We recently covered why hunger happens. In this article, we’ll continue preparing with another practical note: how to turn a cupboard full of preps into survival. This one is for all of you who want to start stockpiling but aren’t sure how to put it all together.
What disaster planning and rationing will your family need to get through a crisis?
Identifying and Prioritizing Disasters
All prepping begins with the details of a disaster in mind. If you haven’t yet accustomed yourself to thinking about survival in terms of a crisis, now is the time to start.
Disasters dictate what you prep, how you prep, how you plan, whether you stay, whether you leave, how you get out, whether you stick together and whether you split up.
Wait—let’s go back a step.
What is a disaster? A disaster could be any event that cuts you off from the security of modern infrastructure in such a way that your health might be affected. That is an incredibly broad definition, but it’s one that serves us well as survivalists.
This means that losing your job could be a disaster. If your government doesn’t provide assistance, then without an income, you would be cut off from the chain of food supply and from the medical system.
The disasters become more and more serious from there on, all the way up to the incredibly unlikely attack of zombie aliens.
Some disasters are natural, some man-made.
To know how to prep and how to plan, you have to make a list, whether physical or mental, of the disasters that could happen to you.
Make note of how likely those disasters are and just how bad they would be. Also note the most likely duration of each disaster you’ll plan to encounter.
Now make an ordered list of those disasters, prioritizing according to what would be the worst-case scenario and most likely to happen to what’s least critical and most unlikely.
Understanding the Disaster
Once you know what might happen, play that scenario out in your head, leaving no stone unturned. Write down a quick bullet list of likely events for those top scenarios.
This is an important step. This is what you will develop your plan from and it covers the eventualities you must be prepared for.
If your city would most likely be evacuated in a certain disaster, for example, build your plans appropriately around the evacuation. If medical centers will be busy for months after some of the infrastructure comes back, as is the case in many severe storms, then you need to plan for that.
Making an Emergency Plan
Sit down and decide what will be done in each emergency, working your way down a list of questions.
- Will you stay at home?
- Will you leave?
- If you go, where will you go and how will you get there?
- What will you need to prepare in order to evacuate?
- Where will you meet in order to leave?
- Where will you meet if you can’t leave together?
- If you are going to stay at home, what preps need to be made to facilitate that?
- At what point will you stop trying to stay?
- Will the children have to be sent elsewhere for safety?
Everyone who will be affected by these plans needs to be aware of them. Sit down and go over your plan with your family.
Making an Emergency Checklist
Some people are cool as a cucumber in a crisis. Others forget everything they ever learned about emergency management.
Make emergency checklists so that you’ll be prepared no matter what personality you have. These also help several people stay on the same page and work more efficiently.
Your list for bugging out and your list for bugging in are going to be different.
If bugging out, for example, you might hide valuables, turn off the utilities, collect your important papers, lock and bar doors and windows, set the rabbits loose and collect your 72-hour kits.
You will also want a more general plan checklist. This one is not to be used in an emergency, but rather on a regular basis to ensure that you are prepared for an emergency.
Such a list will include an inventory of how much water and food to store, what toiletries and first-aid you need, what communication supplies you’ll use and how many batteries you must stockpile.
It will also list necessary skills that you will have to keep up to date, like first aid and CPR.
Rationing Your Preps
Planning is also the key to properly rationing your preps.
One of the easiest ways to determine how much food to store is through counting calories. After all, they’re the way to track what energy our bodies can use from food. Simply multiply the amount of calories your family needs in a day by the estimated length of a disaster.
Of course, that isn’t quite enough. This way, you could be getting high-calorie foods that are not filling at all. You will end up eating more than you need and running out too quickly.
You could also make the mistake of buying enormous vats of food made for industrial kitchens. Unable to use it fast enough, you’ll let the food spoil, leaving you with fewer calories than your family requires.
The key is to create a sample meal plan and to establish some ground rules.
If your aim is to store food for a whole year, you don’t have to create a meal plan for every single day of the year.
Think instead of meals for 15–20 days or so and write those down. If you already have some preps, use those to design your meal plan. Take a full day’s calorie count into account.
Once you have those 15–20 days planned, you will see exactly how much of your preps will go into actually making food for your family.
You will also see exactly how much your family is allowed to eat per day without risking running out of food prematurely.
This is where some ground rules come in. You are not allowed to eat more than you can support. That’s the basic rule, but it can be phrased differently.
If you stock up food, snacks and sweets for more than what you expect to use, for example, your ground rules might be “only two snack foods per person per week.”
Rationing evokes images of difficulty and war, but that doesn’t have to be the case when you’re a prepper.
One of the best methods for staying prepared for a food shortage is outlined in the Food Crisis No Problem system. Here’s what you need to know to reap the benefits:
With enough food on hand to keep your family fed and a good plan for rationing that food, you’ll be able to stretch out your supplies as long as possible. This will both increase your odds of surviving and decrease the cost of your preparations.