Prepping 101 - a short guide to survival

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Crisis preparation is best done before the crisis is in full swing. Having a home emergency food supply and a general plan for preparedness is not a fringe thing. They can be integrated into your everyday life without causing excess anxiety. It is more or less a process of habituation. Similarly, most people have smoke detectors, fire blankets, and even fire extinguishers at home, without the fear of a fire laying heavy on their shoulders. In the event of an emergency, these items can nonetheless make the difference between a nuisance and a total catastrophe. Maintaining a home emergency food supply – and being prepared in general – requires some effort, but will eventually be a normal chore among others.

The security situation in Europe has seen a recent and abrupt decline, and it has made a lot of people worried. Many of them want to do something about it, but for the sake of your wellbeing, you probably shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about world politics and other things beyond your control. Instead, focus on things you can do while you are not yet living in extreme conditions. There are a few preparation moves that may prove useful in many types of crises like natural catastrophes, prolonged power outages, or even an all-out war.

From Plan A to Plan B

Planning ahead for adverse times is highly recommended. If the troubles are short term, and you have prepared well for them, you might be able to ride it out with little effect on your everyday life. If it looks like things will not be back to normal any time soon, at least you have some cushion in terms of time to make a new plan and follow through.

This article isn't about survival in the woods or basic things like having a first-aid kit and means to put out fires, nor is it some ultimate preppers list. This is a short list of things people will rush to do in panic mode, when they have not prepared for anything. So, beat the crowds and queues by making your moves in advance; these things might one day help to change your situation from impossible to tolerable.

Keep cash available

Card payments require electricity and working internet connections. Everyone has probably been in a situation where card payments have stopped working locally for a while. In a crisis, this is likely to be the norm, and in times like that, do not count on ATMs. Even if they work and still have some bills inside, there will be a line of desperate people and possibly some vultures trying to take advantage of them.

How much cash is enough? It is safe to say that we are talking about hundreds of euros/dollars rather than tens. It depends on what sort of things you need to pay for and for how many people. If your plan is to get your family out of Dodge in the midst of the tumult, and bug out to some rental cabin in the middle of nowhere, you might have to pack some serious green. If you intend on trying to keep buying food products and such, do the math on it. And if your private fortress on your private island is already stocked full of food, guns, ammo, booze, and fuel for your power generators, you may use the bills to dry your tears of success.

Prepare your home

Foodwise, prepare for at least three days, but the longer you can do the better. Arrange your food supply so that you have a rotation of goods to stay ahead of the expiry dates without too much trouble. Now your food supply includes the emergency food supply as a buffer. One person should have two liters of drinking water per day. At least bigger stores have large, sealed water containers which can be stored for a long time. Various dry foods and canned foods are also good choices for long term storage. Remember to make sure you can heat food and water, with a gas stove for example. Store enough fuel for your cooker – fuels and gas generally won’t go bad. Various foods can also be consumed without heating.

When there’s no running water, washing up while indoors means using wet wipes and such. Hygiene in general is very important, you need to avoid all sorts of transmittable stomach ailments and other health issues of the like. Due to events in recent years, most people have already learned how to use hand sanitizer. What about toilet use when you can’t flush? Come up with a solution that fits your place of stay. You might be able to use a plastic bag on a toilet, or just rough it out with a bucket. Pro-tip: Use a lid on the bucket when not in session.

If you or a family member is on medication, stock up on it, if possible. It is also advisable to have a sufficient amount of over-the-counter meds like analgesics and antacids.

If you don’t have a proper fireplace, or you are out of wood, how are you going to stay warm when there’s no heating? Especially at night? Having sleeping bags for indoor use might seem silly at first, but when your whole group is huddled together in one small room, and it’s barely above freezing, you will probably have a late change of heart. During power outages the lights also go off. Store battery-operated lights in the house. Fully charged power banks also keep your phones on.

Other things than cold air can also enter through your windows. Prepare to close off all vents and use duct tape to seal your windows.

A multitude of preparation issues can be solved by getting proper camping gear for yourself. Even if they will never be put to use in a crisis situation, a side effect can occur where you accidentally take up outdoor activities as a thing.

Buy a battery-operated radio receiver

It is commonplace in modern information warfare to spread false information through text messages, and all internet media is susceptible to cyber attacks. Without downshifting to messengers on horseback, just an old-fashioned radio is a robust thing, and it may keep working when more delicate systems fail.

Keep your vehicle topped up

You might need to relocate during a crisis, and fuel prices – if any is available – will be high. This is also one thing to consider when thinking about putting away some emergency cash. When you keep your tank 2/3 filled at all times, you can cover hundreds of miles with what you have.

Unless the situation demands putting the pedal to the metal, you can conserve a significant amount of fuel by driving at intermediate speeds rather than the usual freeway speeds.

How about hunting and shooting sports?

Hunting and recreational shooting are useful and fun pastimes in their own right, and during a crisis, they have even greater value. Naturally you have to follow your local legislation in the hows, whys, and wheres of gun ownership and use. And if you are lucky enough to never come face to face with wide-scale crises in your lifetime, at least you had a peaceful life with fun and exciting things to do.

From Plan B to Plan C

Even a well planned-out preparation can get scrubbed by unforeseeable circumstances and events in a crisis. You might have to leave your home in a hurry, even on foot. In this case you have to carry your emergency supplies on your back. Read an article about building a bug out bag for different scenarios.

The most important things

Gear up, get some skills, and be prepared. Doing this will free you to not constantly worry about possible outcomes of world events. Live your life like there are better times ahead. There probably are. The most important thing is to remember, that during a prolonged crisis, while doing the correct things by yourself, you’re not going to lone wolf your way out of a national level mess.

Even though every able bodied person must pull their weight – in order to save resources for people who are in need – only together and by joining forces can a community and especially a nation pull through.

Further reading