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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Being a beginner prepper myself I've been pondering the question recently, "what are best actions a beginning prepper should take?"

I thought it might be a cool topic for a blog post and wanted to get some opinions. I'm thinking kind of like a step-by-step guide to follow if you're a total newbie. Should I assemble a BOB first? Find like-minded individuals? Find a BOL? Start reading survival/bushcraft books? Plan a GOOD route?

SO MANY THINGS TO GET READY!!!

So what do you think? Where should any beginner start?
 

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I think you should start by deciding what you're prepping for.

If you're looking at some sort of "event" which will knock out the grid and disrupt police and emergency services for, say, 4 or 5 weeks, some stored water, food, and a shotgun and/or handgun might be all you need.

If, on the other hand, you are talking about surviving a long term collapse of civilization, where basic services might NEVER be restored, I would first start by finding a location which would make survival possible in the first place. For me, (assuming you are in the USA) this would mean west of the Mississippi, in USDA plant hardiness zone 6,7 or 8, fairly close to a small farming community that is roughly 50 miles or more from any major metropolitan area. You would be looking for an area of low population density that has enough farmland to feed at least 4 or 5 times its current population.

I am of the opinion that, if you aren't in such an area, your chances for surviving a long term scenario are so low they make prepping for it a moot point. (It would still be worthwhile to prep for a short term event, however) Keep in mind that this is just my opinion, and not written in stone.

As an example, there are roughly 8.25 million people in New York City. In a long term scenario, I would be surprised if 1% of them survive. Keep in mind that this would still be 82,500 people, which seems like a lot to me. Most of them wouldn't have prepped at all... they would be savage, ruthless, lawless opportunists who took what they needed when they needed it.

What I'm really saying here is the first thing any new prepper should do is to decide what they are prepping for and REALISTICALLY evaluate the chance of making it through from their current location. Just my opinion, hope it helps.
 

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My recommendation is for you to go to your calendar and place a large red BP (Begin Prep) 30 days from today. Between now and then, read everything you can on this forum, other forums related to this topic, and any relevant books at the library. DO NOT buy a single item related to prepping during this period. Once you get to the BP date, you will have a much better idea of what you need to do.
 

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Begin by thinking about what it takes you to survive for a week, a month, a year. Without water, without electricity. Think of senerios that are likely to begin with. I live in hurricane terrority. Figure out folks needed to survive the last hurricane. Get those things. Don't start planning for the end of the world. It ain't happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great advice so far guys!

I'm getting the sense that you pretty much all agree that planning is the most critical first step. I definitely agree here - makes sense to think of the most likely scenarios that will occur and then tailor your prepping accordingly.

My recommendation is for you to go to your calendar and place a large red BP (Begin Prep) 30 days from today. Between now and then, read everything you can on this forum, other forums related to this topic, and any relevant books at the library. DO NOT buy a single item related to prepping during this period. Once you get to the BP date, you will have a much better idea of what you need to do.
Love this idea! Think it's very practical advice for beginning preppers.

So if planning is step 1, what is step 2?
 

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Water, food security and shelter, the basics for survival.

Water, you need a natural source that cannot be easily contaminated which means you need to be at the source of a spring, a really good water filter (like a Berkley), or have a well. People that plan on lake or river water will be dead from disease in a month, there are just too many ways for open water to become undrinkable. Open water will only be reliable for irrigating crops.

Food, you gotta eat which means you have to learn to produce and harvest food. Don't count on shooting dinner as the local sources of game and livestock will dry up very fast. Learn what wild plants are edible and how to grow your own. Next you need enough food stored so that you can survive until your crops start producing. If you live in a temperate climate maybe that is 3 months, here in Montana we only have a 4 month growing season so at least a years worth of food is more practicle.

Security, I put this 3rd as not dying from looters, gangs, and the local militias tha pop up will be important, but pointless is you are dying from thirst and starvation anyway. Security is a defensible position that does not stand out as a target and enough firepower to repel invaders, it could also look like a mobile setup where you can flee from confrontations, again this will be site specific.

Shelter, in most of the USA you can live without shelter or very little shelter so I put this last. I also believe in a SHTF long term senerio there will a huge population die off and it will probably be possible to find a decent house that is unoccupied. This could be a vacation house or cabin, a abandoned house, a government building, or even a camper trailer.
 

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Your plan probably ought to be laid out in phases. Short term (1-5 days outage/no major break down in services) say from a snw storm that drops power lines and blocks roads til the crews can plow it out, mid term (1-5 weeks, Katrina/Sandy, Major outage, damage to infrastructure, mild break down in services - fire, ambulance, law enforcement, minor lawlessness - looting); long term (greater than 5 weeks, EOTWAWKI). Would suggest that you look towards fleshing out - buying and stocking things - the short term phase and expand up as your budget allows. Such things as food, water storage, lights, cook stoves, etc are all things that ought to let you transitin from short to mid term. Also, if you work some distance from where you live, your plan ought to include a rally around the homestead for all members of the family. Here where we live, I work 30 miles away and the closest school is 9 miles away. Remember these events don't always occur when everyone is on the homestead.
 

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Plan & alternate plans.

Set priorities for both your work time & finances.

Recycle & reuse. Scavenging as much building & construction materials as possible saves money. But don't do it that it will degrade your work. Example would be don't use interior 2x4s where you should use pressure treated. Not worth having to redue the job in a year or two.

Continually learn & teach. And refresh your skills when you can.
 

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Been a long time since there was any catastrophy of global porportions. I have always thought one option for me was to leave, go somewhere that wasn't affected. To do that you need at a minimum a passport and some cash/gold for a ticket. An up to date passport should be part of preparation IMHO.

Governments don't change overnight. Historically, passport requirements have gradually been tightened up. Many Jews escaped Germany early. Those that waited ended up in an oven.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Water, food security and shelter, the basics for survival.

Water, you need a natural source that cannot be easily contaminated which means you need to be at the source of a spring, a really good water filter (like a Berkley), or have a well. People that plan on lake or river water will be dead from disease in a month, there are just too many ways for open water to become undrinkable. Open water will only be reliable for irrigating crops.

Food, you gotta eat which means you have to learn to produce and harvest food. Don't count on shooting dinner as the local sources of game and livestock will dry up very fast. Learn what wild plants are edible and how to grow your own. Next you need enough food stored so that you can survive until your crops start producing. If you live in a temperate climate maybe that is 3 months, here in Montana we only have a 4 month growing season so at least a years worth of food is more practicle.

Security, I put this 3rd as not dying from looters, gangs, and the local militias tha pop up will be important, but pointless is you are dying from thirst and starvation anyway. Security is a defensible position that does not stand out as a target and enough firepower to repel invaders, it could also look like a mobile setup where you can flee from confrontations, again this will be site specific.

Shelter, in most of the USA you can live without shelter or very little shelter so I put this last. I also believe in a SHTF long term senerio there will a huge population die off and it will probably be possible to find a decent house that is unoccupied. This could be a vacation house or cabin, a abandoned house, a government building, or even a camper trailer.
I think you hit the nail on the head here honestly. When things get messy go back to the basics ;)

Your plan probably ought to be laid out in phases. Short term (1-5 days outage/no major break down in services) say from a snw storm that drops power lines and blocks roads til the crews can plow it out, mid term (1-5 weeks, Katrina/Sandy, Major outage, damage to infrastructure, mild break down in services - fire, ambulance, law enforcement, minor lawlessness - looting); long term (greater than 5 weeks, EOTWAWKI). Would suggest that you look towards fleshing out - buying and stocking things - the short term phase and expand up as your budget allows. Such things as food, water storage, lights, cook stoves, etc are all things that ought to let you transitin from short to mid term. Also, if you work some distance from where you live, your plan ought to include a rally around the homestead for all members of the family. Here where we live, I work 30 miles away and the closest school is 9 miles away. Remember these events don't always occur when everyone is on the homestead.
Love the idea to break it down by phases. Makes complete sense to start preparing for the shorter term scenarios and scaling up as your time/budget allows. I think the rally point is also an incredibly useful suggestion - the last thing you want to be doing in an emergency is trying to coordinate where to meet.

Been a long time since there was any catastrophy of global porportions. I have always thought one option for me was to leave, go somewhere that wasn't affected. To do that you need at a minimum a passport and some cash/gold for a ticket. An up to date passport should be part of preparation IMHO.

Governments don't change overnight. Historically, passport requirements have gradually been tightened up. Many Jews escaped Germany early. Those that waited ended up in an oven.
Very practical advice, I think we tend to get so caught up in "never coming scenarios" that we sometimes overlook common sense items.

Planning can be fun, but doing is required. Get doing.
On that note I'm getting off the computer and out to do some prepping!
 

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Water, food security and shelter, the basics for survival.

Water, you need a natural source that cannot be easily contaminated which means you need to be at the source of a spring, a really good water filter (like a Berkley), or have a well. People that plan on lake or river water will be dead from disease in a month, there are just too many ways for open water to become undrinkable. Open water will only be reliable for irrigating crops.

Food, you gotta eat which means you have to learn to produce and harvest food. Don't count on shooting dinner as the local sources of game and livestock will dry up very fast. Learn what wild plants are edible and how to grow your own. Next you need enough food stored so that you can survive until your crops start producing. If you live in a temperate climate maybe that is 3 months, here in Montana we only have a 4 month growing season so at least a years worth of food is more practicle.

Security, I put this 3rd as not dying from looters, gangs, and the local militias tha pop up will be important, but pointless is you are dying from thirst and starvation anyway. Security is a defensible position that does not stand out as a target and enough firepower to repel invaders, it could also look like a mobile setup where you can flee from confrontations, again this will be site specific.

Shelter, in most of the USA you can live without shelter or very little shelter so I put this last. I also believe in a SHTF long term senerio there will a huge population die off and it will probably be possible to find a decent house that is unoccupied. This could be a vacation house or cabin, a abandoned house, a government building, or even a camper trailer.
I agree,
You need to have a dedicated water source. I have said it before. Most all rivers and lakes will become quickly polluted in a grid down situation. You need your own water source.. I also agree with Prepadoodle where if you are going to look for a bug out location. I personally would pick somewhere west of the Mississippi River. The east is too populated. Several years ago I thought that North Florida/South Georgia was a good place to bug out.. I have changed my mind. I think Florida is just too populated and the runoff of people would be heading to the country in N.FL/S.GA.. Just think, Miami,Ft.Lauderdale,Palm Beach,Orlando,Tampa,St.Pete,Jacksonville just as the major cities. Then you have the medium sized towns also... The majority of those people are going to think like us and head for the country.. There just isn't enough land to sustain all of them.

Like others said here, there are short term and long term emergencies. Sit down and think about what you are planning for and make a plan..It can actually be a fun hobby.. Plus you know you are prepared in case of an emergency..
 

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This is a good topic and unfortunately a very broad one due to the nature of each and every ones situation being different. I also think that being a prepper is more of a life style than anything else too. Its something you have to live every day not something you just do a few weeks and then your set.

A few of the things I tell folks is...

Start by setting up a three day kit. This will see you through a number of situations or at least put you on much higher ground than others. This keeps it small and simple. The journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step. Once you accomplish this you can extend it to a 7 day kit and from there you can expand as you are able to. I feel this keeps one from being over whelmed as easily.

I think its important too for someone to reduce their debt to the extent possible and as quickly as possible. I think that anything one can do to reduce their liabilities is a win-win situation for them. It also gives you more options. It reduces the stress in your life, allows you to better live with in your means and lets you concentrate on the more important aspects of your life much more.

I think the next thing one should look at is making their life more sustainable. Growing a small garden is a huge step. You learn a whole lot about it, you build skills you may one day need to depend on, its a good stress relief and you can eat better and reduce the amount you spend on grocerys every week. Raising a few Rabbits or Chickens is another great one too. Many times this can be done in middle suburbia as well without a huge investment of money or time. Again, great stress relief, a great skill to have, you eat better and often you can shave even more off the weekly grocery bill. Plant a tree! Need a little shade on the sunny side of the house or the patio, plant a fruit tree of one sort or another. Its pretty cheap to do, it accomplishes the task at hand, might cut a little off the utility bills depending on where you live and how hot it gets and the best part is, in even just a couple of years you can start reaping the benefit of your own fresh grown fruit. In the end, again, your reducing the cost of your living expense and your becoming a little less dependent on the grocery store and the supply chain.

Once you get these three going you can really start to get into the nuts and bolts of preparedness and further evolve as time, money and efforts become more available once you have had time to really access your needs and priorities.
 
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