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Getting Started

72-hour emergency kitGetting started with prepping can be overwhelming. Once the need to prep took root within my mind, I started to realize just how poorly prepared I was right now. Questions popped up like mad:

  • What do I need?
  • How much?
  • How do I develop a priority list so I have a plan and work toward getting the most important stuff first?

It’s enough to drive you (and everyone around you) crazy. So let’s keep calm, take a deep breath, and take a couple of baby steps toward preparedness. Some people try to prep themselves for global thermonuclear war before they’re even ready to “survive” something as simple as a short-term power outage. We’re going to start small.

Baby Steps that Make Giant Leaps in Your Preps

The most common emergency situations that most people will ever face are relatively minor ones. One of the most common is a power outage. Your electricity could go off for a couple of days because of a storm, a transformer malfunction or any of a number of reasons.

A short-term power outage isn’t really a big deal, but it can cause a significant disruption in your life. I can deal with sitting in the dark with no TV, but because the lights are out, my furnace is no longer working. Until I save enough to buy that wood-burning stove I’ve got my eye on, I’m going to need to resort to more basic means of staying warm. Electric stoves and microwave ovens are no good in a power outage, so I’ll need a way of cooking food. And I’m much more likely to hurt myself in the dark, so I’ll need some first aid supplies. You get the idea.

The place to start is with a 72-hour emergency kit. You should have one of these for every person in your household. They should be stored in a safe and accessible location, and you should know how to use every item that is in the kit. Having all of these products together in one place in kit form prevents you from scrambling all over the house assembling bits and pieces after the emergency has already occurred. (This became all too real to Sandy a few months ago when we lost power late in the evening on the first day of my three-day trip to visit my sister. She was thankful that, while our kit wasn’t assembled yet, she knew where the most critical pieces were and was able to use them.)

Click here to see an assortment of kits sold by Emergency Essentials, one of my favorite prepper resources (the photo above is a stock photo — it’s not one of of the Emergency Essentials kits).

At the time of this writing, Emergency Essentials sells four different grades of 72-hour emergency kits. The most basic is just called an emergency kit, but the better-equipped models have brand names like Trekker™, ReadyWise™, and Comp™. The one that I think gives the most bang for the buck is the ReadyWise™.

What’s in a good kit?

Let’s take a look at the kinds of things they stock the ReadyWise with. First, you’ll find food in the form of a few MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and a high-calorie food bar. You can eat MREs as-is, but keeping up your marale is important in an emergency, so they also provide MRE heaters and some hard candy. Next comes water. Besides providing packaged water, they give you a water bottle and some water purification tablets. Getting cold? The kit includes a wool blanket, hand and body warmers, a poncho, and emergency sleeping bag, and a tube tent. For light, they give you a hand-crank powered flashlight that can also recharge your cell phone, a light stick, and a 100-hour candle. To let you know what’s going on in the world, they include a battery-operated radio (and yes, batteries ARE included, but you need to make sure to keep fresh ones in stock just in case). There’s also an assortment of first aid and personal hygiene supplies. All of this comes bundled in a lightweight backpack for easy portability in case you have to bug out and drag it all with you.

I think that’s a pretty darned good 72-hour emergency kit. Could you do better? Probably. In my opinion, no emergency kit is complete without a couple of good knives. This kit doesn’t have any. And I’m sure that you could find a better radio (maybe one that’s powered by a hand crank or solar panel rather than batteries).

A real sleeping bag would be better than the emergency one that they put in this kit — but it’s going to be as big and heavy as this entire kit is, so there are trade-offs. And I’m dead certain that the multifunction tool included in the kit isn’t the best one on the market, but buying the best one will cost you as much as this whole kit does. Do you really need a really good multifunction tool? Yes, I think you do. But do you really need a really good multifunction tool for a 72-hour emergency kit? Nope. That’s overkill. Sometimes “good enough” is good enough.

Looking at ways to improve upon Emergency Essentials’ ReadyWise emergency kit is a good lesson in prepper priorities. We could buy a reasonable priced, quick-and-dirty kit that is very appropriate for the purpose it was created for. We could assemble our own collection of top-of-the-line components. Or we could buy the kit and supplement it with a couple of better-quality pieces here and there. The choice is yours, of course.

Yes, it’s possible to put together a “better” emergency kit than this one, but if you’re the kind of person who likes one-stop shopping, this is a good solution for you, and a good starting point for your preps.

Prepper Tip: One great way to make a significant dent in your prepping needs is to purchase one full kit (remember, it comes complete with a carry bag) and build your second kit. That’s what we often do. It allows you to see everything provided in the kit and base your second kit on the strengths and weaknesses of the purchased one.

Everyone is preparing for something. Some of you are preparing for a storm that could cause you to lose electrical power for several days. Others are stocking up to prepare for the possibility of being laid off from their job for an extended period of time. Other folks are preparing for more exotic calamities like draught, an economic collapse, war, widespread civil unrest, solar flares (the cause of the beautiful aurora borealis in the slideshow above), pandemic disease…you name it.

The possibilities are endless. Sadly, the probabilities of one or more of them occurring in our lifetime is increasing steadily.

Our concern is that the only thing many people are “preparing” for is to stand in line for the government to rescue them when hard times come. Instead of pre-planning and saving for their own rainy day (or week, or year), too many people are planning to make their problem everyone else’s problem.

I understand that line of reasoning. We’ve worked hard, paid our taxes, and seen Wall Street banks and big corporations be bailed out (with our money!) for too long. So now when we need a bailout, we expect the government to be there for us, too. But the government no longer has any money. They broke the piggy bank long ago. They can’t just “go to the bank” and get more.

There comes a time when there is no justice as we’ve known it in the past. There’s “just us.”

I remember Hurricane Katrina. Families relocated by the government to another state. Living in motel rooms or small trailer homes for months and months after the storm. And those were the lucky ones. How many others endured the refugee camp environment of the New Orleans Superdome?

What all of those people had in common is that they didn’t provide for themselves. An overwhelming need arose that they hadn’t prepared for and suddenly their need for food, water, shelter, security, and more became someone else’s responsibility. Their desperate need caused them to lose the ability to make their own decisions and plot their own course, and placed those things in the hands of overwhelmed government agencies. Their desperate need and unpreparedness also caused them to lose the ability to help others.

I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be put in that situation. I don’t want to live like a refugee. And I don’t want you to, either. I can’t guarantee that developing an emergency preparedness plan, stocking some extra food, and learning some new skills will save you and your loved ones from everything that might come your way. You could be out for a night at the movies and return to find your house burned to the ground. But I strongly believe that doing something to become more prepared for the things that you think may adversely impact you is better than being doing nothing and finding yourself helpless to meet your own basic needs.

The people of New Orleans were warned repeatedly, days in advance of the coming storm. Some didn’t believe the warnings and went about in business-as-usual mode. Others just didn’t seem to care and allowed their problems to become someone else’s problem. But others heeded the warnings and took action. Which would you rather be?

I believe that the warnings are sounding all around us today. I believe that it’s time for all of us to take some steps to get ready for the approaching day.

 

Financial crash concept on whiteIt’s coming. Every indication, from all around the world, points to the same conclusion. The economic system is going to come crashing down.

I read an article on another website today that I’m going to give you a link to. (Your patience will be rewarded.) I’ve read some other posts on this site and have found that the author carries some things a bit further than I would, but I believe that this article about 25 things to do before the economic collapse hits is dead on.

Jesus provided a description of the Last Days in the Gospel of Luke 17:26-27. He said, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”

Now I wasn’t around in the days of Noah, so I can’t speak from personal observation, but it sounds like what Jesus was saying is that it was “business as usual” for the world at large, even though a warning was issued by the only man in the world who took God at His word and got prepared to survive the coming disaster.

We are living in a “business as usual” world. North Korea has been threatening missile strikes on America, South Korea, and all of our allies. (Do we still have any allies?) While this is happening, the stock markets in South Korea and the U.S. continue to inch upwards. The financial markets are bullish on the future! Rank and file citizens continue to be more concerned with entertainment than survival. “March Madness” is just over. Now we can focus on opening day for the baseball season. Or we can obsess about our favorite celebrities.

Business as usual. We’re not thinking about our impending future. We’re not concerned about Eternity — either with God or without Him.

I believe that God doesn’t bring this type of disaster upon the earth without giving people a chance to prepare for it. The first item of preparation is to be reconciled with God. Without that piece of business set right, all other preps are just temporary shelters. But then we need to equip ourselves, like Noah did, with what we’ll need to ride out the storm. And we need to get the word out to others.

Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” Hmm. I guess that makes me one of the prophets. Go figure. You want to be one, too? Then get the word out. First about Jesus (Revelation 19:10b — “For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”) and then about the signs of the times. If you want to know more about being saved, check out this article.

OK, here’s the link I promised you. It doesn’t take long to read, but it is sound advice. 25 Things To Do Before the Economic Collapse

Why prep? Well, there are many reasons or potential reasons. All fall into one of these three areas. Here’s the top three reasons to the question “why prep?”

Because the world is a fragile place – Phil did a great job of discussing these in his story. You can read it here. We also discussed it a bit in the article titled What are You Prepping For? So for this short introduction, suffice it to say that the world is a fragile place.

Because you want to be able to care for your family in a disaster – Prepping gives you peace of mind that you and your family will have food, water and shelter in an emergency. It doesn’t matter whether that emergency is caused by an extended power outage, losing your job or a significant disruption in the food distribution chain. Providing for your family by prepping makes as much sense (or more) than providing for your family by purchasing life insurance.

Because you want to show Christ’s love to your community in a disaster – Starting now gives you an opportunity to prep items that will be more than enough for your family – food and water that you can share with friends and neighbors. Disasters are opportunities for the Church to shine.

You can read Sandy’s answer to the question “Why prep?” in her story here. Phil tells you his reasons immediately following Sandy’s story. And of course, you’ll find tidbits of our thinking throughout the site.

If you’re brand new to food storage, you might want to read the following two articles to help you understand how to implement the two simple rules.

 

Now, on to the “2 Simple Rules”

I like to keep things simple. When it comes to food storage, there are two simple rules:

  • Store what you eat Just because it’s an emergency doesn’t mean that you have to eat things that you don’t like. You may have heard somewhere that pickled squid stores well, but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat it (or try to get your kids to eat it). Too many people buy things that they really don’t like because they’re on sale or whatever, with the mindset that during an emergency they’ll be grateful to have anything at all. That may be true, but only up to a point. If all you’ve got to eat is slop, it will wear away at you at a time when you don’t need anything else to be a hardship. You might start skipping meals rather than eat slop again at a time when you need fuel to keep your body running well. During stressful times, we often gravitate toward foods that we like especially well. We call these “comfort foods.” You shouldn’t deprive yourself of comfort food during an emergency. Play your cards right and mealtime might be the best part of your post-apocalyptic day. So plan on storing the kinds of food that you actually enjoy. And be sure to stockpile a wide variety of foods. Fatigue sets in quickly when you have to eat the same thing day after day.
  • Eat what you store Even if you store a variety of foods that you like, it’s a virtual certainty that your food consumption will be different during a long-term emergency from what it is right now. Goodbye McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. Hello rice and beans. Since changes will have to be made, don’t wait until the situation is forced upon you to begin to make those changes. Do it now. Learn how to use the foods that you’ve stored, including your really long-term storage foods. This means that you will have to break down and open some of those 25-year shelf-life cans of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods and learn how to make meals with them. You might need to learn to make more one-dish casserole-type meals to conserve fuel. Practice now. Learn how to do it so you don’t have to throw out or eat your mistakes while you’re in crisis mode.The other aspect of eating what you store has to do with rotation. You don’t want your food to go bad sitting on your shelves. Practice “first in – first out” inventory management. Be aware of the expiration dates of your food items and use your food before it goes bad.

We want our readers to participate in this blog. If you have a good recipe that used food storage items, share it with us. We want to be a clearinghouse for good ideas. If we publish your recipe, we’ll give you all the credit! Just email us – Recipes@TADPrepper.com or comment on our Facebook page.

Events to Prep for - a Collage

Everyone is preparing for something. Some of you are preparing for a storm that could cause you to lose electrical power for several days. Others are stocking up to prepare for the possibility of being laid off from their job for an extended period of time. Other folks are preparing for more exotic calamities like draught, an economic collapse, war, widespread civil unrest, solar flares (the cause of the beautiful aurora borealis), pandemic disease…you name it. Or read more about it here.

The possibilities are endless. Sadly, the probabilities of one or more of them occurring in our lifetime is increasing steadily.

Our concern is that what too many people are “preparing” for is to stand in line for the government to rescue them when hard times come. Instead of pre-planning and saving for their own rainy day (or week, or year), too many people are planning to make their problem everyone else’s problem.

I understand that line of reasoning. We’ve worked hard, paid our taxes, and seen Wall Street banks and big corporations be bailed out (with our money!) for too long. So now when we need a bailout, we expect the government to be there for us, too. But the government no longer has any money. They broke the piggy bank long ago. They can’t just “go to the bank” and get more.

I remember Hurricane Katrina. Families relocated by the government to another state. Living in motel rooms or small trailer homes for months and months after the storm. And those were the lucky ones. How many others endured the refugee camp environment of the New Orleans Superdome?

What all of those people had in common is that they didn’t provide for themselves. An overwhelming need arose that they hadn’t prepared for and suddenly their need for food, water, shelter, security, and more became someone else’s responsibility. Their desperate need caused them to lose the ability to make their own decisions and plot their own course, and placed those things in the hands of overwhelmed government agencies. Their desperate need and unpreparedness also caused them to lose the ability to help others.

I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be put in that situation. And I don’t want you to be there, either. I can’t guarantee that developing an emergency preparedness plan, stocking some extra food, and learning some new skills will save you and your loved ones from everything that might come your way. But I strongly believe that doing something to become more prepared for the things that you think may adversely impact you is better than being doing nothing and finding yourself helpless to meet your own basic needs.

The people of New Orleans were warned repeatedly, days in advance of the coming storm. Some didn’t believe the warnings and went about in business-as-usual mode. Others just didn’t seem to care and allowed their problems to become someone else’s problem. But others heeded the warnings and took action. Which would you rather be?

I believe that warnings are sounding all around us today. I believe that it’s time for all of us to take some steps to get ready for the approaching day. Are you ready to take some first steps toward becoming prepared?

Sandy’s Intro – It All Started with Phil

Phil is a researcher by nature – that means he reads a lot…on a wide variety of topics. Sometimes it drives me crazy, but usually I recognizes the value of it. And it’s really handy when I’m looking for someone else to learn about the best gadget to buy to solve some problem I’m having. Well, about a year and a half ago, he got hooked on reading about what we now know as “prepping.” So you can blame all this on Phil. Actually, the more accurate way to put that is that Phil should get all the credit for this. OK, maybe not all the credit, but certainly the initiating credit…

Phil’s Intro –  Sandy Jumped on Board Fasts

I can’t believe how quickly Sandy went from being a person who knew nothing about prepping to being fully on board with the idea. I was totally surprised when she accepted the research I’d done and asked “OK, what’s our next step?” The rest, as they say, is history…

Read our stories here. Buried in the stories are our answer to the question “Why prep?”

What’s Your Story?

We’d love to hear your story. Post a comment here or on our Facebook page.