The next part of my personal development of a preparedness-based lifestyle started with acquiring goods. Whether you are living with your parents, in a dormitory, or on your own, you have the ability to stock up on preparedness essentials. The main areas I have found easiest to begin with include information, food, water, and medical/sanitation supplies. Some areas that followed include tools, heat/light sources, communication, and firearms. Remember: Don’t get overwhelmed; it can take awhile to acquire various goods, but they will provide comfort and help you survive in the future, no matter what stage you are in. Something is better than nothing.
Most kids from the ages of 16 to 19 will have adequate space to store goods. Whether it is in a closet, cabinet, or in a dresser, there are various places to store food at home or in a dorm. The easiest place to start is at your local supermarkets, with the purchase of common household condiments, canned food (meats, fruits, vegetables), and other easily prepared meals. Teenagers tend to buy junk food, which is a waste of money and full of “empty” carbohydrates. There are many cheap options available including things from peanut butter to cans of chili and bags of rice. Make sure to stock up a variety of goods, with proper nutritional value. Many canned goods and condiments are cheap, easy to store, and have shelf lives of up to five years. I have personally lived off peanut butter and canned tuna, while working on a trail crew for months at a time. While some might argue these food choices are unhealthy, I look at levels of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. It is amazing what the human body is able to adapt to.
The next levels of food storage you will run into include freeze-dried/dehydrated goods, grains, and food bars. These methods of food storage are harder to come by and a bit pricier (depending on your personal connections), but they are widely available and have longer shelf lives than store-bought goods. You can find them available from many sources, including Internet websites. A personal favorite is emergencyessentials.com. Remember to do your research and pick foods ideal to your personal situation/beliefs. It is great to get involved locally with various organizations that host classes and meetings regarding canning and preserving. Find out what is around your local area.
Here is an included food list similar to what I started with:
- Ten pounds jarred peanut-butter (creamy lasts longer),
- 10 cans of tuna,
- 12 cans of chicken,
- 30 cans of various ravioli/pasta,
- 15 cans of fruit,
- 15 cans of vegetables,
- 6 pounds of trail-mix,
- 1 pound of honey,
- 4 boxes of various cereal (healthy types),
- 30 packets of vitamin C drink mix, and
- a month supply of multi-vitamins.
Water is undoubtedly the most precious possession in your preparedness plan. Storage comes in many shapes and styles, such as cheap yet durable plastic containers. One great method is the used of plastic camping-style containers from five- to seven-gallon capacities. My favorite storage container is a clean 2-liter pop bottle, which can be found at your local recycle center. These are easily transportable and storable, and have varying yet great storage lives. Water will be used in a crisis for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. A general rule is one gallon per person per day, but decide yourself what you think is necessary. Make sure to also have ways of purifying water, as you may need to in a disaster situation. Everything from household bleach to water purifiers can be used. Do your research, and decide what best fits your needs.
While I am still currently growing in this field of preparedness, some key areas include a well-stocked first-aid kit and necessary sanitation supplies. A first aid kit is crucial to have, and there is no “one size fits all” kit. Put together your own first aid kit to the best of your knowledge, and continually add to it. Make sure to stock up on medications and vitamins as well. Sanitation will be an important factor in a disaster and could mean the difference between life and death. Some great items to start with include bleach, paper goods (towels, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products), and personal cleanliness products. Some great items to have include soap, baby wipes, and various personal care products. Remember, a downed water supply will mean no showers, no flushing toilets, and no running water. Think ahead and prepare.
Once you evolve further into your preparations, you will become familiar with the use and storage of tools, heat/light sources, forms of communication, and firearms. Remember, knowledge is the key here, and stored items will prove difficult to use if you are not familiar with their purposes. In a drawn out disaster situation, you will need basic tools for common repairs. Think ahead. Will you need to board up doors and windows? Will you be able to change a flat tire on your vehicle? Will you have to perform an emergency repair on a firearm? A good set of basic tools is a great place to start, and prices will not “break the bank”. If teenagers put their earnings towards survival preparation rather than video games, makeup, electronics, and unnecessary purchases, our generation would benefit greatly.
Heat and Light
Another area of preparation includes heat and light sources. When the power shuts down in your dorm or apartment, will you be able to see in the dark and stay warm? Basic items such as flashlights, lanterns, candles, and sources of fire starting are essential to have. Make sure to store extra layers of clothing, a winter sleeping bag, wool blankets, and hand warmers for the winter months. These items are easily purchased and storable for years.
A form of communication will be crucial for a teenager away from home. You need to be able to contact family members during a time of crisis via cell phones and various types of radio communication. Find out what is available and fitting to your budget in the wide array of today’s technology.
Firearms are important for defense in a crisis situation. Your fellow dorm mates or city dwellers will become desperate and even violent in times of fear; be prepared. Depending on your state laws, at the age of 18 you are legally allowed to purchase “long arms”, such as shotguns and rifles. A great place to start for a teen would be the purchase of a home-defense shotgun. Some great and reasonably priced models include the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870. Once you begin learning more about firearms you will discover the beauty of a reliable shotgun. Depending on local laws, an ideal shotgun would have an extended magazine tube for multiple rounds and be in 12 gauge form. A 20 gauge has less recoil and would be a better fit for smaller teens. Further down the line you will start looking into rifles and assault rifles– an endless topic saved for other articles. The purchase of a handgun is legal at the age of 21 years old; start to get an idea of what is available. You also must be 21 years of age to purchase certain ammunition; check your local laws. Also, in some states it is legal to be “gifted” handguns from a parent or grandparent, with varying carry restrictions. Remember to research and learn all you can. A firearm, which you are comfortable and over-familiar with, can save your life one day.
Other Considerations for Teenagers
Find out if your college or local community college offers any courses of interest that would come in handy someday. Some courses to look into include basic automotive, woodworking, welding, Emergency Medical Technician, Wilderness First Responder, tracking skills, and gunsmith training. You can also find community sources that will help you learn about home food preservation, livestock care, gardening, and various other useful skills. Become part of the community and stay aware of local/ world events. Make sure to maintain a strong and positive family life, and remember that your “friends” can become completely different people out of fear and desperation. Swap your videogame and party time for time to gather knowledge and practice skills. Try to get fellow students interested in preparedness, but be careful not to let out important information about your personal preparations. Don’t look at your storage preparations strictly for emergency purposes. Somewhere down the line, you will eat that can of chili; you will put those tools to use; and you will protect yourself with that firearm, regardless of a natural disaster or economic collapse.
Within our lifetime of the next 60+ years, we will definitely see drastic changes in our country and around the world. Preparedness is not only a fun and educational hobby, it is a lifestyle, and the younger you start, the better. It’s a scary world out there, full of unthinkable and startling possibilities. We are approaching inevitable times of change, and we must carry on the legacies of our families and this great country. A preparedness-based lifestyle will not only benefit you during times of crisis but throughout your normal life as well. Stored goods are only a small part of preparation. YOU are the most important part of the big picture. Be strong, mentally and physically, and learn all you can.