I receive emails quite often from people who are new to prepping. A few says they have thought about it for a while, but haven’t really got started. I’m sure it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process to the beginner. But it does not have to be.
Being prepared is really not hard if you approach it the right way. If you are brand new to prepping, or just aren’t sure where to begin, here are 5 easy steps to help get you started.
There are plenty of links throughout this article dealing with many various prepper topics. These are a great source of information, so please be sure to check them out.
#1 Begin with a Plan
Start off by sitting down and figuring out what your plans would be if you have an emergency or disaster. Making plans now will help you to not feel lost or overwhelmed should a catastrophe strike. Failing to plan is planning to fail. And hope is not a plan!
In the beginning, I would not plan for worst case scenario. Instead, start off with the more realistic and probable scenarios. (The more extreme the event, the less likely it is to occur.) These scenarios should be based upon your location, situation, and the conditions you are in or could realistically be in.
For example, if you live along the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a realistic possibility. So having hurricane plans makes sense. I know states like Montana and Idaho are subject to winter storms. I live in “tornado alley”, and have planned accordingly. Many large metropolitan cities are seeing an increase of violence, and riots are now something (click the link for more details) that urban city dwellers might consider planning for.
Most emergencies don’t have to be regional or even local. Job loss, medical emergencies, house fire, car wrecks, etc are all things you should be prepared for that are specific to you and your family.
Editor’s note: I want to welcome Cheryl L (my mom) to the site with her first article! Enjoy!
No matter what you are prepping for, at some point in time food preparation must enter into your preps. I am always trying to find ways to cook using a minimum amount of time, energy, effort, and fuel. So I plan my preps accordingly.
I prefer to keep my life simple and that includes getting everything done in the morning and taking it easy after all the work is done. This is one of the reasons that I decided to purchase a thermal cooker.
Another reason I thought a thermal cooker would be a wonderful idea is for the ease of cooking a meal whether on a regular stove, a rocket stove, an open campfire, or in any emergency situation. We live in tornado territory and I can take a thermal cooker down into the shelter along with the already stored dehydrated meals and water, etc. so that I can prepare them for my family if the need arises. Be it a rabbit dinner or emergency food storage, I feel secure in having the means to take care of them.
I looked and researched on the internet, reading about several different thermal cookers. After some study I finally settled on the Saratoga Jack 7L thermal cooker.
I went with the Saratoga because it received a lot of positive feedback on Amazon, and because it comes with two heavy-duty pans that nestle together for cooking, (cook two separate pots at once) a lid, a cook book and of course the vacuüm cooker.
The Saratoga Jack thermal cooker is simple to use. You follow your regular recipes, bring the temperature to a rolling boil for a few minutes, and then seal the pot in the cooker. And depending on the recipe your food is ready and waiting for you in the evening when you are ready to sit down to dinner.
I’m sure that every single person who lives with electricity has, at one time or another experienced a power outage. Or at the very least woke up some morning with all of their clocks flashing 88:88. The occasional power outage is just a fact of life.
Now some folks, like myself, may have experienced even longer outages. Several years ago, a huge ice storm knocked power out where I lived for over 36 hours, and for another 6-8 hours the power was intermittent.
Long term power outages are extremely rare, but when they happen it can lead to a whole host of issues. One of which is the perishable food items in your fridge going bad.
If you experience a short term power outage, there won’t be much concern over your perishable food items. But if the outage is more long term, or even “God-forbid” permanent, you might start thinking about what foods you should eat first before they go bad. Or you might wonder if you can refreeze last night’s leftover potato casserole.
Well, here are some pointers to help you should you ever find yourself in that situation.
Typically, a normal refrigerator will keep things below 40 degrees F for about 4-6 hours after it loses power. This can vary some depending upon other factors, such as the size and settings of the refrigerator and how often you open and close the door. But it is a good rule of thumb.
However, once the refrigerator gets above 40 degrees, the clock is now ticking for many items inside. Below is a list of items that need to be thrown out if they go above 40 degrees F for 2 hours or longer. So eat these items first! (If you do not know how long your fridge has been above 40 degrees, better to err on the side of caution and toss these items.)