I think there are stages to prepping. The first stage is awareness. Maybe you experience a major hurricane and have to drive around town freaking out because you don’t have enough bottled water. You think, “Never again.” So you purchase realistic items for your area. The second stage is when you come to realize how much stuff you will actually need and you go out and purchase those items. The third stage is when you realize that no matter how much stuff you have stocked up, it will eventually run out in a grid down situation. That leads to the fourth stage–skills. Do you know how to garden when your life and the lives of your family depend on it? Do you know how to trap and hunt? Can you tell the difference between edible plants and poisonous plants? Do you have a trade like carpentry, plumbing, engineering, canning, bushcraft, herbal medicine? The sixth and final stage (and I am just making this up off the top of my head) is when you realize that no matter how many skills you have, you can’t make it alone. You begin to look for a community.
I think that one reason we focus on the big national disasters is that it’s somehow easier for some people to deal with something impersonal that affects everyone. If you focus on your own personal shtf situation, like your spouse dying and leaving you with a mortgage you can’t pay by yourself, it can be too emotionally difficult to clearly assess your preparedness and your needs. Far pleasanter to contemplate slaying dragons than the bear in your back yard.
#4 Knowing the right time to G.O.D is an ongoing struggle for me. I know there is no pat answer to this one. Rather, it takes observation and that “sixth sense” or “gut feeling” we are all born with but don’t always rely on. In fact I’m infamous in my family for saying, “You’ve just got to trust me on this, I’ve got a gut feeling”. Have saved myself & family from a few unpleasant issues with my “gut feeling”. It’s that whole idea of not leaving too soon but yet not waiting too long either that I struggle with.
Owning a cabin in a resort town gives the well to do an upper hand. When things get uncomfortable (too hot days in Florida for example) they head out for cooler places like Oregon or Washington). Sometimes younger grown children live year round at these second homes while attending out of State University or they may just have young family’s and parents who gave them huge down payments or the like. Such arrangements benefit all. If you think and act as the wealthy do, you don’t have to think like a bug. I have seen poor people spend thousands of dollars on weddings, even birthday’s, they could ill afford; when they might have provided their children and themselves a place to go for vacation, or, for other reasons.
Magazines are a weak point in any gun that uses them. They can get lost or damaged, and springs eventually weaken. This is one advantage of pump shotguns and bolt action rifles – they’re not as dependent on magazines as semiautos. Get as many good quality magazines as you can for any guns that need them, and take good care of them. Then get some weapon spares. Firing pins, springs and backup sights are all good things to have. A chipped firing pin will turn any weapon into junk – you need to have the parts, tools and skills to replace it.
Jennifer had already taken the necessary precautions the night Hurricane Maria came barreling through the Caribbean. The 46-year-old stay-at-home mom, who lives on two acres of land with her husband and four children atop a mountain in Manati, Puerto Rico, was ready to make use of the filter she’d purchased for sterilizing rainwater in case the taps ran dry. And she didn’t have to worry about food, because her pantry was already stocked with two-and-a-half years’ worth: giant buckets of lentils, flour, and rice; shelves lined with mason jars of fruits and vegetables she had grown and canned herself.
I live about an hour outside Manchester. It’s not the back of beyond, but there are things that could happen, especially as we’re approaching winter: a delivery drivers’ strike, an oil strike, floods. I store a bit of extra food in case the food and petrol chains crumble. I travel with a blanket and thermals in case I break down in snow, lose a phone signal and am too far away from home to walk. My husband once got stuck in poor weather on a motorway. He was grateful for the self-heating food packages I’d packed.
Before I get into what the MREs from Meal Kit Supply tasted like, I wanted to set expectations here. Just like I have said in other reviews on long-term storable food similar to this. When you tear open a bag like this, you aren’t getting fresh ingredients from the garden prepared by a classically trained French chef. You are getting food that was designed for the military to pack enough calories in there to keep them alive, be waterproof, tolerate being mistreated and last for 5 years sitting in a warehouse most likely. If you are expecting Ruth’s Chris here or maybe even Golden Corral, you might be in for a surprise.
But of the many women I spoke to for this story, none view their lifestyle as non-collaborative. For Andrea Chymiy, a family doctor who lives on an island several miles from mainland Washington and runs a blog called Lefty Prepper Mom, learning about emergency preparedness and writing about prepping is part of a wider commitment to community service: providing others with the emergency first-aid skills and food storage know-how to fend for themselves in the event of an earthquake or other natural calamity.
I found the buckets at Wal Mart on an end cap. They are near the hardware and paint sections. You may also check the online Wal Mart. I am not sure if they have them there, but I was told that they will order things and have it sent to the store for pick up. Worth checking out. I have been buying a couple of buckets every few weeks… and my store of buckets is increasing.
This is true, Kat. Babe, it doesn’t even need to be a true crisis… There are lots of times your stash will come in handy. Unexpected company. Your kid telling you the night before the bake sale that he needs 3 dozen brownies to take to school the next morning. You get out of work late and are too tired to make a grocery run. Everyone in the family gets the flu and you can’t get to the store. The list goes on but the point is that you should be rotating, using and enjoying your stash as part of normal living. A cookbook you might find useful is “The Prepper’s Cookbook” by Tess Pennington. Lots of ideas for setting up your base stash and great recipes too.
But scientists are even more worried in 2017. The newest Doomsday Clock was set at 2.5 minutes to midnight—the closest we’ve been to the apocalypse since the early 1980s—partly because of the “rise in strident nationalism worldwide,” the group stated. In particular, scientists cited serious concern about the U.S. presidential election of Donald Trump, who has “made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.”
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.
Using resinous woods (such as pine) for interior heating and cooking fires a very bad idea. As smoke cools on its way up a chimney, flammable resins accumulate in chimney flue(s). Eventually, months or years later. when someone builds another fire (say, during a cold Winter night), those resins ignite, and you have an upside-down solid-fuel rocket engine. Flame may gush sideways out of cracks in chimneys, igniting an entire abode.
We liked the Rice Pilaf because it had actual vegetable content! Whole peas and large slices of carrot. No other company has this much vegetable content, not even Mountain House. With chicken broth, white rice, and a surprising addition of orzo, this meal was excellent, especially with some of the freeze-dried chicken included in the Premier bucket.
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.
First, bring needed items into the main building and prepare to shelter in place. After going through Prepper University, we have window kits in each room to seal windows and doors. Get out radiation detectors and radios. Test radios with neighbors. take a shower and wash clothes, then start filling tubs with water and prepare to shut off water to the house to prevent contamination. Might be the last shower for a while. Pray. Those are the only things left, given time.
I buy dry beans and can them myself. I know it sounds like a lot of work but its super easy and MUCH cheaper than store bought canned beans. I tend to have some empty canning jars so to keep as many full as possible I fill the empties with beans and have even canned water. An empty jar is just taking up space and provides NOTHING. The dry beans are good for long term and the self-canned are great for quick meals. The best of both worlds!
The irony of this didn’t escape me: While I’d been drawn to freeze-dried food as a convenient way of preparing for a cataclysm that may never come, there I was, toiling away for hours in the kitchen to prepare a dish I’d be eating that night and the next day. It was the most fortifying meal I’d eaten all week, and a minor achievement: Thanks to the premeasured portions and easy-to-follow instructions, I’d learned how to make a chicken pot pie from scratch.
One last tip, don’t forget to store easy to prepare foods to help you get through on difficult days. Even though they may not be on your list of required food storage foods, you may want to reconsider puddings, juice boxes, instant packaged foods, coffee, candy, muffin mixes, cake mixes, Hershey’s chocolate syrup (lasts a long time without refrigeration), brownie mix and other specialty comfort foods.
Forgetting to store spices, salt, oil and basic condiments that are needed for your food storage. How will your famous spaghetti sauce taste without Italian seasoning, salt, olive oil and that pinch of sugar? Beans are a great staple to have on hand and can be seasoned in a variety of ways using salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce, ground red pepper and more.
Yup, you’re right about the dehydrated food having around half the daily recommended calorie count for adults – but I still feel they’re valuable if you can afford it. A food stockpile that big will a least help you get by for the year, regardless of whether you’ll be thriving. And it’s easier (in my opinion) to supplement a stockpile than to depend on growing, hunting, trapping, or fishing everything yourself, especially if you’re not used to doing it.
@Consco That’s a very good point. There’s nothing really more important than family. We have to define what we mean by “stuff”. Chuck makes a very good point. All the luxuries that we have today can be done without if we have to. They aren’t that important and can be repaired or replaced, if we want, when things get more or less back to normal. What does need to be defended, other than family, are the things that are necessary for our survival. The food. The water. Shelter. Heat. Hygiene products. Necessary medicines. Etc. The things that will help to ensure our survival in the face of an uncertain future. What I would suggest though, is that, if you have info stored on hard drives that you don’t want to lose fill the drive up with what you deem important and put those items in an EMP-proof container. Even a metal garbage can set up properly will do. And one small computer that’s able to access those drives. No matter what happens, or how it happens, a new civilization WILL spring forth from the ashes of the old and then knowledge will help to rebuild it. If you have important books that might come in handy for helping to rebuild then also find some way to secure those.
You must have more than a few magazines or shots worth of ammo for any firearm you are going to depend on for a protracted crisis. Additional options for weapons are things like large “riot-cans” of pepper spray, knives, machetes, axes, fists and feet. Medieval or primitive weapons like swords, spears and bows require a great deal of training and practice to use effectively, and while they do not have a dependency on ammunition, your time and effort is likely better spent learning gun and hand-to-hand skills. If you are already proficient with such weapons, more power to you.
1. Something else to consider is a smart phone. My phone has a 32gig memory chip. It can holds LOTS of info. Some paperback books will be good to have. But even off the grid a phone can still access certain apps that have been downloade. I have about 50 books on my phone. A compass. Maps. I can draw a quick map or list with my stylis too. I can easily share documents and file by just tapping my phone on another smart phone. Take pictures and zoom in on them. Great to check progress walking and general references.… Read more »
Basically I would think in terms of mixed contents for five gallon buckets. I always use Food Grade buckets only combined with good Mylar bags and oxygen absorbing packs. By mixed contents I mean bags of rice (white) beans various types along with pasta products etc. this way you do not expose five gallons of rice or beans all at once. This extends the overall life of your food supplies.
FEMA, the FCC, and NOAA’s vision for improving the EAS is incremental, which means testing the readiness and effectiveness of the EAS as it currently exists today is the first step. A more effective and functional EAS requires continual testing to identify necessary improvements so that all levels of the system can better serve our communities and deliver critical information that will save lives and property.
The problem is, to most people in Hawaii, this was another example of an inept government sending out false alarms. We get them about Tsunami’s a couple times a year… When the alert went off on my phone, it seemed disconcerting. Clearly, I wanted more information, so I turned on the local news TV channel. There was a football game on. I tried other channels. Regular programing. I tried CNN. They were complaining about the President.
One of the “skills” every prepper should learn (and learn this week or next) is foraging for edibles in and around their homes. Search the library or order a book on Amazon…one with pictures…to learn which weeds provide vitamins and minerals and how to spot them (and their poisonous look-a-likes) in YOUR neighborhood. The day MAY come when that is ALL that is available to eat because the mice, rats, birds, cats and dogs have already been dispatched to feed hungry neighbors. Weeds are likely to still be around even after looters have torn out and dug up your gardens in search of food.
Hopefully, you will never have to use it, but you should have it. A self-defense weapon is a critical part of your prepper gear. Sometimes, just showing it is enough to deter people. Obviously, a firearm is the best choice. But there are other options, such as a crossbow or longbow with arrows, a taser, or a knife. Whatever you choose, be sure you are well-trained and practiced and that you have plenty of ammo.
Documents and IDs– Create copies of all important documents, things like deeds, titles, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, social security cards, diplomas, degrees, and such to keep either in a sealed, weather protected case or on an encrypted flash drive. Keep it secret and safe! That would be a major blow to your personal security if compromised.
The same goes with flour. To make flour usable, you also need yeast and baking powder plus the skill and know-how to bake. Not only that, you most likely will need an outdoor oven of sorts – especially if the grid is down post disaster. That, and more, will come later, but for now, while covering the basics, it is much simpler and far more practical to stick with easy to cook foods that can be combined into interesting meals without the need for much experience other than opening a can or a package.
The second point you should know is this — suppose you do manage to die a quick, merciful death. What about your kids? Your grandkids? What kind of future will they face on their own? Foraging for food, drinking tainted water, becoming easy targets for human predators…is that really the future you would wish upon them? For that reason alone, it makes sense to become educated about nuclear events, how to prepare for them, and how to survive them.
1) We’re getting out of the habit of calling them Canneries bc you can’t seal things in #10 cans yourself anymore, it’s all pre-done now. You might hear people refer to “the Storehouse”. While that’s not technically correct (The Bishop’s Storehouse serves a different function and is not open to the public), the 2 entities are nearly always in the same building with the same hours and many Mormons use the terms interchangeably.
In addition to this list, may I refer you to the Weston Price Foundation and the book Nourishing Traditions? These two sources will help us to decide on the healthiest versions of all these foods; the end goal is to remain healthy and nourished so that we can enjoy all these things we store! Thanks for the article–it set my mental wheels to turning 🙂
“If you’re using it for emergency survival, the fact is you’re going to buy it once, and hopefully you’re not going to use it,” Shields said. “But it’s there as a safety net for you and your family.” That’s what intrigued me about freeze-dried food: You can wait up to a quarter-century to use it, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to eat it at all.