Emergency Preparedness, Where to Start?

by | Sep 27, 2010 | Emergency Preparedness | 41 comments

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    This article has been generously contributed by Kent Arnspiger from Off The Grid Ready.

    Becoming prepared for emergencies, natural disasters and social unrest can be an overwhelming task when you first begin. I know it seamed that way to me when beginning the emergency preparedness process for my household. First of all, my wife, son and some family members thought I was crazy to be so worried about such things. Second, was learning what to acquire, how much to store and where to acquire these items. Third, was not having enough money to purchase everything we needed, especially in a short timeframe and with limited waste. So, to help you with your preparation plans we are providing a few ideas to help you and your family with this important exercise.

    In my personal situation, my immediate family still thinks I’m a little crazy and go a little overboard when it comes to preparing for emergencies. Although after a snow storm knocked out our power for three days from the heaviest snow fall that our area had experienced on record, convincing my family became a little easier. We were able to remain in our home with little discomfort and were able to regain emergency power with a generator. The house was kept warm enough with mobile propane heaters that our water was still flowing and cooking was achieved with a camp stove cook top. We even had Internet access, lighting and a running refrigerator. It became a relatively fun experience instead of a miserable event by having enough to sustain ourselves without having to rely on family, friends or emergency services. Hopefully, you will have an easier time of convincing your loved ones that being prepared is smart and worth the time, money and resources without having to experience a major emergency prior to accumulating what you need to be prepared. We have covered some of the items we recommend adding to your survival kit in previous writings and plan on covering more of this topic in the future.

    Unfortunately, this article will not be able to cover ever resource available to you in survival preparedness, but learning what to have, how much to buy and where to acquire these items can become overwhelming in itself. So, in the beginning, shortening your learning curve can be achieved through some of the following resources. One of the best places to begin is obviously the Internet by doing searches for key terms like emergency preparedness, survival kits, survival food, emergency essentials, water filtration, water purification, etc. There are also numerous books available to help you in the preparedness process and these can be acquired online, at book stores or checked out at your local library. One of my favorite resources for books are several used book stores in my area. Another great resource is to join the numerous online forums that can also be discovered through your Internet search efforts. In a future writing we will cover some of our favorites and if you have any suggestions, please send them our way.

    The final area we want to cover is having enough money to gather what you need to be prepared for disasters or other emergencies. Obviously, in the tough economic environment we are facing, having extra money lying around is not a common occurrence for most of us. Our recommendation is to acquire what you need as a regular process and potentially in smaller quantities. Another way of using your dollars wisely is to purchase ready made kits that have been professionally design to help you survive most emergencies. You may also purchase survival food supplies that have been designed for the correct amount of meals, proportions, and balanced variety. These meals have also been packed in manors that allow for an extended storage period, some as long as a twenty-five year shelf life. The fact these meals will last, will also help you conserve money by not having to throw out expired food because of a short storage life. Wasting food in this manor is not a good emergency plan.

    Preparedness can be a moderately short process for you or it may become a lifestyle depending upon what you are anticipating to occur and your belief the event will be for an extended period of time. Being prepared can be achieved with few mistakes, time efficiency and lower amounts of money by relying on experienced people and gaining the right knowledge from reliable resources. We are here to help you in this process and appreciate hearing from you with your ideas and your tips.

    About Off The Grid Ready:

    Off The Grid Ready (http://www.otgready.com) has the Emergency Preparedness, Survival Gear and Emergency Survival Kits you’ll need for going off the grid. We also carry Survival Knives, Disaster Kits, Emergency Food Storage, Water Filtration, Water Purification and Camping Gear.


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      1. Its a quick and dirty article… an even quicker and dirtier version would be to start with camping gear/needs and expand from there.


      2. Comments….. You don’t have to start out big to squirrel away supplies.  Clip coupons, you can get them on line or out of the Sunday paper.  Buy a little bit each time you go to the store.  If you buy tuna, buy 2 extra cans and put it away.  In no time, you will have enough to get you through a few days.  However, I go for the big enchilada happening so I’m a pretty hard core prepper.

        Shop yard sales for camping equipment.  I bought a brand new Coleman lantern cheap.  Every time I went to WalMart, I bought 2 extra canisters of propane. Now I have plenty – at least a years worth.  If no disaster hits for a year to two rotate your canned goods out, but always replace it with what you use. I know people who have stocked food away only to lose their income/job and lived for a long time off of their stash.  Anything can happen to where emergency preps come in handy.

      3. Question for all…if hyperinflation happens and the dollar becomes nearly worthless, will a person just wait for a new currency to come forth before swapping precious metals?  thanks much, helps in prepping.

      4. If you are “all prepped up”…all the bad info. on the economy is just bad news.  I have a one year food supply.  If you just have 3 days of food…then you will be scared and frightened.    Currency collapses happen like a bolt of lightning.  Note…if you are prepped up…watch for news on food hoarding and be ready to move/hide your food if martial law hits.  ps.  ammo up!  Food = Life.  Today’s crappy can of spam could be life giving next month.  Get real America.  Our leaders have failed us.  The communist govt. is coming.  Join the NRA.  Stock your homes like a Patriot!    Change your thinking now.   BE A PATRIOT.  BE AN AMERICAN.  peace   ps.  VOTE this year.

      5. Just a bit of feedback to all those rural/semi rurals which are so condescending on folks in a major urban areas.

        F… off. I have a sail boat and can get fresh water from desalination. Fish and seafood as a primary protein source. I can relocate with my ENTIRE cache of supplies to places with plentiful rainfall, an abundance of fruits & veggies..or even meat (Uruguay anybody).
        This isn’t meant to be a … I can top you thing.
        But back off please in your criticism of those in metropolitan areas. We’re not all duffuses and more than likely you’ll be the ones that suffer either from lack of supplies from metropolitan areas (where they are produced)… or roving gangs in your area, or even the local disenfranchised youth (drawn over to the dark side by deprivation and lack of hope).

        Do realize….there are many “solutions” to the issues we commonly face. As inlanders…you are clueless  to those who have the oceans as a source of ..water,food &  escape vehicle.

        So… to all the “mountain men”, rambo  posters thinking they are the last word in survivability… you are thinking with only half your brain.

        Beyond that…please do consider. You and I are naturally allies if we can connect. After all, we have a common enemy.  Banksters!

      6. Right you are sketch. All that was missing was the freeze-dried cheese burgers. I’d swap all that crap for a reliable old chainsaw and a couple of jerry cans of fuel.

        Sites like that should have names like “The Armchair Survivalist”

      7. I don’t recommend anyone buy expensive dehydrated and freeze dried Package deal foods. Much of it is unfamiliar to use and eat, over priced, and unrealistic expectations of how many meals it produces.
        You’re better off making a list of meals you already like to eat, and discovering how to get the ingredients shelf stable.  Don’t buy what you don’t eat. You won’t want to eat it even when that’s all there is.

        Keep track of your own kitchen supplies. What do you use, and how often do you use it.  Then start stocking up enough to last _____ months. (You choose the duration)  I started with 2 weeks, then added another 2 weeks, then another, etc.

        And rotate everything. Easy to do if everything is what you commonly use anyway. Check for vermin and spoilage often! Food only gets thrown out because you aren’t paying attention.

      8. vermin! O yes Barb, I’ve seen rats eat through the hardest plastic to get at food and drink. Always put your unattended stuff up in steel drums steel cupboards or steel lined/ concrete rooms. With steel doors! RATS!! I hate rats!!!

      9. Wooba,

        You’re right about storing what you can eat. I have something else to add to your comment.
        I liked the idea of storing grain, seeds, flower etc. The big problem on the island of Crete where i live is the absense of water. Slowly we are entering the Sahara zone, so water is a valuable asset, especially during the summer.
        So just imagine the situation: me having hundreds of liters of dried food, and no water to mix them 🙂
        I concentrated my inventory in canned ready meals, or corned beef, or pre-cooked vegetables, with an expiration date around summer of 2014.
        I bought mostly stuff that we eat anyway so we can rotate them occasionally during our daily meals.
        I also made an inventory of vitamins C and B12 as a supporter to all that protein food.
        Finally we bough a good supply of spaghetti and dried bread.
        Cheese can be preserved for a long period if you place it in a jar or something similar, full of olive oil.
        All the above can help us for a 4 to 5 month period. I already preparing my grandparents’ small hut in the country. There is a property of 120 olive trees and a garden for vegetables and oranges. The plan is to flee to the country and stay there until the storm passes.

        Be safe everybody

      10. Manos,

        If you have ocean access, you could build a solar still and get quite a bit of fresh water that way.

      11. Comments….. To feedback:  So do you carry extra sails, and extra masts just in case $hit happens?  I don’t know what kind of sail boat you have, but I do know if you are a serious sailor, you can’t fit too many prepped foods on a sailboat.  What if you had a bad fishing day?  I’m sure you have it all figured out.  Especially drug smugglers boarding your boat and eliminating you as well.  But never mind those scenarios.

        I was listening to coast-to-coast (George Noory) last night and he had a guest on talking about hyperinflation.  He didn’t recommend buying gold unless you were rich and could afford it.  He did recommend buying silver bullion and he believed it was set to take off in price.  If you can’t afford either one, he said to buy food.  Duh, we know that, but the callers calling in had no idea what to do.

        Here’s the website – some good info there:


      12. TnAndy,

        Unfortunatelly the ocean is far away, and the property is in a plateau between three mountains. This is a blessing of course because the place is isolated.
        My plan for Christmas holidays is to drive there and get a permit for drilling a water well. I all goes well, next summer i could send you tomatoes and green pepers 🙂

      13. I had an old sprinkler well that I never used (we live near the FL everglades and it’s muck and the grass grows fine), so I placed a pitcher pump where the electric pump was, now I have unlimited free water that doesn’t need electricity to bring up that can be filtered in a gravity filter if needed.
        As far as guns & ammo, I’ve been collecting them for 25 years

      14. Someone else said START WITH THE CAMPING SUPPLIES. I agree

        That really gets you thinking about basic survival.

        After that go get yourself a year supply of freeze dried food, yes, about $1300,,, but its worth it for the shelf life

      15. feedback: Hey, you have a great idea and perspective, but I grew up on Lake Michigan so I hate salt water, and sharks! lol  I’ll stick to the mountains, taurus man that I am.

        Barb; Sittinguy is right about the freeze dried. Gotta have some freezed dried. As much as you can afford, really. It will last forever, or long enough, and should be first in, last out for all you accountants out there.

        wooba: You are right about the rats! I have a gold mine and have some supplies stashed there. I learned early that desert rats and chipmunks can and will chew through anything but steel. And they will do tricks for peanuts if you need entertainment!

        Manos: Sounds like a great place for survival if you have a well. When I look at a mountain I see a watershed. Start storing drinking water in 2 or 3 liter plastic soda bottles now, just in case. And even if you drill a well. especially if you get a well. Water is money! SHTF America; Food Page has some good information about Water towards the end of that page. 

        Mormans, aka Church of JC of Latter Day Saints have been preppers for decades! They started by recommending a one year supply of staples to their members. The last I knew (I am not Morman) they had increased their recommendation for members to 3 years. All of US should consider that OUR goal as well.

        The way you prep is determined by your world view, perception of likely events, and limited by your ability to acquire the necessary resources.  I suggest everyone consider a worse case scenario and prep with that in mind. Anything else and you are covered.

      16. I would also suggest storing enough for extra family, friends and charity.  Security also comes in numbers.  Taking the food from a house of 5 is a ton different than taking the food from a group of houses/neighbors consisting of multiple houses of 5.  Thus the value of a local community that you are connected with.

        This is also the value I see in rural communities.  If going alone on a sailboat is how you feel comfortable, so be it.  I will take my house and land here smack in the middle of other, like minded friends and family that I know and love and have for many years.  If we were all the same, the world would be pretty damn boring.

      17. Thank you for making the effort and helping to make more emergency preparation information available. The more of us that are prepared for unexpected emergencies, the safer we all are. We are each in a different situation, and when we share info and ideas we all benefit.

      18. Most sailboats don’t cross the ocean alone.  They go in small groups and anchor in protected waters in smaller groups or alone.  Most have HF/VHF/marine band radios with GPS, water makers, salt water manuel facets for wash down, solar/ac ovens with inverters, wind generators/pv panels/hydro generators from free wheeling props, dive gear with spear guns & fishing gear.  Blue water sailboats have 2 large fuel/water tanks, multiple battery banks & multiple ways to defend from unwanted boarders & have a high free board.  Rare are boaters alone, most have 2 to 3 as crew with the 3rd being a pet.  Most live aboard pets are cats but I’ve seen dogs & birds also.  Collecting rain water is easy, sewage can be simple or elaborate and you can take your home to the selected weather desired.  There can be drawbacks & the ocean must be respected but the view & life is heaven!  Did I mention little or no taxes & no insurance required.

      19. based on tom”s disgusting description of sailboating i’m convinced sailboats (and probably powerboats) should be heavily taxed because they are really tax dodges. this tax should be at least $25 per foot per month. these people avoid home property taxes, auto payments and home mortgage payments and all the appropriate state and federal taxes which are the foundation of our countries economic system. In addition, they take active steps to avoid supporting our way of life by failing to buy electricity, water, sewer systems etc. they also massively pollute our nation’s water system by a “simple sewerage” which really means crapping in our nation’s water supply. what would this country be like if everybody lived on some kind of crap ridden sailboat?

        on second thought i’m writing my congressmen and enclosing tom’s blog and asking that a large waterway tax be applied to boats immediately…

      20. Oh crap!

      21. Crap!

      22. Mushroom: You have a valid point and it is well taken. but remember that plankton, the basic builder of the food chain, blooms on whale shit that floats on top of the ocean. lol Just saying!

      23. I’m proud to say that I’ve crapped my way around this world’s ocean from Hawaii to Singapore (the long way) around the Horn, up to the Arctic Circle, through the Med Ocean, through the ditch to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.  I’ve crapped below 600 feet in the ocean.  But, your Congressman’s boat is bigger than mine.  Now if you want to talk about pig po po.  That’s energy!  THUNDER DOME!  Two men enter, one man leave…..  Your just a raggedy man….  How long are you here for?  The big one, life!  No matter where you go, there you are.  I’ve always left something but never lost it.  When I had to go…. I weent.  If everyone in this country lived on a boat, this country would be (not) populated.  And, there she was!  Jeany!


      25. Mushroom….ARE YOU FOR REAL???

      26. Comments…..Fed up in Tx has the right idea. Few folks can make it without a community of like minded people. Nobody has the skills and time to go it alone and expect anything other than a meager survival at best.

        Many Mormon communities have no problem with sales to non-Mormons. They already have the basics figured out. The prices are real competative.
        Shroom, you have no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever heard of slip/moorage fees? How about taxes? Yes, many areas have taxes on personal property such as boats, planes, snowmachines, etc. Then there are the dockside fees for water, sewage and electricity. Obviously you have never seen the prices in a ship’s chandlery. The most basic marine maintenance supplies run 4-10 times the price you pay at the typical hardware big-box store. No I no longer have a boat. I have friends that do and do they ever pump money into the economy.  Sitting in my scrap pile are a pair of 12″ 4-blade screws with a blade missing of each. Go price a replacement pair before you make anymore comments about fair shares etc. That being said, I’m with Fed Up in TX. No support systems on big blue water. Remote coastal has definite food advantages, but the rain creates beaucoup maintenance problems. Gardening is tough, firewood is wet, but amazing ham radio abilities due to good saltwater ground system for antennas.

      27. Comments…..Oops, they are 28″ props. The blades are about 12″. I submitted without proofing what I wrote. The same buddy that gave them to me, had someone steal a new stainless steel shaft for his boat. About 2″ diameter and about 15′ long. Yah sure, cheap.
        And by the way, none of the nonsense items quoted by Shroom are the foundations of our countries economic system. Production is the foundation. Taxation is consumption and redistribution from the productive to the non-productive for the main purpose of buying votes. Ya might wanna put down the Keynes and start with Adam Smith.

      28. Most divers never have a bad day with a spear gun or sling.  It’s called pick & choose in less than 25 feet of water.  Grab a “Spair Air” for the trip up and you can get choosey but never greedy in open water.  One catch & it’s out of the water, even with a tank on going deep.  Flounder can be gigged like picking up trash on the floor.  In blue water (Gulf Stream wall) heavy fishing tackle (try & pull it in) before something bigger wants a taste. 
        You have never been out on a blue water sailboat have you notgoldie?   How about 10 tons of boat less than 40 feet long.  You would be amazed how much food one can carry with out even raising the boot stripe.  More food can be stored on a blue water sailboat per person than a submarine (and they don’t fish).  Good sails rarely wear out unless you have the wrong one up for the conditions.  Don’t need to carry an extra mast (lol) unless you put up the wrong sail in the wrong wind.  Drug runners, you don’t have a clue.  Now if you were south of the Red Sea, that would be different.  Pirates there go after group 2 & 3’s (tankers & cargo boats) but the stupid ones go chumming.  Do you realize just how big the ocean is?  There are no roads for the mass to drive on & last time I looked…. the population wasn’t that large.  I have mil friends that were shot at while putting their SAR swimmer down the wire to rescue people in Katrina on day 2.  Do you really live that far out in the sticks with no road? 

      29. You might want to try eating your ‘freeze-dried’ foods before you purchase a years supply. I got samples and after eating them I decided I would rather store more ‘staple’ (unprepared) foods. Such as wheat and honey, groats, rice, beans. Things I dried myself from my own garden. Taste will matter more when there’s not much.

      30. GREAT idea Joe

      31. I want to pose this question….how do you open the diaglog to family and close friends about prepping. I always have been a perpper at heart. I would much rather have a 100.00 worth of groceries then a 100.00 bill in my pocket. With all this said, recently I have taken prepping to a whole new level….one that actually shocks me at times.

        Yesterday my sister-in-law came over and although she knew that I was making modifications in my storage pantry s(extra she;ves…etc) he had no idea what was in it….needless to say….she was blown away. Her first words were: “OMG it looks like you think the world is coming to an end” than she just stood there staring at me with a lost look on her face. She just stood there, trying to process what she was seeing…and having a hard time with it all. All I could get out of my mouth was “you never know, things are starting to look a little ruff”‘

        I need some advice on how to talk to friends and family…other then to just lead by example.

      32. Personally speaking, this site is the only place i can talk freely of what i’m doing.
        At the beginning even my wife thought i was nuts. Since 2005 i’vebeen  telling her that something is wrong and the signs are not good.
        Todays she is much closer but still i sense that she doubts about our preps.
        Even though our country collapsed, even though people died during the May protests, even though my salary is lower due to austerity measures, even though she is unemployed, she looks like as if she is waiting for things to return back to “prosperity”
        Don’t waste too much time in persuading people. Most of them still live in a “matrix”, and surely they don’t want to take the pill.
        They want to buy BMWs, they want to buy expensive clothes, and the latest Nokia cell. They want to go to fancy restaurants and believe all the crap they see in the tv.
        What you can do is to stick with people you trust, and have same ideas. You can also store some more provisions for your sister-in-law.
        I do that for my parents.
        I expect more riots in Greece in the next months.

      33. You probably cannot convince a family member or friend that prepping is necessary.  Most people tend to believe what they hear the most.  For many that is: American Idol, Survivor and The Great Race, etc.  They know little else.  More then likely when they see the riots in Europe they look down their nose at them.  Maybe if you could change what they see on TV and what the hear on the radio it would help but even doing that is difficult.  The best idea I can come up with is do not let them know what you are doing.  If they are not like minded then keep your plans secret from them.  They will only argue with you prior to something bad happening and afterwards they will expect you to take care of them because you have so much.  And the worst part is even if you do help them they will be a huge burden on you and your family and when they are finally back on their feet they will resent everything you did.  It is a lose/lose for you.

      34. The problem is that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (mother & daughter) live together in a mobile home on the back of our property. They are in and out of my home on a constant basis. I delibrately have not mentioned to them that I have “stepped up” my prep efforts. Well for that matter…I have not really mentioned it anywhere. Sometimes, I think I’m crazy for doing it so I can only imagine what everyone else thinks.  The moment they stepped into the pantry yesterday and saw many multiple items and stacked 5 gal buckets labeled…rice, oats, pinto beans…etc they were overwhelmed. This website is the only thing that confirms what I really feel in my heart. So for all of you that post here….Thank You….you are keeping me sane in an insane world.

      35.  Good on you Tina!  I have a climate controlled storage room that is 6 foot tall with preps.  My F-250 truck carries (2) 95 gal diesel tanks that I top twice a month.  3 freezers full of vacuumed select meats.  Some rib eyes I’ve let go for 3 years & they taste just as good on the grill as new bought.  I’ve even tested it with friends & afterwards they have a hard time believing me.  My girlfriend is onboard now even though she has never been to my storage bldg. or pulled meat from the freezer.  I make no excuses for prepping to anyone.  I live for me & the the people I care for.  

      36. Thank You Tom

        My husband is onboard NOW. At first I think he thought I was loosing it too but he never said it out loud. I am starting to find that you really put yourself out on the line when you try to make people informed. If family treats you like you have fallen off the deep end what does everyone else think…..I really do not care what most people think…..just family.

        I;m smart enough to realize that they will thank me in the end.

      37. Let me just add ……

        that I just wished that family would help me prep so I didn’t have to all of it by myself. Some of the ones that think I’m crazy are the same ones I could never turn away….

      38. Tina: The cat is out of the bag. Now it is very important for all of the adults to sit down at the kitchen table and have a serious family discussion. Everybody needs to get on board. In a shtf scenario by whatever means, your inlaws will need your assistance and expect you as family to help them, then. They need to help you prepare now, if only securing the necessary preps for themselves.

        Explain the prepper movement to them. Tell them what other people are doing and why. Tell them about the Mormans. I believe Mormans are a good example for preppers to imitate. Let them see some of the preparedness sites, like Survival Mom, or SHTF America which is very visual.  They need to contribute to their own security.  Don’t wait. Get everyone on board.

        Good luck.

      39. I felt the same way when buying high grade food dehydrator, freezers, canner, tri-fuel gen., grain grinder, vacuum food processor, water filter, gas stove oven, poratable ac……  I could go on & on.  Guess who they call when power goes out, something needs to be moved w truck & trailer, chain saw, high water…   I’ve had to give some tuff love to a few friends.  I’m military so they use that as their excuse.  The next week they convert back to stupid.

      40. Chances are you can ‘shame’ your in-laws into prepping. By that I mean, most people are ‘Christians’, so you just point out that they should do it because their religious book tells them they should do it.
        If that isn’t enough, you just take extra energy to ready what you can for them. The energy is going to be wasted one way or another, feeding them or fending them off so you can get a bite.
        Our corporate entities (to the extent they are ours) and the currency they hijacked are failing. All processes of sustaining life will fall back to the individual household level. The bottom line is coming home and life will be more fulfilling as a result. Prepare your new way of life… 🙂

        In June of 2009, a stranger asked me if I had any emergency water set aside.  I assured her that I was prepared.  A week later, I lost the water line coming to my home and had to spend two days living with relatives.  Several months later, a large meteor passed over my home and interrupted my sleep.  I asked all of my friends and relatives if they had any lists of recommended or useful emergency supplies but received no response.  As a result, I spent many months doing research on the Internet and developed my own list.  I started a website to help other people in the following areas:                        
        1  Planning and preparing for disasters, infrastructure failures, and war.                        
        2  Planning and preparing for financial security or retirement.                        
        3  Planning and preparing for a future without Medicare.        

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