Let’s face facts. Quite a few “Preppers” are mostly reading and talking about prepping. They have not gotten serious about the craft, or maybe I should say “lifestyle”. If a read SHTF disaster were to strike, they would have some knowledge, but few preps, on which to rely. If you are, more or less, in that category, what can you do to get serious about prepping? Here are 7 suggestions.
1. Get Serious About Stored Food
Eventually, there will be a food shortage, for one of only two reasons. Either some disaster, economic or agricultural or otherwise, will disrupt our fragile Just In Time food production and distribution system, causing a real shortage. Or some event will cause people to panic-buy food, wiping out store shelves in a matter of days or hours. The system can’t recover from that type of run on stores. As grocery stores try to restock, people will continue to panic-buy, because of news stories hyping the shortage and the visible lack of food on shelves. You need stored food. And the food “stored” in your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets is not sufficient. How long could you survive on just that food? I would guestimate that, after a couple of weeks, you would start to run out of the ingredients for a healthy diet.
Buying a bunch of rice and pasta is not going to cut it. You need all three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates, in the right proportions. And don’t underestimate the amount of dietary fat you need. The American Heart Association recommends that most adults get 25 to 35% of the daily calories from fat.
You can DIY your stored food. Store plenty of carbs, protein, and fat from a wide variety of grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Then make sure you have plenty of canned goods to provide fruits and vegetables, vitamins and minerals. Stuff your freezer with good sources of protein that don’t keep well without refrigeration: red meat, poultry, fish, cheese. Maybe get a chest freezer for the basement or garage, and gradually stock it full.
Another approach is to buy freeze-dried foods. The advantage is that you can store a wider range of foods, including meat, poultry and cheese, in the form of whole meals, rather than just meal ingredients. Freeze-dried foods keep well long term. But they are a little pricy. Look for a good sale on high quality freeze-dried foods. Take a look at Mountain House foods from our advertiser Ready Made Resources.
2. Get Serious About Survival Gardening
It’s unlikely that you have enough land and time to grow your entire diet. So you’ll need some stored food also. But many foods are easy to grow in a garden, yet difficult to store. If you have plenty of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in stored food, you can add to those staples a wide array of fruits, vegetables, and legumes fresh from your survival garden.
3. Get Serious About Water Purification
You can survive longer without food than you can without water. You can store months’ worth of food, with relative ease, but it is difficult to store enough water for more than a few weeks. Water purification is one of the cornerstones of prepping and survival.
Fortunately, there are some good new options for water purification. I have the LifeStraw Family device, available from our advertiser Camping Survival here. It removes bacteria, protozoa, and viruses to EPA standards of purity. Most water filtration devices do not remove most viruses; this one does. In my opinion, it’s the best combination of least expensive and most effective water purification. It can purify up to 4,750 gallons of water and requires no electricity.
4. Get Serious About the Next Pandemic
If you’ve been reading Prep-Blog, you know that there are several diseases percolating at just below the level of an epidemic or even a pandemic. Sooner or later, it will happen. Modern medicine has not cured the common cold, and it can’t yet cure the vast majority of viral diseases. A pandemic flu might be the most likely contender for the next pandemic. But MERS is also a serious threat.
Prepping for medical disasters is important. I suggest gathering some medical text books, a good first aid kit, and some OTC medications. I also keep a supply of surgical masks on hand, in case of a disease epidemic that is airborne. Some preppers also store antibiotics, in the form of fish antibiotics available without a prescription. These antibiotics are the same type, made by the same pharmaceutical companies, as the prescription type. But using them requires some knowledge and discretion. Consult a physician, at least by phone, on which antibiotics to use when.
Can’t you simply go to the hospital if a medical disaster strikes the nation? In my opinion, the U.S. hospital system is near its breaking point. It can’t accommodate a sudden influx of millions of casualties from disease or injury or radioactive fallout.
5. Get Serious About Power Outages
A power outage can be cause by a relatively ordinary storm, or a superstorm like Sandy, or possibly a collapse of the electrical grid. To deal with short-term power outages, you probably only need flashlights, batteries, candles, a lighter, maybe some glow sticks, and a cell phone. Longer term outages are much more serious.
Winter power outages, in cold weather areas, present a real possibility of death from hypothermia. Sleeping bags designed and rate specifically for low-temperatures, are the cheapest survival option. An indoor tent will also improve the situation. The tent increases temperatures around the sleeping bag, making it much more effective and more comfortable.
For longer term outages, you might need to consider the option of installing a wood stove, which provides heat to a large area. Some wood stoves double as a cooking stove (range top). For electrical power, you should consider going solar or getting a wind turbine.
6. Get Serious About Bugging Out
There’s a time to hunker down and wait out the storm (literal or figurative). And there’s a time to Get Out Of Dodge. But regardless of how readily you would bug out, every serious Prepper needs a Bug Out Bag (B.O.B.) and a plan on where to go.
You might want to consider camping as one of your bug-out options. In any major disaster, all the hotel and motel room with in a wide radius will be taken.
You might decide on one bug out bag for your vehicle and another to sling over your back. Once you make the decision to Bug out, you only have what you take with you. Will you be able to buy necessities while on the road. Maybe, but don’t count on it. Any emergency situation severe enough to cause a well-prepared Prepper to leave their home and most of their preps behind will certainly also cause panic-buying and a scarcity of necessities. So stock your B.O.B. with whatever you might need: food, water, first aid kit, a knife, and just maybe, in the right rare circumstance, a firearm.
7. Get Serious About Self-Defense
Speaking of firearms, all preppers must give serious consideration to self-defense. Many preppers own firearms, for the prepping purposes of hunting small game and self-defense. But self-defense is more than guns and ammo.
You should consider how to protect your home from burglary. And give some thought to the security weaknesses of your home and how to reinforce them. You probably can’t move just to have a more secure home and location. But knowing weak points of your property and home will help in times of emergency. And please consider adding some passive measures to defend your home.
If you are not a fan of firearms (as Butch and I are), you might consider the pros and cons of “less-lethal” forms of self-defense. I would also suggest reading my post Self-defense Guns…for people who don’t like guns. In a dire emergency, you might be glad that you kept a loaded revolver in a gun safe just in case.