Guest Post by Dan Sullivan
If the title puzzles you, it’s because, as a homesteader, you’re already prepped for various emergencies and may not even know it. You already make your own food, harvest rainwater, raise animals, maybe even have a generator or a few solar panels. Unlike most people , you’ll be able to put food on the table even when something bad happens like an economic collapse or a prolonged grid-down situation.
Now, I’m not saying you need to prep for Doomsday or some other far-fetched scenario. Quite the opposite. In this article, I want to reveal to you some of the scenarios that are actually likely to affect you, your family and your homestead, as well as give you basics survival advice.
Like I said, you’re probably doing some of these things because you’re a homesteader, but I’m sure many others are not on your to-do list, in which case I’m glad I helped you uncover these holes in your emergency preparedness plans.
I’m sure you probably have some sort back-up if the lights go out for a few hours, maybe some food set aside… but what if next time it’ll last a week? You’ll need much more than flashlights, but have no fear because the things you need are not only easy to procure but also cheap.
- Lanterns, hand-crank flashlights, chem lights and those garden solar lights that recharge themselves during the day
- A blackout box where you can keep most of this stuff, including candles, matches, a solar battery charger and, of course, batteries
- Means of heating yourself such as fire wood, a clay pot heater (ineffective but still) and, as a last resort, blankets
Blackouts aren’t just about the lights going out. You need to consider all the things that can happen. For example, what if one occurs during the winter, when there’s snow and freezing temperatures and you can’t leave the house for a couple of weeks?
Things like extra food (tuna cans, beans, rice, peanut butter, honey), water, flashlights, an emergency radio – these aren’t just things you see on boring emergency lists; they are things you need
Literally any kind of emergency could mean you run out of water. You’ll need it for much more than drinking: consider you have to wash clothes, do the dishes, take care of personal hygiene, water your garden and so on.
Now, I’m not trying to be overly negative and suggest that your water could get contaminated (though I do read regular news of rivers getting contaminated), but consider the more likely scenario of when your faucets stop working.
Consider the following:
- one of those WaterBOBs that you keep in your bathroom and, when you hear news that water might run out, you put it in the bath tub and fill it with all the water you can
- a rainwater harvesting system (mandatory if you have animals, particularly cows, which drink a lot), but also means to purify that water, such as a Sawyer Mini, which can process up to 100,000 gallons
- digging a well in your back yard (you’d need to make a study and see if you actually have water underneath)
- means to store larger amounts of water in large containers
- and even means to reuse it, such as flushing the toilet with the water you use in the kitchen (the so-called grey water)
- a few water filters that will allow you to make water drinkable, such as the LifeStraw or the ones made by Berkey, just keep in mind they don’t filter heavy metals (you’d need one of those filters made by ZeroWater for that)
Though, as a homesteader, you’re probably much better of hunkering down in case of a disaster, you always have to consider the possibility of you being thrown away out of your home. A huge flood, a major hurricane, a wildfire, in cases like these you have no chance of staying inside your home; you just have to go.
Bugging out, or evacuating in plain terms, is not hard, but it does take some planning. First, you need a vehicle such as a car or an RV that you’ll use to make your escape. It needs to be properly equipped for all seasons, including food, water, blankets and flashlights (in case you remain stranded somewhere on the side of the road).
Next, you need to know all the possible ways to get out. With disaster on your tail, you may have minutes to evacuate, and you can’t afford getting stuck in a traffic jam or hitting a dead end. Every second will count.
Speaking of vehicles, you need to make arrangements to take as many things with you as possible. A large trunk will help, maybe even a trailer or a rooftop cargo carrier.
Then, we have the preppers all-time favorite, the bug out bag. We like to spend time tweaking it, making it lighter, smaller and, of course, to add more things to it. My list of over 150 bug out bag items will help, just make sure you stay away from cheap items that might break or not work at all when you need them.
Last but not least, you’d need a place to evacuate to. Even if you don’t have one, you should still prepare to bug out. Better to sleep in your car than die in your home, but really, any place that can keep you safe can be considered a “bug out location”: a friend’s house, a piece of land that belongs to a relative etc.
You need to secure your home, your family and yourself. I’m just pointing out the obvious here, but having a few guns, an alarm system, a couple of security cameras and some motion sensors will go a long way towards protecting your home, your garden and your livestock.
But you also have to consider your personal security. A concealed carry handgun is probably your best option, but there are others if you don’t like guns, things like pepper spray, stun guns and other alternative weapons.
I’m sure you probably have enough food to last you 1 – 2 weeks, but what if the next disaster will keep you inside for longer? A 1 month stockpile should be anyone’s goal, maybe even longer if you have the space to keep it all. Focus on the staples (rice, beans, honey etc.) but make sure you only get food you usually eat, and stay away from MREs and other survival foods. Most aren’t worth it.
Last But Not Least
Besides what’s listed above, one other thing you can do to increase your chances of survival is to simply try new things. I’m talking about things that are useful in an emergency, such as:
- outdoor cooking (useful when you don’t have fuel or electricity)
- food preservation techniques (salting, smoking etc.)
- fixing and even making your own clothes
- first aid
- baking your own bread
These aren’t just meant to prep you for emergencies or to take up your time they can also be fun! So feel free to experiment.
Follow post author Dan Sullivan at survivalsullivan.com