In the old times a family would be able to support themselves but now with more diverse and compact populations the way most of us provide for our family is by earning an income and spending that income on food and other consumables. So, if we had no job or nowhere to buy those items what would we do?
Here is the easiest way to think about prepping. So if tomorrow...
1) you were too sick to go to the store what you would wish you had purchased?
2) if the water got turned off to your house what would you have wished you'd done
A surplus is one of the cheapest methods to start prepping.
For example, if you drive a lot a bad habit a lot of use get into is driving until the "low fuel" light comes on. It doesn't cost more to keep your vehicle full. So filling up at half a tank would mean if something happened you could drive away instead of having to stop to get gas.
Another example is canned foods. Most canned items last over a year, so instead of going to the grocery store when you run out, you should maintain a surplus. If you use a can, next time your out get another one. At first, it will be hard to keep track and remember. But, if you start doing this with more items suddenly you will have a week, two weeks, month supply of food and items without any additional cost or risk of the items becoming expired.
Another thing is having spare or easy to get tools, medical supplies, and clothes. Knowledge is power tho. Depending on the situation different skills, knowledge and abilities may become very useful.
Immediately (first week)
knowledge can make a difference in saving the lives of many.
Crises management will be vital in a situation where there is chaos, the situation in devastating, or where a return to normal life does not seem close.
Short term (The first Month)Maintenance
as time progress' buildings and shelters will need to be maintained.
Long Term (indefinite)BeekeepingCarpentryArborist
(aka Ore smelting, Metal casting)Masonry
(aka glassblower, or gaffer, lampworker)Chemistry
(aka Seamstress)Food Processer
(aka canning, salting, meat processing, etc)BarberLaundererButcherBakerCandle MakerMachinistRooferBrewer
(aka wine maker, distillery tools)
Now that we've covered the basic knowledge and traits (click on the names for more info) we can talk about the requirements we have as people.
Air, Shelter, Water, then food. Some refer to this as the rule of three's, but it makes it easy to keep in mind. A person will won't survive after 3 minutes without air, (in a cold environment 3 hours without shelter), three days without water, three weeks without food.
Air in most situations will still be safe, but here is our forum on the subject.
Shelter can be as basic as a big coat with a hood, but in reality, you want an environment that can be heated (in the cold) or block the sun (in the heat) and prevent being rained on and wind/
Water is easy to store, and collection might be easy depending on your situation. Tho it is important that it is filtered and free of parasites. Boiling water can kill parasites, but it does not remove heavy metals, same with filtering it may remove some contaminants but not all.
Food is often what we all think about in storing for a disaster but in reality, the human body can go quite a long time without it. We have an entire forum about food here, but simple heat-n-eat options are the best for short to midterm events. For more extended situations, it will be important to be able to garden and grow your food.
Other topics to think about.
Your sanity with Sanitation.
Bug spray, antiseptic cleaners, and Toiletries will be important to you and your family. Face mask, gloves, goggles and hand sanitizer.
What kind of Knives and multi-tools should you look for? Types of axes, saws, and hatchets are best for what job.
OPSEC - operation security is a military term commonly used online. The basic caution is that other people's emergency plan is that other people will have one better, and to join with them.
Running a generator, large fires, and meat smoking might cause a lot of unwanted attention.
Light up the sky.
There are many methods for starting a fire, but it's not unjust to bring some matches and a lantern.
Nice to heat you!
Indoor safe propane and kerosene heaters. Gas grill w/tanks, various camping stoves.
Refrigerator, freezer, AC, stove, medical equipment, fans, etc. can be operated.