Thinking back over the years, there have been many times certain foods and items have run out due to the good old tradition of “panic buying” when rumors of an impending disaster hit the news. But prepping your household is more than just buying stuff to last you until things return to normal.
Even the most basic of foods are whisked off the shelves within hours of a potential shortage. Then, as the shops and supermarkets run out of essential food and supplies and the queues get longer, we see people fighting over the last bottles/packets on the shelves. You only have to look at the shops at Christmas to see people arguing and fighting over the last turkey.
No longer a doomsday movie scenario
In recent years it’s been shown that the slightest thing can spark a shortage. As we saw in 2020, the pandemic took panic buying to a whole new level. As we can see today in England, a shortage of truckers to supply goods and fuel leads to an incredible fuel shortage, leading to massive queues of cars lined up for their rationed fuel.
Or what about the riots that took place in our country in the last decade? What happened then was shop, and homeowners were at the mercy of looters who simply smashed their way in and took anything they fancied.
Well, brace yourself, but that would be the very thin edge of the wedge if we ever found ourselves in a disaster situation where the rules of law and order had broken down. Everything you own and everything you thought was exclusively yours now becomes sought after by just about any low life.
But as the situation increases, and if things were to get worse, it would not only be gangs of looters but your neighbors or the nice family down the road who are now becoming desperate enough to act very irrationally indeed.
You have to give yourself a chance to survive, and this means acting now and preparing your home before the SHTF – if the power goes down do you have torches and spare batteries?
Does everyone know where to find them in the dark?
Even these very simple, small precautions can make a huge difference in an emergency. If you’ve been sensible and stocked up on the necessary basic food and supplies, if you have survival equipment that allows you to prepare and cook your food, and if you have taken time to learn and practice your bushcraft and survival skills, then you’re halfway there already.
So kitting out your home for survival and being able to ride out that first essential month of a disaster situation will give you a real fighting chance to being able to keep going.
But what is actually needed to give you that edge over anyone else?
Your last resort is to actually pack up all your essential survival gear, and head out to a safer area, maintaining as little human contact as possible. This bugging out would mean effectively running away to new pastures. Of course, this could make you just one of many potential homeless refugees. Something you really don’t want.
So, to prepare to ride out the storm at home, you must put a few very essential precautions in place right from the start.
Don’t go thinking that your home is fully defendable. It’s not. In the country, we have thousands of homes where you can simply walk up to the front door. With a decent length of scaffold pole and one forceful hit, your so-called safety door is lying halfway down your entrance hall!
Shops and offices have toughened safety glass designed to resist entry, do you?
No, of course, you don’t. One house brick and your windows are in pieces. Even those two simple things should illustrate how painfully unsecure our homes are against a would-be attacker hell-bent on getting any food or supplies in your home.
Fortyfining your home
No matter how many stored provisions you have, they will be gone in seconds if you don’t take a serious look at how to defend them. Here are some of the basic prepping precautions you must have to give yourself a chance.
At the very minimum, install decent doors with multi-point locking. But that’s not enough to prevent a looter from entering. Additional bars, wooden or metal, placed across the door opening and anchored firmly into the brickwork will help prevent a door from being caved in.
In foreign countries where violent crime is common, you often find a secure front door with a heavy-duty metal door/cage behind it that not only resists entry but gives you the ability to see the criminal and act appropriately.
Acting appropriately in a SHTF situation would mean doing just about whatever you thought would stop that person from getting to you or your family.
These are the weakest link in your home’s defenses. So be prepared to board them up from the inside. It’s not a difficult task to clad the windows with ½” plywood that will resist entry for enough time for you to take appropriate action.
There are firms that specialize in door and window barriers. These show actual videos of people using sledgehammers and door entry batons on the barriers and still being unable to gain entry. They are worth looking into.
Remember, thieves and looters will always look for the weakest link, and if your home presents them with problems, then 9 out of 10 will walk away and look for easier pickings.
These are basic precautions, but they cost money. That’s the downside right now. But if you spent money on your other essential prepping supplies, then this really is necessary. So, what is your plan?
If your survival plan is to hunker down and ride out those first few weeks and months, then your home needs to be fully self-sufficient.
Now we’re not talking all lovey-dovey off-grid, look at me, I’m saving the earth, sunshine, and roses type of off-grid. More like we have two months’ supply of everything, and we need to go completely unnoticed and keep our heads very firmly down. Not drawing any attention to yourself and surviving on your preps only.
To get a grip on what you should and shouldn’t be doing to prepare your home for a disaster situation, it’s worth breaking down your home preps into sensible areas.
Think primitive living, think survival. How do you approach that?
You look at what you need: food, water, sleeping, lighting, cooking, etc. Then, based on this, you get your kit together and venture out. Prepping at home is pretty much the same, except you don’t venture out!
Food and water
Food supplies shouldn’t be too much of a problem. You have enough stashed, yes?
Of course, you have a couple of decent water filter bottles as well, should the tap water go a funny color. So you are covered there – daily meals and rationing will kick in and considering your forced inactivity levels, you can now consider smaller portions to maintain body weight.
Water is still your most essential item, and levels need to be maintained for clear thinking and good health. Even if the water supply is compromised and stops flowing, you should still have your backup supply of collected rainwater to fall back on. If that fails – your stored bottled water supply comes into play.
On the health issue – all your personal medication should be stashed well in advance. It is possible to get a minimum of 6 months’ supplies from your doctor. Just ask.
Keep your personal medication separate from your supply of first aid and emergency equipment. In fact, keep personal medication very safe indeed. Your kit of general medicines needs to be as comprehensive as possible and include everything from simple cough medicine to blood clotting pads.
On the point of personal medication, it is definitely well worth keeping all your medication safe and secure within your bug-out bag.
Your survival bug out bag can take the form of just about anything from a simple sports bag stuffed with a few essentials to get by (although I highly recommend something a bit better than that!) to a well thought out and equipped, high-quality survival rucksack system with all other survival equipment essentials.
This is your backup means of surviving a disaster and must be stored away and fully ready for that real evacuation emergency. So store your medication supplies in there – the last thing you want is to bug out and have no meds with you.
Now what are you going to do about cooking?
Well, as I have said before in previous articles, you do nothing… Don’t risk cooking food. If you risk cooking foods over a fire and allowing the smells to waft about, that would bring every hungry, unsavory person right to your doorstep. At least by concealing the fact that you actually have food to cook, you are ensuring far less attention from the bad guys.
There are so many good, nutritious foods available that do not require cooking. Dried and dehydrated foods only require the addition of boiling water to re-hydrate them back to their former self. Many tinned foods can be eaten straight from the can, and those that can’t only need to be warmed in boiling water.
In fact, boiling water is just about all you need to do in order to have hot food and drinks. No open fires in the garden, though – this is a dead giveaway and will attract attention. You will be inside your home, so you need to find a specific area to do this safely and away from any prying eyes. The kitchen is the obvious choice here, but what about if it’s overlooked by others? Make it safe and out of view.
With the very real possibility of having no gas or electricity, we only have one sensible, safe way to boil up water in this “off-grid” situation and that’s with a bottled or canned gas-powered camping stove.
Although these are not designed to be used indoors as such, providing you ensure some ventilation to keep a good flame, and the burnt gasses can escape, you’re pretty safe. These camping stoves are very efficient, and the gas canisters will last ages. Even the smallest canisters will work for boiling water.
Preparing your home for SHTF is going to mean radical changes within the home. Especially if it’s winter and it’s cold outside. In a prolonged disaster, the chances of the electricity going down are very high. This means no heating to your home. Even if you have an open fire, you risk drawing unwanted attention by sending smoke signals up out of the chimney.
Your sleeping arrangements will need to be modified. This is where those fold-up emergency camp beds and low-temperature sleeping bags you bought come in very handy. You have got one of those for each member of the family, right?
Everyone needs to be in one room to both generate and preserve the heat – that room becomes a “warm room” and will require a minimum of emergency heating. Even without electricity, it’s possible to heat a room with just a couple of 24 hr survival candles, providing you do something about keeping that heat in. Simple blankets over doorways and windows make a huge difference.
So now you have some sense of security, knowing it’s going to be quite hard for the opportunist looter to break in. You have sufficient food and water to last and the knowledge to cook it without drawing attention to yourself.
Personal cleanliness and sanitation
Medication and sleeping are taken care of now, so you can just sit back, relax and go under the radar until everything calms down and you can safely venture out. Well, not quite. It’s going to get a tad smelly for you now! Just as well, you have remembered to stock up on personal and household sanitation items.
Things are going to get rather rough around the rear regions if you run out of toilet roll. So, please remember to store lots. The problem here is they are quite bulky, and their storage is one of the biggest problems. But this item is very necessary to maintain some sort of comfort and normality.
On a good note, personal cleanliness and sanitation are relatively easier to control. In fact, you don’t really need too much water to keep yourself clean. I think every prepper has used wet wipes for various purposes. These are perfect prepping items in every way. Cheap, light, small, and compact. Even by using a dozen a day, you’ll only need a few big packets.
The other absolute must when prepping your home is disinfectant and anti-bacterial spray. Your home conditions will deteriorate.
If the water supply stops, how do you flush the toilet?
Using the greywater from your rainwater supply is the obvious choice, but disinfecting is a must to control any germs.
If you get ill through unhygienic conditions, you put yourself into a downward spiral that will only get worse. You need to dispose of food cans or packets in order to keep your conditions as hygienic as possible. This could now expose you to potential dangers as you need to get rid of that rubbish.
If society, in general, has begun to break down, there’s a good chance that the trusty rubbish collection has not happened either.
So what do you do?
Burning your rubbish could be one answer, but it’s not going to have any effect on the piles of rubbish in the streets, as well as, again, sending up unwanted smoke signals. Therefore, the best way to deal with your own rubbish is to bury it – if you can.
Along with everything we’ve gone through, there is one particular area that you simply must consider in order to protect your supplies and family within your home.
This is home defense and is going to be paramount. As a relatively gun-loving nation, most of us have a firearm or two for self-defense. There will be a time when you will be forced to use your guns, so make sure you’re ready to do so.
Even if you don’t like guns, you have to acknowledge that they will be there, and there will be people who have them. So this in itself could very easily become a problem. In this scenario, we have a dog-eat-dog situation, and the biggest dog normally wins, so facing someone with a firearm whilst you simply have a stick can only have one outcome.
In this WROL (Without Rule Of Law) situation, you are bound by the more forceful and powerful people, and if they have firearms and you don’t, you risk your life even more by trying to fight back.
So what would you do if they are hell-bent on entering your home?
Negotiation is your biggest weapon here. If someone is after food and water (which will be their main requirement), then you have a choice, fight back and probably lose, along with having all your supplies taken, or offer some of your supplies.
In a “civilized” disaster situation, where the laws are still in place, it should only be the police and military who will be carrying firearms to impose the law, so you have an equal fight against someone unarmed trying to get into your home.
However, defending your home and all your stores is a matter of personal choice, as is the choice of whether you are actually prepared and willing to defend your home.
If law and order have broken down and the police cannot come to your aid, and you don’t have a firearm, there are all manner of hunting weapons that could be used to stop a looter from stealing your preps harming your family.
You probably have a good supply of knives. From a simple kitchen knife right up to a full-on survival machete. Aggressively wield one of them in front of someone, and they soon think twice about getting involved with you.
You may also have axes, hunting bows, and crossbows at your disposal, which would certainly be effective as a deterrent.
Just how far you are prepared to go is your choice.
Testing your plan
Finally, the ultimate test of your home preparedness is to do a full test run.
Shut off the gas, electricity, and water for one week – do not use your car to go anywhere and just hunker down for a week. No phones, no internet, just a radio to listen to the outside world and get information on what’s going on. I can guarantee you, there are precious few people who will try that.
Why? Because it’s a mad idea, isn’t it? Well, is it?
I’m sure you’ve practiced fire-starting at home with a Ferro rod and set up a bivvy in the garden or set out all your gear before going off for a week’s wild camp. Yes, of course, you have, so have I. So what’s the difference? It’s the ultimate prepping test at home!
Happy prepping folks!
Richard Trammell has written this post for Prepper’s Will.
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