What are the basic emergency essentials you need to gather for your family? Here’s how to get started without getting overwhelmed! From food storage to 72-hour kits, to off grid options and more!
If you read this article and still need some more preparedness information and incentive, be sure to check out The Prepared Homestead chapter of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. Don’t just stop at preparedness information, though! With eight different chapters and over 400 pages of homesteading instruction and how-to’s, there’s bound to be something here for everyone. If you’d like a free sample from the book, just email me at Tessa@homesteadlady.com and I’ll get you set up. Or, click below for more information on the book:
Gathering emergency essentials like food, water, and clothing can seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be! Here’s some practical, actionable advice from someone who’s been gathering emergency essentials for several decades.
It’s a Journey AND a Destination
Beyond that rather pragmatic line of reasoning there are some simple truths about gathering emergency essentials for our families:
- It’s more about the experience and process than it is about the list of items in your basement or bug out bag.
- Living in a provident manner, preparing and providing for ourselves, is a lifestyle and there are skills to be learned as well as food to be put by.
- Somehow this process always seems to include learning to live more frugally, more thankfully, more practically.
- The lessons learned and the lifestyle changes that occur aren’t something that you and I can simply gift to another person. Even if we could somehow download our emergency preparedness efforts into someone else’s head, its most likely that the information wouldn’t make any sense because it would have no personal frame of reference.
Where to Start with Emergency Essentials
Many of us already know that developing a pattern of preparedness is vitally important and then there are those of us who just aren’t there yet. Either way, its hard to know where to start. Never fear! I know awesome bloggers and when I asked them to share with me their best preparedness posts, I had a huge list in a matter of minutes. Brace for impact.
Why Prepare Emergency Essentials?
Are you still not quite convinced? Are you still imagining “preppers” as those weirdos in tin foil hats? Or, do you have family members that aren’t quite on your same bandwagon? That’s ok – its only a place to start. Here are some articles to help you out:
- From the Prepared Ninja, Reinforcing the Basic Need for Preparedness
- Here’s An Open Letter to Family and Friends from Ed That Matters on his ideas about the need to prepare
- The Bug Out Bag Guide gives quality, not too overwhelming advice on How to Start Prepping
- Common Sense Home has just 5 Simple Preparedness Basics
- The Rural Economist has a seven part series on Getting Prepared for Beginners – this was a great series of posts on the basics and not overwhelming at all.
Start with B.O.B.
A good place to start, if you’re new to the whole preparing emergency essentials thing is a BOB – Bug Out Bag. They’re also known as 72 hour kits, grab and go bags, emergency packs and that kind of thing.
Preparing emergency essentials for three days is a manageable task, but no less vital to emergency preparedness. Besides, BOB is a nice, friendly name – start with BOB.
To help you get started:
- Here are our sister articles on preparing a BOB for your baby and improving upon you BOBs for babies and children – both have free printables!
- Survival at Home has a really cool post on filling your BOB with items you bought at the dollar store – sweet!
- Survival Weekly shares with us 8 Common Bug Out Bag Mistakes – and, yeah, I commit the first one but with five kids, I have no idea what to do about it!
- Food Storage and Survival has a great article about putting together a BOB for your car – oh, did I forget to mention you need one in your car, too?
- And your office but don’t worry because the Weekend Prepper has you covered there.
- Ok, I’m totally including this next one just because it was wicked cool article…and in case you may be in the market for a new car. Survive Hive does The Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle Comparison.
- Also, we have a whole section on this topic in our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. We even include information on how to make your BOB’s more healthy!
What are Emergency Essentials?
Some emergencies are events like natural disasters, which tend to be more motivating to prepare for because they’re scary. It’s just human nature to need a push to do something new or hard. Here’s some fire to light under your tushies because I love you.
- Lil’ Suburban Homestead shares their preps for a winter ice storm – I lived in NC for six years and I KNOW about ice storms. Its not hail, y’all. They’re ICE. STORMS. And they’re just not right.
- Common Sense Home shares what they do to get ready for any winter storm. Now that I live in Utah, I take winter very, very seriously.
Another good motivator is food. I don’t know anybody who actually enjoys being hungry.
Like many religious people, our faith observes fasting days (once a month usually) and I love the process of that. I learn how grateful I become for a piece of toast or a glass of water.
BUT, I wouldn’t want to do it for more than 24 hours (a typical fast), and certainly not long term.
Grow Food – just a quick note
Learning how to Grow Your Own Food can save you money (especially if your family is large) and provide you with food that is pesticide and GMO free. Yes, growing food takes work but you’re reading an article on emergency preparedness.
Clearly, you are under the impression that taking care of yourself and your family requires work. You’re smart that way.
We have an entire chapter on The Homestead Garden in The Do It Yourself Homestead, just so you know.
Another motivator to get emergency essentials together is our health.
- Mom With A Prep shares 10 Frist Aid Skills Every Parent Should Know.
- It’s not something we’re comfortable thinking about but there is the possibility of large scale illnesses striking and overwhelming our medical professionals and facilities – what then? That’s a long answer, but here are a few ideas from Food Storage Moms (number 12 is important – just sayin’)
- And Herbal Prepper (Yeah, that second herb won’t be hard to come by – just visit my lawn!).
- For some simple herbal combinations for health that you can make yourself, just visit our link on the topic.
- Here’s how to encapsulate your own herbal supplements – money saver! For more herbal information on the homestead, just search the medicinal herb garden section in our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead.
- To prepare ahead of time to use herbal plants medicinally, I suggest you take the beginner courses through The Herbal Academy. Just click below for more information:
So what if the grid does go down? It doesn’t have to be caused by a political coup – a computer hacker or an earthquake is probably more likely to cause us to loose public works.
Have you ever run electricity drills with your family? You shut off the electricity to everything and see how long you can go before you go nuts.
It’s a particularly powerful lesson in summer when you shut off the AC, or in winter when you shut off the heat. Don’t assume that if you use natural gas, you’re completely safe from service interruption. Survive Hive has a really good article you might want to check out called Natural Gas: Can you Depend on it?.
Have you Tried Off Grid Cooking?
If you decide you want to be proactive, you can practice your outdoor cooking skills now:
- Homestead Lady has a whole category on the subject as we stumble along, learning how to do this. This Off Grid Cooking article is of particular interest
- Melissa K. Norris has a great article called 11 Ways to Cook Off Grid Without Power
- If you want to know anything about a family living off grid, just visit Trayer Wilderness – Tammy’s family is constantly inspiring me!
- We have a whole section on off grid living in our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. We interviewed real-life, off grid homesteaders to get their advice and experience.
What to Store in the Pantry?
When deciding what and how much to put into your long-term food storage supply, take it nice and easy. Buy just a little something extra at the grocery store this month and then start reading this list of articles.
Did I lose you back there or are you ok?
If you’ve read to the end of this article, you’re probably one of those who is ready to begin to gather these emergency essentials in earnest. Or, you’re ready to step up the preparations you’ve already made.
Religious leader Bonnie Oscarson said, “Where much is required, much more will be given!”
There are so many mentors out there – you do not have to try and organize this venture all on your own. Providing for your family, filling your lamps with oil, is a big task but there are countless people able to help along the way.
This time of year is all about gathering, isn’t it?
We’re bringing in the harvest and soon we’ll be gathering our families together to celebrate our bounty and the coming festive season. Before that happy time descends upon us, let’s take a few moments and examine what we more we can be doing to prepare to care for those we love to the best of our abilities in any circumstance.
We can’t do it all, but we can do something. And it’s time.