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 one, this 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!