Bracing for the Worst: The Basics of Prepping

With news of the polar vortex that encased a large portion of the United States in ice finally retreating,  it might be time for a lot of us to re-evaluate some of our, “what-if” scenarios.  For some Americans, these scenarios quickly became a reality.  For others who weren't immediately affected by the ice storm, we watched from our computers, our newspapers or our televisions and thought, “What would I do in a similar situation?”  From increased seismic activity in Oklahoma, to the hurricanes that frequently ravage the East Coast, Mother Nature is becoming just as tumultuous as wars overseas. 

As a child, I remember listening intently to my grandfather tell stories of how he and his family prepared for the worst during the Cold War scare.  While I am sure the mystery and excitement of these stories is what initially drew me in, the reality of what my grandfather was fortifying against is what has stuck with me into adulthood.  I think now more than ever it is important to have a plan in place in case one of these disasters befalls you and your family. 
Below are some tips and suggestions for safeguarding you and your loved ones during a disaster or SHTF scenario.  Some might be familiar to you while others perhaps not.  If you have a helpful suggestion that would supplement what I have written here I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
The Basics
At the heart of every prepping plan are the basics.  There can be a lot of details and planning that go into preparation and it can be easy to get overwhelmed with costs and storage.  However, starting from the bottom and laying a basic foundation is a great way of getting started.  The following are the basic of necessities you will need in order keep you and your family both healthy and safe during a disaster.
The US government states that you should have enough food and water for an individual to last three days, however, planning for a few more or even up to a few weeks is of course never something to be frowned upon. 
Most preppers and survivalist state that about a gallon of water per individual is best practices, this may vary by a little more or a little less dependent of course on the person. 
Extra Tips:
  • ·        Have a gallon or so of unscented household bleach on hand in order to sanitize or purify water that may become unsanitary (1/4 tablespoon of household bleach per gallon)
  • ·         Hot water heaters are also another great emergency source of water.  Each water heater should come equipped with a drain valve at the bottom of the unit that can be used to drain purified water in an emergency.
  • ·         Don’t forget about the family pets!

When we go to our local grocer we often don’t think about all of the factors that contribute to simple act that is taking an object off a shelf and placing it in our shopping cart.  In reality, the journey most of that food took to get to where it is in front of you is quite long and dependent on numerous factors, many of which can be impeded during a disaster situation.  But lucky for us, we are taking steps to avoid this problem
Food that requires little to no preparation is ideal in these situations.  Think MRE’s , canned meats and vegetables.  The most complicated of food preparation should consist of boiling water.  Prepped food should have long shelf lives and not

Extra Tips:
  • ·         Adding a few cans and non-perishables to your shopping list each week is a great way of amassing a stockpile
  • ·         Think about things like rice, dry cereal, granola, protein bars
  • ·         Don’t forget to stock a can opener
  • ·         Again, don’t forget the pets!
  • ·         Avoid an excess of salty foods, they can lead to increased thirst
  • ·         Be mindful of bacteria that can grow on food left out for too long, food that is left out in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees has the potential for bacterial growth


Outfitting your intended shelter with all the necessities is an essential part of preparedness.  While at first thought you may think that simply having  a roof over your head and access to certain things like a stove and heater will be all you need, chances are the availability of power may be scarce, thus rendering all of these appliances useless.
Those of us with access to a wood burning fireplace already have a leg up, but for those of us without consider adding one of the following to your prepping arsenal.
·         Kerosene heaters
·         Propane heater
Extra Tips:
  • ·         Have plenty of fuel for your heating device readily available
  • ·         Rooms of your home or shelter that you won’t be using should be closed off as to conserve heat
  • ·         Make sure you have plenty of blankets stock-piled and on hand
  • ·         Did you know that a single candle can raise the temperature of small enclosed space by as much as 8 degrees?

Additional Resources
Shelter Creation
If you need to supplement your main shelter with another emergency shelter, YouTube has plenty of helpful tutorials for creating these:
·         Easy Emergency Shelter
·         Igloo/Snow Shelter

Creating a Plan
The new survivalist details an excellent guide to creating your disaster plan here:
National Geographic also details a number of helpful tips in the following post on packing a survival bag

As stated above, this is by no means a comprehensive guide to preparing for the worst.  Remember everyone’s situation is different and what applies to one might not be the case for another.  Make sure to share your thoughts below or, if you’d like to directly get into contact with me I can be reached at, happy prepping!

About the author: Naomi Broderick is a prepper author working with Protect Your Home, who provides ADT security systems Bakersfield California.  She is a stay at home mother with three young boys, and she enjoys the prepping lifestyle among folk from all walks of life.

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