In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of individuals and families who are gaining interest in survival prepping. The pandemic opened everyone's eyes to the fact that being prepared for any type of SHTF situation is not only smart, but crucial to your safety and peace of mind.
As we saw when the lockdowns occurred, and even when normal weather events hit an area, people rush out in a panic and wipe the store shelves clean. Whether there is a run on toilet paper or milk and bread, you can be sure that your family won't have to worry about necessities and conveniences if you take the proper approach to survival prepping.
The key is to be strategic with your thought process so that you are making plans and purchases in a way that is prioritized and logical for your needs. You have to identify the most common hazards that are likely to impact you, and prepare accordingly.
Below, you will find seven steps to help you get started on your prepping journey so that your skill and supplies increase rapidly. Instead of making panic purchases that won't serve your family in the best way, you'll be operating with a level head to ensure you have what you need.
Staying Aware with a Sense of Rationality
It's important that you understand the balance between staying aware of what's going on in the world and keeping calm and rational about what could affect you and your family.
There are some people who operate in a very reactive state whenever they hear any news or rumors online. Whether they are hearing something in the headlines of mainstream media or getting information from regular people on social sites and apps, they tend to panic with a worst case scenario mindset.
For example, recently in the news, we have been hearing about spy balloons shot down over America and subsequent unidentified flying objects (UFOs) being targeted by the military.
While some people are calm and rational about this news coming from government officials, others have taken an end of world approach and are hysterical. There will always be news that you need to stay aware of to help you make the best decisions with your survival prepping.
It pays to stay informed about things like the weather, global politics, civil unrest, health issues, and more. Some of these you can evaluate as something that is likely to happen to you, such as living in a hurricane state – and other times, you can rule it out because you are nowhere near the ocean.
If you do live in an area where a certain weather event or geo-event is likely to occur, such as a hurricane, tornado, blizzard, earthquake, or volcanic eruption, you'll want to plan for those events in a more stringent manner.
You do want to stay informed about global politics. If there are tensions rising between your country and another one, you need to be informed and aware so that you can take proper precautions.
Paying attention to news that tends to cause civil unrest, whether it's a sporting event or a police or crime situation, is always a wise thing to do because even if it originates elsewhere, you may be in a place where certain threats break out in protest.
With the pandemic, some people we're paying attention ahead of time and were able to stock up on things they saw becoming short supplies early on. You can visit a major news network site and click on the health tab to see what current concerns are happening.
That way, you'll know how to navigate society better, whether that means staying home or wearing an N95 mask – or ignoring it altogether because it's something that is likely to not occur in your area.
Even with the recent train derailments, where toxic chemicals were emitted into the environment in Ohio, people who lived downstream from that location were able to quickly stock up on water supplies so that they weren't putting their family at risk simply by paying attention to the news and knowing what the potential dangers were.
Brainstorming with Strangers Instead of Acquaintances
It's natural to want to tout your accomplishments, especially when others are not doing their part to get prepared. During the pandemic, we saw thousands of social media posts where people were showing all of their survival supplies to all of their friends and family online.
While it's understandable that you want to encourage others to get prepared, by being vocal about what you are doing in terms of survival prepping, you are simply putting a target on your back.
In fact, you'll see many comments where people say something to the effect of, “If anything ever happens, I know where to go – I'm coming to your house.” And they're not lying.
If they were desperate enough, your doorstep would be exactly where they showed up to beg for food, water, first aid supplies, and other gear that they were not stocked up on when an emergency occurred.
You need to adopt a mindset of anonymity when it comes to your survival preparations. This includes making sure your spouse and your children all keep a tight lip when it comes to what you are doing to prepare for SHTF events.
Even if your friends and family were also prepared, by putting public content out there such as showcasing your storage room and supplies on YouTube or on other social media networks, people can find out where you are and you can become a target for theft and burglary.
If you do want to discuss survival prepping with other individuals, it's best that you create an anonymous profile online and keep your footprint low (such as using a VPN) so that you can participate in forums and communities that are specifically created for other survival preppers.
That way, you're still able to ask questions and gain clarification on your plans, and you can even enjoy the pat on the back that you crave for doing your part in protecting your family – but you're not putting yourself and your loved ones at risk by compromising your supplies.
Another part of anonymous prepping is making sure that your neighbors don't even know what you're doing. Even if you've never talked to them, if they see you constantly bringing in supplies for survival purposes, they will know where to go during tough times.
You want to make sure that you are bringing your purchases in through the garage or at night whenever neighbors’ prying eyes cannot see exactly what all you are stocking up on.
Making Plans with Your Whole Family Onboard
One problem that many survival preppers encounter is that they are the only ones in their family concerned with potential survival events. Therefore, they feel as if they can go it alone in making preparations to ensure that their family is taken care of in the future.
But there's a big problem with making this an individual pursuit. If a crisis does occur, the whole family will have to work together during the event to get through it in a calm and strategic manner.
If they are not aware of what supplies you have, or how to use them, they will have to rely on you to help them through the situation. Keep in mind you may still be at work or somehow separated from them, and they will be left unprepared unless you make plans early on to get them ready.
Not only should you have your spouse or significant other on board, but you also need to prepare your children in what to do and how to react whenever a situation unfolds. This could be anything from a tornado siren alerting them to a danger to how to navigate a civil unrest threat or other event.
Not only does this help them in being able to get through a situation safely, but it also provides them peace of mind so that they won't be panicking and distracting you from what you need to do in the moment.
There should be no confusion as to what tools or resources need to be used, how much should be used during a survival event, and what plans need to be implemented in order to emerge from the situation without harm.
For example, your family needs to know where to meet up in case there is a bug out situation. If your teenagers are at different schools and you and your spouse are both at different workplaces, there should be a common meeting place if it's not feasible to make it back home.
In today's world, kids and teens are often left to go to their room with convenient snacks and simply get their homework done and play video games. You need to set aside time when the entire family can be involved in the survival prepping process.
You don't want to make it overwhelming or scary. You simply need to have a conversation about why this type of strategy is necessary. You can even use current events to help them see why having this knowledge can protect them in the future.
They should be involved in every step of the planning process, including helping to make decisions about what to do or what to buy. This gives them a sense of purpose and involvement that they may not have otherwise.
Many families have a lot of fun implementing their survival plans. For example, spending a weekend camping out to learn how to use a solar oven or build a fire can bring you all closer together.
You can start a survival garden at home and have them help build a shelter or practice first aid techniques. You don't want to eat up all of their free time by burdening them with survival lessons.
If they are currently in school, it's important that they have downtime to rest and recover from their growing weekly schedule. But you can implement bite sized lessons each weekend or even during the week as time allows.
Taking Stock of What You Have
It’s important that you start prepping from a place of knowledge. That means taking stock of what you have and what you need so that you’re not wasting your money and effort in the wrong places.
You need to conduct inventory of your current supplies. That means everything you’ll need for survival purposes – food, water, tools, self-defense measures, building material, bug out supplies, first aid and more.
Make a list of what you have, the quantities, brands and specific information about it. For example, don’t just say something generic like “bandages,” be specific about what size, type and number of bandages you have – is it small enough for a pinky toe or enough to wrap an entire arm in?
For food, make sure you’re specific with sizes, like 14 ounce versus 24 ounce canned goods. Make note of the expiration dates, too. You’re going to need to rotate the food and some other supplies as time goes on.
You need to have an idea of what supplies you have on hand so that you’re certain you have enough for each family member to last enough time to survive an event. You’ll start out securing enough for a 72-hour event and work your way up from there.
Once you have an idea of what supplies you have, make a rotation schedule so that you’re using the supplies and replacing them with fresh supplies over time. You want to periodically review your supply list and update it whenever you add more or use some of the inventory.
Some items you may only need one or two of, such as a tent – while other items, like food or water purification supplies, you’ll want to keep increasing in numbers as you make your survival supply purchases.
Dedicating Room in Your Life for Supplies
Not everyone has the same amount of room to use to stock up on survival supplies. While some people enjoy ample space in a basement or storage, others have to utilize small areas such as under their bed or in their attic to store their supplies.
With some things, you have to be careful and how and where they’re stored. With food, for example, it needs to be stored in a cool and dry space so that water and sunlight are not compromising it.
The containers you use for food storage should be airtight so that your supplies are not compromised by the elements or by pests. Whenever you fill a container of food, make sure you’re labeling it with the date and what’s inside.
Water also needs to be stored in a cool and dry area, away from direct sunlight. You can buy water containers that are made for long-term storage, but you still want to rotate the supplies to ensure it stays safe and consumable.
Some of your other gear can be kept in a garage or in an attic. Things like tools need to be cared for so that they don’t rust, though. You can have a schedule where you inspect your survival gear periodically to ensure it’s in good shape.
It also helps to keep a master record of where everything is stored so that if you need it in an emergency, you’ll be able to easily and quickly gain access to it. Make sure your loved one know where it’s kept so they can get what they need, too.
Prioritizing Your Purchases
Whether you’re on a budget or have plenty of money to spend on your survival purchases, you always want to shop smart so that you can invest more into what you need.
Start by figuring out what you need for a short-term emergency. For example, if you live in a hurricane zone, plan for the absence of power and food or clean water. Go off of the hazards you initially determined that were more likely for your area and purchase items for that first.
Make water your first priority. This is something you can’t live long without, whereas you can go longer without food and other items. Think in terms of weather-related gear that can keep you warm (or cool) in the event you lose power.
If you live in an area prone to wildfires, get protective gear that can help you escape or manage a fire around your property. Make a list of all of the one-time gear you’ll need to buy, such as a large generator, and begin saving up for that.
Whenever you make your purchases for these items, think in terms of durability. It’s better to save up for a good product than to buy a cheap one that will fail you when you need it most.
After you have your immediate emergency supplies purchased, make plans for long-term survival supply purchases. These can include things like survival garden tools, seeds and containers or traps and hunting or fishing devices.
You should always be searching for good deals on supplies. If you see a deal on canned goods or other gear, buy during those savings rather than paying full price. You can also find some survival supplies (such as lighters and candles) at discount stores like dollar stores.
Don’t forget to make personal needs a priority, too. If you need medication of some sort of hygiene item, take care of those needs early on so that you don’t run out of them and end up miserable.
Shop Smart and Save Money for More Survival Supplies
If you wait until a survival event occurs, you’ll be paying top dollar for everything you need. Price gouging is very real, and although the government claims they take action against such measures, you don’t want to have to deal with that after the fact.
You need to save money and shop smart when gathering what you need for survival. Start by setting aside a budget for consistent survival purchases that you make each month.
Even if it’s a small amount, you want to have a budget where you’re either purchasing gear or setting it aside for a larger purchase. Shop from your list of what you have versus what you still need to buy, so that you’re not accidentally spending money on things you already have or that aren’t relevant to your most pressing needs.
Make sure you’re conducting price comparisons and shopping from circulars that stores put out. Don’t just look at grocery stores, either. Sporting goods stores also have weekly circular and online ads for their sales on various camping and survival gear.
You want to check the retailers’ websites to see if there’s any advantage to buying online versus in-store. They may have a web-only promo code you can use to save more money.
When it comes to what brand you buy, never compromise quality, but don’t turn your nose up at a generic brand if it will do the same job as a name brand will. You also have the ability to buy in bulk with some things or wait until they’re on sale.
At certain times of the year, stores will have clearance sales and you can stock up during those times. This might be after the holidays or when they’re clearing out winter gear for spring and summer.
You don’t have to buy everything in a brand new state, either. Sometimes, second-hand items work just fine. Whether you’re thrifting at a Goodwill or looking on the Facebook marketplace for things people want to get rid of, you can find things like mason jars, gardening equipment, and more at a fraction of the price you’d pay for it new.
Making plans for your survival in extreme situations is a very smart thing to do to protect your family. If you go about it haphazardly, you won't be prepared with what you need and you'll be spending far more than you have to.
Make sure you are working from a strategic plan, involving your family in what you are doing, and making purchases that allow you to have money leftover to invest in more supplies that will sustain you and your loved ones when you need it most.
Until Next Time
Dominus Owen Markham