Many people who lead a prepared lifestyle set themselves up to live in a location where they can feasibly endure any foreseeable disaster and their primary plan is to stay at home during any event. Others have a primary plan of bugging out if a crisis arises. Regardless of your primary plan your home should be equipped to sustain yourself and your family in case you are unable to evacuate, which can happen for a myriad of reasons. Having your home equipped for disaster is part of preparedness. Likewise, even for those who live in very sustainable locations, having a bug-out plan is also necessary as the need to relocate is always possible. Both bug-out and bug-in preparations are necessary for a well-rounded approach. In this article I will offer eight key considerations specifically as it applies to the bug-in plan. This is hardly all-encompassing but it is a great start as these eight considerations are important:
An absolute essential for life itself. In the wake of some disasters we have seen of late, like the floods in Texas, for example, water shortage is an immediate concern. We see scalper prices for water, 100$ dollars for a pack of bottled water, and the like. If a residential area is inundated with dirty water the flow of standard city water can be disrupted. Water is an absolutely essential part of being prepared and there are two criteria to consider: storing water, and being able to purify water.
Water storage should be to at least some degree part of your home preps. Water is heavy and it takes a lot of room so most households are going to be limited in how much can be stored. I would suggest at a minimum storing 3 days’ worth of water for all household needs for all members of the family. Typically, a person needs a gallon a day just for drinking. More is needed, of course, if we consider food preparation and cleaning. Storing water is essential, and even though you may be only able to realistically store a few days’ worth, that will allow you to deal with the initial phase of a disaster without having to immediately worry about this key resource.
Beyond storing water, though, you need to have the means of purifying it. Again, consider the example of the floods we have seen: you can be surrounded by water but unable to drink it. Research and invest in a means of purifying it. There is a whole host of available water filters on the market, even one of the small emergency water filters will serve you much better than no filter at all. Water can always be boiled, of course, but having a way to filter water first is best practice as boiling water requires time and resources in and of itself.
The need to store food should be obvious. I suggest storing two weeks’ worth of food at minimum. The more the better, although many are also constrained by storage space for this. You can store long-term food, like freeze dry emergency food, or you can simply keep a good supply of canned and dried foods that you rotate through. You can’t depend on what you have in refrigerated sources and refrigerators and freezers are dependent on electricity. Beyond storing food, consider how you will prepare the food. What if your gas or electric stove is not working? You may need an alternate means of preparing the food if you store food that requires prep. A month’s worth of food for the entire family is a good initial stock.
To be prepared for any sort of emergency where immediate medical care will not be available you need to store medical supplies and medicines. The most pressing concern is to have at least a few weeks supply of needed medications for anyone with serious medical conditions that are dependent on their medication. Some meds need to be refrigerated, so that should be taken into consideration. Beyond this, however, emergency medicines should be stocked. There are ways to obtain antibiotics to be kept on hand for emergency use. Also, just standard over-the-counter meds can be necessary. Keep anti-inflammatories like Motrin and Aspirin on hand, as well as anti-diarrhea meds. Beyond medicine, keep wound care supplies on hand as the ability to treat and sterilize wounds can prevent the serious concern of infection. And, of course, have trauma kits on hand to treat sever trauma and bleeding if necessary.
Keeping yourself and your environment clean is actually an integral part of survival. Grid down scenarios not only pose the issue of not having the usual medical care available, but they foster a less-sanitary environment that can cause sickness. As trash accumulates and people themselves are less hygienic disease can run rampant and people are more prone to infection. Keep a significant supply of soap and cleaning products on hand. Store bleach so you can clean things and disinfect. Store paper towels, toilet paper, and disinfectant wipes. Also, a supply of rubber gloves and facemasks makes good sense.
The ability to heat your home is very important. Arguably, being able to cool the home is important in some climates, but being able to heat in very cold climates is absolutely necessary. Having a secondary heat source is always a good idea. If your primary heating depends on electricity (even if you have a gas furnace the blower needs electricity) a backup system is good. If you have a natural gas fireplace there is a good chance that any disaster that puts out the electricity will not affect the gas lines. This can’t be counted on, but it is often the case. A wood stove or fireplace also makes good sense and if you have one maintain a supply of wood to get you through an event. If need be you can also look into propane or kerosene heaters, but these require the storage of fuel, obviously. If you must rely on small heaters like this you may be relegated to heating only the smallest and most insulated room of the home, which may prove necessary to keep people warm and weather the extreme cold. If so, bear in mind that carbon monoxide is a threat and the space needs to be ventilated.
Fire and Accident Safety
With the onset of a crisis that shuts down standard infrastructure the likelihood of accidents in the home goes up as you will be doing more work and tasks you may be unaccustomed to. Having the ability to treat medical emergencies factors in. Perhaps you will be doing labor that you are not used to, like splitting wood or repairing things. Likewise, the hazard of fire is greatly increased. If you are heating with fire places, kerosene heaters, or other open sources of flame the fire hazard is there. Likewise, you may need to cook on open flames, thus increasing risk. A series of strategically placed fire extinguishers should be part of your home now, and this should certainly be the case in the event of a grid down situation. The ability to extinguish a fire during a time when fire response may be greatly delayed or completely inoperative is essential.
Without electricity, obviously, you will be dealing with a lot more darkness than you are used to. Having an assortment of flashlights and lamps is good practice. Good flashlights, headlamps, and plenty of batteries to power them is essential. Also, a means to recharge these needed batteries is a good idea as there is an assortment of solar chargers now available that can power rechargeable batteries and power lights that are re-charged via USB. Also, the option of using kerosene and other gas lanterns is viable. These pose a fire hazard, so be careful of that. Candles also come in useful for lighting but these also pose a significant fire hazard that must be considered.
Finally, consider security. It is this simple: if you can’t defend it, you don’t own it. All of your preparations mean nothing if the first scumbag that comes by, or group of scumbags, can take it all from you, up to and including the lives of yourself and your family. I don’t placate pacifists or leftists in my writing, so I will say it like it is, the crux of your defensive plan should be guns and your trained skill with them. Guns are the American way and they are the only way to protect yourself against those who will be determined to hurt you. The criminal element will certainly remain armed no matter what laws anti-gun socialists try to pass. However, there are other important considerations as well beyond your firearms, and foremost among them are alarms and early warning systems. A central alarm system may not work with no electricity but there are a variety of good battery powered units that can be placed on each individual door and window. An alert dog is also an asset.
So, there are eight criteria to get you started and if you get your home squared away in this regard you will be far better off than most in any emergency. I encourage any of the experienced preppers to make suggestions. Leave a comment to point us towards other key considerations that you think of.