This guest post is By Michele O and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
I’ve noticed a lot of new preppers on the site lately, and I wonder if there are any, who like me when I started, are so overwhelmed they don’t know where to start. So, if you fit this description, I’m going to give you some sound advice, and I’m sure the rest of the pack will add great advice in the comments.
First of all JUST DO IT! When you go to the grocery store, buy extras of what you already eat. Get as many extras as you can afford, and store it – preferably someplace cool. Living in an apartment with no room for storage? What about in boxes underneath the beds? Food beats dust bunnies any day. Be creative. Use an old trunk for a coffee table and store food in there. Cover boxes of food with lovely fabric, place a lamp on top – end tables!
Next, look around this site. There is a wealth of information here. Start with M.D.’s articles 10 things to do now, and 10 more things to do now . When you find articles of great value – PRINT THEM. Binders are really cheap at the moment with the back to school sales. If we have an EMP event, we will lose electricity, possibly for months or YEARS. If there is a major pandemic, we could also lose electricity, as many people may choose to stay home rather than go to work and risk their lives and those of their family. Many other SHTF (SH!% Hits The Fan) scenarios also include the loss of electricity. There are also many great books out there – M.D. has recently published 31 Days to Survival - A complete plan for surviving TEOTWAWKI, which contains a lot of great advice for new preppers.
The library, another wealth of information – and free. Learn about edible and medicinal plants in your area. Remember those cheap school supplies? Buy a couple of notebooks and keep notes. Make it a priority to notice edible plants when you walk the dog, and/or make it a family game. Dandelions, for one, are very nutritious and are everywhere.
Get a free food storage calculator, like the one here: http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/03/09/long-term-food-storage-calculator/ Don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of food needed, slow but sure wins the race (but make sure you are at least entered in the race – don’t wait). Start with working on a 3 month supply, unless you have lots of disposable income. If you do, go to Emergency Essentials, or COSTCO or Shelf-Reliance, or… and buy a one year or more supply of food for each member of your family. Somehow, I’m thinking that most of us do not have that much extra cash lying around.
Don’t talk about your food stores to anyone. When people get hungry, they WILL remember you.
While it is important to have a way to protect your supplies, do NOT go out and buy a million guns at the expense of storing food. You can’t eat bullets, and most of us who do have a good supply of food have guns as well. Further, we spend a great deal of time practicing and have worked out good scenarios to protect our stores. If this is a priority for you, read the many great articles on this site. Find the best for you gun and buy it and get 500-1000 rounds of ammo for it. You can always buy more guns AFTER you have food to feed your family.
Find alternate sources for safe drinking water. Safe water could also go the way of electricity in an EMP or pandemic. One gallon of water per person is recommended, however, remember, if you are cooking up dried beans and grains, etc., you will use more water.
If your life depends on prescriptions, either try to store extras, or find medicinal plants that can do the same thing. Don’t forget things like Kaopectate, OTC pain meds (like aspirin), etc. Start a walking program to get in shape, and do everything you can to get healthy before TSHTF.
Define the REAL necessities and purchase those FIRST. Food and water are needed to sustain life. Try eating a year’s worth of toilet paper. Might be great for fiber content, probably a little low on life sustaining nutrition. It is not necessarily a fun thought, but “toilet paper” can be torn up rags, that are hand washed and re-used. Remember, before there were Pampers and Huggies, people used cloth diapers and washed them. Feminine products??? Where do you think the term “on the rag” came from?
Learn to garden. You can grow a lot of vegetables in pots if necessary. Dry extras in the sun if you don’t have a dehydrator or even if you so – the sun is free (bring them in at night if you get a lot of morning dew). Dehydrated vegetables take up less space than canned – just make sure they are really crunchy dry. Slice them thin for faster drying. You can use a nylon window screen to dry them on, and another to keep the bugs off or buy nylon window screen at places like Home Depot or Lowes and make a wooden frame with 1×1 boards.
I could go on and on, but too much information could overwhelm you. Remember, the Wolf Pack are here to support you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Now, it’s time for the rest of the pack to add their input for the new preppers – and most importantly – JUST DO IT.
This contest will end on October 10 2012 – prizes include:
- First Place : $100 Cash.
- Second Place : $50 Cash.
- Third Place : $25 Cash.
Contest ends on October 10 2012.