How to Prepare your Family for National Emergencies and Survival at Home – A Quick Overview
The whole issue of “prepping” has taken on a massive and unstoppable life of its own over the past decade through many countries, but especially in those countries whose economy can support families who have the financial ability to prepare for a catastrophic event or prolonged situation or hardship. It could be something like an attack on a country by a hostile outside force, or perhaps, a virus that spreads internationally, or any one of dozens of other scenarios.
I’ve been interested and aware of prepping for years and I’ve done quite a bit myself, but I also realize there is a limit. A limit to my finances, to my time, to my patience, to my ability to provide the perfect defensive scenario at my house, and a limit to my own desire to let “prepping” dominate my thoughts 24/7.
Wouldn’t it be good to be able to prepare for an economic or other downturn in our standard of living, and be able to weather a storm that cuts our electricity, food supply, water and sewage as well as all current standard modes of communication? Well, that’s my goal in this article. It’s a quick introduction to the idea of being “reasonably” prepared without obsessing about the end of the world or spending all your time and life savings trying to get ready.
Of course, we’ll be mostly concerned with what is “reasonable” which means we won’t tell you to do stuff you likely won’t be able to do like get a 50-acre property in Montana, Alaska or New Mexico with a security perimeter and automatic ballistic defenses and a small militia to defend against looters.
We WILL be talking about an average Joe living in Suburbia, USA with 1-2 kids and a wife, who has maybe $10K at most to spend on some things that will give him and his family peace of mind to survive weeks or more beyond any “normal” person who was totally unprepared and relied only on grocery stores and other well-stocked retail outlets for their daily needs. Don’t be that guy!!
Unfortunately, I won’t be getting into the details of how to prepare for special needs like medical oxygen tanks or various pharmaceuticals, etc. I’ll leave that to you and I may cover that in another article in the near future.
Setting the Stage
For now, we’ll talk mostly about how to do a “low-level” prep which includes being prepared with enough food in the short term, a sustainable food source for the longer term, some power generation (though not like having full power to your home) and some protection in case of curious “neighbors” who may not have your best interests in mind (I hope you don’t have any of those!!).
There are gaps in our prep scenario like what to do if ALL power is cut to your home and you have no water source and you live in Alaska and it’s Winter, etc.
These are scenarios that are a little more in-depth, but for now, let’s keep it basic!
With that in mind, if you’re new to prepping and want to get ready quickly, efficiently and relatively cost-effectively, read on and I know you’ll be enlightened!
For starters I would order the Augason Farms Deluxe 4-Person One Year Kit (there is a 1-person option as well) – the $5,000 price tag (remember it’s for 4 people for 12 months and it has a 30-year shelf life – I call that excellent anti-starving “insurance”) might seem like a lot at first glance, but considering this package will provide 1324 calories per day per person, with a 30-year self-life it’s really a pretty good bargain, especially for those wanting to get prepared NOW.
Another Great option aside from Augason is the Wise Company Long Term Emergency Freeze-Dried Food Supply
The Augason Farms products make up the bulk of my long-term food storage and I can attest to the quality and taste of their products, the Honey Coated Banana Slices are absolutely delicious!
I would then order four of the Augason Farms Quick Rolled Oats (remember, oats are just as good or better without heating – just soak for 2-10 hours in water), then I would top it all of with eight gallons of cooking oil (store it frozen and it will last a long time), 20 pounds of salt. Sure, some salt is included with the Augason Farms Kit above, but salt is cheap and has so many uses you can’t have too much.
Add another 35 pounds of sugar, and an extra two buckets of Augason Farms Country Fresh 100% Real Instant Nonfat Dry Milk in the 14-pound buckets with a 20-year shelf-life. Then I would add an assortment of herbs and spices for cooking and about 10 pounds of assorted hard candies for threats for the kids (and yourself).
I would also add 12 large jars of peanut butter, and if you’re good with eating lots of meat, add 24 cans of SPAM and 12 canned hams.
If you drink coffee be sure to add that in the amounts you normally consume over a 12 month period. And don’t forget multivitamins and extra vitamin C.
On a more personal note, my family and I really appreciate natural, plant-based whole foods that God gave us directly from the earth and that our bodies REALLY appreciate. Ham and SPAM are not a part of our family routine, but may suffice in an emergency. If you’re like us, you’ll want to take advantage of a food dehydrator to prepare the apples you grow in your home-made mini-orchard. We have 5 young apple trees (about as tall as I am) which give us about 3 large bushels of apples on good years, so that will go a long way towards preparing healthy, long-term storable foods for your family.
Total cost around $5,500 dollars for a family of four.
If I had no firearms now (get training) I would buy a Mossberg 500 Combo package and 100 rounds of 00 buckshot, 50 rifled slugs and 200 birdshot (preferably #6 shot), then I would buy a Ruger 10/22, 1,000 rounds of .22 ammo and five of the Ruger factory 25 round BX 25 magazines.
Total Cost around $750
Water Purification and storage
I would store as much tap-water as possible (limited by space) in every suitable (but free) container that I could find. Glass demijohns are the best, but they’re prone to breaking and are not nearly as durable as plastic. Plastic containers made for water storage are your best emergency option unless you have lots of safe storage – then stick with glass for the sake of your health and well-being. I would order a wine-making demijohn (carboy) or an API Kirk Containers – 5 Gallon Samson Stackers. They’re BPA-free and FDA compliant.
A LIFESTRAW is another filter we ALWAYS have on hand in our house!
Total Cost Around $350
Even if your property is not large (like a city lot), if possible, I would find the best place (most level, sun exposure, and best soil) and have the largest area that I could work tilled and add as much free organic matter that I could get, check with any local large production chicken, horse or dairy farmers in your area, most of the time they will give you all of the manure that you need if you’ll haul it away. You could also contact a local tree service and ask for their wood chips which are excellent for keeping weeds at bay and adding to the compost of your soil over time.
Spread this on your newly tilled garden plot and work the land again. Now cover this all with about six inches of straw (and then wood chips if you have them) and throw some old lumber on top to keep the straw in place. Leave it to compost in the ground over the fall, winter and into spring. When it’s time to plant in late spring, till it all up (including the straw) again and plant.
I would plant fruit and nut trees everywhere that I have space on my property, and learn how to basically care for them in your growing region. I know that in my region of the Great Lakes, I have to spray my trees with dormant oil (to kill wintering insects that will otherwise totally destroy the fruit before it matures).
If I did not already have gardening tools on hand, I would get a good quality shovel, hoe, and a bow rake, spading fork, a big box of Miracle-Gro all-purpose plant food and a copy of Gardening When it Counts.
Then I would build a small chicken coop from mostly scrounged building material and buy 4-8 six-month to one-year-old chickens or ducks. Then I would build rabbit hutches along one of the sidewalls of the coop and buy two does and one buck for breeding stock. If you’re not a huge carnivore, then you can skip the rabbit breeding.
Of course, if you don’t want to bother with chickens or rabbits until you need them, you may have to play a bit of a game of chance by waiting until the emergency draws closer before buying them.
Food for the animals can be either purchased chicken food (it can last in storage for years if it’s perfectly dry) and/or leftover scraps from your fruit trees.
Total Cost Under $650
It makes sense that in an emergency that would make you eat prep food and grow your own fruit, you’re probably not going to have full electrical power, if any at all.
I can’t tell you how much power you’ll need since we all live differently. I know my dad doesn’t need any power! He loves camping with only his knife, a tent and a fire (though he needs wood!), while others of us will need to make sure our CPAP machine is working well every day! Here’s a basic electrical setup that will help alleviate at least some really basic issues.
I would order a Renogy 200 watt solar panel kit, panel mount, and marine battery, solar 11-in-1 battery charger, rechargeable batteries, and a gas-powered portable generator. Then I would get five-5 gallon fuel cans and fill with gasoline, add STA-BIL fuel stabilizer, then rotate every year.
Total Cost Around $800
Random – But Necessary Items!
Two hundred and sixty-five rolls of toilet paper, (more if you have room), 24 tubes of toothpaste, 20 toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products (ladies you know how much you’ll need for a year – I stay as far away as possible during that time), 24 bars of soap for bathing, 24 56 FL OZ bottles of dish-washing liquid, (can also be used for hand-washing of clothing.
A good first-aid medical kit (get training if you need it and include any personal medications), download free copies of Where There is No Doctor and Where There is No Dentist and print them to paper or just buy copies from amazon.com.
Personally, I’ve had a dental tool kit I picked up from Amazon about 10 years ago and I use it on my kids to this day! It saves us hundreds of dollars annually and I can do the job as well as a hygienist. I know this because I’ve watched them work on my kids in detail a number of times over the years, but I take over about 75% of the time they technically should go to the dentist!
Then while on Amazon, I would order a survival stove (uses wood chips), and a regular propane stove since it’s not hard to stock up on propane typically. I would also grab a Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 Digital Solar/Dynamo AM/FM/LW/SW & NOAA Weather Emergency Radio and two sets of Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios for family communications when separated from family members.
Cold weather sleeping bags for every family member. This, of course, depends on where you live, but I’d say for just about anyone in North America (even in the Florida Everglades) it’s better to have a thicker, warmer blanket or sleeping bag instead of a thin one.
Total Cost Around $900
As you get more money put in a wood stove if possible, or at the least a propane wall heater and enough propane to last through a rough winter. Having both a wood-stove and propane is a better and more flexible solution.
Then add a good handgun or two (I suggest the Glock model 19 and a Browning Buckmark) extra magazines and ammo. Then look into buying a center-fire rifle, this can be something like an AR-15 or even a 30.30 lever action.
And get all of the training possible. Not only firearms training but, medical, gardening, sewing, etc. you can never know too much that is for sure!! It’s also never a bad idea to further your education specifically in prepping for emergencies, so grab yourself a VERY inexpensive book HERE! We love it!
So there you have it, folks – how to get a family of 2-4 quickly prepped to survive for a period of one year or longer – in the easiest way possible… and at a total cost of under $10,000 (approximately)…
This article is not an exhaustive outline of everything you should do, and it assumes you’ll be able to live in your own house without constant attacks from marauding bands of thieves (I’m sure you’ve seen the post-apocalyptic movies!) and that we don’t have a nuclear cloud destroying everything in sight. It’s merely a quick primer to get you thinking about the mid-long term survivability of your family in the midst of an epidemic that keeps store shelves empty and you at home!