One of the hardest things for people new to prepping is knowing where to start. Let’s face it, the world of preppers can be intimidating when you are just starting out. Should you start by stockpiling food or learn how to use firearms? Is it more important to secure an independent water source, or a remote BOL? And what the hell is a BOL anyway!!
When I was starting out the first step I took was a threat assessment based on where we live and what things were most likely to occur. Then I looked at what surviving the most likely events would require and created a plan from there. Here is an example of what that first step looked like.
Where I am, the most likely survival event is an Ice Storm which can leave us without power for weeks at a time. We would always want to bug in during this kind of emergency and since this only happens in the winter, the highest priorities for us are heat that doesn’t require electricity, means to heat water or snow and for cooking, and non-electric light sources. Water was not at the top of the list because if we are having an ice storm, there will already be snow on the ground which can be used to supplement our water supply for both drinking and sanitation. Food was not at the top of the list because we already have at least 2 weeks worth of food in the house. Security was not a priority because it isn’t a long enough timeframe to worry about others coming after what we have and doesn’t involve any kind of breakdown in society.
When we started out our house was heated by a propane furnace and we had a non-working fireplace on the main floor. As heat was our highest priority, we put the majority of our emergency budget aside until we had enough put in a woodstove that can heat the whole house. We also got the fireplace fixed and starting gathering wood both from our property and by monitoring the ads on Craigslist for free wood. Because the stove in our kitchen runs on propane, we can use it when we don’t have power by lighting it with a match which handles our second concern. (We also intentionally purchased a wood stove that can be cooked on so that we aren’t tied to propane delivery.) Then we looked at the best options for lighting and settled on old fashioned oil lamps. We found a lamp that we liked that was cost effective and sturdy and bought enough to provide adequate lighting. We added a stockpile of lamp oil that would last us 3 weeks and we were good to go for the first scenario.
I went through the same process for each threat on my list which is pretty much anything except a local volcano since there aren’t any near enough to us. This helped us to prioritize everything in our overall plan including what to buy, what we needed to learn to do, etc. As we work through the plan, our preparedness grows, we obtain new skills, and our wishlist gets smaller 🙂
If you are just starting out and feeling like you need a guidebook – start here. Do a threat assessment and then create a priority based plan from there. Remember, prepping is a marathon, not a sprint.
“I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.” Susan B Anthony
“You have a divine animal right to protect your own life and the life of your offspring. “