by: Pat Henry


I have been asked before by friends how I got started with prepping. It seems the concept can be pretty daunting at first for some people. I can understand how it is when you start to think of the literally hundreds of important items that you need to consider for your family. My first list of “needs” took up an entire sheet of paper. On first glance, this undertaking can appear to be a giant behemoth and some people throw their hands up immediately and give in. I have heard excuses from not having enough money to not knowing where to start. While I agree that some prepper items require money (sometimes a lot!) often there are alternatives in to spending a ton of money, but knowing where to start should never be an issue.

The uncertainty of knowing where to begin could stem from the motivation that is driving you toward emergency preparedness. If your desire to be prepared is driven by some external threat that seems real and tangible like living in Tornado Alley, the place to start might be easier to find. If the motivation to be more prepared is due to what I would call common sense; which is telling you to be prepared for anything, the sense of urgency being lower in some cases might make the choices about where to start and what to do more complex.

POLL: Is Common Core indoctrination or education?

In this article, which will broken into a few different parts,  I will try to lay out what I consider is a basic guideline for how to start prepping with a list of areas that I have placed in order of importance. This is just an example of one methodology, but your personal needs, resources or experience might shuffle some of these around. This list was designed for the perspective of the person who is brand spanking new to prepping and is looking for a template of sorts they can follow to get their homes prepared for most emergency situations listed above (within reason). This does not address bugging out but is designed primarily for sheltering in place. My wife loves lists and something like this breaks everything into nice little chunks that is easier to digest and then she can cross off one at a time, so this type of list is designed for people like her.

Step 1 – Priorities

First things first, before you do anything it is important to understand a few things. This is also known as “So you want to be prepared, now what?” For me, it started with a gut feeling for lack of a better word back in 2008. I have said before that I believe someone was trying to get my attention so I started to listen. There was no driving natural threat like earthquakes or hurricanes, wildfires or mudslides that prompted me. I do not worry about the poles shifting too much or aliens attacking from planet Niburu (look that one up) but I did have a sense that society as we know it now is too fragile. Within this fragile society we are dependent upon systems and processes that are created to address the problem of Just in Time inventory management and if those systems break down, so does society. When society breaks down, so do people. When people break down, all hell breaks loose.  As Gerald Celente says; “(when) People Lose Everything, They Have Nothing Left to Lose, And They Lose It.”

The example that gets used pretty frequently is natural disasters so I will stick with that for a moment. Looking back at Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina, the people in both of those situations saw how quickly society could come crashing down. In both Katrina and Sandy, gas shortages, grocery stores wiped clean and looting happened almost overnight. Power outages of course happened right away and within 24 hours people’s lives were turned upside down.

Now, imagine your family and what you would be faced with if you were in a similar situation. But I don’t live anywhere near the ocean you say. OK, now forget about tornadoes earthquakes, fires, nuclear meltdowns, comets with aliens living in them and all of the other natural disasters. What if there is a major fluctuation with the price of gas and the grocery stores are no longer filled by the trucks that drive down the street every day? What if the trucks were rolling, but with the high price of gas, they were only able to come half as often as they were in the past? What if there is a terrorist attack at the port of Los Angeles and shipments are delayed for months? What if there is a stupid basketball game that doesn’t go right and there is rioting on your street? What if the police declare martial law because a bad guy is running around and they prevent you from going out of your house for days or weeks?

The point I am trying to make is that there shouldn’t be one single reason you are preparing for. You should want to be prepared for anything. The chances of any one single event happening to you are too small, but the chance of something happening at all that could disrupt your life is much higher. To understand what you need to be prepared for, think less about the event that could cause disruption and more about the potential for disruption and what you would need to live comfortably through that disruption.

There is a saying called the rule of 3’s and it goes like this. A person can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. We will use these as a guideline for prepping going forward. In some cases, the rule of threes can drive what you need to focus on.

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  • I started with the 2 month menu currently in use and then just estimated amounts and likes. Do not buy store foods as they have a short shelf life, buy what you will eat, buy in season prices, buy for shelf life and can open life, buy and hide smartly. 

  • SO where is the rest of the just sort of ends.....

  • Prepare for the long term or just dig yourself a hole.

  • @Dee, would you please tell us where the link to the site is or add it again!?  Thanks

  • Being Prepared

    Low Tech vs. High Tech

    From: Various Sources. Additional material inserted by

    Bruce A. Forster


         I personally believe that any attempt to improve one’s self-sufficiency is a good thing. Yet, even though technological advancements have improved our lives with such things like better water filters, and more resistant materials like Kevlar, and more efficient heating and cooling methods, and certainly better communications abilities than we have ever had before, it’s easy to come away with the mistaken belief that today’s expensive, high-tech solutions are always superior to the tools and skills of those who came before us.

         Today, many people are living independently of the power grid and because of this they have a number of alternative high-tech luxuries either in place, or planned for everyday life. However, there is a difference between having systems in place to provide for everyday creature comforts, whether traditional or by alternative means, or systems intended as backups to carry us through in times when modern technology is not available.

         Modern technology is wonderful. It’s great to have electricity and a washing machine. Computers are the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. Clean running water: great. Mini-Marts: Wonderful!  But, if all of these things should ever be taken away, I don’t want to be miserable or unable to function in other ways because our taken-for-granted services are down, and I have no backups or alternatives to turn to. This is why I decided to become as prepared as I can possibly be. I also don’t want to be miserable or unable to function because one or more of my high-tech backups have broken down or run out. The most classic and true example is this: The grid goes down. No problem! I have endless amounts of canned food socked away…but only an electric can opener.

         The main point here is this: K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid). The more sophisticated and complex the solution, the less likely it is to work reliably and for a long period of time.  And don’t make the mistake of believing that “simple” is the same thing as “easy”! It is not!!! Using a woodstove during winter is simple. It doesn’t break down, and it doesn’t require electricity. It’s a lot easier to turn up a thermostat to heat your home. But to use a woodstove, you have cut wood, split it into manageable pieces, STACK those pieces out of the weather, start the stove early in the morning, stoke the stove periodically throughout the day, and deal with ash and splinters. It’s not easy- but it is simple.

    High Tech Rambo:

         This stereotype is some wannabe Grizzly Adams whose first solution to any problem is physical, consisting of beating the other person to a pulp. High tech Rambo’s, people the rest of us call technophiles see any problem as an opportunity to invest in the latest most expensive and complicated systems-what the love interest in the James Bond movie Goldeneye referred to as “Boys with Toys”.

         Power’s out? No Problem! He’ll just drop Fifty Grand for a solar array

    20 or so Deep Cycle batteries, maybe add a windmill for good measure, and BINGO! The kitchen light is on and he’s the envy of the block.

        But what if our Rambo’s complicated system fails to function? Can he determine what went wrong and fix it? Does he have any spare parts, or can he hire an expert to solve the issue at his remote location?

         But wait. The low-tech prepared person or the high-tech prepared person with forethought simply lights an oil lamp! See the difference? Keep it simple, stupid!

         Too many high-tech prepared people fail to do anything the old fashioned and time tested way! The more expensive and technical the solution, the better in the mind of the high-tech prepared person. But he’s missing the big picture. Almost without exception, high-tech solutions are complex, need constant maintenance, more-often-than-not by professionals, require proprietary parts and fixtures, and are prone by virtue of their very complexity to breakdowns and other mishaps.

         For the cost of a solar array, or even a good generator, the low-tech prepared person can buy a whole lot of beans, bullets and band aids, not to mention a manual can opener or two.

         Make sure that you have manual, low-tech backup systems available. While the latest high-tech goodies can be wonderful, you must be practical and realistic. Something else you need to think about is that blazing lights and a noisy generator draw attention. If your house is the only one on the block with the lights on, you might just find yourself drawing interest from people other than your neighbors-if you take my meaning.

    Our Low-Tech Ancestors:

         I hold them as the ultimate example which we should emulate. These are the people who built homes and livelihoods out of virgin wilderness with a minimum of hand tools. Sadly, many of their skills as well as their tools have disappeared in our high-tech world. This loss of knowledge is tragic, and could well mean dire consequences for millions of people in the event of a major natural disaster or economic or societal collapse.

         Though not as luxurious, many of the solutions used by our ancestors had the advantage of long-term dependability. If one of their low-tech items broke, they could either fix it or make a new one. But when is the last time you tried to fix or make a solar array, generator, or computer?

         Even chainsaws and log splitters have their limitations, which is why, for long-term preparedness, it’s wise to have the backup of axes, mauls, two-person bucksaws, sharpeners and other tools for providing wood for warmth. But, never forget, having these low-tech tools is only half the battle: You have to know how to use them!

    The Importance of Skills:

         Strangely enough, some of the best people to talk to about low-tech skills are Living History Re-enactors. These people have a passion for a particular time period, i.e. Medieval, Renaissance, Pioneer, Civil War, Mountain Man, etc. They have done extensive research about life during those times. They have intimate knowledge of the skills practiced during those periods.  It is not unusual for re-enactors to learn skills such as blacksmithing, carpentry with old or handmade manual tools, outdoor cooking and baking, hunting and trapping with handmade equipment, tanning leather, making soap, and so on.

         While these re-enactors may not be learning these skills with an eye to being prepared, this base of knowledge still gives them a sense of confidence that they could survive if the lights should ever go out for good.

  • Great post!!

    Passing along this as well: and are a couple of good sites too.

  • The "rule of 3's"  is KEY !  THIS is smooth, valuable, simple to learn, teaching!  I will copy and paste, and share.   --Disabled combat Vietnam Vets do this from a young age, like age 19.....  Store the basics that a man can LIVE on if he HAS TO:   Beans, rice, pure drinking water, hot sauce, and Pace Picante sauce !  Learn to use the Bow, to put some meat on your table too.

  • This is GREAT, guys!

    I TEACH emergency preparedness in the Adventist Church in my community. Your insights, what I have seen of them thus far, are SPOT ON! This has motivated to post some of my own thoughts on this subject. I want everyone on here to understand that I am in competition with NO ONE. I simply want to add my voice to yours in agreement, and maybe contribute to a greater understanding of preparedness in the process.

  • Thanks Pat and Don.  I wish this would receive more coverage, even in the alternative media.

  • I received this last year.

    Lots of good information here

    Subject: Fwd: Trenton Branch Emergency Article

    Pres. Meals gave me his permission to send this to our branch members. Please email Sherry Sherman from- the Emergency Preparedness committee that you received this...thank you! - and please consider sharing it with your families and neighbors! )


    (A friend from Oregon sent this to me beginning with the following words)...
    I'm sending this on to EVERYONE. I'm thankful that I was sent this list so I'll be better prepared. Please read it, and take it to heart. They weren't expecting this to happen to them anymore than we expect it to happen to us.

    Living through Sandy - (hurricane)
    46 things you'll want to know
    by Frantz Ostmann on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:13 am
    1. The excitement and coolness wears off around day 3
    2. You are never really prepared to go weeks without power, heat, water etc. Never!
    3. Yes it can happen to you.
    4. Just because your generator runs like a top, does not mean its producing electricity.
    5. If you do not have water stored up you are in trouble.
    a. A couple of cases of bottled water is “NOT” water storage
    6. Should have as much fuel as water
    a. Propane
    b. Gas
    c. Kerosene
    d. Firewood
    e. Fire starter, (kindling, paper, etc)
    7. Even the smallest little thing that you get from the store should be stocked up.. (spark plug for the generator, BBQ lighter, etc)
    8. If you are not working, chances are nobody else is either.
    9. I was surprised how quickly normal social behavior goes out the window. I am not talking about someone cutting in line at the grocery store.
    a. 3 people were killed at gas stations within 50 miles of my home.
    b. I did not say 3 fights broke out, 3 people were killed.
    10. Cash is king (all the money in your savings means nothing)
    11. Stored water can taste nasty.
    12. You eat a lot more food when you are cold
    13. You need more food than you think if your kids are out of school for 2 weeks
    14. Kids do not like washing their face in cold water.
    15. Your 1972 Honda civic gets to the grocery store as well as your 2012 Escalade… but the Honda allows money left over for heat, food, water, a generator, fire wood, a backup water pump, you get the idea..
    16. The electrical grid is way more fragile than I thought.
    17. Think of the things that are your comfort, your escape, a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of milk and a ding dong before bed, etc. Stock up on those too. You will need that comfort after day 3.
    18. You quickly become the guy in the neighborhood who knows how to wire a generator to the electrical panel, directly wire the furnace to a small generator, or get the well pump up and running on inverter power or you are the guy whose Master’s degree in Accounting suddenly means nothing. (Love you Steve!)
    19. A woman who can cook a fine meal by candle light over the BBQ or open fire is worth her weight in gold. And women, whose weight in gold, would not add up to much, usually die off first. Sorry skinny women.
    20. It takes a lot of firewood to keep a fire going all day and into the evening for heat.
    21. All the food storage in the world means nothing if your kids won’t eat it.
    22. You might be prepared to take care of your children and their needs, but what about when the neighborhood children start to show up at your door?
    23. Some people shut down in an emergency. There is nothing that you can do about that.
    24. Your town, no matter how small is entirely dependent on outside sources of everything.
    a. If supply trucks stop rolling in due to road damage, gas shortages or anything else you could be without for a long time.
    25. In an emergency Men stock up on food, Women stock up on toilet paper.
    26. I was surprised how many things run on electricity!
    27. You can never have enough matches.
    28. Although neighbors can be a great resource, they can also be a huge drain on your emergency storage. You need to know how you are going to handle that. It is really easy to be Bob the guy who shares on Day 3, not so easy on Day 11. This is just reality speaking.
    29. Give a man a fish he eats for that day, teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry again.. Now I get it.
    30. All of the expensive clothes in the closet mean nothing if they don’t keep you warm.
    31. Same goes for shoes… Love you Honey!!!!
    32. You cannot believe the utility companies. They are run by politicians!! Or so it seems,
    33. Anything that you depend on someone else for is not avail anymore.
    34. Quote “A man with a chainsaw that knows how to use it is a thing of beauty” lol
    35. Most folks don’t have any emergency storage. They run to Wal-Mart and get water and batteries and then fill their tubs with water. That is it. A lucky few will get a case of ramen and a box of pop tarts. That will be your neighbors supply. (Especially if you live outside of Utah)
    36. Fathers, all the money you have ever made means nothing if you can’t keep your kids warm.
    37. Mothers, everything you have ever done for your kids is forgotten if your kids are hungry.
    38. You really do not want to be the “Unprepared Parents” The kids turn on you pretty quick.
    39. Small solar charging gadgets will keep you in touch. Most work pretty well it seems.
    40. Most things don’t take much power to operate.
    a. Computers,
    b. Phones
    c. Radios
    d. TV
    e. lights
    41. Some things take a ton of power to operate.
    a. Fridge
    b. Toaster
    c. Freezer
    d. Hot plate
    e. Microwave
    42. When it gets dark at 4:30 pm the nights are really long without power.
    43. Getting out of the house is very important, even if it is cold outside. Make your home the semi warm place to come home to, and not the cold prison that you are stuck in.
    44. Someone in your family must play or learn to play guitar.
    45. Things that disappeared never to be seen again for a very long time.
    a. Fuel, of all kinds
    b. Matches, lighters of any kind etc.
    c. Toilet paper
    d. Paper plates, plastic forks and knives
    e. Batteries, didn’t really see a need for them. (How about flashlights??? I guess)
    f. Milk
    g. Charcoal
    h. Spark plugs (generators)
    i. 2 stroke motor oil, (chainsaws)
    j. Anything that could be used to wire a generator to the house.
    k. Extension cords
    l. Medicines (Tylenol, Advil, cold medicine etc)
    46. There was a strange peace to knowing all I had to do each day was keep my family safe, warm, and fed, but my peace was someone else’s panic.

    There were also many things that were not learned from hurricane Sandy, but reinforced. Those things were the importance of my family and their love and support, especially my lovely wife, that my Heavenly Father is really in charge, period, and finally that I am very thankful for the upbringing and experiences that have taught me and brought me to where I am .. Wherever that is…lol God Bless!!!
    (This is a very interesting article from someone involved in the experience! Please email Sherry that you received this...THANKS!)
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