If you are more of a beginner when it comes to preparedness, a great place to start is by getting set up for a winter blackout. Normally, these are short-term but prepping for the lack of electricity when it is cold will help you begin to understand what you’ll need for long-term preps too.
Beginning to prepare is tough for some people. While many Americans are struggling financially, spending extra isn’t always an option. But, slowly getting yourself prepped for a blackout could be a powerful first step. We all need to start somewhere!
First, consider your source of heat. If you live in a colder climate, you will want a backup source of heat. And not just any backup will do. Without electricity, you won’t have any power to run electric heaters. You can choose propane, many if these types of heat run without electricity, or install a wood-burning stove. Wood stoves are normally the choice for preppers, as they can be self-sustaining because you cut the wood yourself. Propane must be purchased in order to use it, but it’ll be better than nothing.
Next, consider your food and water. Don’t neglect to store a can opener if you store canned goods. This is a pretty common mistake. You should also have enough water for all members of your family for at least 5 days. The ideal situation is a well with a system for getting water from it if you have no power. Admittedly, that’s not something everyone will be able to achieve, but storing water can be done too. You can store bottled water, however, keep in mind the bottles will eventually leech plastic into the water, so consider a BPA-free container.
You will also need to consider hygiene. It probably won’t be a huge deal to go a day without a shower, but you may want to clean up a little. Baby wipes are great for a quick wipe down, but you should store soap either way. Bars of soap will allow you to clean yourself and your clothes. This is a great item to have in both long and short term SHTF situations. As other preppers have pointed out, you can also barter with soap. It’s an often-overlooked item for too many preppers.
Take into account medications and stock a first aid kit. There are several ways to go about this, but I personally would start with a standard, but large first aid kit and add to it as time goes on. You will definitely need to add any prescription medications your family is on, and all necessary over the counter pain killers, such as Aspirin. Consider adding anti-diarrhea medication and constipation medication as well. A massive change in diet (like eating only canned and dried foods) can have unintended consequences on our stomachs.
Lastly, add the things that’ll make life more comfortable, such as:
- candles, flashlights, batteries, lighters, matches, etc.
- games, cards, puzzles, etc.
- percolator/French press, teapot,
Use this as a beginning guide to help you out! This is just a way to jump into the prepper mindset slowly while making sure you’re prepared for at least a short term emergency. Add things to this list or change items to fit your personal needs. If you would like a more in-depth guide, consider The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster by Tess Pennington. It’s an expertly crafted book that will walk you through ways to prepare for any disaster.
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