12 Months of Prepping, One Month at a Time

Gaye Levy, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

Once the prepping bug hits, it is easy to want to go for it.  You know what I mean:  Let’s do it and let’s do it all Right Now!

There are some problems with this.  First there are time constraints, and second there are money and budget issues.  But the biggest problem and undoubtedly the one that is overlooked in the initial flurry of readiness preparations, is that without reasonable care and thought given to the process, the tasks and the actual products involved, you can make some costly mistakes.  I say this from experience.  In my haste to get “stocked up” I bought gear that I don’t like and will never use.  I purchased foodstuffs I will never eat.  Stupid stupid stupid of me.  I should have taken my time, done my research, and made a well thought out and educated decision before I even got started.

Today I would like to help you break down the overwhelming task of emergency preparation by providing you with a month-by-month calendar of things to do, tasks to complete and items to purchase.  For the newbies, this gives you a manageable number of things to do in a short period of time.  Instead of looking at a task list 10 pages long, you have a short list that is eminently doable in 30 days or less.

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And for the more experienced prepper?  You can start with month #1, look at the activities and tasks involved and fill in any gaps you may have in your own preparation.  In some cases you may see a need to update or rotate what you have on hand and in others, you may find the need to practice a particular skill.

I love lists.  So bear with me as I present a readiness calendar to guide your through twelve months of prepping.  Hopefully you will find that one month’s work is not too costly, not too time-consuming and not too difficult.  The most difficult part as I see it will be getting off your bum and starting.  So let’s do it!

MONTH 1

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Water-3 gallons per person and per pet
  • Hand-operated can opener and bottle opener
  • Canned meat, stew, or pasta meals – 5 per person
  • 2 flashlights with batteries

TASKS:

  • Inventory the disaster supplies you already have on hand, including your camping gear
  • If you fill your own water containers, mark them with the date they were filled
  • Date cans of food and food containers if you have not already done so
MONTH 2

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Canned vegetables – 4 per person
  • Toilet paper – 3 rolls per person
  • Sanitary napkins – 2 months’ supply
  • Instant drinks (coffee, tea, powdered soft drinks)
  • Family sized first aid kit

TASKS:

  • Change the batteries  and test your smoke detectors.  Purchase and install smoke detectors if you don’t have them
  • Make an inventory of home contents for insurance purposes. Take photographs (digital are easiest) of your house and contents. Store a copy away from your home.

We will protect your privacy…guaranteed!

MONTH 3

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Canned fruits – 3 cans per person
  • Any foods for special dietary needs (enough for 3 days)
  • A large plastic tub or bin for storage of food and other emergency supplies.

TASKS:

  • Conduct a home fire drill
  • Locate the gas meter and water shutoff points and attach/store a wrench or shutoff tool near them.  Also store special shutoff instruction, if any.
  • Establish and out-of-state contact to call in case of an emergency
  • Identify a location for your storage of plastic bin or tub.
MONTH 4

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Extra baby bottles, formula and diapers if needed
  • Extra pet supplies; food, collar, leash, etc.
  • A stash of at least $100 in small bills – more if  you can afford it
  • Begin to stockpile extra supplies of critical prescription medications. Talk to your pharmacist for help in making this happen.

TASKS:

  • Place a supply of prescription medicine(s) in a storage container and date the medicine(s) if not already indicated on its label
  • Start putting supplies in storage container(s) and include blankets or sleeping bags for each family member
MONTH 5

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Canned, ready-to-eat soup – 4 per person
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Plain liquid bleach
  • Portable am/FM radio with batteries
  • Liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer
  • Disposable hand wipes
  • Disposable latex or nutile gloves

TASKS:

  • Make two photocopies of important papers and put one in the storage container, and one away from your home.
  • Talk with neighbors about organizing a neighborhood preparedness group.
MONTH 6

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Box of granola or power bars – 1 per person
  • 6 rolls of paper towels
  • Box of N-95 or N-100 face masks – 1 per person.

TASKS:

  • Check to see if stored water has expired and needs to be replaced
  • Put an extra pair of eyeglasses in the supply container
  • Find out about your workplace disaster plans and the disaster plans at your children’s schools
MONTH 7

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • NOAA Alert Weather Radio
  • ABC fire extinguisher
  • Jug of juice – 1 per person
  • Adult and children’s vitamins
  • A pair of pliers and/or vise grip
  • 100 feet of rope or paracord

TASKS:

  • Take a first aid/CPR class
  • Show family members where and how to shut off utilities
MONTH 8

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Box of crackers or graham crackers – 1 per person
  • Dry cereal or instant oatmeal – 1 weeks’ worth per person
  • 1 box of large, heavy-duty garbage bags

TASKS:

  • Make a small preparedness kit for your car. Include food, water, blanket, small first aid kit, a list of important phone numbers
  • Secure water heaters to wall studs (if not already done)
MONTH 9

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Extra batteries for flashlights, radio and hearing aids (if needed)
  • Duct tape
  • Add an additional 3 days of water to your supply per person and per pet

TASKS:

  • Follow up on efforts to organize your neighborhood
  • Conduct an earthquake drill at home: stop, drop and hold, then go outside. (Remember, and earthquake can happen anywhere as recent events have demonstrated.)
  • Replace prescription medicines as required by expiration dates
MONTH 10

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Take the month off from purchases. Yay!

TASKS:

  • Secure shelves, cabinets and drawers to prevent them from falling and/or opening during earthquakes
  • Imagine your house with no electricity. What more do you need?

MONTH 11



SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Package of paper plates
  • Package of napkins
  • Package of eating utensils
  • Package of paper cups

TASKS:

  • Exchange work, home and emergency contact phone numbers with neighbors for use during an emergency
MONTH 12

SUPPLIES & GEAR:

  • Heavy work gloves
  • Begin to try to expand your food supply to twice of what you have on hand right now. Continue with this effort into coming 12 months.

TASKS:

  • Check to see if your stored food and water needs to be replaced.
MONTH 13

Congratulations.  You have completed your year of preparations.  Now is a good time to go back to month 1 and review, replenish, rotate and drill.  Good job!

The Final Word

Once a month for the next twelve months I will feature an article devoted exclusively to the monthly tasks at hand, including suggested activities, recommended purchases, viable alternatives, budget saving strategies and references to more reading material.  Sometime I may deviate from the list a bit and other times I may enhance it.

The final word for today is this:

Emergency preparation is your journey and should be unique to your circumstances, your family, your geographical location and your financial resources.  Yes, it can be a chore.  But as I have said before, it should be a chore with a happy ending.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Gaye Levy, the SurvivalWoman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable, self-reliant and stylish lifestyle through emergency preparation and disaster planning through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. SurvivalWoman speaks her mind and delivers her message with optimism and grace, regardless of mayhem swirling around us.  Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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