There was a time when I was a newbie prepper and to be honest, that time was not that long ago. The memory of getting started is still fresh in my mind and to this day, I am in awe of those that seem so far ahead of me. That is not to say that I am not prepared; it is just that there is still a lot I need to learn to feel really comfortable in my own prepper shoes.
These days a lot of my prepping tasks – I refuse to call them chores – have to do with learning and becoming skilled at new things. How to use my gear, how to use a pressure canner, how to make my own healing remedies, the list is endless. Added to that is the desire to add to my food stores and the need to establish better relationships with like-minded members of my community.
With all that is left to do, I believe that there is still room for considerable awesomeness.
Whether you are just getting started or you are an old hand at prepping, today I describe 13 ways to become an awesome prepper along with some useful links to guide you along the way.
13 Ways to Become an Awesome Prepper
1. Have an emergency plan
Ask yourself this: “What would I do if there was disaster that affected my home and my family?”
Think about the risks inherent to your geographical area and your own vulnerability when it comes to those risks. Once you do that, come up with a plan for preparing, responding, and recovering if the worst should happen.
See: Survival Basics: 10 Steps for Preparing a Family Emergency Plan.
2. Put together an emergency kit
Assemble the items you will need to get through an emergency safely. In addition to flashlights, batteries and an emergency radio, you are going to need other basic gear plus hygiene items, medications, cash and some extra clothing.
Your kit should be portable and light enough that you can handle it on your own.
See: Back to the Basics: The Bug-Out-Bag
3. Store plenty of water
Clean water is something we all take for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. It is plentiful, it is clean and it is drinkable. Learn where to find it, how to store it, how to purify it and how to filter it. Whether you are a prepping newbie or an experienced survivalist, water should be high on your list of prepping priorities.
See: Water – The Survival Basic
4. Have emergency food supplies
Fortify your home with enough food to get by for a minimum of seven days, and longer if you can afford to do so. Don’t get discouraged into thinking that you need to spend thousands of dollars on a year’s worth of specially packaged “survival” food. That is, of course, a great option but not the answer to the call for emergency food storage.
Inventory what you have then come up with some reasonable goals for adding to your food supply weekly, with every visit to the grocery store. Build up your food supply using foods you like to eat that also have a long shelf life.
See: 20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan
5. Plan for your pets
Don”t forget about your pets. Be sure plan for their food and water needs. In addition, recognize that they may or may not be able to stay with you if you are forced to move to a shelter. Luckily, the Red Cross and other agencies are recognizing that people may put themselves in danger because they will not abandon their pets. As a result, they are beginning to set up “pet shelters” along side the people shelters.
See: Tips for Creating a Pet Preparedness Plan
6. Be a good neighbor
Learn to be a good neighbor so that you build a solid foundation of folks that will be there to watch your back and help you out if you become incapacitated or need post-disaster assistance. A good neighbor will be there to help you long before the government or the first responders.
See: 9 Simple Ways for Preppers to Be a Good Neighbor
7. Remember those with special needs
Perhaps a family member is handicapped, elderly, medically dependent or has other special needs. Be prepared to deal with these special needs as you build your kit and your food supply. In addition, be prepared to help those with special needs during an evacuation.
See: Disaster Preparedness for Seniors and the Elderly and Preparedness Tips for People with Mobility Challenges
8. Learn how to safely shelter in place
Identify, outfit and prepare an area of your home that is suitable for a “shelter-in-place” emergency. If possible, select a room that is isolated from exterior doors and windows, and outfit it so that you can remain there in relative comfort until the emergency passes. Keep in mind that if you shelter in place, you will rely upon supplies in your emergency kit as well as specific shelter-in-place items such as sheets of plastic and duct tape.
See: Learn How to Shelter in Place
9. Prepare to survive without power
One of the most common emergencies does not need to be an emergency at all if you are well prepared. I am referring to a grid-down, short term power outage. As recent events have taught us, a freak storm can bring the power grid down for a few days, a week, or even longer. Learn to cope with plenty of light sources as well as cooking and heating facilities.
See: Survival Basics: Preparing for a Grid Down Power Outage
10. Have an emergency fund
If you have ever been shopping and realize that you left your credit card at home you will understand the need to have some spare cash on hand. But what about the bigger emergencies? Perhaps the car needs to be repaired, or like me, you are faced with an $800 refrigerator repair bill. The need for an emergency fund goes beyond short-term cash needs. Unemployment and a medical crisis may also require you to dip into emergency funds.
Building up an emergency fund when you are barely scraping by may be difficult but it is not impossible. Go slowly and you will be surprised by how quickly those dollars add up.
See: 26 Five Minute Prepping Projects
11. Stay fit and healthy
I have always been health conscious and even more so now that I realize that staying fit and healthy are the cornerstones to long-term survival during stressful situations. Even if you have six months of food storage, six months of water, a sustainable food garden, and a fully stocked first aid kit, you will have a tough time coping if you were not strong, fit and healthy.
Granted, age and time take their toll and many illnesses and infirmities just happen through no fault of your own. Still, eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise will go a long way toward insuring that you are a physically able to withstand the rigors of a disaster.
See: Putting a Priority on Health and Medical Preparedness
12. Live a strategic life
Living strategically – by my own definition – means living a life full of abundant adventure while embracing the tenants of simplicity and sustainability. It means being healthy and reaping the benefits of bounteous friendships and caring relationships. It means living a life full of happiness and readiness, without the burden of wanting to be someone else or someplace else. It means liking yourself and moving forward with this business of life with animated spirit and optimism.
Living a strategic life is something I believe in and became the basis of an e-Book (11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life) I co-authored with my long term friend George Ure at www.urbansurvival.com.
See: 10 Steps to Living a Strategic Life
13. Have a survival mindset
Even though it is listed at the bottom of this list, having a survival mindset is of utmost importance to your ability to prepare and stay focused on this all-important journey we call family preparedness. Reading this blog and others like it is the first step toward establishing a survival mindset. That, and having the will and the perseverance to keep going is what it takes to be an awesome Prepper.
See: Survival Mindset: Preparedness as a Way of Life – Part I and Survival Mindset: Preparedness as a Way of Life – Part II and Survival Mindset: Preparedness as a Way of Life – Part III
Test Your Awesome Quotient
Why not up your score to determine your awesome quotient? Are you a 1, a 13 or somewhere in between?
Wherever you are, I promise not to rank you nor to judge. If anything, I want to make you realize that you are a lot better off than your thought your were, even if you are a newbie and just getting started.
The passing score of this test is one – just one – and that is all I am going to say about that!
The Final Word
Are there other ways to become an awesome prepper? Of course there are. To write about them would take days if not weeks and would fill a book and not just a single web page. That said, there is no magic potion that you can take to become an awesome prepper. It takes time, perseverance and diligence as well as the mindset to keep going in spite of set backs- real or perceived.
Remember that knowledge and information is fluid. It does not start and stop; it only keeps on going. Over the coming months, I hope to refresh and revitalize topics that relate to the more practical side of being prepared – everyday topics that will help us live our lives fully today as well as during a future that is filled with unknowns and uncertainties.
Image: John Saddington
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye started Backdoor Survival to share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. She considers her sharing of knowledge her way of giving back and as always, we at Natural Blaze are grateful for her contributions.
If you would like to read more from Gaye Levy, check out her blog at http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/. You can also visit her Facebook page or sign up for updates by email by clicking on Backdoor Survival Updates.