The Survival Blog Guide to Prepping for Newbies

Preppers Universe Emergency CyclePrepping for Newbies

Prepping unfortunately is one the least focused aspects in most families.  We have become all too comfortable having things given to us on silver platters.  Over the past few years, there have been many natural and man-made disasters that left many families in dire circumstances.

Being prepared is the key to surviving and thriving when things go south.

There are many resources on the internet that range from the budget conscience to those who can afford to hire consultants and build underground bunkers with a year supply of food.   Such as those on the hit TV show “Doomsday Preppers”.  Preppers range from one extreme to another. Prepping begins with a level of awareness of possible threats and having the necessary provisions (Basic Needs) such as food, water and shelter to survive the situation.

Getting Started With the Basics

Preppers Universe Disaster ChecklistLet’s face it, not everyone can afford to purchase a years supply of emergency provisions for their family and/or hire a consultant to help.  Actually, in my opinion a years supply of food is nice but not necessary for the common prepper and there is no need to hire a consultant.  The key is to not overwhelm yourself and use common sense and practicality.

  1. Be patient and start slowly.

First things first… Start building a emergency 72-hour kit immediately.  It’s not expensive and you can probably assemble the kit from items laying around your house.  Compare prices when shopping around for food and gear.  Prepping does not have to be expensive.

In many instances, a 72-hour kit could mean the difference between life and death.  After a major disaster, it may take up to three days for relief workers to reach certain areas.  Most likely the relief workers will be overwhelmed with the magnitude of the situation.  In such a case, a 72-hour kit is the absolute minimum you should have available.

      • Here’s a checklist of items to include in your kit. Checklist: 72-hour kit (pdf)Emergency Food Supplies
      • I personally store my 72-hour kit in a plastic bin in the garage.
      • There are many pre-made 72-hour kits on the market.  Some are better than others.
      • Sample pre-made emergency 72-hour kits can be seen here.  SAMPLES
      • Don’t forget about your Pets when building your kit.
      • Each family member should have their own kit with food, water and clothing.  Distribute heavy items between the kits.
      • Keep a light source (flashlight, candles) in the top of the kit.  Don’t bury it on the bottom.  This will most likely be the first item you grab.
      • Inspect the kit twice a year and replace old items when necessary.
      • Read The Preppers Universe Guide to 72-hour Kits for more info.

2. Make an Emergency Plan.

Being prepared is the key to survival.  Having emergency food and water is nice but if you don’t have a plan then it’s all for nothing.  Planning is probably the most effective strategy when prepping.  The skills of survival planning is knowing what to do and when to do it.  Strategically storing emergency provisions is just the start of your prepping journey.  Prepping involves learning new skills and testing your abilities to see what works in real world disaster situations.

But where do you start?  What needs to be included in my survival plan?  What skills do I need to learn?  These are all common questions you need to be asking yourself when devising your emergency plan.  Bottom line, you need a plan and the best thing to do is write it down.  Set realistic goals within your budget as your budget will dictate the depth and content of your emergency plan. 

Practice, practice, practice!  Once you have your emergency plan written down and your goals set.  It is important to test the plan and make sure it’s going to work.  Sit down with your family and do mock up tests at least every six months.

Read my post on emergency planning here: Be Prepared: Emergency Preparedness!

Here is a good place to start: Family Emergency Plan (PDF)

3.  Personal Protection.

When the SHTF the normal day to day rules change.  For example, you get a family of four who have been without food and water for three days, what happens?  The man of the household will most likely do anything to feed his family.  This includes but not limited to breaking into your home and stealing the provisions you have saved for your family.  There will be no police or emergency personnel who are able to respond.  What do you do? It’s easy! Protect yourself and you’re loved ones at all costs.  You will have to handle you own.

Most folks are genuinely good; they would never hurt anyone under normal circumstances.  Desperate times calls for desperate people.  There is an old saying that in our modern privileged society we are only nine meals away from anarchy and chaos.  The personalities of the the people around you will change in only three days.  Behavior that is traditionally forbidden will now be rational.

What type of personal protection you go with is totally up to you.  You must be comfortable with the items you decide to use.  A lot of folks will go out and buy tons of firearms and ammo to protect themselves.  However, they lack the discipline and training to be effective at using it.  If you decide to use a firearm for personal protection then you must get safety training and learn to use it. 

At the very least, if you are new to prepping I would stick to pepper spray in your 72-hour kit.  Go out and buy Bear Repellent – Pepper Spray.  Bottom line, Bear repellent is stronger than normal pepper spray and has a longer range.  If it can stop a bear in it’s tracks then it can stop any HUMAN instantly.  Just saying…

4.  Research.

There is a ton of information on the web and at your local library that deals with prepping.  Research is the key to being a successful prepper.  I recommend reading a few books on prepping and survival to gain more knowledge.

Here are a few recommendations:

The Preppers Pocket GuidePreppers Instruction ManualEmergency Food Storage


This article is geared toward getting a newbie up to speed with the absolute basics of prepping.  This includes having a plan and at least a 72-hour kit with provisions to provide food, water, shelter and some type of personal protection to protect your family when the SHTF (Sh@& hits the fan).

New preppers should always start with these items.  When you have mastered steps 1 – 3 then you can research further and get more training.  Prepping will take time and money.  I recommend you slowly build up your preps over time.  During the journey train and learn as much as possible.  How much you put into prepping is totally up to you.  Here is a sample progression of preps you can start with and you can adjust it to reach your own goals.

First 3 Months:

  1. 72-Hour Kit
  2. Emergency Plan
  3. Personal Protection

Next 3 Months:

  1. Build 3 month Supply of Provisions
  2. Long Term Water Storage
  3. Invest in a Firearm and get training
  4. Practice Your Emergency Plan

Next 3 Months:

  1. Build 6 Months of Provisions
  2. More Long Term Water Storage
  3. Take a Survival Training Class

Next 3 Months:

  1. Build 12 Months of Provisions
  2. More Long Term Water Storage
  3. Practice Your Emergency Plan

Related Articles:

Rodney Butler


By Rodney Butler

Seven Tips for Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Southern California and other parts of the world.  In fact, they are so common most folks ride them out with out any second thoughts of the potential dangers involved.  It’s been a while since a devastating earthquake hit our region. In this article, I will be discussing 7 tips for earthquake preparedness as recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Association.

The latest earthquake storm in August 2012, 100 miles east of San Diego in the Imperial County, left most people on edge.  There were over 300 quakes in a short amount of time.  Most were small but two quakes were over 5.0 that broke windows and knocked homes off their foundations.  Earthquakes are a serious threat and should not be taken lightly.

Seven Tips for Earthquake preparedness

  1. Hazardous checks:  Your home may contain many hazards that may bring potential harm to you and your family.  The key is to identify these hazards and secure them if you can; for instance, unsecured TV sets, unstrapped water heaters are very common in most households.  For large heavy breakable objects, I highly recommend using a quake hold putty or gel to secure those items in place.  Identify those hazards and take action to secure them.  I have listed some emergency essentials to help you.

2.  Home Integrity:  How is the structural integrity of your home.  Is the foundation solid and do you feel safe in your home if an earthquake happens?  These are important questions to ask yourself.  I highly recommend hiring a home inspector to help you find weaknesses in your home and/or contact your landlord if you are a renter.

Common things to check for:

  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Masonry
  • Unbraced Walls
  • Two Story Buildings

3.  Electric, Gas & Water Shutoff: Everyone in your family should learn how to shut off the electricity, Gas & Water.  During emergencies it is important to shut these items off as quickly as possible.  This will avoid the danger of fires and floods.  Also, make certain you have easy access to any tools you will need to shut these valves. I highly recommend purchasing an emergency valve shut off wrench.  I have listed some below for your convenience.

4.  Assemble a 72 hour kit:  Assemble a 72 Hour Kit to provide emergency essentials such as food, water, tools, first-aid kit, flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, cash, extra medications, whistles, fire extinguisher and emergency blankets.  Having an 72 hour kit will reduce the impact of an earthquake.  Also, make sure you have a list of emergency contacts.  Include numbers of doctors, relatives, schools etc…  Another important element to have on hand is a generator with extra gas.  I have listed some resources below.

5.  Make an Emergency Plan:  When disasters strike you should already have a plan in place.  This includes safe hiding spaces in your house, how to evacuate and where to re-unite, location of emergency supplies and the locations of your disaster kits.  Responsibilities of each family member should be included as part of your emergency preparedness plan.  Great resources are listed below:

6. Rehearse your Disaster Plan: Your plan will be no good if it’s not rehearsed, so practice your entire plan.  Knowing where to go and what to do is key to survival in any disaster situation.  For earthquakes, it is important to know where safe areas are such as sturdy tables or desks, so you can go to them without thinking.  Know your homes danger spots and inform your family to stay clear of those areas.  I highly recommend you learn CPR and First Aid from your local Red Cross or other community organization.  Drop Cover and Hold On…!

7. The Most Important Thing is to Help Others:  In addition to preparing your family for emergencies, make a mental note of your neighbors who may require assistance, such as the elderly and/or those with special needs.  When your family is safe, it is important to help those who can’t help themselves.  This is the right thing to do and as a society we need to pull together.  Additionally, if have PETS make sure they are included in your disaster preparedness plans.

Don’t delay, planning for emergencies will help your family survive when disaster strikes. The experts have yet to perfect the technology to predict earthquakes.  When the ground starts rumbling you and your family will be ready if you follow these simple tips.  I have compiled a list of resources below for your convenience.


How to be Prepared






By Rodney Butler