Happy New Year.
Like many, you probably have a list of resolutions underway like "Quit Smoking", "Pay off Credit Card" and so on.
But there is a good chance you also were bothered by the state of the world and thought, "I need to do something and this is the time to get started". Good for you.
The first thing people do when they are want to get prepared is go on the internet and search for "prepare for disaster, survivalism" or something similar. The problem is the glut of information. Its overwhelming. Should one prepare for nuclear war or famine or civil disorder? Preps for one month, six months, a year or a lifetime? Should one bug out or stay in? Its a lot to consider.
The best thing to do is step back and prepare for what you can. Also, start with the broadest solution rather than the smallest possibility. Here are some suggestions to get started.
Food - I don't care what the scenario, if you don't have food, nothing else matters. Food is easy. But securing a one year supply of food seems impossible. There are three ways to get started.
1. Go the grocery store and buy double what you normally eat and use. Four cans of tuna instead of two. Two packages of spaghetti noodles instead of one and so on. One trip and you have an extra week's supply of staples. Do this for a month and you have two. Just remember to rotate the oldest to the newest and don't eat all your preps without replacing them.
You can improve on this by also buying shelf stable (does not require refrigeration) alternatives to perishable foods. Canned meat and vegetables for fresh for instance.
2. Go the warehouse store or a food wholesaler and buy several months of food at one time. Cases of canned vegetables, fruit, meat, powdered milk, etc. It will cost more than a few cans a week, but one can quickly get a three month supply of basics put away right now. Don't forget to get staples like flour, sugar and cooking oil.
3. Leave the hard part to someone else. Go to the Nitro Pak link on the right or the Mountain House link at the bottom of the article and purchase a one, six month or one year supply of long term storage food. All you have to do is put it away. Yes, the cost is more, but the peace of mind of having a one year supply of food with a twenty year or better shelf life is incredible.
Water - No water means no life. One gallone minimum per person per day for drinking and cooling. Cleaning means adding another gallon per person per day.
1. Get some two liter soda bottles, clean them and fill with water and one dropper of bleach. Put them in the closet or pantry. Do two or three a week and in about a year you will have enough for a family of four for a few weeks. Takes a while.
2. Better is to get several large 5, 10 or 55 gallon drums from one Nitro Pak, fill and put in the garage or basement. Yes, they are heavy, but having enough water is a good thing.
3. Plumb a well on the property if possible. Or get several large rain barrels, bleach, a heat source and collect water for filtering. Or put in a cistern to collect rain water. Same idea and a better long term solution.
Protection - In a SHTF situation, all the above food and water will make you a rich person. If you can't protect it, someone will take it from you and probably will hurt you and your family in the process.
1. Get a shotgun, 12 or 20 guage. A pump is better, but a single shot breakdown is better than no gun at all. Get at least 250 rounds for your new shotgun.
2. Get a rifle. .22 is a good starter, but move to something with some more hitting power as soon as possible. .223, the same caliber used in the military's M16 and M4 rifles is nice, but the stopping power is dubious in some cases. Go for something in a 30 caliber, .308 for instance, if doable. A 30.06 is also good as the caliber is common. Get at least 500 rounds of ammuntion for any rifle.
3. Get a handgun. For trip away from home where stealth and a low profile are required, a handgun is the way to go. A minimum of .38 is required. However, due to their popularity and thus, availability of ammunition, a 9mm or .40 caliber is preferrable. For stopping power, the .45 cannot be beat. Again, at least 500 rounds of ammo for any handgun.
Get some real currency - Dollars may lose their value in the post-SHTF world. What is a good substitute? Junk silver coins and gold are nice. But get some trading tangibles. Extra fuel, hygeiene products, food, growing supplies, anything tradable which someone else might want and is willing to give you something valuable in return.
That includes skills. Think about it.
OK. Food, water, protection, currency. Get started in those four simple areas right now. Those suggestions will prepare most for 90% of the problems out there. But there is more to cover later.. Until then.