (circa 1977–1982). Published by Mel Tappan, who also authored the books Survival Guns and Tappan on Survival. The newsletter included columns from Tappan himself as well as notable survivalists such as Jeff Cooper, Al J Venter, Bruce D. Clayton, Nancy Mack Tappan, J.B. Wood (author of several gunsmithing books), Karl Hess, Janet Groene (travel author), Dean Ing, Reginald Bretnor, and C.G. Cobb (author of Bad Times Primer). The majority of the newsletter revolved around selecting, constructing, and logistically equipping survival retreats.[10] Following Tappan's death in 1980, Karl Hess took over publishing the newsletter, eventually renaming it Survival Tomorrow.

The Hawaii false alarm was indeed a wake-up call! Thank you for publishing all this useful information. I’ve always done food storage but there is so much more we need to have on hand. All those little things you need, like knives, compass, a RADIO! – someone mentioned thick soled shoes and of course water filtration. I recently found an awesome 72 Hour backpack I thought was a pretty good deal on costco.com (https://www.costco.com/72-Hour-Tactical-Backpack-Survival-Kit.product.100386699.html?pageSize=96&catalogId=10701&dept=All&langId=-1&keyword=72+Hour+Tactical+Backpack+Survival+Kit&storeId=10301).

Regarding the general category of water purification, you have essentially combined reverse osmosis with UV disinfection PLUS the necessity for solar and/or gas generated power. Take away the essential electrical power and you still have to boil your water. If you do the math, you could invest up to $2500 for your version of water purification. That’s a “big ticket” indeed. Once again, there are abundant information sources that provide instruction for long term water purification that cost far less.
But women like Jennifer aren’t preparing for a currency collapse, biowarfare pandemic, or any of the other fantastical global crises that have made America’s prepper subculture synonymous with bunkers, bitcoin, and Infowars conspiracy theories. Instead, they view prepping as a lifestyle — one that has very little to do with defending their territory from hostile invaders and everything to do with the more quotidian business of providing for your family and running a home.

That leads to forget about being totally self sufficient, it won’t happen. There are things you need aside from food, but even just food, nobody can produce all they need unless they live in the perfect environment. Going into the great outdoors and becoming the great hunter… not happening either. Even skilled hunters and fishermen will starve because there are too many looking to do that. If you are like us and have ponds, therein lies 1 solution, stock it with fish.

Wow Gaye. I read all comments, and I see one from “Katzcradul”, so we know you have a very important web site. (I already knew this) I saw one reader loves cheese and crackers when times get rough. Katxcradul has taught me to “wax cheese” for long term storage, and many, many canning techniques. Everyone should subscribe to Katzcradul’s U-tube videos.
There are a lot of items on the market right now for alternative toilets and instructions on how to build your own septic trench. It is suggested that you look at your own situation and see what would be the best option for yourself and your family. Not all families’ situations are the same so it is best to be prepared for any emergency. Read our article on how to build your own outhouse and be prepared to live off the grid.
In a lot of emergency situations, the grid and/or the internet will be down. It will be difficult to get the information you need in these situations. Your best option is to have hard copies of all the information you might need. You can print out a bunch of information from the internet or you can get a bunch of books, including the SAS Survival Guide.
I love this article and absolutely agree with you. I wanted to know what advice you could give if something like the power grid goes down? The reason I ask is because of the importance of keeping food in a COOL, dry, place. I am currently stationed at Fort Rucker, AL. It is blazing hot here and I would be worried that if the power grid went down, all that work that I did to ensure we had enough food and water would be wasted due to the heat. I know there are circumstances that call for bugging in or out but with a wife and two young kids, bugging in would be my first option. I hope something like this never happens but it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Just hoping for some good advice on how to keep food and water from going bad even if keeping it cool is not an option. Thank you for your time and help!
“The answer is you probably could,” she said. Though research suggests it might cause a mild depletion of vitamin C and other antioxidant chemicals, she explained, freeze-drying fruits and vegetables doesn’t have any significant impact on their nutritional value; packaged as stand-alone ingredients, they can even make for a healthy alternative to more caloric snack foods.
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