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The Disaster Prepper’s Guide to Disaster Readiness

Posted by on December 11, 2019 in Environment, Preparedness with 0 Comments

Part 1: The Disaster Prepper's Guide to Disaster Readiness

I know you’ve watched at least one episode of Doomsday Preppers and thought to yourself, “These people are insane. The world isn’t going to suddenly fall into epic chaos. And even if it did, I’d just go straight to Costco.” Am I right? Maybe that’s just me. But there have definitely been moments in my life, since watching that show, when chaos has struck and I couldn’t think straight long enough to plan my route to that mega store. Much less, survive the pandemonium that would ensue after “Doomsday.”

One of those events was the 2017 fires in Ventura, CA, less than a quarter mile from my home. I sat on my bed trying, desperately, to remember what those crazies had said was the first thing you should do and what things were most important to grab. I ended up with a duffle bag stuffed with random clothes that didn’t match, a loaf of bread, a pack of lunch meat, a few books (in case I got bored), my entire lock box with important docs (who has time to take all that stuff out??), and a water bottle (with nothing in it).

If you’re a prepper and you’re reading this, I know I let you down. I’m sorry. I should’ve watched the show more closely. I should’ve believed you. So here’s my chance to make it up to you. Below is a very concise guide to disaster readiness that would make any prepper proud.

Before we get into the guide, though, let me give you a few basics to keep in mind. The following guide is for individuals, families, and places of business. Wherever there are people, there is a need for disaster prep. Also, there are a million prep guides out there that are going to contradict one another. That can become confusing. And if you’re suddenly feeling very serious about preparing yourself, your family or your business for disaster, you might find yourself stressing over the differences. Don’t. This disaster guide is going to prepare you for 80% of all disasters, which is probably 80% more prepared than you were before, and that other 20% is for the least likely disasters actually coming to fruition.

  • Finances and insurance policies. The best first step (before you begin to prepare for the actual disaster situation), is to make sure you’re set for AFTER the aftermath.If you haven’t already, start saving a few dollars every paycheck. Also, make sure your renters/homeowners insurance is up-to-date and that you have copies of the policies in a safe place.
  • Be conscious of cost and importance of the items you’re purchasing. Don’t go broke in your everyday life trying to prep for something that “might” happen. To save money, buy things one at a time, in order of importance. Should a disaster hit, it’s better to be halfway prepared with the things that are absolutely necessary (like water and food) than to have things that are useless to your basic needs (like a machete and 20 gallons of body wash).
  • Don’t skimp. Because you’re trying to be cost-conscious, it might be tempting to cut corners. Most “Doomsday” preppers will recommend that you have 3 categories of prep (home, “I’m never coming home,” “I’m trying to get home”). You’ll need to purchase some of the same items for each. Don’t assume that just one of that item will suffice or that you’ll have the opportunity to go grab it from your car in the instance that one of the other two categories happens.
  • 2 weeks. Outdated prep disaster guides (even Ready.com) will recommend that you prep for only 72 hours, but even the most novice prepper would recommend that you prep for 2 weeks. And more recently, the Red Cross has updated its recommendations to prepare for a “3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home.”=

Now that we’ve covered those 4 basics for pre-preparation, read “Part 2: The Disaster Prepper's Guide to Disaster Readiness” for the nitty gritty of “Doomsday” prepping. I’ll cover all the items and things to consider as you prepare yourself or your business to make it through even the craziest disaster.

Part 2: The Disaster Prepper's Guide to Disaster Readiness

As a kid, you attended all of the disaster drills and your parents sent you to school with snacks (read as “non-perishables”) and water and things you knew you’d never get to eat or use. But now you’re an adult. Let this guide help you kill it in the game of #adulting. Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.

When I first began researching this topic, I thought that “prepping” was for things like earthquakes and hurricanes and the zombie apocalypse. I hadn’t considered that prepping was also for unexpected costs or sudden unemployment. Preparing yourself financially, as well as having a plan in place to save money, will put you at the top of your game in #adulting.

Prep, Step 1: There’s no place like home.

Follow the tips below to prepare your home and I’ll make sure you’re never as caught off guard as Dorothy was in that tornado.

Stock up on these things in this order (order of importance):

  • Water – for a 2 week period, each person you’re providing for needs 15 gallons.
  • Food – non-perishable (like the stuff your mom sent you to school with, but not just granola bars… think, freeze-dried camping meals).
  • Fire – matches, firestarter, lighter…calm down, ya pyromaniac, this is just in case.
  • Light – flashlight, candles, lanterns (so you can feel like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark)
  • Heat – blankets/survival blankets, propane heaters, and ya know… clothes.
  • First aid, medication – not your basic first aid kit… also have a list of the pharmaceutical names for all of your medications
  • Hygienics – camp soap, wipes, and hand sanitizer will go a long way in a disaster scenario.
  • Communicationtwo-way radio, whistle, extra phone chargers, flare gun, pigeon.
  • Cash – you know all the change you’ve been saving in that jar? Go to your nearest coin exchange and turn it into singles. Also, keep saving.
  • Important docs – birth certificate, passport, copies of car registration, insurance policy, house deed, etc.
  • Tools – gloves, wrench for appliances or things that need to be turned off, axe, zip ties, duct tape, sewing kit, etc.
  • Protection/self-defense – guns and ammo, plus, take a couple classes so that you have some moves in your back pocket, in case SHTF (sh*t hits the fan).

As an extra precaution, don’t forget to stock up on things like batteries for the flashlight, propane for the heater, and portable water filters (in case you run out of water and need to use a natural or untested source).

Prep, Step 2: (Cue Dora) Backpack! Backpack!”

The typical prepper keeps 3 separate backpacks ready, for 3 different scenarios (mentioned in Part 1, under “Don’t skimp.”). These backpacks are intended for scenarios where you need to leave the safety of your home. They will contain all of the above materials, divided into each bag, by priority. Size and weight matter. Put as many of the things from the first part of the list into Bag #1, paying special attention to how much it weighs. You need to be able to take this ONE bag in an emergency that leaves you little time to choose between the 3. Bag #2 will be filled with the middle items. Bag #3 will contain the last few items.

Each bag will be decided on in the event that there is a disaster, depending on how much time you have and how many people there are to carry them. Also remember, you may get them all into the car and then need to abandon your car. In that case, you would reevaluate how much time you have to grab them, how far you’ll need to carry the backpacks, and how many people are present to help carry them.

Prep, Step 3: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.

Both Step 1 and Step 2 assume that you’ll be at home when disaster strikes. This step is in preparation for the events when you’re trying to get home during a disaster or when you’re out in the world and you’re in a bind. You’ll usually need the items in these bags at the ready, pretty quickly.

The “Get Home Bag” (or GHB) is a version of Bag #1 from above, plus a few things that are car specific. Things like: window-breaker and seatbelt-cutter, flare kit, jumper cables, wrenches, tire patch kit, foldable shovel, mini fire extinguisher, and kitty litter for winter traction. If you don’t happen to have a car, stash this backpack in a locker or at your desk at work, minus the car specific items.

The other kind of bag is your “Everyday Carry” bag (or EDC). The items in this bag are meant to help in everyday emergencies (i.e. being mugged, a car accident, a power outage, etc.).This bag contains fewer items than any of the others and should typically be carried on your person:

  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Light
  • Fire
  • Paracord
  • Personal medications
  • Laminated card in your purse or wallet with emergency info
  • Concealed carry pistol (along with a pistol case) or non-lethal options such as pepper spray

Practice Makes Prepared

 Anyone can claim that they’re a prepper, but only the most thoroughly invested person actually is one. Understanding that planning, preparation, and practice are all key components of disaster readiness is most important when you begin your pre-prepping efforts. The good news is, you don’t have to believe in the zombie apocalypse or believe that a huge tidal wave is going to wipe out the entire coast to prepare yourself for a crazy scenario. As I’m sure you’ve heard, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Author Bio:

Megan Glenn is a brand consultant and content blogger who loves words, but loves a good story even more. Telling stories through branding is her favorite and thesaurus is her best friend. She obtained a degree in Interpersonal Communication so that she could learn the depth of personal, business, and communal relationships… but also so she could psychoanalyze herself and the people she is connected to. She is a lifelong learner and thus, loves using research as part of her writing and consulting. She specializes in branding for female-owned startups and in her free time she writes and performs slam poetry.

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