Read this in the right frame of mind
It’s important to feel good about preparation when you do it. As discussed earlier, the odds are much greater that the grid won’t collapse. Nevertheless, you ought to prepare for same reason you get other forms of insurance: The odds are high enough that you need to have some fallback. So get the knowledge you need, starting with this page!
Most of this preparation section assumes that eventually most people and most local governments will eventually be prepared. If a collapse happens before most people are prepared, this chapter’s recommendations still make sense, but you’d just need to focus more on the “Protecting Yourself and Others” section and the “Creating Green Zone” sections.
This preparation also assumes that FEMA will not provide a safe FEMA camp option for most people. (300 million people!) The huge advantage of a FEMA camp would be the security from gangs and desperate people. The drawbacks would include: the probable lack of steady supplies since the government would probably be overwhelmed; being among many highly-stressed people; the lack of freedom; and the harsh take-it-or-leave-it conditions.
Some parts of preparation will be mildly disturbing to read. We’re being completely honest about the severity of this threat to give you better odds because you might work out a strategy;, and because it will probably make you work harder at the parts of the plan that make these unpleasant situations less likely.
If something seems particularly depressing to you, just keep telling yourself, “This probably isn’t going to happen, but I should know about it, just in case it does.”
A bonus of reading these preparation pages is that they contain many low-cost or free tips that can benefit you right now in your normal daily life. Learning these things also increases your resilience and independence.
If you haven’t done it already, print out the 40 page Preparation PDF Grid Emergency Preparation 3-21-17 and store it with your emergency supplies.
Strongly consider getting a support buddy to keep yourself motivated
Most people will benefit from some short-term encouragement to prepare. Otherwise they are likely to lose momentum and focus. That’s why we strongly recommend that you set up a “buddy” phone check-in arrangement with a friend or out-of-town family member. It will make the process of preparing easier and more enjoyable.
The calls need only take 5-10 minutes if done correctly. Twice a week is usually the best frequency. One person calls mid-week and the other on the weekend. In each call you report on a) your progress (what you’ve purchased, built or learned) since the last call, and b) your plan for the next few days up until the next call. The person listening should acknowledge the progress, and also help you make specific goals.
Either pick someone who is good at following through and who will be supportive to you, or pick someone who you are willing to be the cheerleader for, if they’re not so motivated.
Make sure to plan the times for the calls, and create some kind of reminder for yourself.
If your buddy keeps not reaching his or her goals, a good question is, “What’s keeping you from taking action?” Another good question is, “What do you need to do to remove the obstacle keeping you from taking action?”
How not to be overwhelmed by all this information
Preparation may initially seem like a lot of work. But in many cases, several options are presented and you only need to pick one. You should get a pen and paper, and make a shopping list as you go through this section. Mark each item as either ‘essential’ or ‘desired’ (needed or wanted). At the end, you can decide how many of the desired items you can afford.
When you go shopping or go online to make purchases, it helps to start with the priorities. Being able to collect and sterilize water, stockpiling food, being able to cook food, staying warm in cold weather, and having enough essential medications are the priorities.
To help people get started, we created a “Quick 6” list of actions that are priorities. We also created a “Next 6” list which would be the next five things I would do. Using these lists might help people get rolling. The lists are below.
It also helps very much to plan where you will store things before you buy them. You ideally want to put things where they are both out of sight and not in your way. Otherwise you will keep becoming reminded of the grid threat, and you’ll also keep tripping over the stuff.
Two tips to make your preparation much cheaper!
If you buy everything mentioned later you may go over the $300-$400 per person quoted earlier. That cost estimate was for the most essential items: food and a way to cook it; collecting and sanitizing water; general sanitation; and disposal of human waste. However, there are ways to decrease your costs.
1) Consider sharing some equipment with people who live close to you. Not everyone needs a camping stove, emergency toilet, first aid kit, etc., if people share.
2) Don’t spend hundreds of dollars online buying expensive emergency and survival supplies. You can find cheap “do-it-yourself” substitutes for almost everything essential. You can often find tutorials on YouTube.
A “Quick 6” list of actions
Here are the first six suggested priorities:
1. Buy at least four gallons of unscented bleach for water sterilization and sanitation.
2. Buy bulk foods locally. Expect to spend two hundred dollars or more per person on food alone.
3. Buy two large plastic trash cans with lids. Use at least one to store the dry foods. Seal with duct-tape or packaging tape so bugs cannot get in. You may be using these trash cans later to collect water. B) Buy at least 100 13-gallon trash bags for your emergency toilet. C) Buy at least two rolls of duct tape, for the emergency toilet and other uses.
4. and 5. Depending on what you have already, purchase a way to cook the food (4), and the proper fuel (5). For example, go online and buy a kerosene cooking stove and some spare wicks, and then go to a gas station that sells kerosene and get kerosene and the proper storage containers. Or, another example, if you already have a propane stove, buy extra propane canisters. (Make sure that you have matches or lighters, too!)
If you depend on certain medicines, contact a doctor to try to get at least 30 to 60 days of essential medicines. Also ask what options you’d have if you couldn’t get the medicine. Diabetics should strongly consider buying a “Frio wallet” to keep their insulin cold without needing refrigeration. [We don’t get any income from mentioning products. These seem to be the only people making these.]
A “Next 6” list of actions
Here are the next six things to consider:
1. Work out a plan with all family members, especially children, about what to do or where to meet if the grid goes down or if another crisis occurs.
2. Work out some home defense plan. If you have a gun, get extra ammo for it. If you have a friend or neighbor who is handy with a gun and who is completely trustworthy, talk to them about a defense plan. Alternatively, buy deadbolts for your doors; purchase wasp and hornet spray for defense; and buy about 300 to 500 ft. of string for various homemade string & empty can alarms.
3. Plan your ‘go bag.’ Decide what important documents you will take. If you don’t want to move emergency supplies into your go bag, at least create a list and put it in your go bag or back-pack.
4. Go online and buy a windup LED lantern that’s powerful enough to read by.
5. Make sure your smoke detectors are working. Purchase at least two extra smoke detectors and batteries. Put the LED light (from #10 above), and the spare smoke detectors in a Faraday Cage, or else wrap the box they came completely in aluminum foil, at least two layers of aluminum.
6. Make sure your fire extinguishers have enough pressure. Purchase at least one extra fire extinguisher.
Next, go to the page on “Water” to learn how to collect and purify it.