Story and photographs by John Wood
Do you recall how you became interested in prepping? Was it a personal experience from a localized disaster that you were not prepared for, or perhaps watching a catastrophic event on television? Maybe you fear the economic crisis in Greece or exodus of thousands of people from troubled countries who might reach the shores of America? Maybe it was triggered by a stock market shutdown due to a computer glitch?
Whatever the reason or motivation that started you into prepping, the good news is these are all issues you are thinking about. You might be eager to carry this concern forward to the next logical phase. Here are some initial planning steps to get you pointed in the right direction.
If you wanted to learn how to change the oil in your car, shoot a gun or know how to do yoga, what would you do first? You might buy a book on the subject, look up information on the Internet, watch a YouTube video or possibly sign up for a class to learn how-to, firsthand.
These are all reasonable approaches, but the core element here is to learn. This is the first step with prepping, too. It can be accomplished in a host of ways, including tasks as simple as visiting the local library or bookstore. Maybe it would help to seek out a few survivalist Internet sites like Alloutdoor.com or SurvivalCache.com. These sources can open many doors to education and planning.
Knowing what to do first, then second and so forth is crucial, because with prepping you really cannot afford to make too many mistakes. Also know that prepping is a lifelong learning process.
Get a big notebook! In this prepping journal you will want to start jotting down copious thoughts,
ideas, concepts, basic planning lists, evaluation of gear or prepping assets, to-buy gear lists, and a rudimentary budget to carry it all out over time. While prepping is an expedient activity, hopefully the disaster won’t happen tomorrow. Unfortunately, it might be next week.
Start by asking yourself basic questions that relate to your situation: What kinds of problems are you likely to encounter? Will you bug in or out, meaning will you stay put in your fortress or take off? If you leave home, where will you go, and what will you need to take with you?
These kinds of thoughts help to get the mental juices flowing and face the realities of prepping.
[su_note note_color=”#de5900″ text_color=”#ffffff” radius=”2″] In your journal start with topic or headline pages. These might include: [su_row] [su_column size=”1/2″]
1. bug-in and/or bug-out plans
3. transportation routes
4. water and food resources
5. medical issues and first-aid supplies
6. self-defense [/su_column]
7. family security
8. weapons, ammo and supplies
10. hardware and tools
11. vehicle readiness
12. skill attainment and execution.
As you can imagine, these lists can become endless the more you consider the possibilities. Keep learning and keep planning.[/su_note]
You may be an experienced outdoors person or have completed Delta Force training in the Army, which certainly would have provided some background skills, but more than likely you’re an accountant, an elementary school teacher or mechanic at the local garage. You need to assess the skills you possess and those of your team, which can include family, friends or like-minded individuals. Everyone has a role. This will help you determine what other skills you need to acquire.
Can you shoot firearms and reload them without blinking? Can you put up a tent in a windstormor light a campfire in a downpour? Can you pry open a can of beans without a can opener? Do you know how to set a broken bone or sew up a deep laceration? Can you find your campsite in the pitch dark? What happens when the power and water goes off at home? Just think of the scenarios you might face during a severe event like a tornado, forest fire or widespread economic collapse.
Begin to seek out local sources for skills training. Look at potential courses taught at local community colleges, or outdoors groups. Look on bulletin boards at supplier stores to see if related events are scheduled. You will likely be surprised at all of the prepper activities going on right in your own hometown. Avail yourself to as many of these training opportunities as you can. Send one person, then execute train-the-trainer.
Now comes the fun part. What stuff do you need to prep? First, look at what you already have. Undoubtedly you will find a ton of stuff suitable for a bug-out or stay-home plan. This could include kitchen utensils, sleeping bags or blankets, camping gear (tents, stoves, lanterns, etc.), a hunting shotgun or rifle, backpacks or tote bags, extra sets of suitable clothing, shoes
Don’t discard or discount anything. An extra bicycle could be used to pedal around your bug-out camp. Those plastic storage boxes can be used to collect emergency gear for a grab and go. Pack up some extra personal hygiene products, first-aid supplies, hardware, garden tools, make up a mechanics tool box, save that old battery-powered radio, those sports binoculars and fold-out chairs. Any of these kinds of things can be used to set up a bug-out camp elsewhere.
Prepping is a process, and not something you can accomplish overnight. You have to take small bites, but chew thoroughly. Practice with your gear ahead of time. Forever add to your journal pages, revise them and replan accordingly. Study, plan, learn, train and execute are all the means to becoming a proficient prepper. It all starts with that
first step. ASJ