These four top-level categories are first steps which lead to successful SHTF planning.
In the context of preparing for disaster (or worse) while simply living your modern life at your home or apartment, I treat these categories as equal in importance to sort out first. Many subsequent preparedness plans will fall underneath one of them.
I have also listed a few subjects beneath each category for you to consider while you begin your overall planning. This is just the tip of the iceberg but it should set you off in the right direction…
Nearby water sources
You MUST identify your nearest external water source (and alternatives). Where is the nearest pond, stream, river, lake, etc.? You simply will not survive a week without water (3 days?) and although it would take a very major disaster to shut-off your municipal source – your dependence REQUIRES that you have alternatives to what comes out of your faucet.
Now that you know where the water is, you need to determine how to transport it to your home. Consider wagons, carts, and buckets with lids. Water weighs 8-pounds per gallon. Depending on your surroundings and nearby population density, you may want to consider transporting when least likely noticed. Consider your security.
Water filtration and purification
Procure systems of water filtration and methods of purification. Quality water filters. A means to boil the water. Chlorine/bleach or other methods of purification. Know the formulas.
Containment vessels for fetching and transportation need to be manageable due to the weight. My solution happens to be 5-gallon pails with gamma screw-on lids (splashing). You should also get yourself at least one 55-gallon food-grade barrel for storage at home. Plan on at least 1 gallon of water usage per day per person. Realistically you need more for cooking, sanitary, etc.
What kinds of food
It is best to consider diversification of your food. Concentrate first on foods that you like, that you normally eat, and then move on to the other things. A mixture of canned, dehydrated, freeze-dried, MRE’s, bulk staples like rice & beans, jars, spices & condiments, on and on… diversify.
How much food
Short answer… 1-year.
Longer answer… In steps — 1 month — 3 months — 6 months — 1-year — 2-years.
Short term and long term solutions
Your short term solution is simply your food storage. Your long term solution needs to include self-sufficiency, which means growing/raising your own. This requires practice, resources, time, and commitment.
Conceal your food
Unfortunately, having a storage of months (or more) of extra food has been ‘programmed’ by the main-stream to be taboo. Even though you know that you’re not a ‘wacko’, others may think so. And, if the SHTF and others happen to know you’ve got 6-months of food, guess who’s door they’re going to knock on (and eventually kick-open)? So just keep that in mind when you’re stacking boxes or pails or whatever. Throw a blanket over them or something…
Region, Town, and Neighborhood risk assessment
Have an honest look at these three rings of geography. Consider the general population density and the type of people who live there, and approximate your risk to a majority of them becoming desperate. Pay particular attention to your own neighborhood. Some may be more conducive than others for banding together depending on the people who live there. Only you know who they are…
Evaluate your home, external and internal
Look at your overall home security from the perspective of someone else walking by on the street. Look for gaps in your readiness. Examine the inside of your home. Are your doors secure with deadbolts front and back? Do you have a plan for intrusion evasion? A safe room perhaps? There’s lots to think about…
Tactical and Escape planning
You must consider the reality of invasion. Think through scenarios whereby others are coming for your stuff. Where would they come from? Do you have a plan of evasion? What are your tactical plans if it were to escalate to that level?
Firearms practice and comfort level
Become proficient and comfortable with your firearms protection. Schedule more range time. Check your supplies. This is our ultimate protection, which we hope we will never need to use in that way. But you best be prepared in the event that you need to…
Have a plan with multiple destinations
There may be circumstances which will require that you bug-out for your own well-being. You need to think-it-through well ahead of time and have a plan of action and a destination (destinations).
Understand the post-disaster security timeline
There will be a window of opportunity in which you will probably be able to beat the crowd, so to speak, before they realize that the $hit has hit the fan. Use it.
Plan ahead for supply and resupply
If you are forced to bug-out, you better understand that you will be leaving lots of your supply behind at home. So you better have a plan for resupply elsewhere. There are many ways to deal with this, but you need to think about it, and plan for it.