What Is Emergency Prepping?

We don’t have a crystal ball, so we never know when an emergency or natural catastrophe will raise its ugly head. One of the scariest things that could happen during hard-times is running out of food, water, or the supplies you depend on.

Prepping for a survival situation is to store food, water, supplies, and survival gear that will help you survive events like Hurricanes, Civil unrest, or personal misfortune. Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel are also considerations for prepping.

There is a lot more that goes into prepping for survival than this simple definition. For millions of people, prepping is a lifestyle.

We really shouldn’t be depending on anyone but ourselves to get through hard times. If you get some help, that is the icing on the cake but don’t gamble with your safety and security….start prepping.

Prepping By The Numbers

If you are new to prepping, take a look at the following list. It’s not comprehensive because you’d be reading a book if it was. It is a great primer to give you some direction for your own research.

Determine What You Are Prepping For #1

What is the most likely emergency that will occur in your area? Start out prepping for short-term emergencies like power outages and slowly scale up to prep for longer-term scenarios like without the rule of law or the breakdown of civilization.

Preparing for things like power-outages is a great way to cut your teeth with prepping. The 72 Hour emergency kit suggest by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is a great place to start.

Once you get 72 hours worth of food and water in place, start looking into longer-term storage.

Mindset #2

Prepping is a journey of independence. Get your food, water, and supplies squared away, and you won’t have to depend on anyone when a catastrophe or natural disaster hits.

Start working on hobbies and interests that compliment prepping like: hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. This will go a long way to prepare your mind and body for a survival situation.

Go Dave Ramsey and work towards financial freedom. Use prepping to save money and budget. Purchase large quantities of meat on sale and learn to can. Get a grain mill, some sacks of wheat, and learn how to make bread from scratch.

If you want to get serious with the mindset of never giving up and doing what it takes, check out the Ready Squirrel article, #1 Survival Skill: Survival Mindset and Reactions To Stress.

Water #3

Water is more important than survival food. That is why it is one of the first suggested survival preps. Storing water for survival isn’t very sexy, but you’ll be glad you have it in a pinch.

You can’t have enough water. It isn’t just for hydration; it’s also for hygiene, sanitation, food processing, and gardening.

Initially, Have a supply of pre-packaged store-bought water on hand and work up to learning about water treatment, storage containers, and dealing with larger water stores?

The ultimate goal when it comes to water is learning to treat and store water for long-term storage.

Learn about catching rainwater, treating pool water, boiling water, treating water with bleach or chlorine

Interesting Fact: A 55 gallon blue water barrel weighs 458 lbs when filled.

Food #4

Start with your 72-hour emergency kit and build from there. The bulk of the food in your initial emergency stores can be non-perishables like canned soups, stews, and meats.

Start learning about long-term food storage techniques, like packaging dry-goods like rice and beans for maximum shelf life.

Also, learn about hermetically sealing foods with sealable food-grade buckets, Mylar bags, and quart jars for long-term staple storage.

Ultimately you will determine what kind of food fits your personal situation. By choosing foods that you and your family eat, you can start rotating, so you always have unexpired food on hand.

As you learn more about prepping and food, you will probably become interested in foods with the longest shelf-life if properly stored. Rice, Whole grains, Pasta, Honey, etc. are the superstars of the prepping world.

Gear and Supplies #5

Gear and supplies is a pretty big bucket to fill.

When we’re talking gear and supplies for prepping, it’s everything from a good lightweight tent or tarp for bugging-out to a hand crank grain mill for processing whole grains.

As you move through the different prepping layers, you will start researching these things, so don’t stress about it.

Think of the gear and supplies as if the utility you currently depend on quit working. Then learn how to replace necessary functions with alternate methods or gear that will fit the situation. We can’t cover every scenario, but it gives you an idea of how to think about preparing for the worst

  • The bathroom toilet won’t flush.
  • The shower and bathtub have no running water.
  • The Stove doesn’t heat.
  • Your kitchen doesn’t run water.
  • The refrigerator isn’t cooling.
  • Household heating isn’t working.
  • Lights don’t turn on

There are plenty of ways to solve these problems. The answers are beyond this article’s scope, but it gives you an idea of how to think about different emergency scenarios. Knowledge is truly power when it comes to prepping.

The best way to approach your gear is to think about each scenario as your experience grows. Do some research and choose the best solutions for your situation. Keep it simple, go slow, and buy the best gear you can afford.

Learn To Do Things Without Electricity #6

The crazy thing about prepping for natural disasters and emergencies is how many critical services can be lost all at once. It’s a domino effect; if your power goes out, you may lose the service of everything in your house, including your water supply.

Start planning to cover services like cooking, refrigeration, water supply, and heat so that you can minimize discomfort.

You could use some of the following non-electric items in power out scenarios

  • Wood Burning Stove
  • Sun Shower
  • Propane Refrigerator
  • Camping stoves and cook gear (outside)
  • Outdoor Propane Grill

These are just a few examples, but they should get the creative juices flowing.

In a blizzard, you could lose your heat, municipal water, and electricity in one event. The same goes for other natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, or civil unrest.

Look to have backups for your electricity by using alternate power sources like solar, propane, natural gas, or wood.

Do it like the Amish and start using tools and gadgets that work without electricity. For example, using an ax instead of a chainsaw, less to go wrong, doesn’t require fuel, and not much can break.

Have tools that you can use when the power is out.

Plan #7

There are different levels of plans. Start by figuring out what you will do for a short term 72 Hour emergency. Where will you go if a hurricane is coming? How will you get there? Start small as you plan, and larger longer-term survival situations will be easier to figure out.

You are learning so give yourself a break.

6 Steps of an Emergency Survival Plan

  1. Emergency alerts and warnings set them up on your smart devices.
  2. Shelter plan where you will go in case you have to bug-out or leave your home.
  3. Evacuation Routes: How will you get away from the disaster if routes are blocked? Have alternate routes, consider bridges, the volume of the population on roadways, etc. Have multiple routes figured out?
  4. Communication: How you will communicate with family and friends in various emergency scenarios.
  5. Check with CDC in case of pandemics or breakouts

Link to FEMA “Make A Plan,” under resources below.

Gear and Equipment To Fit The Emergency Scenario #8

If you are staying home in an emergency event, it’s called bugging in. This is the preferred method of reacting to a disaster. When you bug-out, you are basically a refugee and much more vulnerable to the environment.

If you are staying home during SHTF, the main thing you have to worry about is whether or not you stored enough food, water, and gear.

In a Bug-out Scenario, you are leaving the disaster area on foot or in a vehicle, so you have to worry about weight, transportation, where you are going, the route to get there, and how to avoid threats.

The first gear you need is a bug-out bag you can carry on your back. You need a bug-out kit for your vehicle that could include more food, supplies, and gear because weight isn’t as much of an issue.

When planning a bug-out bag for foot travel, pay close attention to weight. Any more than 20% of your body weight and you’ll have a hard time getting from A to Z.

You may plan to leave or bug-out in a vehicle, but you never know when roads will be blocked, bridges will be down, or emergency personnel will force you from your vehicle. This is in FEMA’s contingency plans, so don’t ignore it.

A bug-out kit goes into your vehicle. All your gear should be light enough so you can pack it immediately and leave. You don’t want to be running around the house looking for anything you need. There may not be enough time.

Avoid taking stuff out of your Go-Bag to replace it later. You may forget you took it and end up without that MRE or whatever tool you took out.

Another prepping kit is called an EDC or Everyday carry. This is a kit you have with you at all times and wherever you go.

Escape Route #9

Know where you are going and how you are going to get there in case of an emergency. For many emergencies, you will be bugging-in or staying home for others you need to leave.

I live in hurricane territory right on the Gulf of Mexico. If you have a type 4 hurricane rolling into town, you leave.

Where I live, there are three ways off the peninsula. Two of them are bridges, so I have to have a plan if one gets damaged from the water surge.

I have 3 dogs and two cats, so I need a hotel located in a safe area that takes pets.

These are the types of things you need to think of ahead of time. If you wait, it might be too late.

Learn Bushcraft Skills #10

Bushcraft skills like fire-building, knot tieing, shelter building with natural materials, fishing with a cast net, land navigation, etc.

It’s pretty easy to teach yourself a lot of these skills by watching YouTube videos or by reading a book.

If you find yourself bugging-out with just a backpack and your gear, it could get pretty sketchy pretty quick if you don’t know the wilderness’s basic survival skills.

There are two tools you really want to learn how to use: the survival knife and a Ferro rod. There isn’t much you can’t build with just these two tools if you have the skills.

What Are Preppers Prepping For?

In modern times we’ve lost touch with how vulnerable society really is. I’m lucky enough that I knew my great grandparents, who grew up pre-WWII. They knew first hand what it meant to go without and to be hungry. Most modern Americans don’t relate. There are at least 23 reasons to start prepping today.

23 Reasons To Prep

  1. Hurricanes
  2. Tornadoes
  3. Flooding
  4. Tsunamis
  5. Forest Fires
  6. Blizzards
  7. Long Term Power Outages or grid down
  8. Personal Illness
  9. Job Loss
  10. Financial Collapse
  11. Civil War
  12. Foreign Invasion or interference
  13. Family or friend needs assistance
  14. Chemical Plant Explosion
  15. Civil Unrest
  16. Nuclear Plant Accident
  17. Terrorism: explosions, chemical, biological weapons, disruption of infrastructure.
  18. Distrust of Authorities
  19. To Save Money
  20. Disease
  21. Hazardous material accidents
  22. EMP Electromagnetic impulse
  23. Solar Flares


Federal Emergency Management Agency: Make a Plan