How To Start Prepping (Only For New Preppers)

29 May

This post is for new preppers. Prepping means you’re preparing to survive trying times, disasters, emergencies, and unpleasant life events. Prepping involves acquiring useful equipment, stockpiling supplies, and learning new skills. It can involve building new personal relationships.

Watching some of the preppers on Youtube or hearing about their preparations on Doomsday Preppers can leave a new prepper overwhelmed. Where to start?

For most situations, you won’t need extensive preparations. Nuclear Wars and Zombie Apocalypses are rare. Unfortunately, job loss, hurricanes, personal attacks, and medical emergencies happen too frequently.

I’d start by looking at the biggest risks you face in your life, security,
happiness, and well-being, and work from there looking to see what you can do to improve the odds of overcoming the difficulty. Look at the basics of life and work to assure you have those.

1. Your first goal should be to get a good job or build a good career. Solid income will make all of the rest of your life easier. This will give you the resources you need to prepare for other things.

2. Your second goal should be to be frugal and save what you can. This is where many Americans mess up. They let their spending grow with their income, feeling they need a newer car and a bigger house. They deserve more vacations and life extravaganzas!

The problem is that if their income dries up, they’re not much better off than the fellow who made much less money. In some cases, they’re worse off, because they have a large car payment and mortgage and no money to pay them.

3. Build a small financial nest egg. That money will help you cover unanticipated events. Avoid debt like the plague. If you must borrow money to purchase a home or a car, that’s one thing. But, if you’re borrowing to take a vacation, that way lies madness.

In the first two cases, you’re investing in a useful asset: Homes usually appreciate in value over the long run. What you would have paid in rent, you turn into appreciating equity. A vehicle let’s you get to work. Don’t forget point 2. Be frugal. Purchase a modest home and a used vehicle if your budget is tight.

Here’s an interesting question: Should you ever borrow money to prep? Usually not, I’d say. I can think of one case where it makes sense. If you live in a bad neighborhood and can’t move and you don’t own a basic firearm, you probably should buy one, even if it goes on the credit card. If three thugs smash in your front door, being debt free won’t be nearly as comforting as a 9mm.

4. Learn a bit about wilderness survival. What? For an urban newbie prepper? Yes. At least read a book or two on the topic. One book I liked when much younger was Living Off The Country by Bradford Angier. The same book is published as How To Stay Alive In The Woods.

It’s not so much I think you’ll be thrown into wilderness and need to live off the land, but, learning about basic wilderness survival will begin to teach you to separate necessities from luxuries. You’ll learn how to provide yourself with the necessities. The book is heavily focused on securing shelter and food.

The book doesn’t do as great job talking about water, by today’s standard. Northern woods have lakes, rivers, streams, and plenty of rain. If you learn about desert survival, the importance of water will be made clear. One or two days without hydrating and you’ll be very weak. Three or four days, you’ll be at risk of death. There are people who are rescued after six days without water and who survive. By this point, there is little these people can do to help themselves.

5. Put aside a two-week supply of drinking water for your entire family. Water is inexpensive. Next to air, it’s the most crucial resource. The standard recommendation is one gallon per day per person.

If you have some larger non-food grade plastic jugs, you can store water in those. This is “scrap” water. Don’t use it for drinking. If your plumbing service is interrupted, you can use this water to flush your toilet.

6. Put aside a two-week supply of food. In the city, you won’t be gigging frogs and hunting deer during a short-term emergency. Many new preppers are urbanites. Rural preppers are highly self-sufficient. In a small city lot, it’s impossible to grow sufficient food to be self-sufficient. Sure, a garden could supplement your food, but it won’t sustain you. As a prepper, you need to have a realistic idea of what you can and can’t do with the resources at hand.

To maximize the effectiveness of their food growing efforts, some preppers turn to Aquaponics. The idea is to create your own little ecosystem. Here’s an example of a guy building a very basic system on Youtube:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdvgiDUhJJA

7. Get in physical shape. This will pay dividends throughout your life. It will help keep diabetes and heart attacks at bay. Eat healthy: Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean white meat. Don’t torture yourself though: You do deserve pizza and burgers.

8. Get regular medical checkups and dental visits. This is an important part of staying healthy. If things do go downhill, you can find yourself without access to healthcare.

Take care of the things you can, when you can. This is a good rule to follow in general.

9. Assemble a bug out bag. This is something everybody can do. Even if you don’t “bug out,” you’ll be on your way to assembling essential survival supplies.

In the book, I write about the importance of adequate clothing and bedding in cold weather environments. If your mummy bag keeps you warm winter camping under extreme circumstances, it can do the same at home if your heat goes out.

10. Begin to learn basic first aid. This is a no-brainer. No explanation needed!

If you do the ten items above, you’ll be way ahead of the average person in terms of preparedness. From this basis, keep learning. Maybe study self defense. Maybe learn about communication technology, HAM radio. Maybe become a do-it-yourselfer around the house.

Charlie Palmer -author, The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning

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