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STARTING FROM SCRATCH

From One Newbie to Another
(Part One of a Two-Part Series)

by Green

If you are just getting started with preparing for your family's future you have a big and exciting challenge before you. As you search the web, you will undoubtedly find many good lists of things that you will want to store. Problem is: time and money. If neither is an issue, then start at the top of your list and go down the list buying everything. But if you are like most people, either time or money will keep you from getting everything on your wish list. In that case, you need a plan.

First, you need to think through what you believe you will need to be planning for. Without taking this step, you are merely applying the shotgun approach to preparing. Make your purchases count. Think through what scenarios you are most likely to potentially face...hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, electrical storms, power outages, possible job loss, snow/ice storms, breakdowns, whatever. Then, think through what you would need to have on hand if any one of those occurred. FEMA and the Red Cross have websites and literature with valuable information on preparing for many of the above situations.

Once you look at what you may face and what you may need, look at what you already have. When you are starting out from scratch, you don't need to start by buying everything new. Start with what you have, be it backpacks, containers, flashlights or kids camping gear. You can upgrade over time. Make a list of what you need and check off items you already have. Then prioritize what is left. You shouldn't expect to get everything at once, but with careful planning, budgeting and selective shopping you can add to your supplies fairly quickly.

Don't try to plan for the end of the world overnight. Start with a realistic goal of preparing for something like a 3-day power outage. What would you need that you don't already have? Put these supplies together in one place if you can. This can be the basis upon which you build your other supplies.

After you have put together a kit that would make it possible to survive your chosen event, begin preparing for the next. You may only need to add a few items to what you already have to make it useful for the next most likely unplanned event. Do this with each of the situations you expect to be apt to face until you have covered them all.

Then, once you have put together your basic kit and have added to it to cover a wider range of possibilities, begin adding to the number of days you could live through from just your stored supplies. Try to work on a two week supply, then a one month supply, two month and on up as high as you feel comfortable with. If you put your supplies together in this way, you will be prepared for smaller crises very quickly and will soon be working your way up to the larger/longer ones. With that preparation comes peace of mind that you have done what you could to prepare yourself and your family for whatever may come your way.

Just a short checklist of categories to consider when preparing: