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How To Get Your Family Prepared For Survival

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If you’re still wondering how to get your family prepared for survival from disasters and general emergencies, let’s get on it today, not tomorrow. This post can help if you want to know where to start or if you are already halfway there. Today’s post should be very helpful in completing the task. If your family is totally prepared, that’s awesome. I think in Utah, the statistics for families being prepared are about 10% of the people living here. That’s surprising that it isn’t higher!

I interview people all the time. I talk with local church leaders of all denominations. I’m really scared, not for me, but for those who should know better when it comes to being prepared for a survival scenario. Whether you consider yourself to be in the ranks of other preppers, take stock of where you are. We’ve been told for years by various churches, state leaders, and other government agency leaders to get our families prepared. That may include preparation for earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, famine, and other disasters.

We’ve Been Warned to Get Prepared for Many Years

We haven’t been warned just for the last few days or weeks based on recent events like the earthquakes in Northern California, or the tornadoes in the mid-west. It has been a warning for years. We need to be prepared for a loss of income, power outages, ice storms, snowstorms, and other events we might call natural disasters. I tip my hat to all those truck drivers who drive HUGE semi-trucks so we can have what we need. They haul water, food, gasoline, and all the other necessities of life we may take for granted every day.

How To Get Your Family Prepared For Survival

They are subject to ice storms, snow storms, hail, extreme weather conditions, and other challenges to bring every family those essentials we need on a daily basis. If you see a semi-truck on the highway,  give them the courtesy they deserve on the road, and maybe a friendly honk and a wave too.

If we have a major disaster or an unforeseen emergency that becomes a survival scenario, these awesome trucks may be parked and unable to deliver the items we need. I’m begging you to get prepared for a disaster or an unforeseen emergency since self-reliance is a powerful skill to have.

Three Hours-Three Days-Three Weeks

If you couldn’t leave your home for three days, three weeks, or maybe even three months, how would you fare? Do you have much water, much food, and the needed cooking devices with fuel stored so you could prepare meals? What about first aid supplies?

The things we discuss here are the bare minimum items we may need if the roads are shut down and the stores are empty. If we have a power outage you won’t be able to fill your car to go to another town to get water if your town’s water supplies are depleted or contaminated. Water supplies are so critical for survival, yet few people have planned ahead and have sufficient for their needs.

These are real situations that have happened all over the world, not just in our country. The government will not, and cannot help everyone. Once they rally their resources to help you, it could possibly be days, weeks, or months in some drastic situations. Sometimes people are complacent thinking nothing ever happens where they live.

Well, we better think again, because things are happening when and where people least expect it. It’s so hard, but we read every day about areas struggling with drought, yet others are dealing with floods. Climate changes are a fact of life, and we need to adjust our thinking and emergency preparedness plans to deal with the new realities.

Consider Getting and Reading My Book

If you haven’t read my book, Prepare Your Family for Survival, please consider ordering the hard copy so you can teach your family how to be prepared. It’s a family-friendly book with ideas we all need, I promise.

If we have a grid down, our country is very vulnerable and this makes me realize this is just one event to illustrate why we all need to be prepared. There is a great book written by Ted Koppel, “Lights Out: A Cyberattack”, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath. I bought the hard copy as well as the audible version. It’s concerning how unprepared our country is if we had an attack or just an infrastructure failure of one of the three power grids in the U.S. There are power grids controlling the eastern United States, the western United States, and Texas. A few years ago a severe winter storm shut down the Texas grid and it as scary for millions of people.

Another book I think is very important and I recommend to have for everyday use and to have a hardcopy available after a disaster is this one: The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way.

We can have an extensive first aid kit in our homes, but we need to know how to use the contents.

Please get hard copies of these books because if the power is gone you’ll have nothing to rely on when it comes to electronic devices to access the information. Yes, solar works, and I have several sources of solar power, but after a disaster, you’ll want my book and a good medical book.

Read More of My Articles  How To Heat Your Home In An Emergency

The doctors won’t be immediately available and the pharmacies won’t be able to fill prescriptions without power or access to your medical records.

Get Your Family Prepared:


We can’t survive without water; we need the following at the very least:

  • 1 gallon per day per person in order to stay hydrated. If you live in a HOT area, you will need more.
  • I recommend 4 gallons per day per person, which is enough to stay hydrated, for cooking, personal hygiene, cleaning underwear, washing dishes, etc.
  • 5  to 12 gallons per day would be needed for a conventional toilet.
  • 1/2 to two gallons for a pour-flush latrine.

Remember, you’ll also need ways to keep your stored water drinkable. Some people use unscented bleach, which works, but that stored water needs to be replaced every six months. I like a product called WaterPreserver. Following the manufacturer’s directions, its treatment will protect the stored water for up to five years.

If you run out of stored water or it has become contaminated, you’ll need a backup approach. I like the water filtration systems from Big Berkey and PortaWell. I have both, and they work great. The Big Berkey products work on gravitation, while the PortaWell system uses a 12-volt battery to drive the pump, pushing the water through the filters. This system can filter up to 60 gallons per hour, which is fantastic.

You want a treatment plan that kills bacteria and viruses, so do your homework and find a system that will provide the desired quality and quantity of water needed for your family.


I would plan on enough food for at least three days, at the very minimum. One month’s worth of food is even better, mainly if it is non-perishable and in cans. It would help you sleep at night knowing you could boil water to make mac and cheese, rice, or beans and have other options too. If you can open a can of chili, that’s awesome.

If you can afford some #10 cans of freeze-dried food, that would be the approach I’ve taken for most of my long shelf-life storage. Take your family to the grocery store and have them choose some canned or boxed items they would eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. It doesn’t make sense to purchase and store food items your family members don’t want to eat.

Remember that you need water to mix with the food and a can opener to open some cans. Muffin mixes, pancake mixes, crackers, and canned meats are fabulous. You can feel better knowing you can feed your family if the store shelves are empty.

Cook from Scratch

If you cook from scratch, you need the basics: flour, salt, honey, sugar, oil, spices, baking powder, and baking soda. You can make bread, crackers, and so much more.

If I have some cans of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup I can make so many casseroles with the food I have stashed in my pantry. Sorry, I haven’t found a cream of chicken soup to make from scratch that my taste buds can tolerate. That’s how I roll here.

Here’s the deal: You don’t have to stress about the cost to be prepared. Just make a checklist and pick up a few items every time you go to the store that you know the family will eat. Then, when problems confront us when stores are closed or short on inventory, you are ready to go with what’s in the pantry and on your other storage shelves.

The government can’t come immediately to your home to deliver water or food, and it won’t happen after a disaster. We all need to take care of ourselves, and it’s called being self-reliant. Period. Remember, you can always donate those food items to those who may be homeless before they expire if you don’t eat them.

Cooking Devices/Fuel:

If you can afford even this butane stove with some fuel, you can get by for weeks. You can eat meals out of cans, but you need to be able to boil water. If you can make some hot chocolate, it will calm the nerves of many. Butane 1-Burner Stove with Camping Case and some Fuel.

Be careful about using any cooking device indoors because of carbon monoxide fumes. These are recommended for outdoor use. I used them when I taught cooking classes in stores not equipped with full-size kitchens. I also used them when we changed out our electric stove for a gas stove and delayed gas line installation and the gas stove delivery. Sure, I had some limitations, but we got along fine. I just cracked the sliding glass door for ventilation.

Based on that experience, I gave all four of my daughters one of the butane stoves and fuel so they could boil water and cook a few meals. It’s a mom thing.


If you can purchase with cash, buy as much as possible of all your critical medications. The pharmacies may be closed for an extended period. If you have insurance, see if you can purchase at least a 90-day supply when you refill those prescriptions next time. Sometimes you can pay cash, which may be cheaper than your co-pay with insurance.

You should also build up a supply of over-the-counter medications for when you get a cold, have an upset stomach, have some allergy issues, a headache, etc.

Emergency Binder:

Gather your important documents and put them securely in a safe location. Have them ready to grab and go if needed. If you need some ideas, you can download my FREE printable emergency contact binder contents:

Read More of My Articles  Natural Remedies That Work in an Emergency

Food Storage Moms FREE Printable Emergency Binder Download 

You never know how long the disaster will last, so having things like your insurance policies, birth and death certificates, passports, medical records, divorce decrees, and other important documents could be handy. You probably will want to make copies and keep the originals in a safety deposit box. Mark and I have had a fairly small safe at home for these documents. It is fire-protected and can withstand some water/moisture exposure.

We also have an emergency kit that others call their 72-hour kit. If you have to bug out when an evacuation is directed, you’ll want a bunch of items ready for you to grab and go in your bug-out bag. I recently posted about 72-hour kits and how they need to be expanded from what many people think is sufficient.

First Aid Supplies:

Here’s the deal, if the grocery stores and the pharmacies are closed due to bad weather conditions or a disaster, you’ll wish you had some critical meds in a safe place with your other gear. Please check your stockpile, discard expired OTC (over-the-counter) items, and replace them ASAP. Here is my PRINTABLE first aid kit that may help you get started, a little at a time. First Aid Kit For Survival 

In today’s environment, be sure to have some quality masks, hand soap, hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes, and other items you’ve hopefully been using the past couple of years to ward off disease. We can never have too many in stock, as we use them every day.

Here’s a picture of one of my first aid kits:

family prepared

Plano Large Tackle: Please note that I use essential oils for soothing illnesses only. I love them and use them every day.

In case you missed this post, What’s In Your First Aid Kit?

First Aid Kit

Blankets and Extra Clothing:

Just a note here: Never give away quilts. They are awesome for keeping us warm if the furnace doesn’t work. You can pick them up from thrift stores and occasionally at garage sales. As we try to shelter in place, we may still be subject to cold and wet conditions, so having warm blankets and extra clothing, including boots, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, etc.

Flashlights and Lanterns:

If the power goes out, you’ll need ways to light up the rooms in your home. The old standby candles have proven to be riskier for causing house fires, so I’ve suggested to my readers that you consider other options.

I like solar-powered flashlights and lanterns. Yes, I have regular flashlights and always keep extra batteries in my stash, but my favorite go-to light sources are solar-powered. I have solar flashlights resting on my window sills, so they stay charged as long as the sun’s out.

Don’t ever use gas or kerosene lanterns indoors! Every year, we read about a family that has perished from using them in a home, camping trailer, or tent.

As you may know, I love Goal Zero products. They have given me several products to review, and I’m extremely grateful for the items. I have purchased many to back up and supplement the main items. I appreciate the Goal Zero products because you can’t beat the quality. They are hands down my favorite sponsor.

If you ever see a Goal Zero “roadshow” at Costco, load up with as many products as you can afford to buy. This is one of many flashlights I highly recommend: Goal Zero Solar Flashlights.  No batteries are required. The sun charges it; LOVE it! I also have this lantern: Goal Zero Lantern.


Just a reminder, if we do lose power, the gas station pumps won’t work, and the cash registers at the store may not work either. Some grocery stores have generator backups for a short period.

If the grocery store shelves are empty, you won’t need cash. You may be unable to buy anything, so it’s critical to be prepared to barter, trade, or share your goods. It’s not IF, but WHEN we need to be prepared for the unexpected, we must be ready.

Instead of currency, you can stock up on items to barter, including your survival skills. People are willing to pay for or trade for skills to provide safety for their families.

Baby Items, Pet Supplies, and Essential Items for the Older and Unique Needs Family Members:

When it comes to the little ones in our home, we must include them as we make our prep plans. Have baby supplies like extra diapers, baby wipes, plenty of baby formula, extra clothes, baby-formulated medications, and many other supplies.

Our pets also need to be considered. They eat, drink, poop, and need special attention, particularly when disasters hit. They can often become as scared as we are, they can’t tell you how they feel.

Only you know what special considerations come into play with those in your home who may be termed “older” or “have unique issues.” Take stock of the particular food, medication, and equipment they require daily. Those needs won’t go away during an emergency; they may multiply or change. Consider what you need to stock up on as you prepare for their unique circumstances.

Final Word

As I’ve written this post and considered what needs to be said, I realize, I’ve really just scratched the surface. Every family is unique, and so are their needs during a disaster. Hold some family meetings and discuss what is important to each member, then set out a plan to meet the goals and desires as best you can.

Don’t become overwhelmed as you create your preparedness plans. Consider the time, energy, and funds needed to be properly prepared. You can do this!

May God bless all of us to be prepared and self-reliant. Please do whatever you can to get your family prepared for survival. May God Bless this world. Linda

Copyright Images: Large Waves Breaking Against Sea Wall Depositphotos_68250157_S by Monkeybusiness, Tornado on Road Depositphotos_31083081_S by SergeyNivens

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  1. From time to time I send out the “crazy ole dad” email that goes a little like this:

    …………. will be the go words
    if it ever goes to poo and the rally point will be ……. to start with. We might move to ………. but situation will dictate.
    Anyone can call it based on events. Do not wait on me to call it.

    Items To Bring:
    Clothing- not just flip flops n shorts but real clothing for all seasons
    Food- all non perishable
    Guns, ammo, gear and anything related. By this time you should be armed and the co-driver with long gun.
    Fuel, propane, etc
    Paper Goods TP, paper towels, paper plates, plastic flatware, trash bags, ziplocks etc.

    Water IF and only IF you have room and time. Containers are not a bad idea but again room/time considerations.

    Your fuel tanks should stay at half tank always. It will take more with traffic jams and loads to get from point A to B.

    I put the don’t worry about water because I’ve been able to store a lot here. It’s heavy and takes a lot of room.
    I do this email so that hopefully it will sink in bad the seed is planted. My son is very much into it but the rest not so much.

  2. My little family lives 65+ miles from me. There have been “talks” about the big one – earthquake that the Pacific Northwest is overdue for! One thing that I read about this is that anything west of interstate 5 would be toast. Well, I am west of the interstate by about 5 miles but I do have a route in mind to get away using back roads.

    I have talked with my daughter and son-in-law about what to do if/when the big one happens as well as other nightmares! Volcanic eruptions are a concern as well. It has been nearly 40 years since Mount St Helens erupted. I live in the shadow of Mount Rainier as well and there are other volcanic peaks that could awaken at any time! Of course, there is always civil unrest as I live in the capitol of Washington State and my daughter lives in Seattle. We have talked initially about getting to Eastern Washington State where I have a large family base. I am not sure how my son-in-law feels about leaving the area as his family is all near where they live.

    It is sad that we even have to have these talks but we know that some of these things are not imagination/science fiction scenarios. It is real and because it is real, we MUST be prepared. My daughter and her family realize this now that they have children. Once they started having kids, they started thinking about those things that could/will happen and how to make sure their kids had the best chance for survival.

    I agree with Matt in that we need to keep our fuel tanks full. I like his statement that 1/2 = Empty. I filled up this morning on my way home from church and it is a good feeling to know that my tank is full.

    Blankets are a necessity. Unfortunately, many find that the bulk is hard to store. I have my bed blankets and I also have a couple of throws on my couch. BUT, in my camping gear, I have a sleeping bag and a number of wool blankets. Check out the Army surplus stores for wool blankets. If you do get wool blankets, also stop by a store that sells cedar for hangars or for lining closets. I have a trunk full of wool blankets but that trunk is cedar and has round cedar pieces that one would put on a hangar for wool clothing. This keeps the bugs out!

    Something else that people don’t think much about is ways to start fires. Butane lighters are easily purchased and I am not talking about the short lighters for smoking. Get the ones that are fairly long. I also have boxes of matches that strike anywhere – not as easy to find as one would think. If all you can find are the strike on the box, well that is better than nothing. I have taken a bunch of the strike anywhere matches and water proofed them with wax. I also have some in pill bottles as that will keep them dry in most situations. Another thing that I have done is taken my egg cartons, the paper/cardboard type and filled them with dryer lint. Then melt paraffin wax and pour on them. They are bulky but are great for starting fires as they last a while and can help dry out tinder if one needs.

    There are so many things one needs to think about when prepping. Water, food, shelter, warmth. I took these headings and self-brainstormed all sorts of things needed under all of them. It can seem daunting to someone beginning to prep but I have been at this for several years. I just want to shake people sometimes and tell them to wake up.

    1. Hi Leanne, I sure hope people fill their gas tanks and store all the things you mentioned. I’m very concerned with my neighborhood, most are not into preparedness. I don’t get it. I really do not get it. I can only take care of Mark and me. May God bless them when the poop hits the fan and it will. Stay safe, girlfriend! Linda

  3. Just one thing about the thrift store purchases. Beware of bed bugs or fleas. One of our thrift stores had to shut down because some idjit “donated” somethings that were infested with bed bugs. Yeah you read it , bedbugs and fleas. It was a shame because it was a church run store and they had some really good things there. From what I was told by one of the parishioners , they didn’t know who donated the stuff but it was horrible. She said the donations were kept in the little storage unit behind the store and they didn’t want to take the chance the store got infested. They wound up burning most of the clothing that had been donated and the pastor just shut it down.

    1. Hi Mamacando, the thrift stores have stopped taking pillows or mattresses here. They stopped about 8 years ago because of bed bugs. It’s a fact of life in some thrift stores. It’s awful, but it happens. I have cleaned so many neighbors in my subdivision that were filled with cockroaches. It was disgusting. I itch just thinking about it. Stay safe! Linda

  4. In our Bible we read God tells us not to worry about any of this because He says HE will provide everything we need. We trust Him so we are not storing up. It’s just a matter of total trust for us so no prepping here for us. We truly trust God for our DAILY provisions.

    1. Hi Sue, the King James version of the bible says “Faith Without Works Is Dead”. I feel we need to put effort into taking care of our family. May God bless this world. Linda

  5. Timely article & I am buying your book! My family is so spread out I constantly worry what would happen to them. Most are too young & “carefree” to pay attention to crazy ol’ Grandma. I would remind everyone to pick up pet crates @ yard sales & thrift stores. Most of them break down so don’t take much space & I’ve purchased them for pennies on the dollar. Many animals become separated from their owners & are scared. It would be great to be able to offer them a safe space & something to eat.

    1. HI Linda, oh thank you for buying my book!! You are so kind. It is hard to have our family spread out from each other. I love your tip about buying crates at garage/yard sales and thrift stores. I can’t imagine my puppy running around scared after a disaster. I have several crates stored to help others as well. Great comment! Linda

  6. This is a great reminder now that we’re going to get hit today and tomorrow with what the weather service is telling us is going to be a nasty storm tonight and into Friday. I just pray that my DIL1 and GranDaughter3 are going to be safe as they are heading here from her parents on Saturday. The older 2 are here in town at their other grandma’s and should arrive here Christmas Day .
    Linda, have you ever tried the “Better Than Bouillon”? I use the Beef, Chicken , and Vegetable ones.It’s kinda of like a glace.I have found that it adds a bit of oomph to what ever I’m making. It might help with making cream of chicken soup. But don’t add salt as they do have salt in them. Teaspoon/Tablespoon is all I usually use.

    1. HI Kathy, oh I hope your family makes it safely to your home!!! I love Better Than Bouillon, and now on TV, I see they make even more flavors!! Great reminder, thank you!! Linda

      1. So do I. Haven’t tried any of the new ones yet, We don’t do too much spice. Due to the meds the Hubs is on.Hope all of you have a Great holiday and a better New Year.

  7. What a great article! Keep urging folks to keep water on hand, especially if they follow your advice about getting dried foods. Loved your comment about Campbell’s cream of chicken soup for recipes. I’m ok with generic cream based soups but something I discovered in the last couple of years was the variety of soups made specifically by Campbell’s but not made into generic soups. Yes, these are a bit pricey (compared to generic) but as a shelf stable food, they are simply great. Many are meat-based so have protein as part of food value. Um, most are Not sold at Walmart, Costco, Aldi…gotta go to pricier grocery chains where they have a big rack of Campbell soups. Campbell’s has a great website with recipes using these soups. I think they are worth stocking up on…my dehydrated celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, etc will last a long time but these require a lot of time and effort (plus water to rehydrate). Examples: A single can of cream of onion Campbell’s soup could be used in multiple dishes with only the initial cost plus a little bit of water; a can of cream of shrimp soup plus a jar/can of Alfredo mix over noodles uses little water for a large meal. This water can even come from draining canned veggies to add to the meal. Lol, go Campbell’s soups!

    1. HI Wendy, Campbell’s makes Cream of Onion soup? Oh my gosh, I need some! I’m with you they are so good and add so much to the foods we have stocked! I just learned about Cream of Bacon last year from a reader! Life is so good! Linda

  8. Our preparations are about to be put to the test. We are under a blizzard warning from 7am Friday to 7am Sunday…..and that doesn’t count the time to dig out. We test ran the generator yesterday, and the pantry is filled. We are doing laundry and running the dishwasher, just in case. I thank you, Linda, and your readers for your valuable advice and wisdom. Please everyone, stay warm, safe and healthy and have a Blessed Merry Christmas.

  9. I feel like our family is in better-than-most shape…always room for improvement tho. That being said, I’m not that afraid of a natural disaster, etc. IT’S THE GOVERNMENT I’m afraid of! All the bat sh*! crazy things this administration is doing…and NOT doing…is what scares the creepers outta me! I’ve been focusing on trying to prepare for that!

    Linda, you’re awesome! Love your articles, your blogs, etc….MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours, my friend!!!

  10. I’m the Crazy Mom that thinks I have lost my mind. At least my son and his wife think I am doing something right but my husband and daughter think I have lost my mind so I continue to buy with coupons things we don’t need at this point and let it go. Wish I knew where to get a container like yours for medicines and things like that

    1. Hi Jackie, you are not alone, I think my son-in-law’s eyes are going to roll out of his head when I order more Instant Milk from Thrive Life! It’s all good, I have to do what is good for me. You can get a fishing tackle box just about anywhere. I have seen them at thrift stores as well. Linda

  11. I know we are more prepared than probably a lot of folks……………….I used to get ‘looks’ from our adult daughters (and my husband!!!). (I prefer to call myself a “Girl Scout” rather than a ‘Prepare”.)Now not so much………..we bought our own propane tanks for the fireplace and chose to buy two of them, plus we have several grill sized propane tanks and we have a grill, pizza oven, and a propane cooker so I think that part is good. I am sure we don’t have adequate water stores…………..we have a creek on our property and I know there are springs, but husband doesn’t seem to think we can tap into that. At the ages we are I do plan more for ‘bugging in’ rather than ‘out’. We have honeybees, we have the space for chickens should the need arise. We garden, some, and we have prolific muscadine vines. But, I know the water stores need to be increased.

    1. Hi Suzanne, having water nearby is awesome. We will be bugging in at our age as well. You have honeybees? How awesome!! And you have muscadine vines! I had to Google that one. Grapes, what a blessing! We all do what we can and everything else will fall into place. Linda

  12. I forgot that most folks who are not from the South don’t know what muscadines are! A thick skinned, dark (reddish purple), grape with seeds, they produce the entire month of September here (also scuppernongs, which is a golden grape). We canned 100 pints of jelly (husband helps with this a lot!). Then we still had so many grapes we canned juice, probably 3 dozen quarts (that was actually his idea). So flavorful!! Of course I share the jelly with family and friends, everybody loves it. (If you haven’t discovered the Ball electric water bath canner you should take a look!!! Made this so much easier!!!!!)

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