Wednesday, March 11, 2015

30 Five Minutes Prep You Can Do Today

     So often we look at prepping as a large scale ongoing project, and it is, but it doesn't mean that it has to take up a large amount of time.  These are thirty preps that you can do in five minutes or less to get you on the path towards being better prepared for whatever may come.


1. Purchasing a prepping notebook or binder.  Having a place to keep track of notes, emergency plans and information that you collect on prepping should be an essential part of your preparations.

2. Wash out empty juice or milk jugs with a bit of bleach, and then fill with water for an emergency. Make sure to date them so you can rotate them on an annual basis.

3. Place flashlights with batteries in every room in your house.  That way if the lights go out, no matter where you are in your home you will be able to get some light so you can find your way around and prevent painful stubbed toes.

4. Talk to family members about where to meet during or after a disaster.  A family meeting spot is one of the essential firsts to a disaster plan.

5. Chose an out of state contact person that is willing to be a relay point for information after a disaster if necessary.  Local phone lines may be overwhelmed during an emergency, but calls to non local numbers can still get through.  This way you should still be able to relay information between yourself and your family if you are separated during a disaster.

6. Introduce yourself to a neighbor you have not met. Exchange emergency telephone numbers.  You never know when you or someone else might need help, and having back up right next door could make all the difference.  You never know, you may make a friend with a fellow prepper as well.

7. Purchase a manual can opener.  When the power goes out, all the canned food you have stored up isn't going to do you any good if you can't open it.

8. Fill empty milk jugs or other plastic container with water and store them in your freezer. The frozen jugs will keep your food colder for longer in the event of a power outage.  This neat trick could mean the difference between losing all the food in your freezer, and being able to make it safely through a power outage without everything spoiling.

9.  Print out the food safety charts at  They give you a guide to how long you can store different items, as well as charts on how to thaw and cook certain foods, to help you avoid food poisoning.

10. Mark your calendar for one year from now so you remember to rotate canned goods out of storage.  The best storage system uses a rotation system so that you are using up your oldest supplies first, so that everything can be used before it spoils.

11. Purchase extra canned goods each time you visit the grocery store.  It is as simple as picking up an extra can of beans or soup and making sure it goes in the pantry.  If you do this every time you shop, you will have a full prepping pantry before you know it.

12. Locate your utility shutoff valves and review the instructions for turning them off. Make sure there is a shut off tool if needed by the door nearest to them.  There is nothing worse than a broken gas line or a burst water pipe, and you have no idea how or where to turn it off.

13. Test your smoke alarms.  They can't save your life if they aren't working.

14. Make a list of all your prescription drugs along with dosages and keep the list in your emergency kit.  This way in the event of a disaster, you know what prescriptions you need, and how much.

15. Take digital photos of each room in your house. Take five minutes for each room and do your best to capture as much as you can. This will facilitate any after the fact insurance claims.

16. Write down your insurance policy numbers and your agent's phone number and put them in your wallet and in your emergency kit.  You can also put together a list of emergency phone numbers of friends and family to contact in the event of a disaster as well.

17. Add $1 a week to your emergency cash fund. If you can afford it, add $5 per week.

18. Make digital copies of your important documents and store them on a flash drive.  Paper documents can too easily be lost through fire, water or other disasters.

19. Make an off site backup of data on your computer hard drive.  Then make sure you give it to a friend or family member.  An off site backup works, because it is "off site".

20. Locate a source of water outside your home such as a lake, pond or stream.  Make sure you know how long it will take you to reach nearby water sources and any obstacles that might be in the way to get them.  Remember, you will also need to know how to purify the water when you get it too.

21. Learn to cook something simple.  Preferably something that stores easily such as pasta, rice, and oatmeal.  No use storing it, if you don't know how to cook it so you can eat it.

22. Download free prepping, survival and homesteading e-books from Amazon as they become available. Check the Backdoor Survival Facebook page for daily announcements of books that currently available.  You can never have too many survival resources.

23. Call (800-480-2520) or email FEMA to order a free copy of their book "Are You Ready Guide to Preparedness"

24. Practice starting a fire using a bit of dryer lint, a cotton ball soaked in petroleum jelly or a flint and steel.  You can practice different ways of starting a fire as well.  One time try starting the fire with a match or a lighter.  Next time try with flint and steel.  If you are really adventurous, you can even give primitive fire starting methods a try.

25. Sow some fruit or veggie seeds.  It doesn't have to be spring to start a garden.  You don't even have to have land to start a garden.  Gardens can be done easily and effectively both inside and on balconies or porches by planting in pots.  If you've never grown plants before, start with a few easy to grow plants such as tomatoes and lettuce.  Then work your way up from there.

26. Take five minutes to research materials for prepping.  Whether it is reading a chapter in a book before bed, or spending five minutes before heading to work surfing prepper websites, research while you can.  Because when disaster strikes it is no longer time to be researching what to do.

27. Do a five minute emergency drill. Can you get in and out of your house in five minutes?  Can you grab supplies in that time to bug out?  What about if you are bugging in?  Plans change depending on the disaster and if you are staying or going.  Try an emergency drill with all of your plans and see how far you can get in five minutes.  It may not be as far as you think, and perhaps you should be able to get further.  Drills will only help make you faster and better able to react when disaster strikes.

28. Make an emergency contact list.  Include local emergency services as well as family and friends.  Make sure you have numbers in a house phone book and in your wallet, purse or cell phone.  Can you think of other places you should have those numbers?  Make sure you put the list there as well.  It can never hurt to be prepared.

29. Order an extra road map. Most states have a road map of your state available to be sent to you in the mail for free or a small charge.  If you have to get on the road fast, you have to know where you are going.  An emergency is no time to be getting lost.

30. Sign up for a class where you can learn a useful skill that you don't know yet.  Local community colleges, nature centers, and folk schools can offer all sorts of classes to learn useful skills.  Everything from wild edibles to blacksmithing.  You never know what skills you will need in the future.

What other five minute preps can you think of?  Let us know in the comments!


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