You could be going about your day when the worst happens.
It could be a natural disaster, pandemic, or something else that you never saw coming.
Preppers know that it’s important to be prepared for anything that could strike, which is why they focus on ensuring they are covered when it comes to a few important essentials.
What are the most important things to prep for an emergency?
Ensuring you have enough food and water, tools and other supplies, as well as shelter are the most important to keep you and your family safe.
When you become a prepper, it can feel overwhelming to know how to proceed.
Some of the fears you might experience include not knowing what supplies you need and if you have enough of them.
With that in mind, let’s look at your ultimate prepping list so that you and your family will survive and thrive no matter what happens.
Ultimate Food Prepping
Number one on your list of things to prepare is food!
You need to ensure that you always have enough food in the house for yourself and your family members should an emergency occur, like if the power goes out for days or weeks due to a natural disaster.
It’s not always easy to know how much food to start storing away for a rainy day, mainly because you won’t always know how long the disaster and its consequences will last.
That said, you should make a list of all the foods you and your family eat on a daily basis.
This will give you a good idea of how much food you consume on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and how much you’d need to stock up on if you can’t top up on your groceries at the local store.
While working out the food quantities you eat on a daily or weekly basis can help, you could also work out how much food you need by counting calories as this could be easier to help you find the right amount you need.
So, if you eat 2,000 calories per day and you want enough food for a year, you’ll multiply those calories by 365. The amount of calories you’ll need to accommodate will be 730,000 calories.
Once you have a list of foods and know how much you eat, you can slowly start purchasing more of them so that you have some in storage.
You don’t have to rush to the store and purchase a lot of extra food as this can wind up being expensive.
Panic buying does just that – it makes you panic!
Approach food stockpiling in a more level-headed way: simply add a few extra items to your weekly grocery shopping list to build up a good supply and it will quickly add up over time.
When purchasing foods you like, bear in mind you should focus on foods that will have long lifespans.
These include foods such as dried beans, rice, honey, and hard grains.
These are types of food that can last for decades and are therefore valuable to have in your pantry for a future disaster scenario because you won’t have to worry about them going stale before you need them.
You can purchase fresh foods, but bear in mind these won’t last longer than a few days to several weeks, depending on the type of produce that you buy.
It’s good to stock up on these, but make sure you eat them within that timeframe so that they don’t go stale.
Focus on stockpiling smaller quantities of these types of foods instead of buying in bulk.
Keep a check on the food you have and make sure that the ones with the shortest lifespans are in front of the cupboard or pantry so that you can use them first.
When stocking up on food, here are some great ones to have in your home.
- Powdered milk
- Tea or coffee
- Dried fruits
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Dried beans
- Hard grains, such as millet
- Canned meats, such as tuna
- Freeze-dried foods – you can find some that have lifespans of up to 25 or more years!
- Pemmican – this is a great survival food you can make yourself with lean meat and it can last for decades! You can find out how to make pemmican at home by reading “How To Make Pemmican – Ultimate Survival Food.”
How to store your prepping food
When you store your food for the long-term future, you want to ensure that it’s kept in a dry, cool place, away from possible moisture, pests, and mold.
It’s also essential to avoid opening any of the food you have in storage because this will drastically reduce its lifespan.
Ultimate Water Prepping
Water is another essential item to ensure you have enough of during a crisis.
You can start by stocking up on bottled water, but just make sure you take note of the expiry dates on the bottles so that they don’t go to waste.
However, having bottled water to drink isn’t enough. You’ll need to ensure that you have enough water for your pets to drink, for cooking, cleaning dishes, washing yourself, and more daily activities.
So, how much water is enough?
You should aim to have 90 gallons for three months for one person. Use this as a guide to help you ensure that you stock up on enough water for your household.
Besides for bottled water, ensure that you have water filters and let every family member own a filter of their own because you never know when you’ll need to filter impurities out of water in order to be able to use it and you want to be prepared.
After all, what if the water supply fails and then you use all your bottled water?
In addition to acquiring water filters, you should also get into the habit of ensuring you can collect rainwater. This is drinkable, but if you’re worried you can always boil it first to remove impurities.
How to store your water
When storing water that you’ve collected, ensure that you use food-grade containers.
You don’t want to use metal cans or other materials as these can cause chemicals to enter your water or encourage bacteria to grow in it.
When storing bottled water, keep it at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, and far away from chemicals such as gasoline, detergents, and other chemicals in the home.
Ultimate Shelter Prepping
Once you have your food and water supplies, you’ll need to think about what shelter you’d use in the event of an emergency or disaster.
If you’re going to be sheltering in place, then you’ll want to ensure you have some important items such as a tarp.
This comes in very handy if you need a quick shelter, such as if your home has been damaged in some parts and you need to patch up holes in it.
In addition to that, some sleeping bags and a tent are also good to have for makeshift sleeping options if these are required.
If you’re keen to leave your home for a second location, known as bugging out, it’s important to bear in mind that after a disaster you’ll probably still have to stay put in your home for a few days.
This is because there could be dangers outside of the home, such as in the form of blocked roads, contaminated air, or other issues.
Therefore, always make sure that your home has enough food and water in your primary residence.
Securing your home is also something that’s important to do. You want to keep yourself and your loved ones safe after an emergency, when social unrest and riots can occur.
By having strong locks on your doors, bars on your windows, and arming yourself with a weapon, you’ll feel safer if you need to stay put.
Stock Up On Other Supplies
If you’re going to be sheltering in place, it’s important that you have the right supplies you’ll need.
There are essentials you’ll need other than food and water. These items include the following:
- First-aid kit – make sure it’s family-sized if you have a partner and children.
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Cell phone
- Cell phone (and other device) charger – this will help you stay connected to loved ones and stay informed about the news if the power’s out
- Hand-crank or battery-operated radio. Hand-crank radios are much more reliable than using the internet or your phone in the middle of a crisis – you never know if you won’t be able to access the internet or even if you’ll have electricity, so a hand-crank radio is your best bet to know what’s happening out there. This is also valuable to have during extreme weather conditions.
- Duct tape
- Plastic sheeting – this is essential to have in stock if you have to seal your home’s doors, windows, vents, and electrical outlets to prevent outside contaminants from getting into your home.
- Cordage – this is a prepping essential because it can be used for so many things, such as assisting you to construct a shelter and fish for food.
How To Bug Out
If you’re leaving your home for a secondary destination, you will have to ensure that this destination is equipped with supplies.
In ideal situations, this could be a second home you own that’s within walking distance from your primary home.
But this is unrealistic for many people. So, your bug-out destination could be undeveloped land you own or even a site on public land.
Make sure that the area has resources that could help you, such as access to water, and that it is within walking distance from your home.
You never know if you’ll even be able to use your car, so it’s essential to be able to walk around as this is the safest option during an emergency.
When planning to bug out, you should keep a bug-out bag that contains all the supplies you would need to take with you.
This is probably safer than keeping supplies at your second destination. Here’s a comprehensive list of the items you’ll need:
- Freeze-dried food packets – you can usually purchase these as a kit, with different types available, such as kits with enough food for three days or several days.
- Water bottles
- Water filters
- Air-filtration mask
- Sleeping bag
- Space blanket
- Fishing kit
- Flashlights and batteries
- First aid kit
- Duct tape
- Emergency cash
- Copies of important documents (birth certificate, ID, passports)
- Prescription drugs
How To Choose The Right Bug-Out Bag
You should make sure that your bug-out bag is made from durable fabric that’s resistant to water and has separate compartments in it so that you can keep all your items organized.
This will also make them much easier to reach for in a hurry.
What Other Supplies Will You Need During An Emergency?
Whether you’re going to be bugging out to a second destination or choosing to shelter in place, you’ll also need to have other supplies.
So, while it’s important to be proactive about stockpiling water and food, you should also make sure you have the following items stockpiled in your home in case you need them.
These are easy to forget all about, which is why they deserved a section of their own.
- Hygiene products, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, feminine hygiene products, shampoo, and toilet paper.
- Kitchen items. You can’t enjoy your canned veggies or meats if you don’t have a can opener, utensils, and plates. You’ll also need some basic cooking items for some foods, such as a pot or pan, and it’s a good idea to have a camp stove as well as extra tanks of fuel that can be taken with you.
- Medication, which should include over-the-counter meds as well as prescription drugs – if possible, it’s good to have prescription drugs for at least a month in case you won’t be able to acquire them.
- Clothing. Extra clothing that will keep you warm and allow you to change your clothes, such as if they’ve been damaged, is important. Make sure you have extras for chilly weather, such as gloves, beanies/caps, extra socks, and durable shoes. These are especially important in the event that you have to leave your home and head to your second location.
- Safety supplies. If you are going anywhere, always make sure you have safety items with you, such as a first-aid kit. It should stock important basics, such as Band-Aids of various shapes and sizes, bandages, safety pins, tweezers, scissors, gauze dressings, cleansing wipes, a thermostat, antihistamines, antibiotic cream, and distilled water for when you need to clean wounds.
- Two-way radios. These are important to help you stay in touch with your family members in case you get separated during a natural disaster or other type of emergency.
Ultimate Tools Prepping
If you want to not only survive but thrive, whether at home when sheltering in place or somewhere else, you’ll need to stock up on the right tools.
What if you need to construct a quick, temporary shelter and you don’t have a hammer or nails? What if you need to start a fire but you don’t have a fire starter kit?
Since you have to try to be prepared for as many different situations as possible, without necessarily knowing what they could be, you should try to stock up on the most essential tools.
The bonus is that many of these will also be used for other things in your daily life, so they don’t have to feel like they’re just taking up space in your shed.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at the most essential tools preppers need to survive any crisis.
- Fire-starter kit – If you can’t make fire, you can’t boil water, eat warm food, or stay warm.
- Axe – An axe can obviously be used to help you in the outdoors, like when chopping wood for fire. And, if you need to defend yourself, it can also work as a self-defense weapon. It’s good to have such double-duty items on hand.
- Fixed blade knife – this will have various uses, such as cutting, hammering, digging, and more.
- Pocket knife
- Folding saw – this is another essential tool that has many purposes, such as clearing away brush, cutting wood, and more.
- Multi tool – this essentially gives you smaller tools in one convenient piece, and it can come in very handy so that you don’t have to carry all the larger tools with you.
What Multi Tool Should You Buy?
There are many types of multi tools on the market. Some have the basic items, while others go the extra mile. When choosing a multi tool, here are some important things to look for.
- Your multi tool should be easy to use. Many multi tools work in a similar way to Swiss army knives, so you should be able to pull out a tool easily and quickly, without a hassle. A good feature to look for in a multi tool is large cut-outs, as this will also ensure that you can use the tools even when you’re wearing gloves.
- Your multi tool shouldn’t be too big or heavy. This can make it clumsy to use and difficult to carry around with you, which defeats the purpose of having a multi tool to begin with.
- Your multi tool should have useful items. These include a knife, screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters, bottle opener, can opener, scissors, and a saw. There are tools that can contain up to 21 or more tools. Resist the temptation to buy the multi tool that has more than about 30 or so tools because you probably won’t need them all, unless you’re specifically looking for specialized tools. It’s always a good idea to scrutinize the tools that are on offer and see which ones you’ll really need.
What are some common disasters to plan for?
Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, transportation failures, electricity (and other resource) failures, and riots are some of the most common disasters for which it’s good to plan ahead.
What is the survival rule of three?
This rule says that you’ll live three minutes without oxygen, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and finally three weeks without any food.
By remembering this rule, you can focus on the most important supplies you need to stay safe and survive.
Preparing for a disaster is wise.
You never know what could happen when you least expect it. However, it’s a myth to think that prepping means becoming paranoid about a possible future disaster that could happen.
What it’s really about is avoiding a scenario in which you’re thrown off guard by a disaster.
This could result in you not being able to look after yourself properly, which is why preppers know the importance of planning ahead, and they do it calmly, rationally, and intelligently.
Where do you start?
It can be stressful to think that you’d need to stock up on supplies and figure out how to deal when faced with a crisis when you’ve never prepped before, but it doesn’t have to be – the sooner you start, the better.
You don’t have to approach prepping alone.
In this article, we’ve looked at the most important elements to prepare for in case of an emergency or disaster: water, food, supplies, tools, and shelter.
With the basics covered, you’ll be in a powerful position to deal with the crisis and ensure you and your family are kept safe.
Bonus – Guide for Emergency Preparedness
Check out the very useful Guide for Emergency Preparedness and Correct Action in Emergency Situations from the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK); a very handy checklist for printing is included.