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Preparing for emergencies: you never know when you may have to move--and fast.

When you first started getting into prepping, what items did you start with and how? Some comments we received on our blog:

#1: Common survival items I acquired this year--backpack, knife, firestarters, stove, gun, lantern, flashlights, books, etc.--too many to list! I'm getting there!

#2: Water, try to keep my gas tank at least half full, bought an extra bag of dog food in reserve and rotate it out. Already had bunches of camping and backpacking gear for recreation.

#3: Started with stocking up water, specifically those larger gallon jugs at the grocery store. Everything else is secondary, without water you die within a couple days. Also picked up items to purify and collect water when the stock runs out.

#4: To each his own. I'm not really into "prepping', but working on primitive skills. You can collect and carry tons of food and modern convenience which will eventually run out/break/spoil ... or you can learn to live off the land and hone old skills that only need natural materials. I do have a small BOB (bug out bag) with modern tools that will give me an edge in a survival situation (knives, 550 cord, matches, etc.) But once those wear out/disappear, I'll have the knowledge base and experience to fill those needs with materials off the landscape. Or so I hope.

#5: First Aid! I spoke to my brother (a doctor), my aunt (a registered nurse), and my cousin (an EMT), and asked what would they want available during and after an event? They all agreed that one of the biggest problems is that they have skills but very few actual medical supplies on hand at an event.

What are the highest priority steps a family should take for general emergency preparedness?

#1: Having a set plan of action. Every house hold needs one.

#2: Learn what types of disasters are most common/likely to strike your area. No sense in prepping for a blizzard in Florida.

#3: It's all well and good setting up what you need but if you don't allocate certain jobs, then two people might go to get the same thing and waste time looking for things because they forgot because it is already pact.

#4: Have a supply of clean water on hand. Food would also be a good idea, but without water things could get real bad, real fast.

"How much is enough?"

Do you have enough water stored? How about when that runs out?

#1: In a world with endless time and money--no, it's never enough. But given that time and money are scarce, yes, there is a point of diminishing return. It will be different for all of us.

#2: The water question is big for any prepper. At two gallons per day, and a family of five, you need 10 gallons every day just for consumption. Hot areas require even more.

#3: In a prepper mind set, you will never have enough. Depending on the catastrophe, like the EOTWAWKI, I'm not sure I want to live in it or through it. If one must live in misery, life has no value. I keep enough supplies for natural disasters. Nothing more.

#4: If you're in a house, you have more water than you think. Your hot water tank holds 40 to 50 gallons, and the water lines hold about 15 to 20 gallons as well. But what will you do when that runs out? You can live without food, but not water. Remember most forest preserves have hand water pumps that you can use, as well.

#5: For my prepping I focus on wilderness survival and not stocking up on an outrageous number of supplies. I have what I need to survive in the forest. Knowledge doesn't weigh anything.

Basic Urban Surival Tips

Here are some basic urban survival tips to make sure you are ready for any type of emergency that may come your way. Now, if you're an experienced prepper who frequently reads about disaster preparedness, stick with me: Some of the tips may seem obvious to you, but they are a good reminder. Plus, I'd like you to share this with friends and loved ones who may think that urban survival preparedness is just a lot of hysteria.

First and foremost, decide what you should prepare for. It's pretty difficult to make a good preparedness plan of action and determine which supplies to purchase if you haven't given thought to the types of emergencies that could occur. Here are a few sample questions to ask yourself:

* What types of weather emergencies or natural disasters is my area susceptible to?

* What are some areas of risk that are close to my house? This may include chemical plants, oil storage facilities, railroad tracks (trains can carry hazardous chemicals), highways and other infrastructure.

* Do I work or live in an area that could be targeted for attack or riot?

* Where are the evacuation routes if I have to leave and where would I relocate to?

Second, start making your plan. Don't knock yourself out trying to think of everything all at once, but just start making categories and getting your thoughts down on paper so you don't procrastinate. It's actually a good idea to revisit the plan periodically to see if there are items you missed the first time around. Here are some key points:

* Who are you responsible for? Just yourself or a family of five? Do you have elderly parents or in-laws that you may have to assist?

* If you have to leave the house and get separated (such as during a fire), where will you meet?

* Whose emergency phone numbers should you have in the phone?

* Where will you store emergency items in the house for quick retrieval, as well as important papers, such as insurance cards, social security cards, bank information and other personal information?

Third, gather input from your family and if you have a friend who is a prepper, get their thoughts as well. Of course, depending on the age of your kids (assuming you have kids), you don't want to overwhelm them with information and have them unable to sleep at night. To me, it's like instructing children on what to do during a fire drill: There are serious points to be made, but you don't want it to be downright scary. Let them know that preparedness is all about feeling secure in the knowledge that you've already planned on how to take care of everyone.

If you're fairly new to the concept of urban survival, disaster preparedness and making a family emergency plan, I hope you found this helpful. And if you're an experienced prepper, I hope you found some good reminders. Don't forget to share this with someone you know whom would benefit from knowing how to keep their family safe during a natural disaster.

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Author:Sciacca, Tom
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jul 1, 2013
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