My Prepping To Do List – Top 10, Part 1

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I’ve spent some time reading, researching, evaluating our life/home, and speaking with my husband about what our most outstanding vital preps are and I’ve come up with a Top 10 List that I’d like to share with you all! Keep in mind, we are currently beginner preppers and our prep work is focused around a 2-3 week disaster at the moment. Baby steps. Also, what works for our family might not work for yours, so it’s imperative to do some of your own research and design a plan that works well for you, although I’d love to help if you have any questions!

I didn’t expect this post to be as long as it did, so I’ve split it up into 2 separate posts. 5 today and 5 tomorrow 🙂

1. Store at least 120 gallons of water. For our family of 3 plus 2 dogs we would need, at minimum, 5 gallons of water per day to survive. However, I prefer to store more than that because there are so many factors that could cause you to need more water…you spill some (I’m clumsy), a member of your family gets sick during the crisis, or a neighbor has run out of water and their children are thirsty. We currently have about 90 gallons stored in 1 gallon jugs bought from the store, packages of bottled water, re-purposed 2 liter pop bottles, and a 7 gallon Aqua Tainer. I talk about my family’s water storage here and here. This is our #1 main priority, and it should be yours too.

Timeframe of completion = ASAP, as the budget allows. We purchased an Aqua Tainer last week, cleaned it, and filled it last night. It’s sturdy, manageable to carry if needed, and comes with a spout for convenience. We plan to purchase at least 5 more.

2. Create an Emergency Family Binder. I used the template from The Food Storage Moms that you can find here. It is an amazing resource and one of the most vital steps in disaster prep (after water). When a crisis occurs, your brain will go into a tailspin. Especially if you have family and pets and neighbors to worry about. Having all of your important information in one location will prove to be extremely beneficial.

A few months ago I was in a minor fender bender, but was really shaken up because I had my daughter with me. I was so flustered that I couldn’t remember my husband’s phone number! It will also prove to be helpful if you need to leave your house in a hurry. All of your important documents and information will be in one binder that you can grab and go.

In addition to the binder, you should create emergency contact lists for other places such as each vehicle, your child’s bookbag/diaper bag, wallets, purses, at work, etc. A crisis won’t wait until you’re safe and sound at home to happen…it will happen at the most inopportune time.

Timeframe of completion = the end of this weekend, 12/13/15. I’ll be sure to share the finished product next week!

3. Prepare bug out bags for each family member. In a perfect world, I’d love to hole up in my house during a crisis. However, it’s fairly obvious that it’s far from a perfect world. My home may become unsafe and we will need to leave at a moment’s notice. We currently live in a rather urban area (much to our disliking), and things could become unsafe really quick. Much like the emergency binder, a bug out bag is designed to be packed and ready to go as soon as the need arises. A bug out bag will look different for not only each family, but each family member. My toddler’s needs are different from my own, which are also different from my husband’s. I’ve been looking into several different resources (such as this onethis one, and this one) in an effort to generate ideas for what I want our bug out bags to look like. I plan to do much more research to make sure that our bags will get us through in an emergency.

Don’t forget about your pets! If your bug out plan includes taking your pets, be sure to have a bag (or box, or tote) prepared for them as well. If you are unable to take your pets with you when you bug out, please design a plan to keep them safe, fed, and hydrated wherever you may leave them until you return. Here’s a resource to get you started on prepping your pet.

Timeframe of completion = one for each family member by March 2016. Our plan is to buy sturdy, well built bags and those don’t come cheap. The bug out bags themselves and all of the items inside will have to be worked into our budget.

4. Develop a family communication plan. Let’s face it, a disaster is going to strike at the most inconvenient time. All of your family members will be separated in different locations, the weather will be bad, and your phone may be dead. Having a well thought communication plan with several alternatives is vital to your success during a crisis situation. Kylene and Jonathan Jones have a great informative chapter on family communication plans in their book The Provident Prepper.

My husband and I have talked about several scenarios and how we would handle them. Who would pick our daughter up at the babysitter’s house? Do we go home first? Do we go to a bug out location? Do we meet in the middle? Do we wait it out? What if the cell towers are down, how do we communicate? Who will pick up the dogs? There are so many different things to consider and having an actionable plan and a method of communication is so extremely important.

Timeframe of completion = ASAP. This doesn’t cost any money and a crisis can happen tomorrow. In my opinion, the sooner the better.

5. Alternate forms of communication. This is on my husband’s honey do list. I am not a technical person in the slightest bit. I have a difficult time switching the DVD player and the Wii hookups on the back of our television set. This is definitely one of my “to learn” topics. However, we are looking into and researching different kinds of communication devices such as a ham radio, high quality hand radios, satellite radios, solar powered devices, and so on. If we were to lose power as a part of the crisis at hand, finding a way to learn what is going on in the outside world will be important for decision making as well as giving you some peace of mind.

Timeframe of completion = this subject is ongoing and will evolve as our preparations do, but our goal is to have at least one form of alternate communication by March 2016.

What are your top beginner preps? Do you have any changes/additions to what I have listed? I’d love to hear from you!

My prepping activity for the week

My husband and I decided to budget $10-$20 per week on prepping activities for the month of December. We will most likely increase this amount after Christmas, but you sure can get a lot done with $10 per week! Here’s a rundown of what I’ve “prepped”this week:

  1. Bought 6 lbs of salt = $0.89/ea at Aldi. I love Aldi, if you have one nearby and aren’t shopping there, please do yourself a favor and check it out! It is a frugal person’s dream 🙂
  2. Bought 5 cans of tuna = $1.00/ea at Wal-Mart. Every person in my family really, really loves tuna sandwiches so it is a no-brainer storage food for us. I think it’s really important to store food that your family will actually eat. It would be bad enough to be stuck in a disaster situation, but to add having to eat food you dislike on top of it would be miserable!
  3. My husband built wooden shelves in the basement last weekend using lumber we had lying around to store our current “crap” as he calls it (totes of baby items, childhood memories, etc.) and to start storing our stockpile. We are currently renting my in-laws house so we are lucky that we can build and tear down as we please. Our 3 year plan includes purchasing land this Spring, paying it off, and starting to build in the Spring of 2017.
  4. Read the first 10 chapters of The Provident Prepper by Kylene and Jonathan Jones. I’ve been working on this book for about 3 weeks and am really enjoying it. Each chapter is insightful and provides a ton of real world advice. I plan to finish reading the book next week and then go back chapter by chapter to adjust our prepping strategies and implement their recommendations.
  5. I went over budget and bought a Reliance 7 gallon Aqua Tainer for $17.95. I purchased it through Amazon Prime = no shipping costs and 2 day delivery! It’s scheduled to arrive today and I’m super, super excited. It’s the little things 🙂

I plan to make this a weekly installment on the blog each Friday to outline what we’ve done this week to disaster prep. I would love to see what everyone else is doing – leave a comment or email me at thebudgetprepperblog@gmail.com.

Enjoy your weekend!

The first 72 hours of a true emergency

I came across the information I’m about to share on Food Storage Moms and immediately thought: “This is why we prep!” Visit the Food Storage Moms when you get a chance, they have great stuff! This information comes from the Emergency Grab and Go Binder they created that I’ll be posting about later 🙂

“During the first 72 hours of an emergency, this is what usually happens:

1.) First 24 hours: lights/power goes out. We check to see if our neighbor’s power is out, worry if we’ll get power before our favorite show comes on in an hour, knock on neighbors doors to see if they know what’s going on. We worry because there is no cell phone service or other forms of communication.

2.) The next 24 hours is when we realize there is a big problem, but we don’t know what it is because there is no TV, radio, newspapers, or internet. Without power, our heaters or air conditioners don’t work, the refrigerator and freezer are barely keeping things cold, the ATM’s aren’t dispensing cash, and the gas pumps can’t pump gas (unless the manual pump is working or available). Without available cash, we can’t purchase gas, groceries, and water. The grocery store has long lines and the shelves could potentially be empty in three hours. Some merchants start raising their prices sky-high. We try to figure out how to get out of town to family or friends. We start looking for a neighbor who might have a ham radio so we can know what is happening in the world and we’re wishing we’d bought batteries so we could turn on the battery operated radio.

3.) At 72 hours the panic and/or riots will start. The roads out of the cities will be bombarded and traffic will be at a standstill. People will become desperate for food and water for their families. Emotions are high. Panic is everywhere.

By having at least 72 hours worth of food and emergency supplies, you and your family can stay home and avoid being in the middle of riots and panic induced situations.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Here are my reactions after reading this:

  1. This is why we prep! This article describes a brief 3 day crisis. Imagine if it were to last longer.
  2. My mind immediately started to think about post Hurricane Katrina and how the looting was all over the news. Unprepared people will become desperate. Some out of pure malice, and others out of concern for keeping their families safe and healthy.
  3. Keep cash on hand in different places (vehicles, in the house, in your wallet, in the diaper bag, etc). We as a society (guilty here) have become so accustomed to simply swiping the debit card when we purchase items. What if disaster struck tomorrow and you had to survive two weeks on the cash you had on hand right now? Could you make it?
  4. I need an alternate form of communication to know what’s going on: hand crank radio, battery operated radio, solar power, etc.
  5. Always keep our vehicles with at least 1/2 tank of gas in the case that we need to get out of dodge ASAP.
  6. Have a bug out bag ready to go or in each vehicle so that we can get up and leave on a moment’s notice.
  7. Home safety in the case of those in society that will take advantage of the vulnerability people are experiencing. I will do whatever is necessary to keep my family safe and out of harm’s way. Wouldn’t you?
  8. From now on, as soon as the electricity goes out, I will fill up the bathtubs and sinks as much as possible to have that extra water. I’d rather play it safe than take a gamble.

What did you think after reading Food Storage Moms 72 hour disaster scenario? What are your reactions? I’d love to hear them!