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Emergency preparedness checklist: Prepping for beginners 101

“Do you want to be better prepared for emergencies but aren’t sure where to start or if you’re doing it right? This “prepping for beginners” emergency preparedness checklist walks you through the basic steps with sane, expert-verified advice for modern people. When you’re done, you’ll be ready to handle the majority of what may come your way.”

‘Whether you’re worried about a sudden layoff, home invasions, car accidents, the power going out for a week, natural disasters, or long term economic and societal decline, it’s critical that you start getting prepared now. By definition, if you wait until you need it, it’s already too late.”

“You’re not alone: Millions of rational people from all walks of life are taking preparedness seriously — and the movement is growing as more people realize they can’t depend on others to save them in our changing world.”

“But prepping can seem overwhelming. And to make matters worse, there’s a lot of crazy “loud minority” junk out there that pollutes rational preparedness with extremism, dangerous info, or silly internet debates that don’t actually matter.”

“Do you want to be better prepared for emergencies but aren’t sure where to start or if you’re doing it right? This “prepping for beginners” emergency preparedness checklist walks you through the basic steps with sane, expert-verified advice for modern people. When you’re done, you’ll be ready to handle the majority of what may come your way.

“Whether you’re worried about a sudden layoff, home invasions, car accidents, the power going out for a week, natural disasters, or long term economic and societal decline, it’s critical that you start getting prepared now. By definition, if you wait until you need it, it’s already too late.”

“You’re not alone: Millions of rational people from all walks of life are taking preparedness seriously — and the movement is growing as more people realize they can’t depend on others to save them in our changing world.”

“It’s simple: depending on what happens, you’ll either stay in your home, leave your home, or be away from home. Making it needlessly complicated makes you less prepared.”

“But prepping can seem overwhelming. And to make matters worse, there’s a lot of crazy “loud minority” junk out there that pollutes rational preparedness with extremism, dangerous info, or silly internet debates that don’t actually matter.”

“The whole point of prepping is to reduce the chances of major life disruptions and to better recover from disruptions when they do happen. That’s it!”

“Even something as simple and common as a fire extinguisher in your kitchen counts — the vast majority of prepping has nothing to do with bunkers and bullets!”

The basic steps to prepping:

  1. Build a solid personal finance and health foundation
  2. Get your home ready for two weeks of self-reliance
  3. Be able to leave your home with only a moment’s notice (“bug out bags”)
  4. Prepare for emergencies that happen away from home (“get home bags” and everyday carry)
  5. Learn core skills and practice with your gear
  6. Share and recruit while continuing to learn and going beyond the basics
Prepping for beginners

Tips and common beginner mistakes

“Many of these are fleshed out in the sane prepper rules. To highlight the most common:

  • You can’t predict when an emergency will happen, so a good prep is always ready.
  • You cannot predict what’s going to happen, so be diligent about finding and avoiding assumptions in your preps.
  • Stay realistic and practical. Avoid zombie and Rambo fantasies. Focus on the things that matter most and remember that simpler is better.
  • Don’t let prepping overwhelm or defeat you. It’s important to enjoy the good life now and not go down a dark spiral of doomsday depression or blow your life savings on supplies. You can prepare without giving up, just like how buying health insurance doesn’t mean you’ve given up on your health.
  • Ignore the noise and extremism that tries to take over prepping from the fringes. Unfortunately, many of the related blogs, forums, and Facebook groups are riddled with junk. Speak up or go somewhere else.
  • Prepping is better when you connect with like-minded people. Try to connect with others through our website and through local groups (eg. scouts, CERT, amateur radio clubs, hiking clubs, etc.)
  • Avoid “double dipping” your gear. It’s tempting to pick stuff out of your bug out bag for a camping trip, for example. But then life tends to get in the way, the gear stays scattered, and that creates windows where an emergency might strike and you’re unprepared.
  • If you’re on a budget, it’s better to buy fewer high-quality things than cheap stuff that will fail when you need them most. You can prep without much money, but it looks more like DIY and second-hand type of purchases, less so the dollar store.
  • Don’t just buy some gear, throw it in a closet, pat yourself on the back, and move on. You are not prepared unless you practice with your supplies and plans.
  • A bug out bag is not simply for bugging out to a predetermined location along a predetermined path. It’s the one bag you grab first when you need to leave your home.
  • It’s wrong to think “my plan is to bug out” or “my plan is to shelter in place at home” — emergencies don’t care about your plans, and a good prep means being able to do both.”

Home checklist summary:

  • Water: store 15 gallons of potable water per person (roughly 1 gallon per day) and have ways to treat dirty water via either a portable water filter or Berkey / Brita
  • Food: at least 23,000 calories per person (roughly 1,500 calories per day) of shelf-stable food that’s ready to eat or only needs boiling water to make
  • Firelighters, matches, and backup fire starters
  • Lightheadlamps, flashlights, candles, lanterns
  • Heating and cooling: indoor-safe heaters, extra blankets, USB-powered fan
  • Shelter: a cheap tarp (anything you find at a local store) comes in handy for improvised shelter, plugging holes in the house, and clearing debris
  • Medical: list of 145 prioritized home medical supplies
  • Hygiene: wet wipes, hand sanitizer, camp soap
  • Communication: either a one-way NOAA radio or a two-way ham radio (if you know how to use it)
  • Power: spare batteries and rechargers (your bug out bag will have a solar charger, but you can also get a second one for home)
  • Tools: axe, shovel, work gloves, wrench for your gas lines, zip ties, duct tape, etc.
  • Self defense: depends on personal views, may include body armor, firearms, etc.
  • Cash: as much as you can reasonably afford to stash
  • Mental health: board games, favorite books, headphones, movies downloaded to a tablet, etc.
  • Documents: copy of deeds/titles, insurance policies, birth certificates, maps, pictures of family members, etc. in both physical and USB thumb drive forms
  • Local & emergency info: write down important contact numbers, know the location of the nearest hospitals, etc.

Water is just too important to leave to chance. So don’t assume you’ll have time to fill the bathtub or run to the store, and don’t use inappropriate vessels such as milk jugs. Buy proper water storage tanks and keep them in a closet instead.

Food is usually handled one of two ways, although you can do both: freeze-dried survival food buckets or a deep pantry of what you normally eat.

“Store what you eat and eat what you store” is a popular saying because it’s easy, doesn’t cost more in the long run, and works well for people who already eat at home a good chunk of the time.”

“For sake of example:

  • Susan normally eats soup twice a week.
  • Cans of soup have a shelf life of three years.
  • Today, Susan keeps a few cans in the pantry and buys just enough every shopping trip to hold her over until the next trip.
  • So, at any given time, Susan may only have a handful of cans at home.
  • Instead, Susan starts buying a few extra cans each trip when her budget allows.
  • Newly-purchased cans go to the back of the pantry line (with dates written on them in marker) and Susan always eats the oldest can first.
  • After a while, Susan has built up a surplus with a pantry of up to 312 cans of soup (2 per week x 52 weeks x 3 year shelf life).
  • Once she hits the right surplus level, she goes back to the habit of just buying enough each trip to replenish what was eaten since the last trip.
  • Her daily-life routine doesn’t change, yet she never eats expired soup.
  • If an emergency happens, there’s now over 300 cans of food that Susan already enjoys with up to 3 years of life left!”
Survival Kit Mini
Survival Kit Mini

SOURCE: The Prepared

Prepping is an on going lifestyle where skills and knowledge as well as supplies take time. The best thing to do is simply get started.

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