This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper.
Most of the time, no one actually expects the S to HTF on that particular day.
Most folks don’t go through their lives expecting one specific disastrous event to occur, and then have it unfold according to a predetermined script.
Several years ago, I didn’t get up in the morning expecting some jerk to get mad at his girlfriend, light a tree in her yard on fire, and set off a 100,000-acre forest fire. But he did.
People don’t go to work, expecting to sit down at their desks and grab another cup of coffee, only to find the company filed bankruptcy at midnight the night before. But it happens.
The folks in West Virginia didn’t expect that a container would leak deadly chemicals into the municipal water supply. But it did.
Residents of Haiti weren’t expecting it the day an earthquake leveled most of the homes on the island. But they still found themselves homeless.
Some disasters we can expect. If we live on the coast and there’s a hurricane warning, we know that we either need to evacuate or batten down the hatches and ride out the storm. We are usually aware if war is brewing. Often, we suspect we’re on thin ice in the workplace long before the pink slip arrives on our desk.
But most disasters are a complete surprise, either in their suddenness or an unexpected intensity. We can’t prep specifically for every single eventuality, but that doesn’t mean we must face challenges unprepared. By combining adaptability with general preparation, we can be ready for whatever life throws our way.
If you’re a fan of shows like Doomsday Preppers, or a reader of some disaster-specific websites, you may feel that to be truly prepared, you must have preparations specific to given disasters. Maybe you live near a nuclear facility, so you worry about a disaster at the plant. Perhaps you live in an area prone to earthquakes. It could be your deepest concern is the economy, a potential catastrophic pole shift, or jihad on our shores. And you get ready with this disaster in mind.
While it’s important to prep for threats specific to your geographical location, if you’re only prepping for one disaster, you’re not truly prepared.
The only way to be ready for anything is to be ready for anything.
A few years ago I was interviewed on the awesome radio show, The Liberty Brothers, regarding my family’s experience during the King Fire. Jim asked me to share what I’d done specifically to prep for forest fires, considering I live on the edge of thousands of acres of national forest. I thought about it for a moment, and then I realized…
I couldn’t actually answer his question.
Nothing in my preps was specific to the threat of wildfire.
At first, in light of that question, I thought, well, duh. I should have been specifically ready for this. Fail!
But then I thought about it a little bit more. We were ready. There are only a couple of minor changes that we’ve made to our preparedness plan in hindsight of this situation.
The key to true preparedness isn’t to be ready for one thing.
It’s to be ready for anything.
How can you be ready for anything?
Teaching someone to be ready for anything would take an entire book. (And there is one, as a matter of fact – it’s called The Prepper’s Blueprint.)
But here’s the Cliff Notes version. You have to prioritize your most vital needs and prepare accordingly. Here are the most important ways to be ready for anything – everything you do on top of this is just extra protection for your family.
Be prepared to bug out. There is a wide variety of reasons you might need to suddenly leave your home: wildfires, industrial accidents, and hurricanes, to name a few. Many evacuations allow you 5 minutes to gather what you need and go. If you can do it in 3 minutes, you’re that much further ahead of the others in your area. Here are two different takes on the bug out bag: Ready Nutrition and Graywolf Survival.
Be prepared to live without power. After a devastating storm or another natural disaster, it can sometimes take several weeks to restore power to everyone. You should be ready for this by figuring out secondary cooking, heating and light plans ahead of time. Preparations for climate will vary based on your location and the season, but you want to be able to maintain a survivable temperature, at the very least. Much preferable to “survivable” is a plan that keeps you warm and cozy. Here’s a guide to prepping for a two-week power outage.
Be prepared to live without potable running water. The aftermath of many different disasters is made worse by the fact that public utilities are also affected. When we lived in our cabin, our well pump ran on electricity, so any power outage also meant that we had no running water. Not only this, but there have been several examples over the past few years of exactly how vulnerable our water supply is. Residents of West Virginia were without water for weeks after a chemical spill, and more recently, Toledo, Ohio had to ban public water usage when algae bloom occurred in the public water supply. Earlier this year, it was reported that millions of gallons of contaminated water tainted with arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals flow into streams and ponds in certain regions of the US every day. You should have a water plan, including a back-up supply of drinking water, as well as a way to harvest and purify water. As well, you need to have some back-up sanitation solutions.
Be prepared for financial emergencies. In our current economic climate, a personal financial disaster is on the horizon for many families. You need to build an emergency fund to help prepare for life without a steady paycheck or for unexpected, but necessary, expenses that crop up. Build a pantry of food and supplies that can be relied on during difficult times. This means that you’ll have to spend less on those items, freeing up your savings for things like keeping a roof over your head or keeping the utilities on.
Be prepared to live without going to the store. Many events cause a breakdown in services. Perhaps supplies can’t get through because of a natural disaster. Maybe the power is out for a long period of time and purchases can’t be made electronically. If a pandemic were to break out, you might need to isolate your family to keep them safe from illness. Whatever the reason, you should have enough supplies that you can hunker down in your home for at least a month, if not longer. Stock up on food, first aid supplies, over-the-counter remedies, health and beauty aids, and pet supplies to see you through until business is once again restored.
Be prepared to defend your family and property. Violence and crime often follow in the footsteps of a disaster. Who can forget the photos of looters carrying televisions through the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina? During the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, the only businesses that were not looted were the ones from which the owners stood armed and ready to defend their property. Depending on the situation and the desperation level, property crimes can quickly turn into violent crimes. Make a plan for defending your family. If you’re armed, go to the range and practice, practice, practice. Secure your home and make it less appealing to criminals with layers of protection.
Obviously, this is very general and you’re going to want to go more in-depth with each of these preparations. The list isn’t meant to include every single possibility. It’s important to research your area and identify specific threats. However, by creating a broad base of preparedness, you’ll find that you are well-equipped to handle nearly any trouble that man or Mother Nature sends your way.
Here are some books to get you started:
The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster
The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months
And some disaster specific books:
Ebola Survival Handbook: A Collection of Tips, Strategies, and Supply Lists From Some of the World’s Best Preparedness Professionals
Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary
The Prepper’s Financial Guide: Strategies to Invest, Stockpile and Build Security for Today and the Post-Collapse Marketplace
Really good read. No matter how prepared you are in terms of material, the time may come where all the things you rely on will be taken away.
be prepared for WHAT?, the reporter asked…..why, ANY old thing, he responded….
Complacency is our biggest enemy.
I know a guy, really full of himself, says all he needs is guns and ammo. Says that’s how he’ll get what he wants in shtf. I’m glad he told me that.
I’m glad you know his plan. He proved himself a fool and a scumbag
this is MY boyscout camp trip or disaster leavin’ town list
boy scout handbook
bivy cover/sleep syst………….. sleeping bag good for 0*…-30 degree
military sleep systems can be had for around 75$
coats/cold weather bag w/hats scarfs gloves longjohns, for every member in the vehicle
weapon of choice/ gun ammo
jumper cables and brillo pad(fire starter)
sawyer mini filter
tow strap and chain
camp box…messkit, pots, aluminum foil, food, firestarter, water purification, spices, cooking oil…
3 one ounce gold coins to get home with if shtf
here’s my bike riding list
i carry a backpack with extra chain, and a tube filled with slime, along with a lot of tools, so i know i can get going again in 15 minutes. a great way to develop a good bugout bag is to start bikin’ or walkin’, and take notes about what you DON’T have, when you stumble across a need for sumthin’. i never wear gold or jewelry. ALWAYS have a GOOD flashlight, with extra batteries to replace the ones in your flashlight that are dead whenever you go to use it. a multi-tool, toiletpaper or napkins and electrical tape can be a great first aid. also some 550 cord and a folding knife….and a firestarter could be handy. a fleece cap, and shemaugh or scarf and gloves pretty much rounds out the basics that should always be very close to you.
i KNOW you already GOT all this stuff….but just in case you forgot sumthin’….cut and paste/print this sucker out….SOMEday, i’m gonna ask for it BACK from you!…..let’s call this the list of MOST IMPORTANT stuff to have when SHTF
fire extinguishers,,,,LOTS of them
antibiotics will be worth MORE than gold
motion sensor alarms
high powered binocs
digging bar from harbor freight
jogging stroller for hauling things that weigh a lot long distances
brillo pad makes a good fire starter with jumper cables
a hat for sleeping in….and ALL the clothes you’ll need to keep you warm…and dry….this will require MUCH THOUGHT AND RESEARCH….and testing, on YOUR part.
bulletproof vest…and helmet
DETAILED Maps Of Your Area
wooden 4×6, or 6×8’s for crossing obstacles(3 feet long)
peanut butter….VERY important
folding shovel and saw
army survival manual
first aid book… where there is no doctor book
military 4 part sleep system…protects to minus 30 degrees if you know what to do with it…and at LEAST have the bivy bag part of it in your car in case you get stranded….if you are dressed for the climate you’re in, it might only take that bivy to save yer life.
tow straps/shackles/chain with pipe for towing
giant channel-lock pliers and crescent wrench
Books on foraging and how to use herbs and essential oils.
Great article! I am always preaching the importance of being prepared not only in supplies for emergencies but financially. THAT day will come- the one you don’t expect and chaos will ensue. I have met preppers who basically focus in on ONE thing and they leave holes of insecurities in other areas. I don’t have to be an expert on everything. I just have to be prepared as well as I can, with what I have and what I continue to add to my preps. Being able to adapt is the key.
this is my when i go shooting list.
rifle and ammo
870 wingmaster 12 guage with ammo
22LR semi-auto rifle with ammo
9mm pistol with 2000 rounds of ammo
otis cleaning kit for all calibers
gun oil(i use 5w40 synthetic motor oil)
rod for clearing jams
extra magazines for all weapons
holster for pistol
gun cleaning solvent
gun disassembly mat
manual for guns owned
magazine reloading devices
what did i forget?
A knife? Or are you planning to gut the kill with a multitool?
Always wear clean underwear, you never know…
I think it is important to always be clean and reasonably presentable. This is a preparation of a sort. Whether you are at home or out and about, it matters. And with practice, it gets easier to do.
My gas tank gets filled before it reaches half. My clothes are washed folded and put away. My dishes are cleaned and put away right after use. My pots and plans are cleaned before I sit down at the table.
I keep the toilets clean, sweep the kitchen floor every day. Then mop, vacuum, dust, and wipe down the countertops. The inside of my refrigerator sparkles. My cupboards are stocked and orderly.
If someone comes over or if I have to run out, I don’t need to go into panic mode. Everything is already as it should be. It is easier to keep a home tidy and oneself together if you work at it a little bit every day. And don’t become too perfectionistic. Just do it. You’re not trying to impress anyone. You’re doing it for yourself and your family. It works and it is easier and it eliminates a lot of stress and anxiety, especially if and when the SHTF.
clean underwear? PFFFT!…….if i’m on the way to the hospital, it’s because some SERIOUS sh t happened, and i sh t myself….clean underwear is highly over rated……
a few things I THINK are important to surviving when the time comes, and the premise will be that you will stay in place, fighting off a few desperadoes occasionally….but no serious “army” rolling over your place(it’s a real leap, i know)…so here’s what i want, to be able to survive…keep in mind SOME items have MANY uses, and you might not realize how important some of them are.
canned fruit like peaches, fruit cocktail, pears, apricots
tomatoes and tomato sauce
sugar, brown sugar
popcorn and seasoning
canned soups…my favorite, cream of mushroom
milk, dried, evaporated, and condensed
cake mix, 7up or sprite, and canned fruit…to make cobbler, apple or cherry is MY faves(google that)
baking soda, baking powder, yeast
pepper, garlic salt, chilli powder, italian seasoning, cinnamon, ketchup, mustard mayo.
instant coffee, tea..creamer
hard candy, chocolate
tuna, spam(don’t stack it very high)
well, that’s enough for now….u guys add to it and i will see if i want to add anything to MY stores…remember, this list is like a thousand lawyers chained to eachother at the bottom of the ocean……a place to START….
SHTF happens in different ways at different speeds. If you have money in the bank or in investment funds, the purchasing power is declining over time. The repair/replacement of the infrastucture around isn’t keeping up with the wearing out of the infrastucture. Money wealth and political power is coming into too few people. There are catastrophic events that bring on SHTF but a lot of it is happening in relatively slow motion.
I do appreciate your thoughtful opinion on which we respectfully disagree.
I add vitamins and supplements to your list, and protein shakes.
Nice to hear from you.
Darn right. That’s Mr. Buttcrack to you! LOL
thank you, honeypot. and thank you for contributing, it’s what MADE this site…..the people willing to tac out replies, finding holes in our plans….
i didn’t mean to step on your dick, i was just bein’ funny……no skidmarks in my undies……..usually…..LOL!
How do you prepare for when the person dies that makes being prepared even matter? I really don’t see the point of surviving a calamity anymore.
Jim, I am very sorry for your loss. I know the main reason that I prep is to take care of my loved ones. If they were gone it would be hard to find a compelling reason to continue to prepare. But I know they would want me to go on and try to get the most out of my remaining time.
Learning to deal with the loss of loved ones is something that preppers will have to deal with regarding many SHTF scenarios. We each will have to find the will to carry on.
I remember reading that during the collapse of the Soviet Union every Russian knew someone who had committed suicide because they could not adapt to the new reality.
Adapting = Survival
it can be worse, jim….i lost half my money in the stock market, but still had my WIFE!…….that’s worse than a divorce….LOL…..but seriously, i lost my wife to a divorce 5 years ago, and all them preps have MUCH less meaning to me now…..keep yer chin up, and yer head down!
Hopefully you have a good doggie to keep you going. I was not that much of a dog fan till I found the perfect one! Try looking for a rescue dog (from the pound) or check craigslist. A great doggie really is yer best friend!
Be sure and get a smart breed not a cocker spaniel or chiwawa. Get an active breed too because they will get you out and do things which will lift your spirits a lot! Some good ones are Border Collie. Australian Shepard, Labrador, The aussies seem to be the most human loving. I take my boy to the dog park sometimes and I see a lot of different dogs and how they act. Australian shepards are loyal, active, loving, smart, beautiful, and just plain great!
I stole my buddy for 200 bux. If I had a million bux I would pay it to have him (seriously). The amount of happiness and joy and adventure and love he brings me is priceless. I never thought I would love a dog so much.
Top Ten Reasons Why A Dog Is Better Than A Woman
10. A dog’s parents will never visit you.
9. A dog loves you when you leave your clothes on the floor.
8. A dog limits its time in the bathroom to a quick drink.
7. A dog never expects you to telephone.
6. A dog will not get mad at you if you forget its birthday.
5. A dog does not care about the previous dogs in your life.
4. A dog does not get mad at you if you pet another dog.
3. A dog never expects flowers on Valentine’s Day.
2. The later you are, the happier a dog is to see you.
1. A dog does not shop.
sure do miss eppe! we won’t forget you, sir!
i have raised a few litters of yorkies. they WILL NOT pee outside, but that dog was a DEVIL if anyone got too close to me…..and she could hear a mouse pissin’ on cotton…..and she let you know about it….she was my best friend ’til she bit my 1 y/o son in the face….it took me just about a year after that til i found a great home for her.
If your ever on the edge with Hopkins. If you fashion a branch like a pogo stick up a tree over bait ,the resistance of your foe would lessen impact for a rehursed climb out.
It’s easy to overlook the obvious. A couple of years ago, I had a simple power outage and quickly realized that I had all my preparations were packed away and difficult to access. I learned a lesson and put together a power-outage bag. Tools that were quick and easy to use for a simple short power outage. Now I’m up and running in minutes!
A common threat that is often overlooked is FIRE. I have large fire extinguishers located on each level where the threat of fire is greatest.
1). The Basement by the washer/Dryer. Dryers are a major cause of household fires.
2). The Main Level in the Kitchen: I also keep FIRE BLANKETS.
3. Second Floor Bedrooms: I don’t smoke anymore, but if the fire alarm goes off at night I can grab an extinguisher and rush downstairs. If going downstairs is not an option I keep a folding ladder under my bed. I can escape out the window.
I also keep a gas mask under the bed (it can’t hurt to slip it on if it’s really smokey). Finally, I keep a welder tarp under the bed. These are rated to withstand high temps and prevent sparks from igniting your clothing.
i went to local fire extinguisher service guy, and long story short, those 5 and 10 pound commercial fire extinguishers are werthluss to them after a few years old, so i offered him 10$ each. now i got 13 giant fire extinguishers for 130$…..freshly serviced!
BCOD, thats a great idea I will have to look into it! Thanks.
Me too. I’ll check that out. Thanks!
Sounds like you need a good sized RV to haul everything and you need more tools.
As for your stay in place food store, you pretty much describe my pantry, except I make my own flour, and I have given up on canned tomatoes. Cans rot out too fast. Plus we grow our own year round.
rellik, canned tomatoes never work out. I don’t store them anymore. Luckily my brother grows the best in the State.
I have had pretty good luck with jarred spaghetti sauce. It has a surprisingly long expatriation date. Consequently, I keep 10 cases on hand. Spaghetti and meat sauce is one of my favorite meals.
rellik, I’m interested in hearing how your new binoculars worked out. Those cheap monoculars I ordered for $16.99 were NOT great. I was disappointed but they may serve a useful purpose. The $29.99 dollar monocular is really great. I’m very pleased. I have a pair of $39.00 binoculars coming that got great reviews, that I excited to receive.
I bought a pair of these a few years back and I really like them! A great buy for 30 bux… Has 1 review from some moron that thought he was going to get ziess quality for 30 bux lol.
Genius, I put them in my shopping cart. I’ll take a look at them but I hope I’ve reached the minimum level of preparedness regarding “fancy look’n glasses”.
I did buy 4 Baofeng UV-5R W/Upgrade Version 3800mah Battery. I also got 3 upgraded antennas. Now I just need to take them over to my brothers to be put in a garbage can Faraday Cage. Thanks for the heads up on the Baofeng UV-5R.
Justice, ya buddy thats the ticket! Good for you! Probably one of the top items of importance to have. I use the 3800Mah batteries in all my radios too. I have a couple of 4500mah ones I bought a couple of years ago but now I can’t find them anywhere for sale anymore. You my man are a good prepper!
Oh don’t forget to charge them first and about every 4 months after that. Nothing like needing something so important and having half charged batteries. Most of the 3800 batteries have a small jack on the side that you can use a cigarette lighter plug charger to charge them too. They sell them cheap on ebay. I have the chargers but have never used them. I kinda wonder how they would know when to stop charging. Maybe charge them with the radio on and look at the battery meter I suppose. Anyway, PREP ON!
Here ya go…
Here is the one that plugs direct into the battery
Just got the Binoculars today.
Optics are very clear.
Magnification is not adjustable,
which is OK and expected for the price
$21, I’ll keep them.
They don’t seem to be really cheaply made,
but certainly aren’t Steiners, Nikons, or Bushnells.
Neck strap is too thin, but they are light, and these
are only going to be used to glass my property, the
air, and ocean traffic, going over and by my property.
My main concern is how they hold up in Hawaii and
that will take a few years to report on.
funny, i been seriously prepped for over 10 years now, and i JUST a year or so ago had my first can found leaking…..guess what it was? right, tomato sauce. and so i went looking deeper, and in the garage where it freezes in winter were a BUNCH of pineapple busted open….it’s the acid, eating up the cans……but i STILL eat out of that same case of sauce even today…..fruit cocktail was another one….ive had very few cans leak. just remember to push tops down before opening, and take a look, and smell……expiration dates? pfft!
I had ALL of my No. 10 cans of pineapple loose their seal. It was a learning experience in being able to spot compromised cans (swelling). You could press down on the top of the can and easily depress it.
Like you state, “just remember to push tops down before opening, and take a look, and smell……expiration dates? pfft!”
since i make a good living working on cars, i got the tools covered. and got the RV, and several enclosed trailers, tundra, wrangler, rock-crawler toyota pikup with chevy V6. even a couple m101 trailers…..now all my family is gone, with nobody to drive them……i gotta get outa this place…..if it’s the last thing i eeeeever dooo…..
yep, definitely a couple pair of underwear……..
You can’t prepare for everything.
The consensus here is that SHTF is going to be like Hollywood and “sh*t fan sites” have told them,but in reality nobody knows..
You may prepare for this but it ends up being that.. You can’t prepare for all possible scenarios..
“People don’t go to work, expecting to sit down at their desks and grab another cup of coffee, only to find the company filed bankruptcy at midnight the night before.”
It must feel nice.
I don’t think that it’s humanly possible to buy and keep enough stuff for a lifetime. So, you would ideally be able to make more of it.
Best prep is health followed by skills. Buying shit will only get you so far. If your forced to flee it would be better to have a few things of good quality and have good health and skills to start over from scratch. Many will die when their food runs out because they can’t figure out how to hunt or grow food or they physically just can’t do the labor. Without skills there will be no desire or confidence to survive. Even if you have these skills there will be setbacks. Not to mention in a post disaster world viral and bacterial infections will be a battle on top of feeding yourself. When garbage trucks stop running for just one week it everyone’s trash creates a problem with rodents. Sewer systems shut down will leave people to deal with their shit. I don’t think dealing with waste is focused on enough because it isn’t cool like guns and optics. when you have a disease from filth last thing your gonna think about is your gun.
coat…..must have insulation, big pockets, and able to seal in the warmth, allowing for several layers underneath. so it needs to be a size larger perhaps than your size. and it needs to be below the waist. i have two, but my fave is a size 3xl field jacket, with liner. very warm, goes down to my knees, and pockets are huge. it’s a couple sizes bigger than i need, but it works very well for me…..my backup is an army marshmellow coat.
550 cord, at least 100 feet
napkins or T/P
electrical tape, for firstaid, and so many other uses
knife good quality folder, or fixed-blade, with small knife sharpener
flashlight must be LED, with many hours of battery life
gloves…again, QUALITY one that will protect AND keep you warm
hat mine is army fleece
garbage bag in case it pours down rain
my survival coat, grab it and run….
Hand cuff keys. You never know. There are two basic sizes. Get both the small hole and the slightly larger hole keys. See if you can make hard plastic replicas. Keep them on you, near the back of your pants. Hidden.