We should always be prepared for what might happen, but where do you begin? As I write this, the 2016 US election is a week away and tensions with Russia are greater than they have been since the Cold War and growing. Where does this leave you? Are you prepared?
What if you are just starting out with prepping? What if you have been prepping for a while, but don’t know whether you have the most important preps? What if you were handed $200 or $300 to go out and get what you need now? Here are 10 urgent preps you need to do now to be ready for what comes.
Do you have enough water? For how long? Weeks? Months? You need to determine how much water you need for each person for an absolute minimum of two weeks. Fortunately, water is fairly cheap. In fact, you can even go to Walmart and buy four or five 5-gallon water jugs and fill them with tap water to increase your supply.
Food is the first thing anyone thinks about when they think of prepping, but what food? You need foods that are inexpensive, that you can buy in bulk, and that is nutritious and will store for the long-term. Rice is perfect. You can grab a 20-pound bag for a decent price and store it away. Most people get white rice, which has a longer shelf-life, but brown rice is more nutritious, so you need to decide what works best for you.
Just like rice, dried beans are an ideal food to store away for hard times. They have an incredibly long shelf-life and provide you with protein and other important nutrients. You can get 5-pound bags of various types of beans, whatever you fancy. There are pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, chick peas, and so many other types. Other types of dried foods are good, too, such as oats and wheat and corn flour.
- Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is such a great prepper food. There are 6,000 calories in a large jar of peanut butter and it has a shelf-life of two years. But since it’s a staple in many households, it is easy to rotate your stock of peanut butter and always have it on hand for emergencies. Get at least two 40-ounce jars.
Honey is another must. In fact, it is the perfect prepper food because it has an indefinite shelf-life. Honey will not go bad—ever! Plus, it has so many benefits, including:
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties
- Aids the healing of burns and wounds
- Acts as a probiotic
- Improves the immune system
- Decreases inflammation in the throat
Honey is a miracle substance that will be welcome when the world goes sideways.
Who can live without salt, especially if you are eating a lot of rice and beans? But salt is so much more than just a seasoning; it also preserves food, replaces sodium the body loses through sweating, helps heal wounds, and can repel pests such as ants. It also acts as a great barter item if you get the opportunity to trade with others. Pick up one or two 5-pound bags and maybe some smaller amounts for trading.
After the SHTF, you need to stay as strong and healthy as you can and your diet is not always going to be ideal (heck, it probably isn’t now for many of us). Having a good quality multivitamin is critical to help you get the level of nutrients your body needs. Plus, a couple of bottles of vitamins are easy to carry around, even if you have to stuff them in your BOB, which you should.
Sure, you have your preps that you are tucking away for the first weeks and months of a SHTF event, but what about when all your food runs out? What about when you survive past a year and need to start looking at other ways to feed yourself? Seeds are small, light, inexpensive, and can keep you alive in the long-term. They are invaluable and you should stock up on a few different types.
- Fire Starter
You need at least one method of starting a fire. Getting yourself a good fire starter kit is critical for your survival. With fire you can stay warm, cook your food, and boil water to purify it, all of which will literally keep you alive. This might be a magnesium fire starter or a ferro rod, so choose what works best for you.
Information is your new best friend once the SHTF. If you know what is going on in the world, in your city, and in your neighborhood, you will be far better able to deal with it and survive. A radio that will work without electricity, either a hand-crank radio or a solar power radio, is critical.
Let’s face it, when the SHTF, there is a good chance cell phones won’t work. Do you have a backup? Communication is critical during any disaster, whether it is short- or long-term, and you need to be prepared with a method of communicating with the other members of your group.
Ham radios are pricey, but it is easy and inexpensive to pick up a high-quality set of walkie talkies. Add some Sharpies and a system of symbols and pre-planned message locations and you have a backup form of communication that works when you are on the move.
- LED Flashlight
You absolutely need at least one flashlight for each member of your group. It helps you see in the dark and can be used to deter animals and attackers and signal for help. You can also set up a system of signals to use in your group, providing you with a backup communication system. Plus, having a source of light just makes us feel better when we are scared.
- Weapon & Ammo
You need some sort of defensive weapon. You have your loved ones to protect, which means also protecting the food, water, and supplies you have gathered. A gun is the best thing to have on hand. You should purchase a gun and the ammo to go with it, although if you don’t have your firearms license, no one will sell you one. You can also purchase a crossbow or another form of projectile weapon. They aren’t as practical as a gun, but they don’t require a license, either. Ideally, you should get your firearms license as soon as you are able to do so.
- Physical Preparedness
Get yourself in good physical shape! Like I said above, people think so much about the things they need to prep, the items they need to stock away so they have enough, but often little thought is given to your own physical ability to deal with the shock of what comes after the SHTF.
When an event happens, you will be under a lot of emotional, mental, and physical stress. You will get less sleep and will have a lot more physical exertion. You will possibly have less food to eat and what you eat won’t be what you have been used to. Even if you have a full stock of familiar foods for a few weeks or months, it will run out and you may need to ration at some point.
Get plenty of exercise—now! Build your endurance and muscle mass—now! If you aren’t currently in good physical shape, then start slowly, perhaps by walking every day, but start a regimen of exercise that will ensure you have the physical strength and endurance to handle what will come.
When it comes to eating, you are literally what you eat, so be sure to eat well. You should also simplify your meals. Once things go sideways in the world, you will be eating more simple foods and meals. Foraged greens, some meat or fish you have caught, perhaps with rice you have tucked away. Do you have to give up all your favorite foods? No, but adjusting your diet now to get used to eating these types of simpler meals will make the transition easier later on.
- Mental Preparedness
Your survival in any SHTF situation is going to be largely a mental game. The stress of the situation, of always having to think five steps ahead and how you are going to take care of everyone, will take its toll. It’s that simple.
The people who will survive will be the people who have the mental capacity to not only refrain from panicking, but to stay positive. You will need to keep your emotions under control, think clearly, and do what needs to be done.
You can train your mind through meditation, relaxation techniques, mental exercises, and even a rigorous physical training program that will push your mental limits, as well as your physical limits. Plus, just being as prepared as possible in all of the ways listed above will help alleviate fear and stress when disaster strikes.