Things to think about now, before the emergency is upon you. “Winging it” will only end badly.
So here are things you have to work out now. So you don’t have to work them out during a disaster when you’re already stressed out.
If you have a SHTF situation that lasts more than a week, most other families in your neighborhood will be hungry. If they followed FEMA’s instructions, they have 3-4 days of food and water. After a week, things will get tight. After a month, things will get desperate for them.
1. Personal defense: Do NOT buy a firearm unless you have no doubt you can kill another person with it. If you can’t pull that trigger at the critical moment, well, you just gave them your firearm and your supplies. Maybe your wife and daughter as well. As far as what kind of firearm, that’s up to you. Please seek the council of your local gun store and/or friendly firearms enthusiast to help you determine your needs. They will know more about you and your capabilities, circumstances and needs than me or this article.
Check out this article on firearms to see my entire thoughts on the matter.
2. Waste disposal: If there are fresh trash bags with food packaging outside your house a week or two after everyone else ran out of their food, people will notice and you might get a forceful “request” to share your food. Figure out how to store the trash in your house, or quietly get rid of it far enough from your home (and without something with your address on it) so it’s not connected with you.
3. Medications: If you need prescription medications that keep you from dying, you do have at least a month’s supply, right? Talk with your doctor about 90-day refills.
4. Low profile: Read this article on Gray Man to get started. Basically, how to blend into the crowd and dress/act so you don’t attract attention to yourself. Don’t brag about being a prepper or how much you have. Alice may come by for her protein bars.
5. Diversify of caches: You need to have two and probably more stashes of supplies. If one is found and taken, you’ll be hurt by the loss of supplies, but you’ll still have some left. If you’re bugging out, have some supplies in the cab where they can be seen and the rest in the trunk. If bad people stop you, they will take what they see and may not look farther.
6. Pets: Do you have pets? How much food do they have? Never thought of that, right?
7. Water: FEMA recommends storing 1 gallon per person per day. So a family of four will need about 30 gallons per week. I’m going for two gallons, because you can last a couple weeks without food, but only 2-4 days without water. A constant rotating stock of bottled water is recommended, along with other systems for long-term storage of water.
Potable/non-potable/gray water: Potable water is what you can drink and cook with it. Non-Potable water is contaminated (storm water, swimming pool water and such) and cannot be used for anything without treatment that is beyond our normal capabilities. Gray water is “used” water, left over from washing and other activities. Non-Potable and graywater can be used to flush toilets (if the sewer system works) and other non-drinking uses. Graywater can also be used to water plants if there is no soap or other chemicals in it. Have a plan to capture and retain used water for such uses.
8. Food: You’re looking for shelf-stable foods you and your family actually eat. Check out Prepping food and storage for that.
There you go. Those points should keep you busy for a while.