Many argue that the most important segment of survival is right when disaster strikes. The hours and days following can determine your future in a big way.
If you put some effort into survival supplies before it’s necessary to have them, then you will be prepared. If you don’t, then you’ll be competing with all of the other unprepared folks who are scrambling around in desperation.
Read the prepper’s checklist below. In fact, we’d recommend you print it out. Each and every step is important. If you can do them all successfully within those crucial hours and days following a disaster, then you’ll be ready.
#1 — Create a game plan to find each other
Surviving in a group is much easier than surviving alone is. Not only will you be able to join forces to attain the vital resources that you need, but you’ll also be able to give each other motivation to “keep going”. (A disaster can really bring you down.)
The issue is that our lives in 2014 are spread out all over the place. At any given time, you or your loved ones might be 1, 2, or even 20 miles away from home.
Let’s use a family as an example — Mom is at home, Dad is at the office, and Billy, the son, is at school.
Where is everyone going to meet?
This is something that you need to discuss with your familyand friends before disaster strikes. There’s no guarantee that the phones will work during a disaster. If you can’t communicate, then you can’t find each other. The world is a big place.
Make sure to plan a couple of different locations to meet. If a tornado hits your house, then you (obviously) won’t be able to meet at the house. Maybe go to a friend’s house, or a relative’s.
Planning a couple of different locations ensures that no matter what happens, you’ll be able to find each other eventually.
#2 — Stockpiling food and water
Finding your loved ones is always the first priority. Without them, what’s the point in surviving?
After creating a game plan for that, though, your next priority on your prepper’s checklist should be to stockpile food and water for a couple of months.
Stockpiling survival food isn’t hard if you do it early. You can go to any wholesale store like Costco’s or BJ’s and get bulk canned food for pennies on the dollar. Don’t wait until you need it — by the time you get to the store, it’ll likely already be empty.
Water’s a little bit more difficult because of the space factor. Make sure you get gallons (not the small, .5 liter bottles) to conserve space.
How much, you ask?
It’s really up to you. We’d recommend getting a couple months’ worth of food (because it’s harder to find) and at least a month of water. You can always collect rain water down the line.
The average person needs around 1 liter per day at a minimum to survive, so take the number of people you want to support and do the math. There are around 4 liters in a gallon of water.
Make sure to get a variety of foods — you need protein, carbs, and fats to survive. Peanut butter, canned meat, canned beans, and rice will hit all of those necessary macronutrients while not breaking the bank.
#3 — Secure your house
Even if you get your family safe and you stock up on what you need, that doesn’t mean that other people who haven’t prepared will leave you alone. And desperate times will lead to desperate measures — if others need the supplies that you have, then they’re going to try to get them by any means necessary.
An easy way to secure your house is with some simple wood. Go to a local home improvement store and pick up some solid wood — the exact type will depend based on how much money you’re willing to spend. (Ask one of the workers — they will point you in the right direction.)
This will also protect you from wild animals.
#4 — Get a gun, or at least a weapon
Now, if your house is adequately boarded up, then it’s going to be off-putting to people who want to break in. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have to travel outside of your house, though. And if these people are desperate enough, then it’s relatively easy to break through wood.
If you don’t have a way to defend yourself, then you’re a sitting duck. Others will slowly work their way into your house until they get through. When they do, you won’t be able to do anything to defend yourself or your family…
…unless you have a weapon…
Simple weapons like bats, swords, and knives can help if you’re close to these intruders, but think about it — you don’t want them anywhere close to you or your family. What if they have weapons, too? And what if there are more of them? And what if they’re stronger than you are?
You can stop them from setting foot near your house with a gun. Remember, they’re trying to break into your house for survival. If they get shot while trying to break in, then that’s a pretty pointless endeavor.
Owning a gun can also help you hunt for food. Your cans won’t last forever. Once they run out, it’s much safer to hunt in the wild than it is approach other people — they’ll be trying to stop you at all costs, just like you are trying to stop intruders at all costs.
If you can’t legally get a gun where you reside, consider some sort of other long range weapon like a crossbow, throwing knives, or even a slingshot. Whatever you can do to fend off attackers at a distance is a huge plus. And again, wild animals don’t have long range weapons — hunting is much easier with them.
#5 — Get an energy source
Buildings provide some decent insulation, but they aren’t perfect. If you live in a cold climate, then your house (or wherever you’re staying) is going to get freezing in the winter without some heat. (Think about how cold it gets if you take a vacation and leave the heat off, even for a few days.)
If you don’t stock up on energy, then you might find yourself struggling to survive in a house where you have plenty of food and water. The third piece of the puzzle is shelter, and shelter means nothing if you’re freezing.
How do you “stock up on energy”?
The easiest way is to stock up on wood, and then get appliances (like stoves) that can run on wood. Fire can keep you warm, boil water, and cook food. Those are really the only three things that you need.
Obviously, a gas generator is more effective, but it’s not like gas is available everywhere. (Everyone who hasn’t prepared like you have will be siphoning gas from cars and buildings immediately to try and feed their appliances, too.)
Wood can be kept almost anywhere, including outside. If it gets wet, it’s not a problem, because it dries out. Just make sure it’s protected like the rest of your house — if you’re in an urban setting, then it’s going to be in high demand… especially in the colder months.
#6 — Get some entertainment
What are you surviving for?
A life full of nothing but eating, talking, and sleeping can get bland very quickly. It’s important to keep your spirits up with some entertainment.
Most of the entertainment today — video games, phones, newspapers, etc. — won’t be available in a survival situation.
Stock up on board games, playing cards, and puzzles to stay busy. (You can play an almost infinite number of games of Monopoly and never get bored.)
Closing thoughts on your prepper’s checklist
This is just a general guide. It’s a great place to start, but everyone is different.
After doing everything on this checklist, think about what you’d want in a survival situation that you don’t currently have. Then, go out and get it. You never know when a disaster might strike — it could be five years from now, or it could be in a couple of hours.
As long as you do the checklist, then you’ll be prepared.