Once people have committed to become prepared, the next big question is what to buy! No one wants to waste their hard-earned money on solar panels that sit in their garage, or a year-supply of freeze-dried mushrooms (those are just gross). Of course you can get these things later, but you want to first get the items that will benefit you the most.
I know I need to start my food storage and I know you have a black belt in this area. I was looking at buying a water container first. Do you agree with that or do you have a different recommendation?
First off, emails with compliments always get responded to first ;) I totally feel like wearing a black belt around my house and chopping up fruit with my nun chucks now.
Anyways, back on topic – You could ask this question to 100 different people and most likely get 100 different answers. Actually, the Organized Prepper already asked 45 preparedness experts this question – “What are the 3 most important items for a new prepper to get started with?” – You can read their responses here: Part 1 & Part 2
My answer is YES – start with WATER!
Water will help you survive longer than any other prep you could possible make – or in other words, you might be dead on day 4 without it.
Water Containers vs Water Filters
I have a water filter, do I need to store water too?
I’ve been surprised when people think that having a water filter is all they need, but that is a definite no-no if you ask me. I would recommend first storing water before every venturing out to buy a filter! Filters are still high on the list of things to get, but you need to consider a couple of things first.
With filters you have to depend on 2 things:
- Water Source – You have to have a water source to be able to get water in the first place, and most people I know don’t have lakes or ponds in their backyards.
- Filter Capabilities – You need to know exactly what your filter will get out, and what type of water you plan on filtering. There are some instances (like in West Virginia), where water is contaminated to the point of no return and even a filter wouldn’t do you a lick of good.
So, hold off on the filter for now and get water instead!
Water: 14 Gallons Per Person
It’s recommended at the very least, every person has at least 1 gallon a day of drinking water for 2 weeks – or 14 gallons.
For some great ideas on different containers and ways to store water, check out these posts:
- Water Storage Containers Pros and Cons
- Do You Have Emergency Water Provisions?
- How to Store Water
- Where to Find Water in an Emergency
- Pros and Cons of Popular Water Storage Containers
- How to Store Water Long Term
If you don’t have at least 14 gallons of water stored away for yourself, get it now and thank me later ;)
What did you get FIRST when prepping?
Let us know – what is the first thing you bought or would recommend someone to get when beginning to prep?
***Feel free to SUBMIT your questions for a Q&A Friday!***
We started with Water. We have almost a thousand gallons, AND several filter / purification options, AND hand pumps – having 55 gallon barrels of water is going to be hard to deal with if you don’t have a spigot and/or pump.
We then moved into bulk grains/beans/baking – flour/sugar etc.
Remember it took FIVE days for FEMA to get water to the stadium in New Orleans after Katrina, and the stadium was a priority because of the volume of people staying there – a month later, some people still did not have water.
Jamie S. says
Fabulous! I want to add another water tank to our storage. You can never have enough, right?
Thanks for the reminder about FEMA. That’s what people need to realize. Even if help does come, you will have to hope they get there in time and bring enough for everyone.
My Gosh, Jamie. What a Blessing You are. In all Honesty. One of the Most Simple, Easy and Smartest things to do. Is to Get and Have Water. But, so many of us are looking at the BIG List. Getting a bit over the edge with Prepping. And Putting off to tomorrow what should be done today. Is WATER. How Simple. And Oh How Some of us forget. Thank you for Making My Huge List a lot easier. Prepper List Make Over Time. Thanks Jamie. Many Blessings in 2014
Jamie S. says
Thank you so much Dee! That is so sweet of you. I definitely agree. I think we can get overwhelmed very fast when it comes to getting prepared, so starting small is so important!
Thanks for all of your help! You are so easy to understand. Thanks also for taking the time to help me get going on things. Love you! I have a ???. I have a 25 gallon container (blue barrel like). Where is the best place to put it? Can they freeze without bursting? I live where it gets cold for a long time. Any help wpuld be so appreciated!! I also have 5 gallon containers, where to put them. I have no basement. Thank You. PS Please try to hang in there for a long time. We all need your help and shared knowledge.
Jamie S. says
Great questions Larene. You might have even more water than 25 gallons, most blue barrels are about 55 gallons. I actually don’t know much about freezing, I’ve been in Texas too long ;) As long as you don’t fill it all the way I think you should be fine if it freezes, but I’ll have to check.
I don’t have a basement either so my large water containers go in the garage. I put boards on the bottom to keep them off the cement. Of course not idea, but it works fine for us.
Thanks again for your sweet comments! I hope I hang around a long time too!
The FIRST thing I got was a list
Separated into columns were water, food, fuels, protection, medicines, travel/communication
In each column I listed everything I could find related to the item
That became my major shopping list
Every time I shop I get something from each column
This way I have at least some of everything instead of just water and nothing else
Jamie S. says
Now, you are organized Helen! That sounds like you did what I did. I have this massive master list with everything on it, but I think I like yours better!
Hopefully, in the next couple weeks I’ll start posting some ideas for shopping lists people can use, so they have more than just water.
My advice to new preppers is to focus on what you can do. Yes it takes money to do certain things, but just because you can’t go out and buy 200lbs of beans doesn’t mean you can’t prep. Learn and practice new skills, it’s low or no cost. Plant a garden in anything you can, buckets, raised beds, the plain old ground has worked for a couple of thousand years. Get out of debt!!!!!!! You do not need most of the crap you are buying. Practice living simply, reconnect with your family, talk to each other! Get creative – every time we use up a plastic coffee jug it gets cleaned and filled with water… not for drinking but for washing. Get to know your local farmers, support them, buy from them!!! Rethink – Reuse – Reconnect!!!! Prepping isn’t just beans and bullets, it’s a mindset. It has taken my family over 20 years to get where we are, it did not happen overnight. Stay the course, focus on what you can do, what you do have, do not get overwhelmed by what you don’t have. Good Luck and God Bless.
Jamie S. says
Great advice – I think getting prepared is about living a simple life. The more I do, the more I realize it is a lifestyle that doesn’t happen over night! Thanks for your comments, I hope everyone takes a chance to read them!
Jamie S. says
Prepping is much more than beans and bullets!
reading Sleeping Dog’s comment regarding & fine turning your skills reminds me of my 1st plumbing task….i had to replace the drain trap under the kitchen sink( i was 23 and didn’t know squat about plumbing)…so i took it all apart & took the pieces to the hardware store & said this is what i need the “expert”got what i needed & explained what i need to do…said it would take appox. 20 minutes or so….well 2 hrs later i finally got all the leaks stopped….the moral is “I DID MYSELF”…I LEARNED…now at 60 i can do almost any pluming job…. and most any other task…I learned electrical from “How to Books”& my 2nd father -in law…
Thanks for your post. I’m brand new to the prepping mind-set and your comments are extremely helpful.
I have to agree with Sleepydog. I’ve been a preper just about all my life. Though I went about it from a knowledge point of view. I’ve spent most of my life moving around the country, so I don’t have tones of stored food or water ( although I now live on the bank of a lake, so I do have lots of water now). I know how to hunt or fish with firearms, bows, traps and improvised snares. I have a basic knowledge of wild plants. I can build just about anything from wood or metal. I’ve worked with stone and concrete. I can drive everything including tractors, bobcats, cranes, 18 wheelers, even flew a small plane a couple times. There is no substitute for skills or knowledge. The more you have, the more you can improvise. The more you can improvise, the less you do without.
Also you need to store enough water for your animals for an emergency as well, whether you have pets or chickens or rabbits or bigger animals. At full capacity and during the warmest part of the year our rabbitry can go through five gallons of water in a 24 hour period, so we would need to store an additional 70 gallons of water for them for a 2 week period. And our hens can go through a gallon a day, so another 14 for them.
We have purchased the Big Berkey water purification system and LOVE it! You can put any type of water (even sewage) into this and it will make it safe to drink! They are pricey but worth every penny. My in-laws loved it so much that they took ours and now we have to buy another one. :( Don’t worry, we bartered with some much needed other “prepping” items. :)
The first thing I got was…INFORMATION. If you don’t know what the risks you face are, how can you prep?
Check your local fire department – ask about information on both HAZMAT (hazardous materials) and other risks under the Community Right to Know.
Get the water, that’s a no brainer. But get informed as well. Check to see if your community has a disaster plan, if they do – get a copy.
Good luck, being informed lets you spend your scarce prep dollars for the best effect.
A coworker arrived at work very early today. Her water was off at home. No shower, no face-washing, no coffee at home, no water for the dogs.
It made me stop and think. I have water stored up, both for drinking and for washing (in laundry detergent bottles). If our water was shut off, I know it wouldn’t bother me much. It’d be inconvenient, but we’d be able to do what we needed to do.
We still need to install a couple rain barrels, which would enable us to flush toilets if the water went off unexpectedly, as it did for my coworker, without warning enough to fill the tub for bucket flushing the toilet.
Don’t overlook common sources of water such as swimming pools. Anyone with a pool has access to thousands of gallons of water. Of course this water would have to be distilled, not just filtered. One of the best survival skills to learn is how to make a crude still. It is very easy and allows a person to produce safe drinking water from even the most putrid and contaminated water source.
Jamie S. says
Thanks for mentioning that Steve. I’ll mention that in the water post I’m working on.