Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Prepping in the ‘Burbs

Okay, so you have started to Prep? Good for you, have a cookie and take a seat. This article is for the beginner who doesn't even know where to start because they work for a living, have a family and/or a budget that pays the bills and not much else.

I am not the most organized person you will ever meet but I have learned that you can’t do everything all at once, so set aside your Starbucks, movie, and DVD rental cash for a week or maybe two. Add in your recycling money. You don’t recycle? Start tomorrow, you will be surprised at how fast that money adds up. Besides, your Greenie friends will think you’re saving the planet and your prepper buddies will see what is really happening, so it’s a twofer!

Now what? You start with those things that will keep you alive first:

Water. People have survived weeks without food, but only days or even hours in the sun and heat without sufficient water to keep hydrated. Survivors of the recent disasters in the Philippines, Japan, Thailand and Katrina all mention the lack of potable water and long lines at relief stations to receive more.

Food. The USDA has estimated that the average U.S. adult consumes 2,000 lbs of food and water per year. YMMV, but think about that average adult and their average family storing almost one ton of supplies per person. Not happening on my budget, says you? Not on mine either, but you can start to lay in supplies for the disaster and recovery period, since a reasonably stocked pantry will do wonders to reduce your stress.

Hygiene. When the grid goes down and water stops flowing, how do you dispose of biological waste? Where does your trash go? How do you wash dishes, or even yourselves? Neglecting any one of these can spell disaster, from simple diarrhea to dysentery. You will see Third World conditions develop quickly in our cities.

First Aid. Do you have severe weather in your area? Is major earthquake damage to vital infrastructure possible near you? You will be the First Responder for your family in any urban disaster. A first aid kit designed for wilderness or back-country is a good place to start. Training for yourself through the Red Cross or other sources should be considered when expert help is hours or days away.

Energy for Cooking, Heating and Cooling. A simple disaster may put the power grid down for long periods. The winter weather of 2012 had power out to some areas of the South East for 3 weeks. Tornado survivors in Arkansas and Oklahoma were without power for days to weeks also. Do you have family members that require power to operate medical devices? Need to cook, communicate with the outside, charge phones, laptops, radios or flashlights? There are low-tech solutions for these problems.

Security. The topic that interests people the most but has more boring, tedious parts than can be imagined. If you are in the city, even a short-term grid down period with no heat, water or food can demonstrate how thin the layer of civilization really is. Do you have good doors? Proper security lighting? Interior security features, like window bars and alarms? A safe room? An evacuation and meet-up plan? And of course, personal defense measures.

This is just an overview. All of these entries will be explored in greater detail at a later date.


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