Whether you are planning for hurricanes, global financial breakdown, or the zombie apocalypse, you’re chances of survival will only be as good as the effort you put into planning BEFORE things go bad. If you wait until shit hits the fan (or SHTF) you’ll be looking at a store full of empty shelves or crowds of angry, hungry people waiting for the government to step up (and anyone who remembers how long it took for them to respond to the Superdome knows that could be a LONG wait). Trust me, neither of those area a good option.
Prepping doesn’t have to be over whelming, all consuming, or expensive. I know that it can feel like all three of those things when you get started, but that’s where having a plan really comes in handy. It makes it possible to break down your goals into more manageable pieces, and gives you a sense of control (which I am a big fan of). There are about a million plans/lists/sites on the internet for ideas. Even the CDC has their own Zombie Plan!! Any of these are a good place to start, but remember this is just a start. Everyone’s situation is unique as are your needs and starting place!
So where exactly should you start when working on your very own Zombie Plan? Well, start by looking around your house. Do you camp? Hike? Do any sort of canning or gardening? Then you are in a good place. Take inventory of the items you already have for those activities. Know where they are and what condition they are in, know what needs to be replaced or what you would like to upgrade. I have a notebook that I use to keep track of everything. Start an excel spreadsheet if you want, or a google doc. I prefer a notebook because when things go bad I don’t want to worry about internet connections or battery life. Sometimes having a good old fashion list is the safest bet! You’re first priority should be the big three… Food..Water…Shelter. Figure out what you have in those areas and go from there.
Everyone in your family (don’t forget about the furbabies) will need one gallon of water per day minimum. You can go for about 3 weeks without food (not saying it would be fun, but you’d survive) but water is a different story. People have survived up to a week without it, but most experts agree you can’t go more than 3 or 4 days, less if you are someplace very warm, in direct sunlight, or exerting a lot of energy. So securing a clean source of water is the most important thing you can do. Stock up on water, bottled water is fine, technically water never expires, but the chemicals in the plastic bottles will start to break down after time. Plus who wants to lug around a million plastic water bottles? I like these options for water storage: perfect for on the go, shelter in place option, best of both worlds. But find what works best for you and your family, and if you see cases of bottled water on sale it wouldn’t hurt to pick some up!! Also, put a hose in your basement, if you have to shelter in place and have a hot water tank you have a good source of clean water just sitting there! You also will need a way to make sure water you have is safe. Check out this CDC poster for how to make safe water with bleach, or boiling the water can ensure you’re family has safe, potable water!
Next, food…Really this is a two part problem. You need to have food available, and also a way to prepare it! There are tons of options out there for freeze dried foods you can buy in bulk, or if you have a military connection MRE’s are something a lot of hard core preppers will use. But in my opinion, if you don’t use it/eat it when things are fine, why would you do it in an emergency? Stick with easy to use/cook options like rice or pasta, filling and versatile and don’t require a lot of prep. Propane stoves are a great option for cooking with if you’re power is out and you can usually pick them up for pretty cheap. Especially at the end of summer when all the camping stuff is on sale! If you are sheltering in place canned goods will be a good friend! You can can meat, veggies, potatoes, soups, stews. All kinds of things! Ready to eat, nutritious and delicious! Big win! Don’t forget about spices. Bad enough if you have no power, or are worrying about zombies AND have to eat bland food! There are all kinds of cute/fun ideas for getting a good selection of spices into your go-bag. You can get fancy, or keep it simple and use empty tic tac containers! I bought a couple disposable salt and pepper shakers from the dollar store, added some minced garlic and onion powder and was good. But I don’t really mind bland food. Dustin’s go-bag has a few more spicy options for him! We don’t really buy a lot of processed foods so there aren’t any energy bars (processed crap bars as I call them) but we each have a jar of peanut butter, a couple homemade oatmeal packets and a pound of pasta each in our bags. We also bought up a bunch of drink mixes when they were on sale. These are great for making the bland distilled water taste better, and give you a good sugar boost if you need it!
Last of the big three, shelter! Obviously if you are sheltering in place you’re main concern will be staying safe. If your emergency situation is brought on by natural disaster make sure to listen to emergency radio and evacuate if you are safe to do so! If your disaster is brought on by zombies, make sure you can secure you’re home from the shambling hordes! This is up to each family, for us we prefer to know we have protection from the un-dead and the criminal without having to wait for the police. We have both gone through concealed carry classes and have our own pistols. This is the right choice for us and we both feel comfortable with our level of experience/knowledge of safe gun handling and I would NEVER recommend bringing a gun into your house unless you have that level of knowledge. If you are in Michigan I highly recommend Tactical Advantage Firearms Training! That is where we did our class and Matt is an awesome instructor!
If you are having to leave your home, basic shelter will be extremely important, especially depending on the weather conditions. This is where your camping gear comes in handy! We have it all packed in a tote in the garage. Tent, tarp, sleeping pads, tripod for cooking on, etc. Easy to throw in the car on our way out (be sure to assign that to someone on your plan!). Also, know where you’re family will meet if things go bad when you’re not at home (keep a emergency kit in each car) and have a good, safe, secure location where you can meet, or go to in an emergency. We’re extremely lucky to have land up north and when the zombies come you can bet that’s where we are heading! Check with your local Red Cross for information on how to find out about shelters or evacuation information for you’re area!
Those are the big three. Food, water, shelter. Without those three nothing else really matters. But as in all things related to prepping, the most important thing you need is knowledge. Learn how to pitch your tent, try cooking on a propane stove, really really really learn about proper water purification BEFORE you need to use it!! If you want to learn more about prepping check out some of these books on amazon: for beginners, family preparedness, 72 hour kit, I have filled my kindle with so many of them! And actually read them, you really won’t want to have to hope you’re kindle is charged and ready to go as you’re trying to figure out how to survive!
Next time I’ll be talking more specifics about the 72 hour kits we have ready to go, and our responsibilities list for when things go bad! What have you done to get your family and home ready for an emergency? What are you most curious about learning?