Bugging out in case of emergency is a much-discussed option in prepping. And it’s a real necessity, for some disasters. But what happens if you decide to hunker down? Let’s say there’s no need to evacuate your home. And going out and about might be dangerous. You’re in, for the duration. Here are the 7 main things you need to hole up and wait out the situation.
You have a home. Good. But preppers need to consider whether their current home is arranged in a suitable manner for waiting out a disaster. I would suggest walking around the property and looking for security vulnerabilities. Windows tend to be an easy point of ingress. Maybe a set of storm windows will help deter intruders. Sliding glass doors are particularly vulnerable. Here’s an article with tips on securing a sliding glass door.
Does your property have obstacles that provide cover or concealment for assailants? You might want to rearrange things so that you have a clear line of sight around your home, as much as is practical. If you have a garage, make sure it’s not easy to break into, and try to locate your prepping supplies in the most secure place in your home.
Preppers are well-known for storing plenty of food. It’s one of the top concerns of most preppers. But I find myself getting lax about my food supplies, forgetting to check expiration dates and using up some supplies without replacing them. It’s good to do an inventory of stored food from time to time. Then add some new stored food to your supplies, especially vegetable oil and protein sources.
Rotating stored food is essential to keeping your supplies refreshed and ready to use. But it’s a little tedious to track, so keep an eye on foods you don’t use too often. For myself, I have plenty of white rice and pasta, which basically never goes bad. But many protein sources, such as nuts/seeds do need to be rotated and kept fresh.
Anything stored in the freezer will actually keep indefinitely, as long as it’s frozen. But I go over my freezer food from time to time to see that I’m making the best use of that limited space. I prioritize perishables: egg whites, cheese, butter, and meat/poultry in the freezer.
Tap water is taken for granted, even by many preppers. But it’s hard to store water. It’s heavy and you need quite a lot of it. So probably the best option for drinking water is water purification equipment. There are several good companies that make this type of product. I prefer the LifeStraw products from Vestergaard. I have the LifeStraw Family 1.0 model, which is very compact (and still available for sale). The 2.0 version has some improvements, though it is larger and more expensive. If you want to go whole-hog, and don’t mind spending some bucks, LifeStraw Community is the ultimate in water purification. (I get no money or benefits from recommending these products. I just think they are the best available.)
Many water purification products do not filter out viruses. Read the fine print. You want a product that filters out bacteria, protozoa (parasites), and viruses. The EPA standard for removal of pathogens is:
(1) bacteria, 6 logs (i.e. 99.9999%) or better
(2) viruses, 4 logs (99.99%) or better
(3) parasites (protozoa), 3 logs (99.9%) or better
LifeStraw Family (1.0 and 2.0) and LifeStraw Community meet or exceed those standards. But “LifeStraw Personal” and “LifeStraw Go” do NOT remove viruses. In fact, most small portable water purification devices do not remove viruses. So for prepping purposes, you need the larger device. I think LifeStraw Family 1.0 is the cheapest best device that meets the standard for removal of all three: bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are likely to be in short supply, once the Stuffing hits the Fan. I’ve bought a bunch of OTC meds from Amazon, in large quantity, for prepping purposes. Remember to keep all meds, even OTC ones, in a locked cabinet, away from children and teens and other persons with questionable judgment.
Prescription meds, for anything you have to take on a continuing basis, can often be obtained in a 90-day supply. Ask your doctor.
When the SHTF, it might be dangerous to take that trip to the pharmacy or drug store. And even if it is not, the shelves might be stripped bare.
If you are an avid shooter, you probably already own the guns you need in order to exercise “the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home” [SCOTUS], and you know how to use them. Good on you.
But some preppers are not too interested in guns and some maybe even don’t particularly like guns. To those preppers, I say, guns are useful tools, especially when the SHTF. In such times, the ability of the police to keep law and order is diminished by a sudden surge in crime. Get one, even if you don’t like it.
What sort of gun should you own, if you want an easy-to-learn firearm, for home defense, without spending much time at the range? I’m going to make just a few brief suggestions.
A lever action rifle in .22LR is the minimum I would recommend for home defense. It is very low recoil and relatively low noise. You must work the lever before you take each shot. It’s easy to learn, reliable, and accurate. For more power, get a lever action rifle that shoots .38 Special. That’s a good caliber of ammunition for beginners. In any case, make sure you and your family have hearing protection.
A Ruger 10/22 rifle is lightweight, inexpensive, and has sufficient accuracy and power for home defense. It’s also low recoil and can take magazines (where permitted by law) of 25 rounds. The 10/22 rifle is semi-automatic, which means it keeps shooting as long as you keep pulling the trigger. You don’t have to work a lever or bolt between shots.
The Hi-Point carbine in 9mm is also a good choice for someone new to firearms, looking for a home defense gun. It’s reliable and low priced. It shoots with greater accuracy than a new shooter could get from a pistol, but it fires the popular widely-available pistol ammunition (9mm Parabellum, also called 9mm Luger or 9×19 NATO). Recoil and noise are modest, but hearing protection is always recommended for all guns.
Now if you must have a handgun, rather than a long gun for home defense, and you are a new shooter, I would say you should go with a revolver. Get a .357 magnum revolver with maybe a 4-inch barrel, but load it only with .38 Special ammo (much less recoil and noise). Many revolvers can shoot both types of ammo. And even if you only ever use the much less powerful .38 Special, you retain the option to switch to the higher powered magnum ammo later.
I think entertainment is often overlooked by preppers when building their SHTF supplies for home or car or bug-out bag. In any disaster scenario, you don’t want to merely survive, you want to thrive. And that means having some refreshment for the mind and heart. Hence, these last two “needs” for hunkering down: entertainment and family/friends.
I would begin by making the assumption that the internet might be down for extended periods of time. Cable TV also. So that means you might have to resort to that old fashioned form of entertainment, talking to one another. Just kidding. Keep a DVD or Bluray player handy, with a bunch of popular movies and TV shows on disc.
If all else fails, you could play cards. Or charades. I also suggest keeping on hand actual physical books for your reading pleasure and for reference. We have become too dependent on computers and the internet (he said, as he typed up his latest blog post).
7. Family and Friends
Last, but not least, people need people. Preppers need family and friends to help us get through difficult times. It’s good for the soul to have people with you who care for you, and for whom you care. It’s also practical in a crisis. All hands on deck, and that sort of thing.