If you are one of those people who have an interest in starting the journey of preparing your home for an emergency or you have just started then this article is for you. I'm not one of those "doomsday preppers" that go all out on everything, but I am a mother who has a plan in case of an emergency (emergency being a disaster, food shortages, another pandemic, etc). So in this article we will go over questions that you should be asking yourself when coming up with your plan and my personal answers for my family to get the ball rolling in your mind to configure for your family.
- How much food does our family need per person per day?
- What does our pet need (don't forget to include your pets)?
- Are you the type of person who likes to help those in need/your neighbor after an emergency/disaster?
- What are your abilities and limitations with your home and neighborhood for storing food, getting to places, gardening, etc? Also note what disasters and other possible emergencies could occur in your location.
- How often does the power go out? How long could you function without power?
- How often does the water go out/do you have any fresh water resources? How many gallons of water do you use/need each day?
- How long do you want to be prepared for (aka how long do you want to be able to eat without going to grocery store, how long without power/water, etc)?
- What's your budget?
Every family, situation, and location is different so your answers will most likely be different than how I answer. My answers are examples just for you to go off of.
So to answer numbers 1-2. I'm a middle aged woman that needs about 1500 calories a day to not feel like crap (either by under or over eating), my husband needs about 2000 a day and my 2 year old eats about 1000 now, but I base him off of 2000 since I know when he gets older he will want more. So in total for one day, we need between 5,000 to 6,000 calories. I base it more near the 6,000 calorie range for our dog when she runs out of dog food (she eats 3 cups a day which a 30 lb bag lasts a couple of months).
Numbers 3-4. I would like to help my neighbors, but I have very limited storage and gardening options to be able to adequately provide meals for more families. Our main food storage is freezing and food buckets. We aren't able to have a root cellar since we practically live on bedrock and our house is just big enough for us to store food for our family. We have 1/4 of an acre for raised bed gardening to grow our own food. We live on top of a mountain in West Virginia so we have to worry about landslides, wind/lightning storms, and flooding. Even though we don't live near a water source, the river at the bottom of the mountain does flood and could potentially take out some bridges preventing businesses from getting the services/supplies they need.
Number 5-6. Our power hasn't been out longer than 3 days before. The power company here is very quick to respond to outages but we also have a generator that could last us 3 days for our whole house with the amount of gas we have currently. If we thought it would be longer than three days, my husband knows how to just make important things run like just the freezer where we store a good amount of food in. The generator would be able to power the freezer and fridge for about 2 weeks. We have a lot of candles, flashlights, and batteries in case the generator is needed for the freezer. Power will not be an issue for us but water will be. Water will be our downfall since we don't live near water sources (closest is a couple of miles away), we have 4 different 55 gallon rain water barrels with water filtration systems. Between showers, baths, cooking, and drinking our family uses about 50 gallons a day! We could lessen it significantly if needed to (figured 20 would be comfortable). So if the barrels are full totaling to 220 gallons, we could go about 11 days without rain, which is fortunately rare in WV. Also have to think about bathroom possibilities if water services don't work (since we live on a hill, we can go to our backyard that's wooded down hill areas and do our business there). Others may not have that possibility so you'll need to plan accordingly.
Check out this article for more information about being prepared (5 Ways to Be Prepared for Any Situation).
Also check out this article that is a follow up to this one regarding your food storage needs (Being Prepared: Food Storage Basics).
Let me know what other questions that you think is important for planning.