"That is the great thing about preparedness, you get to set the pace and prioritize your personal needs and wants as you move forward. Regardless of the route or the plan, we have put together a sketch/outline to help you on your journey. "
It isn't a matter of if a disaster will strike it is simply a matter of when it will strike. If you are prepared when disaster strikes, not only will you be better prepared to handle the issues at hand, you will also be thanking yourself. There is also a pretty good chance that others will be thanking you as well. Survival experts and FEMA recommend that all Americans plan and prepare for emergency situations. The problem however, is knowing when and where to start and finding a budget to make your preparation possible. In many cases it is these obstacles that keep many from venturing into preparedness. In this article we hope to provide some tips to help you and your family get the ball rolling on your preparedness journey.
One of the best ways to get started is to sit down and create an outline of emergency items that you may need. We then recommend taking that outline and categorizing each item, for example (food, supplies, security, etc.) Once you have placed the items in their respective categories, you will need to divide your budget accordingly and start making purchases each month for each category. One could always rank the items in each category based on your personal preference and begin by purchasing them in that order or you may choose to go a different route. That is the great thing about preparedness, you get to set the pace and prioritize your personal needs and wants as you move forward. Regardless of the route or the plan, we have put together a sketch or outline to help you on your journey. Understand that this is not an end all be all plan, rather it is more of a template, feel free to modify as you choose.
January — Food Basic. Storing basic supplies will help make any potential emergency situation more comfortable…and potentially life saving. Start out by creating and obtaining asupply of meals that extends and covers several days. Be sure to create a kit for each member of your family. A good rule of thumb would be to start out with a three day kit of non-perishable food for each member of your family. Don't forget that in addition to each day of food, FEMA recommends one (1) gallon of drinking water per day, per person. (Keep in mind, we are only focusing on consumption right now, as we move forward, you will discover that one gallon of water is not nearly enough when you start considering hygiene and other needs)
February — Equipment. When month two gets here, you can start to focus on other survival related items. This list might include flashlights, batteries, a radio, blankets and a first aid kit. You could also include leisure items such as books, board games, a deck of cards and any other item that might help pass the time or help you keep your sanity.
March — Children, Special Needs, Elderly & Pets. This month would be a great time to take care of needs that are very specific. For example if you have a baby, pets, or an elderly adult or special needs child living with you, this would be a good time to focus on items directly related to their well being. Make sure you stock up on infant formula, specialty foods, pet food, medicines or equipment that may be required to assist those of your family who require a little something extra to survive. The last thing you want is to run out of formula or have to start sharing your food with your pets. A shortage of medicine on hand could also be detrimental to the health and well being of a loved one, stay stocked up!
April — Garden Seeds. Adding some layers to your food storage during this month could turn out to be a huge blessing. However, if you are thinking about going to the grocery store and stocking up, lets take a step back and instead focus on garden seeds. Since April begins the spring planting season, having a seed kit on hand is a no-brainer. Not only does it help you layer your food preps, it also helps you become more self-sufficient and it allows you have more freedom over your budget for other food items. A quality kit includes thousands of seeds for vegetables, fruits and herbs. Be sure to buy an emergency seed kit with seeds specially stored in a way that helps them last for years with a high germination rate. Also look for kits that enable seeds to be planted indoors at any time of the year.
May — Long-term Water Needs. Earlier we discussed water storage for personal use. Now would be a great time to focus on long term water needs. As we indicated before, FEMA recommends one gallon per day per person for drinking and sanitation, but that won't be enough for cooking, brushing teeth, watering seeds/plants, flushing toilets, etc. We recommend three (3) gallons per person per day. Now, if you are going to store this much water you really need to consider purchasing somefood-grade containers for storage. These containers will help you make the most of your available space. We also recommend purchasing some water purification packets or a water filtration system.
May — Specialty Food. Let's use this month to add to our food storage. However, instead of focusing on your basic food needs, focus on specialty food needs. For example, if a family member is a diabetic, gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant or suffers from allergies, take this time to focus on meeting those specialty needs. If your family doesn't have any specialty needs still consider layering your inventory by adding some of these foods. Remember, food can be used to barter, it can be used for leverage and it can be used as a weapon. Adding some specialty items cannot only help family members with the above issues, it can also be a highly effective resource.
June — Fuel and Cooking. With all of this talk about food, it probably would be a great idea to have a solid backup plan for food preparation. After all, if the grid goes down or you find yourself displaced you need a way to prepare all of these meals. So, during this month, lets focus on the fuel (energy) and the equipment to prepare these meals.First Consider a stove that takes up minimal space, is durable and capable of preparing multiple meals each day. Don’t forget a lighter or matches. Also, while you are at it, don't forget to get a small stove for your Bug-Out-Bag, just in case. Don't forget to stock a few butane lighters and a gross of matches as well.
July — Emergency Kits. dThe weather in July is usually optimal, so, with that in mind, why not use this time to prepare for weather related disasters. During this time, consider creating your own disaster kit or consider purchasing one. Always take into consider your location, if you live in tornado alley your kit might be slightly different than that of someone who lives in an area that is prone to flooding, hurricanes or wildfires. These kits need to be portable, especially since natural disasters have the capability of displacing you from your home. This kit should include a basic first aid kit, hygiene kit, shelter, food, water, purification tables, a water filter, fire starters, a stove, extra clothing, a weapon for safety, batteries and communication tools. The portability of this kit is vital, make sure you have a well crafted heavy-duty backpack and be prepared to grab it and go!
August — Finances and Bartering. Take this month to sure up some extra cash and or some bartering items. Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket, have some cash on hand as well as some gold and silver. In a worse case scenario, items such as bullets, gold, silver and even food can become currency. You always want to have enough on hand to help you get through the difficult times. We recommend making this a monthly habit if possible, however during this one year planning period it may not be the easiest thing to do. Nonetheless, this should always be a priority.
September — Plan, Plan, Plan. In the U.S., September is National Preparedness Month, so what better time for you and your family to review disaster planning and drills for various challenging situations. During this time you and your family can have some fun by practicing impromptu evacuation drills, bug-out drills and more. This is also a great time to fire up that stove and prepare a few meals from your food stockpile. Make sure that everyone not only knows where everything is located, make sure that they also know how to use everything. Having a propane stove on hand is handy, but it is of no use if everyone doesn't know how to operate it safely and effectively. Use this time to develop a strategic plan in the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest.
October — Breakdown Bucket/Bag. As things start getting colder now would be a good time to create a personal breakdown bucket/bag. Although a bucket is not required for this step, we prefer to use a bucket with a sealed lid as opposed to a bag, to help us prepare for a potential vehicle breakdown. With uncertain weather around the corner, it is important to make sure that your car is stocked with some long-term emergency food, water and blankets. These supplies will help keep you and your passengers more comfortable should you be stranded in the cold. In addition to a first aid kit, flares, boosting cables and a small took kit goes a long way in helping you turn a bad situation into a mild set back. Develop a new rule of thumb, never let your gas tank drop below half a tank, it may not be possible to maintain this at all times, but if you set it as your new goal, you will not only prevent being stranded beside of the road, you also will be comfortable knowing that you can leave in a bug-out situation.
November — Home & Personal Security. Use this time to do a security evaluation of your home, property and your person. What areas around your home are vulnerable to break-in, how secure are your preparation items, your personal belongings? Take precautionary measures to secure your home, auto and resources, replace any needed door or window locks. Consider purchasing a home security system. Also, use this time to hone your shooting skills, simply having a firearm around the home isn't good enough, you need to know how to operate it and operate it effectively. Visit the local gun range, set up some targets and go shooting with the family. Teach and reinforce firearm safety. Brushing up on these skills could one day save your life and or that of a loved one.
December — Evaluate. You have been working on your preparedness plan for one year, now is the time to evaluate your progress. Go back to the checklist, review it, see where you failed, where you excelled, make notes, and make corrections where they are needed. This is an ongoing process, but, if you are dedicated and committed you can make this work.
One of the most difficult things you can ever do is taking that first step toward preparedness. Hopefully, this plan will provide you with the starting point and the framework to get started on living a more prepared life.