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Ten Steps To Preparedness For Non-Preppers – Death Preparedness Series PT. I

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  • Post last modified:January 8, 2023
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This ‘getting started‘ article is my Ten Steps To Preparedness for the people that aren’t interested in living, eating, and breathing the prepper lifestyle yet understand the value of being a little more prepared. Maybe you don’t even care for the label ‘prepper.’

That’s fine because I wrote this piece with you in mind.

In this article, I want to help you sharpen those skills without our recommended steps of forming a Threat Assessment, developing a Preparedness Action Plan, working on your Preparedness Mindset, or maybe even starting an entire Prepper Pantry.

Yes. You can skip a few steps and still be more prepared than most people.

You’re Not Alone

After the πŸ’© show over the last few years, many people have recognized the value of having a little something put back for an emergency. Whether it’s a bit extra toilet paper or that favorite shampoo, you don’t want to go without, more and more people are spending a little differently these days.

Regardless of your political leaning, the covid, the economy, and the reactions from both have affected many families. The recent events has opened many of our eyes to see that the famous quote that no one can decide who coined, β€œIf it is to be, it is up to me,” is spot-on.

β€œIf it is to be, it is up to me”

With the ‘just in time’ inventory systems, the lack of workers, unreliable imports, shipping and warehousing interruptions, shortages of raw materials, crop and livestock issues, and various agendas and policies, it’s a wonder we’re not in worse shape than we are.

Sure, the economy is unstable, inflation is inflated, and some say things will worsen.

We can’t do anything about any of that.

We can take a few steps to make ourselves less dependent on the crazy system and be a little more prepared for those everyday emergencies that are simply part of life. They always have been, and they always will be. At least for us that have to work for a living.

People with money have problems, but it’s probably not worrying about replacing the water heater that emptied 50 gallons of water into the hallway.

Let’s Get Going – Ten Steps To Preparedness

These steps aren’t really in any particular order. You can use common sense and know what’s most important for your life, location, and situation. You also know what’s more obtainable based on your situation.

The ten steps to preparedness at a glance in case you want to jump around.

β’ˆ What you carry on you
β’‰ Food and water
β’Š Know your more likely crisis
β’‹ Make a small first aid kit
β’Œ Put together a basic car kit
⒍ Assemble a small ‘light’s out’ kit
β’Ž Assemble a small evacuation kit
⒏ Back-up heat
⒐ An emergency fund
β’‘ Get your life organized

Now I’ll go into a little detail about each step of preparedness. But not too much. πŸ˜‰

β’ˆ What you carry on you

In the survival world, we call this our EDC (Everyday Carry). My wife calls it her purse. Doesn’t matter, we carry things to improve our day, and there are a few things we can keep in case of an emergency.

My Daily Folder

A few things in my pocket, which doesn’t mean they go in your pocket, are a knife (You should consider a decent knife), a pocket flashlight (almost required), chapstick, paper and pen, handy wipes, and emergency cash.

I’m resisting the urge to mention self-defense in this article, but if I did, it would be in this section.

β’‰ Food and water

Image - More Protein/Meat Options For Our Prepper Pantry

This is a topic I can’t go into in depth. I have too much to say about it. I’ll start with water.

In order not to overwhelm you, I recommend you find (If you don’t use them, then ask a family member or friend to save them for you) the thick-walled plastic tea or juice containers or even two-liter pop/soda bottles to store drinkable water in. Wash and rinse them out well, fill them with water from your sink and store them somewhere. The bottom of your closet, under the bed, behind the cabinets, wherever.

Water Closet

Note on safety: I’ve had people object to reusing juice bottles because of the potential of bacteria. Others think plastic is dangerous due to leaching. Again, you do you. I think dehydration should be avoided; the opinions and details are just noise.

Food storage: Even at the most basic level, without calling yourself a prepper, everyone should have stored at least two weeks of food and supplies. Four weeks would be better.

I go into more detail about the ‘how’ in this article/video:
How To Start A Prepper Pantry.

The good news is that two weeks of food and supplies will easily cover the vast majority of emergencies we are likely to deal with. Another lockdown, a job loss, a broken ankle, a bad case of the flu, etc.

Don’t forget the supplies. Things you use every day or every week.

  • Your meds, toilet paper, deodorant, cleaners, disinfectants, batteries, food containers or wrap, paper towels, paper plates, etc.
  • Simple things like trash bags, bleach, or games for the kids.
  • Have a way to cook, boil water, and make coffee.
  • Consider essential things like if anyone has or uses glasses, contacts, oxygen, hearing aids, walker, cane, etc.
  • Don’t forget any babies or pets. Formula, diapers, wipes, lotions, and pet food.

Lists like that can seem overwhelming but do what you can and alter it for you and your situation. I’m just tossing out ideas.

β’Š Know your more likely crisis

Car Wreck

Finding the most likely events that can cause us a disruption or major headache is one of the most straightforward exercises but also one of the more stressful. It’s stuff we don’t want to think about or admit to ourselves. For example, when I think my body weight puts me in danger, I push that thought from my head and remember my Mom telling me I’m just big-boned.

Think of the most likely crisis, not the biggest:

What are your most likely emergencies? We all find ourselves in some unlikely predicament from time to time, which isn’t easy to prepare for. And if a comet the size of the moon crashes into Earth, we’re all going to have a bad day. The prepper’s favorite go-to SHTF event – the dreaded EMP is enormous but also unlikely.

Those events are certainly bigger emergencies than a dead car battery, but they’re also not the most likely. Today, we want to list what’s more likely.

Events that occur based on location: For example, if you live in the city, you might be more susceptible to a riot or crime. If you live in a cold climate – staying warm might be a concern. Flood zone – getting wet. Hurricane – going round and round when you don’t want to.

Events based on your situation: Things like finances and health are a few more apparent situations. Is your job somewhat secure? Is your car running on its last cylinder? Is your roof looking pretty bad, or is your lease running out? Are you spending more than you’re making?

β’‹ Make a small first-aid kit

I have a short article on Building A Basic First Aid Kit that fits this topic like a nitrile glove. I’ll direct you to that quick read, along with recommended first aid items, rather than re-hashing it here. I’m trying to keep this a quick read as well.

The main points are that building your first aid kit is more cost-effective and will likely be better unless you spend the big bucks on something of far more quality than you’ll find at your local pharmacy or retail chain.

Lastly, on first aid, I want to mention two more things. First, you’ll probably want more than one. You’ll want one at home, your car, and maybe even a travel-size first aid kit for when you’re on the go.

Second, First aid training. Training is out of the wheelhouse of an article on ten steps to preparedness for non-preppers, but I’m just dropping a seed. You don’t have to call Red Cross and schedule a CPR class. Could you give it a little thought, eventually?

β’Œ Put together a basic car kit

Car Kit - Preparing For A Weekend Trip.
Car Kit – Preparing For A Weekend Trip. πŸ€ͺ

A car kit has different meanings, depending on who’s saying it. I have a car kit that can help you survive a week in the ditch as long as you’re not hurt. That’s a little more that we’re looking at for this discussion. I could have renamed this piece from “Ten Steps To Preparedness” to “Ten Basic Steps To Preparedness” because the no-prepper aspect means we don’t want to go all prepperie and stuff.

So what are we looking for in a super-simple basic car kit? We want a small first aid kit, as I mentioned above. We might think about carrying a decent set of jumper cables. A flashlight is a must. A knife should always be close by, whether in your car or not.

You want a little emergency water and food, for sure. Yes, water freezes, and food needs to be rotated before it goes bad, but we’re grownups. We can figure that out.

Without getting all crazy sounding, a decent water filter and a way to light a fire might be in order. You never know. A way to cut a seatbelt and break a window within reach has been proven a good idea. I have The Original resqme Emergency Car Escape Tool (Aff link) hanging on the sunvisor or mirror of each car we have.

Extra credit: Things like a tire repair kit (one of my Instagram videos) and a hose repair kit are things I’ve found very helpful over the years. A little beyond the scope of this article, but you decide. I also carry all necessary fluids, e.g., motor oil, bug juice, brake fluid, antifreeze mix, etc.

Now, let’s see if I can make my prepper family’s top explode: I have a friend who prides himself on having never opened the hood of a car. He has no interest. My prepper advice to him? Maintain a AAA membership. Wow, that’s gonna leave a mark. 🀣 Beans, bullets, band-aids, and AAA.

⒍ Assemble a basic ‘light’s out’ kit

Battery-Operated Lanterns

The power goes out. We’ve all experienced it. If you live in an area prone to frequent power outages, you probably already have emergency power in place. You might have a generator, inverter, solar, or a mix of those.

I’m keeping things very simple today, so I’ll drop some basics. You decide if you need to move up to a small generator and when to do so. Keep in mind the cost of just one refrigerator and freezer full of food going bad.

My ‘light’s out,’ also known as a blackout kit, has helpful items like flashlights and small battery-operated lanterns. You’ll want a battery bank or two and keep them charged.

See: Building A Blackout Kit

I even keep the more common replacement batteries handy. D, C, A, AA, and AAA. You may not even need the D-size batteries if your flashlights and emergency radio are more modern than mine.

Emergency Candles

I have a whole case of candles and paid a dollar a candle at Dollar General. They’re $2.00 each now, but they last forever and can be a lifesaver when you need a candle. Oh, and a couple will go a long way. An entire case is a total overkill.

800 Watt Inverter

A small inverter. I have a few different-sized inverters, but it’s basically for running a household item from a running vehicle. For example, I have a larger inverter that will run my newer refrigerator (But not the older ones). I have a small accessory (cigarette lighter) plug-in inverter to run a small laptop or radio from my car.

β’Ž Assemble a small evacuation kit

Consider this: The police are knocking on the door and saying you must leave your home for the night because there’s a chemical or gas leak nearby. Or, God forbid, your house is on fire. On the way out, assuming the people and pets are safe, what would you grab going out the door?

Keeping some of those items near your main exit can be extraordinarily helpful. A bag with a change of clothes, a travel-sized toiletry kit, a spare phone charger and cord, a flashlight, and maybe even a little cash.

Get your papers in order. πŸ™‚ A full-on prepper might have a document binder, or two, with copies and backup of our essential documents, but that might be a little more than a non-prepper might want to handle for now.

But how helpful would a copy of your home insurance policy be if a devastating storm, flood, or fire just chased you from your home? Or just the company name, phone number, and policy numbers would be welcome, right?

Copies of your IDs, proof of ownership, insurance, adoption papers, your pet’s shot record, basic medical information, etc.

You see where we’re going here, right? Thing’s you’ll need once you’re out of the storm and need to start putting the pieces back together.

How convenient would it be to have a list of emergency contacts, family, and even local hotels in that evacuation kit? Your phone is dead, and you need to call your family. Can you remember the numbers? Most of us lost that ability years ago between the heat of the moment and living a digital lifestyle.

⒏ Back-up heat

Instagram Image - Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

This is one of the bigger things on the list. You’re “prepared” if you already have a fireplace, either wood or gas, as long as you have the wood or gas to burn. Most preppers would argue with that assessment, but we’re not preppers today. We’re the average Joe or Jane that wants to take a little responsibility for our family’s well-being. We don’t have to plan for the worst possible event to do that.

Heat takes fuel. Period. There’s no getting around that. It will be gas, propane, wood, kerosene, or even diesel. Forget staying warm with solar or wind at this stage. It’s too complicated and unreliable.

I have two alternatives for emergency heat, and I’m not referring to our small electric space heaters. Although those did come in handy when our furnace went out, and we had to wait a day for a replacement.

See: Heating Our Home In A Power Outage

I have an indoor kerosene heater and a Big Buddy propane heater. Both work well. The kerosine heater will heat us out of our living room if we let it go too high.

The drawbacks are the fuel. Storing large amounts of fuel on your property can be problematic.

A bunch of propane bottles will last indefinitely as long as they aren’t leaking and can be stored just fine in cold weather. Those bottles and tanks don’t play well with flame and fire. Caution and safety cannot be overstressed.

Kerosene needs to be rotated but still will outlast gasoline by a lot. It’s messy to clean up, stinks if spilled, and can be very expensive, especially with today’s long list of situations.

⒐ An emergency fund

Emergency Cash

This is a big one, especially if you’re already running a tight budget and want to avoid credit. Or if credit isn’t an option during the crisis. Cash is an essential item for the prepared. How much? What’s the biggest, yet more likely, emergency expenditure you will likely have?

In the last two years, we have had to replace our home furnace ($3,600), our central air ($1,800), and our entire roof, wood, and all ($22,000).

Let me tell you, honestly, I have NEVER had an emergency fund to cover stuff that big and certainly not that frequent. Three personal SHTF events in two years during the pandemic. We made due and lived through it, though. And that’s the point.

So let me add a caveat to that question. What’s the biggest, yet more likely, emergency expenditure you will likely have within reason?

What if you have a death in the family and you need to buy plane tickets and stay in a hotel for a few days? You need a car repaired and get a rental for a week or two? Someone gets sick, and you must stay in the hospital with them for a few days.

The scenarios are endless. Do what you can, and don’t create a stressful situation trying to do more than possible. If $10 a week in a coffee can is all you can do right now, find a coffee can. It will add up as long as you can resist going into the emergency fund for every little tight spot you find yourself in.

β’‘ Get your life organized

For someone with my personality, this is HUGE! For my wife, it means nothing to her. She loses her purse, keys, or phone at least once weekly, and it’s just another day in the office. I need everything in place, labeled, and inventoried to avoid feeling sick. LOL

That might have been a slight exaggeration, but if I walk into my office and stuff is scattered everywhere, I have difficulty doing anything there.

The same holds for our bills and finances. I need to plan, budget, and prepare every month, or I will lose sleep. A desktop calendar on my desk tells me when payments, deposits, and bills are for the entire month at a glance. Shooting from the hip causes stress for people like me.

I have documents where documents go and really important stuff in fireproof safes. I even pre-sort both my wife’s and my medications for a month. If I don’t keep organized, I’m miserable and start making mistakes. It also causes me to procrastinate more often.

You do you. Only you know how important keeping organized, and to what degree, will play a role in how well your path to preparedness goes.

Bonus steps to Ten Steps To Preparedness For Those Who Don’t Want To Be Labeled A Prepper.

Don’t worry. These aren’t steps as in buying and supplying. These are just slight adjustments to our awareness and outlook.

Just a few pointers.

Things like keeping up with current events but in an unbiased way as possible. We want to stay informed, react to stuff, and not become indoctrinated or even have our personal views and opinions reinforced.

We want to stay observant of our current situation and location. We want to ‘see and understand’ what’s happening in a building or parking lot we’re walking into. Staring down and scrolling on our phones while in motion is a disaster in the making. We’re asking for trouble.

Know how to turn off your gas, water, and electricity. Make sure everyone living in your home knows how and when to start turning things off.

Test and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once or twice a year. The accepted standard is every time change – every six months.

Keep your passwords secure, random, and separate. Protect your identity with common sense.

Set up a meeting or assembly area for everyone in your family if you can’t get to you’re home for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be a stocked bunker somewhere. A local family diner across town should work. Just somewhere everyone knows to go to meet up and figure out what to do from there. An active shooter, a flood, a natural gas explosion, whatever.

Keep an eye on the weather heading your way, especially current and local events. Have a way to receive alerts from the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

Finally, stay flexible and be ready to improvise.

The ability to stay flexible and be ready to improvise is the biggest step toward preparedness.

You can’t prepare for everything because once you believe you have, the inconceivable will slide right up into you and make you it’s punk.

Me, I said that. Just now. LOL

Don’t be that punk. Get prepared.

Call To Action

Next Step: Since this is for those just getting started, I invite you to my list. It’s free, and I don’t overwhelm you with daily emails. It’s not a newsletter. It’s reserved when I have something important to get to you. Check it out.

Stay safe. Stay prepared.
Hawkins out!

Featured image contribution credit: Christian Dorn and Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

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