How Do I Get Prepared?

The following is a comment from our very own ‘NRP’ here on the blog who was responding to an article that I wrote awhile ago entitled, “Getting Started With Survival Preparedness”

I felt that his comment was perfect for a subsequent article, especially geared towards those who may be just starting out in prepping / preparedness. So here it is:

What Are You Preparing For?

I believe the very first thing that’s needed is to understand what one is preparing for. What do you think is going to “get ya”.

Then make a list of the concerns you have.

Such as: an earthquake, hurricane, power outages, storms, EMP, nuke war, economy, social unrest, pandemic, job loss, and so on. And please do not say “everything”.

Then prioritize your “get ya” list and decide what is the most likely to happen.

FYI, if preparing for an Asteroid Impact; best of luck with that one.

Decide What You Need

After you have the “get ya” list, then start to determine what it is you will need to outlast that particular threat.

It will be very easy to see that some threats will be covered with preps for other threats, but not always.

Yes, we all know Water, Food, Shelter, and so on, but what specifically will you need to make it through a Pandemic or a JIT (just-in-time) food catastrophe, earthquake, or whatever? Obviously you will not need a Bio-Hazard suit for an economic crash (probably not).

So figure out what scares the bejeebers out of you as more likely to happen, and work on that first.

Search this blog for countless ideas on your concerns. There is some great content here and there are great comments to help you along for deciding what you might need or do for preparedness.

Your Location

The next thing I suggest; is think about where you are; City, Burbs, rural, and so on.

What will it take to outlast others around you? What will be the threat if you “hunker down” or instead decide to Bug-Out?

What about your family, do you have small children or elderly parents? Can you “Bug-Out” with 2-4 kids and a 90 year old tagging along or would you be better off hunkering down?

Most importantly if you Bug-Out do you have a place to go, do you have more supplies at your BOL? DO NOT think you will survive “in the woods” it will NOT happen, PERIOD.

Related: What To Expect And Bring On A Bug-Out To Someone Else’s Place

Related: Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Bug-In Or Bug-Out?


Once you have a good idea of a “plan” than you need to start on your Skills/Supplies/Location.

Please do NOT underestimate having a plan and follow that plan. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I know plans change all the time, but at least have a good solid plan for prepping, with a timeline.

Modify the plan if needed, but have a direction, a checklist. Not only of water, food etc. but of skills, a travel plan, BOL, and so on.

Without a good plan you will be floundering around buying this and that. Prioritize what you need to do, and be smart about it.

Lastly, if you’re first getting started, start from the beginning not from step 4 or 5.

I believe more in living the “lifestyle” than just buying a lot of “stuff”.

Live the lifestyle, enjoy the “old ways” of doing things, become more in touch with nature, and mostly figure out what’s truly important to you and your family.


[Ken adds]: How do you get prepared? One step at a time…

Check out our Survival Library for more ideas.


  1. I really like this approach. My first preparations were really not much more than just a few extra groceries. If I had read the above article first I would have reached an overall well prepared state much quicker than I did.

    For someone just starting out, I would suggest moving Location to the top of the list. Natural disasters should be high on everyone’s list of
    What are you preparing for. For example, for my location hurricanes are a low probability event, but I could win big money betting a winter snow storm will knock out my power and heat. So one’s location should have a major impact on what it is that we are preparing for.

  2. Having the good fortune to live in the northern portion of the Granite state my wife and I are in a good place for what may come our way.We expend a good deal of time and energy keeping up with the needs of survival but are warm and eat well. My main concern is the social unrest after any event. Well enough armed but my wife has a hard time with large caliber arms. Hope our location will keep us safe we are well off the beaten path.

    1. North Woods

      My first concerns were land and location. The limitations of urban living almost eliminate the rest of the list. You are left with “bug out plans”. Distance equals more security.

      1. @hermit us
        I always appreciate your comments, and not just because you have a freeze dryer.

        The other day I was planting some shrubbery along the barn. Forty years ago I would have been thinking about design, balance etc. suddenly I was thinking about concealment and how to approach the root cellar if there were intruders. I wondered why this change has occurred. When did an EMP become a possibility?

        Perhaps, it is important for people to think not so much about what is a normal catastrophe and start thinking about possibilities we have never experienced before. I look back in history and wonder why Europeans didn’t prepare for war. Did they really believe the “Peace in out Time” stuff?

        I have recently met a new prepper and I shall be very careful moving him through the steps. I must consider what he capable of accomplishing in term of money, time and location. I don’t want to overload him. A prepper’s zeal has to be kept in check.

        Perhaps this should be kept for tomorrow’s “What did you do to prepare?”‘, but this has been bothering me. This week I put in a large order of supplies. This is not like me at all. I put it all on Visa. Always, I wait and make sure I have the money. Each week I carefully record how and where I have spent money. Every cent is accounted for and I always purchase where the prices are lower. This action is so unlikely and out of character.

        Anyway, great article, Ken.

        Stay frosty.

    2. Not to pee in your cheerios, but might want to read a piece Daisy wrote over on The Organic Prepper, is food for thought

      1. Good day Nailbanger

        I read Daisy’s post and somewhat agree with her move to more urban community – single mom with daughter.

        But, where can you move to that is totally isolated these days? I still feel better about a rural lifestyle and know when trouble comes, I will have food, shelter, and a group of people out here that knows how to shoot. Not only that, but an urban gang must be able to overcome all them trees blocking roads, destroyed bridges, and big trenches dug by the backhoes.

        Rural protection can be measure in miles, where city protection can only be measured in blocks.

        1. Hermit,,
          Totally agree, just found it an interesting read,
          We are rural but can see our neighbors, its not what most folks would call rural, personally i would rather be off in the mountains in northern Washington or Idaho, but that aint happening, not that where we lives sucks, (wish we could add pictures etc..) but i get both sides of the argument, and honestly lean more toward the real remote as opposed to closer in just because i like that regardless of SHTF that may or may not ever happen, i feel we are more likely to get a natural disaster than any sort of collapse, but what the he ll do i know

  3. Holy Cow, that NRP guy sure does talk a lot…..

    AND long winded… LOLOL


    1. NRP

      You are on the record now. We have the Tapes lol. The evidence never goes away. We just await the photos of you colluding with that TP salesman. We now know most of your weaknesses, especially that secrete affinity for that “cat”.

      But to stay on topic, you did have one or two good preparation ideas over the years. :)

      1. @ hermit us

        I actually don’t have a cat, late wife was the cat lover.

        Thanks for the compliment, although I have learned more than I teach I believe. 1 or 2 over the years, that’s not really a good average… HAHAHA

        I still believe that one step at a time, and a good plan like anything else in life, although yesterday’s Article does kick in the ‘spontaneous’ outside the comfort zone side of me.


  4. I believe in choices, when friends ask if they can bug out to my property I tell them yes if they have one years supply of food for there self and family. This is the most important thing to have. Next is shelter, in some areas a tent will do, but in most a camping trailer is better it doesn’t have to be an expensive one just basic shelter. With these two items you have the choice of staying where you are or going to a safer location. Having one year or more food supply and shelter means you will be an asset to a host family, not a burden.
    Ps. The LDS church sells dried foods in #10 cans that will last 30+ years. This is a very inexpensive way to get started on a food storage program.
    Pss. You don’t have to be LDS to use there store.

  5. I always put food at the top of the list. It’s hard to imagine having to much. Concerns at the top of my list are the economy, social unrest and power issues. My list as a single senior is likely far different than that of a young family etc.

  6. The time for planning is almost over.
    ASAP move to a small town or place in the country. FWSS The 4 things to get when you move: food, water, shelter, safety. If you are suddenly cut off from everything not in walking distance–will you have food to eat, water to drink, winter warmth?
    Experience is the best teacher–Live simply and note everything you pay for. Stock up on those things or prepare to do without.
    Be a good neighbor. If you have plenty of eggs or tomatoes, give some to your neighbors. Be there when a neighbor needs a helping hand. Help care for the sick, injured, or those in grief.
    As you become less and less dependent on a dying society you’ll notice a wonderful change: you’ve become a much happier person.

    1. NRP

      Ken needs a bigger hammer and you are closer than I am – send him your 12 lb server corrector.

  7. Good article NRP…

    Lay in a fair supply of food, water, shelter, weapons for protection, and expand up to producing your own food if you can, not necessarily in that order. Start small, just git-er done.

    Understand the threat. It is difficult to prepare for something if you do not understand the root of the threat. We make lists of things to prepare for, like earthquakes, hurricanes, social or economic unrest, power outages, EMP, job loss, pandemic, and so on. But do we really understand the root of the threat? Sadly, most people do not and when they are told they do not believe until it is too late and even then, stay in denial until they perish. I think that basically, there are only two kinds of threats (in the context of prepping.) Natural and man-made. Most people prepare for natural disasters because most of us have seen or experienced them, and the aftermath, consequently we become motivated and are better equipped mentally and physically to prepare for them as well as mitigate the aftermath. While preparing for natural disasters, we also are preparing to some degree for many man-made disasters too. However…

    I am, becoming more and more concerned about how to prepare for when the government bureaucrats and corrupt, stupid, politicians completely outlaw small farming, gardening, prepping, gun ownership, and cash, or any activity that enables one to help themselves, etc… (There are too many things to list them all here). This does not fall under social unrest or other types of disasters I’ve read about in most of the prepping articles. It is tyranny.

    This is not a far fetched concern from some maniacal, half-witted, conspiracy theorist old fart. It is actually happening more and more all over our country. It has happened many times through out history, in other parts of the world. You might read about it occasionally in school or in passing and push it out of your mind because, well, it happened over there. It is no longer something that is just “happening over there”, to the other people of the world. It’s here and it is growing like a cancer.

    1. @ CrabbeNebulae

      Thank you, but this is not my Article, Ken authored this. And a good job at that. He’s one heck of a good editor… hehehehe

      I did want to agree with you 1000% on the fall from within, what’s amazing is how many of millions of Snowflakes are pushing for the collapse even more and more. Yet they have no vision of what happen in Europe in the 30-40s.

      Hundreds of Thousands of people have given their lives to make and keep this country free, and these idiots are pushing harder and harder to Socialism/Communism/Dictatorship. Unfortunately I believe they WILL succeed. Remember what is happening in Venezuela right NOW!

      This is one of the reasons I push so hard at times for people to make a plan, and to figure out what they will do If/When.


  8. For the New People out there: Welcome to the site.

    As my name says, I came after economic turmoil hit me right in the wallet. I was working and my wife was out of work when we decided to relocate. My place of work, we were being told that the Gov. was going to pay us in IOU’s.

    Many at work said: “It will never happen” and kept working. To date, Gov Pete Wilson did exactly that for 8 months in the early 1990’s and in recent past, Gov Scott Walker also did that in (Wisconsin?) I was around to witness the IOU’s being issued in 1992. It was ugly.

    I did not wait and started working on relocation when the talk began. We moved about a year later. It was worth it. If you have a job, keep working and save for the relocation. Moving is not cheap. Many get in the habit of keeping their nose to the grindstone when at work and playing on days off.

    Take the time to sit down with a legal pad and calculator. Add up your income and add up your costs. Take a look around at places you would like to move to. Consider taking some vacations as scouting trips and get a professional license in another state. (that you would move to)

    Do not be swayed by people around you saying: “It will never happen. or It will never happen here” It pays to take a look around you and note the changing conditions around you. Burying the head in the sand is not a good survival instinct for most species including humans.

    I studied Economics in college. The economy goes in cycles as it changes. Humans have to be able to adapt to the changes around them. One poster on this site always ends with “adapt and overcome” not a bad motto to live by.

    Life will push us to the edge of our comfort zone.

  9. I grew up in a small town surrounded by “dry land” cotton farms. The commerce of this town was dependent on value and size of the production of these farmers. Most were “share- croppers”, they farmed the land owned by others, paying the rent with an agreed to percentage of the crop.

    These farmers began their endeavor with a loan from a local bank to buy seed, fertilizer, fuel, etc. to plant, care for and harvest their crop. In addition, the bank would advance the cash needed for food, clothing, etc, for their families for the year. The bank would place a lien against the farmer’s crop at the local cotton gin who bought the cotton. The check for the crop would be issued jointly to the farmer and the bank, requiring both endorsements to be cashed. If the farmer had a good year, the bank note and the land-lord were paid in full and the farmer had some money left over for extras for their families.

    That was for “good years”. On average, a farmer would have two “good years” out of five, two “break even years”, and one bad year. If they were lucky enough to have four good years out of ten, and watched their spending of the money they made during those good years, they could break the cycle of having to borrow the money from the bank. They could buy their seed, etc. paying cash, and support their families with their own money in the bank. With prudent lifestyles, they could eventually buy their own land, well on their way to being dependent (enslaved) to no one.

    My point? Being prepared for bad times means getting a couple of years of your’s and your family’s needs taken care of in advance, depending on no outside help. That may mean passing up that new bass boat or that motorcycle when you have a”good year”. Who knows, when you get to that point, your lifestyle may be such that you may even prosper. Just like the poor tenant farmers I grew up around, who refused to stay in the cycle.

    So, “How Do I Get Prepared”? Quit living just for today, dare to think of a better tomorrow, where you’re the boss of your own life.

  10. I think the things I most prepare for are civil unrest,and weatherwise,a snow storm(blizzard),and shortage of food supply.Where I live,I have seen it start snowing and snow 3 or 4 feet over night.When my wife and I got married in 1968,we were snowed in for 3 days.What an awful thing to happen to newly-weds.(smirk)Civil unrest is my worst worry,and home invasions afterward.I’ve been a marksman since I was 12,and still am.But I hope and pray it never comes down to that.

  11. Another super article! I will take some of those suggestions to heart, and implement them in to my plan.

    I don’t know what to plan for, but “everything” is not the correct answer. I have had to unplug a bit more recently, but I have not stopped having a prepared mindset.

    I guess I have a date with a legal pad!

    1. @ haha

      Thanks, but this is Ken’s article, he grabbed some few thoughts I had from the comment section on another article, it’s linked above.

      I always want to give credit where credit is due


  12. IF you have not updated your computer systems for the cyber attack WANNACRY or checked out the patches which might be available for your system.


    A family member was hacked, if it can happen to them it can happen to your system.

    Guess we will have to spend $$ for a new computer system as our was built during that stone age. Told Microsoft hope they get their backsides sue off for knowing this was out there and could bring down the___________ (you fill in the blank).

  13. What a great article! Thank you. I first found this site by searching for tips on how to tell how full a propane tank is. Started following links to other articles, and the rest is history. You’re all stuck with me now.

    I grew up in southern New England, and my family always had the preparedness mentality for blizzards and hurricanes. We had a garden, and mom did some canning. As an adult I had the same mindset, until I lived with a distant relative on her small homestead for a few years. It became my dream to do that myself, and still is. Life just kind of got in the way…

    This past fall, something changed in my mindset, and I started to consider preparing for more than just bad weather or being out of work for a few weeks. Those storm preps got me through some tough times, but looking at the big picture I figured there might be a storm coming that is an order of magnitude bigger than I had ever seriously considered preparing for.

    So what did I do? I became a daily visitor to this site. I read the articles ​and comments. I learned, made lists, started acquiring a few things as I could. At first it was a bit overwhelming, and still can be at times. I’m amazed at how far I have come since I started walking this path about 6 months ago. Every week acquiring a bit more knowledge, putting that knowledge to use, getting more supplies as I can, reducing debt, becoming a better person.

    So the title of today’s article is ‘ How do I get prepared?” I would say that once you take the first step on this path, enjoy the journey.

    1. Skibum, it is a journey and a way of life! It’s the way people used to be and was considered normal back in the day… Modern systems have changed that, however one might say that the systemic risks are greater than ever.

  14. Well written and well thought out NRP .
    Our concerns are #1 economy(8% inflation now), #2 civil unrest and martial law, #3 a war of some kind.
    You are absolutely correct when you say preparing is a lifestyle.
    Self reliance is the key to getting through whatever comes our way.To us it means living without needing to go for groceries, gas,, supplies , etc.for an extended period of time.

  15. Think of prepping as a child’s drawing of the sun. The circle in the center is your basic preps. Each of the lines drawn out from the circle are the less likely disasters – EMP, radiation, pandemic, economic collapse, civil disobedience, war etc. get the basics first and then start specializing.

    Stay frosty.

  16. My wife had a situation this past week that forced her to use some of her preps. The local pharmacy ran out of her meds and supplies. She fussed at me for putting back some of her meds because they are perishable, but had to use them until the pharmacy could get her refills. So an unreliable pharmacy is one more thing to prep for. I really don’t like Walmart but we are going to start using their pharmacy because the local one is unreliable to have her meds.

  17. First concern is basic power failure, then flood, then terrorist attack in my city or basic criminal on the loose as was the case in Moncton, NB, where the RCMP told residents to stay inside and put their porch lights on to assist in capture. Another concern is an ice storm where highways are closed for days. Also medication shortages, so have extra on hand. Most of my prep work is for food and water.

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