Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bugging In: How to Begin

     For many of us, it is easy to begin planning for disaster by focusing on a things like a bug out bag, and a bug out location.  We talk about evacuation plans, and buy things like bandanas and fire starters, even though we already have half a dozen of each.

     However the hardest part for most people, is really starting to develop in home preps for when you have to stay put.  Bugging out requires a shorter time frame, a smaller budget, and is often times just more exciting sounding.  Bugging in requires more supplies, and a good organization plan, and even for some of us, we have to figure out where to put all of it.  We've put together a list of all the items you should have at home, and where to go from there.

     Water is perhaps the most important thing you can have in any kind of survival situation.  Human beings can only go, on average, three days without water.  However, we don't just use water for drinking.  It is used in everything from showers to laundry.  The average American uses 70 gallons of water a day.  Yes, in the event of disaster, rationing will be part of the plan, but if we use that much now, how much will we really need when disaster strikes?

     The first thing to start with is to build water into part of your plan for when disaster strikes.  What sources of water do you have in your home?  Why kinds of containers can you fill up?  For example, an average bathtub can hold 60 gallons of water.  In the event the shtf, you fill the bathtub before utilities go down, and that is extra clean water that you have available if you are bugging in.

     As for actual supplies that you should start building up, start with a gallon of water per person in the house hold.  An easy way to do that is simply to pick up a gallon of water at the supermarket next time you are buying groceries.  When you reach a gallon per person, up your number to three gallons a person.

     For the long term you can start looking into options such as food grade 55 gallon drums for water.  Another good investment could be rain barrels.  Ten inches of rain falling on a thousand square foot area would equal around 6,000 gallons of rainwater!  In the meantime if can also be incorporated into a home garden for watering.  Rain barrels also provide a water storage option for those with less space.

Tip:  When prepping water, make sure you also store a gallon of bleach for purifying.  8 drops or    1/8 of a tsp of bleach for each gallon of water.  Let it sit a half hour before using.

     The next most important prep to have in your home is food.  In this department you may actually find yourself in a better state then you think you are.  Whatever is stocked in your kitchen when shtf will be a good food source.  Of course anything in fridges and freezers will go bad quickly.  However, your pantry will likely hold at least a few days worth of food.

     The best place to start with food is to have at least three days worth of nonperishable food for every person in your household.  This you could even keep in kitchen pantry.  However to truly being in good shape you are going to want to have anywhere from three to twelve months stocked up.

     When looking at items to stock up on, again it is easy to start getting a better stockpile simply by buying a few extras when out shopping.  Remember don't buy things that you normally wouldn't eat, or don't know how to prepare.  Having extras of canned and dried foods that you normally eat, and know how to handle is your best bet.  By keeping to things that you know you will be more comfortable if the time comes that you have to use it, and you will have a better variety.  After all, you can stockpile a years worth of rice and beans, but it is going to get old quick.

     As you get further in your prepping efforts, start looking into options for cooking.  If the power goes out and isn't going to come back on, you are going to need ways to cook your food.  Consider options such as camping stoves, fires for cooking, and solar cooking.

     For long term food you should start looking at developing a garden at home.  Whether it is a backyard garden or pots on an apartment patio, having that extra food will help give you a little bit extra to go on when shtf.  It also means that when the time comes, you will already know what you need to do to grow your own food.  Also learn about different preservation techniques such as drying your food and canning.

Tip:  Make sure to implement a rotation plan for your stocks.  Whether it is dating food for when it went in to storage, or setting up a rotating rack system so the oldest can is always at the front.  Rotating food will help insure that the preps you are making, haven't gone bad when disaster strikes.

     Most of us have seen the list of things that we didn't think about stocking up on by now, so we all know that toilet paper is one of those things on that list.  Sanitation will be perhaps the biggest issue that people will deal with when a disaster happens.  Poor sanitation can quickly lead to disease, and if shtf, medicine may not be available.

     For sanitation you should make sure that you have at least one of all these things for each person in your household:
-toilet paper

     From there, increase your stock to two per person, and keep going as you have space.  Remember water is also going to be used for sanitation, so take that into account when you are developing you bug in strategy.  Consider how people will get clean whether it will be filling a tub every time, or whether you will be able to create a shower.

First Aid:
     First aid may seem like an easy thing to prep for.  Many people think a first aid kit is all they need, and it is a good beginning.  This is the easiest way to start your preps in this area.  However, once you have the first aid kit, don't leave it at that.

     After having your first aid kit, you are going to start wanting to bulk it up.  See what supplies might be missing from the kit, and add those with the kit.  This can be anything from more bandaids, to a disinfectant, or ace bandages for a sprained ankle.  Once you have a good supply of the more basic first aid items, start looking into the more serious first aid items.  Consider getting items you would find in a trauma kit, such as blood stoppers and trauma dressings for serious wounds.  Other things to consider adding are items dealing with burns, poisoning, and even snake bites.

    For the long term, look into buying some books on first aid and medicine.  If there is a disaster there may not be a doctor around to help.  You can also consider taking first aid classes in your local community.

     We often forget how dependent we are on electricity, and lighting is one of those things we take for granted.  Gone are the days where we rose with the sun, and went to bed when it slipped past the horizon.  If shtf and the electricity is off, a single flashlight and a set of batteries just isn't going to cut it.

     Flashlights however are the first step to prep for lighting.  You should have enough flashlights so there is one in each room, and an extra set of batteries to go with them.  These you should have whether or not you are planning on bugging in.  In the event that the power goes out in a thunderstorm, they will be handy.

     Thinking for the long term, think about getting a longer lasting light source.  Kerosene lanterns are good option, and are not as expensive as you might think.  Solar lights and lanterns are also good to have around.

Tip:  Make sure you check the batteries in your flashlights at least once a year to make sure they are still good.  If they are dead, then your flashlight isn't going to do you any good.  Even worse, if the batteries corrode, then your flashlight could be ruined for good.

     Tools are one of the things that set us apart.  We are the only species who can and does use many different types of tools to make our lives easier.  It only makes sense to have some ready in case of an emergency.

     To begin you should have basic tools such as a multi tool, a fixed blade knife, and a collapsible shovel.  These three tools can do a lot when shtf.  From there you can start developing a tool shelf, or a tool box, or even a tool shed.

     Basic survival tools are a beginning, but for the long term, you should also be making sure that you have regular everyday tools available around the house.  Everything from shovels, to saws, to hammers are good things to have.  Not only can they help in case of disaster, but they can also be useful right away for many things from the garden to simple fixes around the house.

     In the long term you may want to consider other possible tools and devices that will help in a shtf scenario.  This can be everything from radios to communication to solar panels for power.  They aren't basic tools, nor are they necessarily cheap, but they could make a world of difference if you are trying to survive

     Security options are not for everyone, but it is something everyone should really consider if you are truly prepping for disaster.

     The easiest way to start working on security in your home is to start with the basics.  Do you have a home security system?  What about lights that turn on at night due to movement.  Putting in place a good security system is a good way to start.  While some of the precautions you take, such as the lights, may not work after shtf, they will be good for stopping a burglar today.

     For longer term security you should start looking into classes for self defense and fire arms.  Once you know how to use a gun, you can start looking into owning one, and stocking up on the items needed for a gun.  Remember that isn't just bullets. Consider keeping extra cleaning supplies for your weapons on hand as well.  Also make sure you have the correct security in your home for your weapons.  You always want to make sure a firearm is secure and not out where someone who should be using it, can get a hold of it.

     If you aren't comfortable with using firearms, or keeping one in your home, consider looking into alternative weapons that you could start learning how to use.  Consider picking up archery as a hobby, or learning how to make primitive weapons.  A bow and arrow isn't going to win a fight against a gun, but having knowledge of weapons and how to use them is always going to be a useful skill when shtf.

     Also consider having preps in place to fortify your home if shtf,  Having boards to cover window and to bar doors is a good option. It is even better if you live in an area that experiences hurricanes because these preps can do double duty.

A Binder:
     The final thing you should have is a binder.  As much as we are all about preparedness, you would be surprised how many people don't actually have a binder.  Putting together a binder is one of the most important things you can do, and one of the easiest preps you can work on as well.

     To start your binder, begin with a plan.  An evacuation plan in case of emergency.  What to do in a fire or some other kind of disaster.  If you are bugging out, put the plan in there for where you are supposed to go.  If you bugging in, make a checklist of the first most important things to happen.  What ever your disaster plan, or plans are, make sure it has actually been planned out and written down, and then keep this in your binder.

     From there, start expanding on your binder.  Include important information like phone numbers, copies of id's, and copies of important legal and financial documents.  Make sure you add pictures to your binder as well.  In a disaster situation, if you need to find someone, it is going to be much easier to ask people if they have seen someone if you have a picture of the person you are looking for.

     For the long term, start storing information.  Print out articles, graphs, and information that you have collected yourself.  You want to make sure that the knowledge you collect, whether it be from books, the internet, classes, or other people, is kept safe.  That way if you or someone else ever needs to find the information, you have somewhere to look.  You can even consider making multiple binders to further organize information.

Tip: Color coding documents can help you find information faster, and keep your binder better organized.

     So have you started planning for a bug in sitatution?  What other long term prepping plans are you implementing at home?  Let us know in the comments!


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