New here, but don't know where to start...

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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New here, but don't know where to start...

Post by icebrain » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:52 pm

So I've come to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't last too long in a PAW setting... and now it's time to fix that.

However, I have no idea where to start; I was wondering if someone could give me a hand?

My situation is as follows: I live in an apartment in a reasonably-developed suburb area of Savannah, GA. I have nearby access to "fresh" water and there are deer and other game in the area. I'm married, no kids, and nearest other family is a brother-in-law about 50 miles away. I just moved here permanently a few months ago, so I don't really have a bug-out location.

I have little experience living outdoors; I can cook but my knowledge of preparing game is only theoretical. I'm pretty good with my hands (mechanical skills, carpentry, etc).

As far as equipment, the only things I know would be of certain use are my firearms--currently, an AR-15 carbine, two .22LR rifles, a Taurus PT111 9mm, and my wife's S&W .38 Chief's Special. I'm planning on adding a couple more guns (couple rifles and maybe a 1911) in the next year or two as the funds come available, and I'll continue stocking up on ammo and magazines. I also have a sailboat, but it's not quite workable yet.

Given the above, where should I start?

Thanks for the help everyone,


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Post by raptor » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:15 pm

The first step you should take is to identify the individual risks you face and start preparing for those with the greatest probability of occurring first.

For instance since you live in Savannah you face a hurricane risk, the recent sugar refinery explosions is proof that there is risk of industrial accidents. The city has a port and rail roads so yo face risk from terrorism, chemical leaks in addition to industrial problems. If you spend a few minutes I am sure you can come up with several more.

With these likely risks in mind you should then sit down and think about what if any special needs you would need to deal with these risks.

This site is an excellent reference source for determining these needs. Use the search function to research specific questions.

Nevertheless I would suggest that the basics should include these basic supplies:

Food & Water for at least 7 days (14 to 30 days is better)
A good FAK (see the the FAK Section)
Basic illumination (flashlights, batteries & spare bulbs)
A good BOB (see the BOB section)
Some basic tools
Some PPE (i.e. boots, gloves, masks, eye & ear protection)

The final thing that you need is a Plan to deal with these likely risks as well as a plan B in case your plan A does not work.

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Post by gart43 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:20 pm

Well it kind of depends on your economic situation.

But the best thing I can tell you is to start small.

Get in shape or if your already in shape, than stay in shape.

As for preparing food stock, buy a few extra items when you check out.

The other things to do IMO would be to get some experience in the outdoors. Go camping for a weekend.

Plus I'd also suggest gettign your wife to jump on the wagon and practice these thing with you.

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Post by Abacus » Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:37 pm

Given the above you should buy lots and lots of food and water. You have plenty of firearms. More ammo would be nice, but don't get hung up on the bang.

Water and means to procure more water
Food and the means to prepare and procure more food.
Health and sanitation products, soap is sexy.
Tools and materials to improve your BIL.
Portable supplies to bug out

And go from there. Food will require the most study and work on your part, what to buy, how much to buy etc.

Obviously with stores like that I suggest a bug in approach. You already have someplace you live in, why not make the best of it rather than trust you luck to the perils of bugging out. My own starting point is the materials to make my home give away as few signs of habitation as possible while nibbling on three month's supplies.

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Post by SweetTea » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:16 pm

From a disaster point of view, you have enough guns. Collecting firearms is an expensive hobby, and you might have to shelve that until you can lay in some preps. The only firearm purchase that I would see as justifiably would be a pump-action shotgun (i.e. mossberg 500) for home defense. Because you've purchased a few guns, I trust that you're familiar with saving up for things. That's very good.

Because you're in an apartment, the operative question is how much storage space you're prepared to sign over to disaster prep. Anything from the trunk of a car to the floor of a closet to under your bed can be used to greatly improve your situation. Your location sounds pretty good, if things went south in Savannah, is there a reason your location would suck more than others? Are there any major population centers, chemical plants, inactive but menacing looking volcanoes, rivers, etc. that could really screw you over? If so, you might want to make plans to bug out (that is, a forced migration from your home) to brother-in-law's house. You could have a reciprocity thing going on where in any given situation one of you could go over to the other's house. If there aren't many hazards to your specific area, you should probably consider bugging in. This is essentially hunkering down and waiting for things to blow over.

Bugging in is pretty simple in it's purpose: making sure that you can survive a protracted period of time cut off from utilities and other people. This means being able to provide food, water, shelter, protection, communication, and medical care for as long as it takes before public services and civil order are restored. Most people lay in enough supplies for 3 days, then upgrade to a week, then 2 weeks, and expand it like that. There are plenty of threads on how to store and prepare water, food, ammo, first aid supplies, hygene stuff, and all the rest. When I first joined, I went through each disaster prep section from the old threads to the present looking for titles that were relavant to my situation.

You should also be prepared to bug out. Check out for a way better explanation of bugging out than I could give. Most people reccomend a 3-day BOB (bug out bag) in your house and another one in your car. If you're poor like me, just keep one in your car.

The most important thing in my opinion in knowledge. A lot of us have taken red cross and CERT classes in disaster response and first aid, as well as NRA gun safety and proficiency courses. There are tons of web sites about hiking, backpacking, first aid, cooking, and more that could help you immensely. A lot of the military's combat lifesaver stuff is available for free.

How are you physically? Disaster preparedness is all about being ready for whatever comes your way, and you need to be in at least moderate health to do that.

Also, you should consider what you have on your person at any given time. ZSers are like boy scouts but cooler - you should have the basic tools on hand to deal with whatever comes your way. See this thread: for an idea of the kinds of things that could come in handy.

Welcome to the broadest hobby ever, I hope you grow to like it as much as we do.

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Post by southalabama » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:36 pm

spend a weekend reading old posts..........

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Post by Murph » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:46 am

southalabama wrote:spend a weekend reading old posts..........
Especially on topics you're not familiar with. :)
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
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Post by raptor » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:38 am

Murph wrote:
southalabama wrote:spend a weekend reading old posts..........
Especially on topics you're not familiar with. :)
+1 on this advice

That and the advice by the two previous posters on firearms. Do not confuse firearm collection and sport shooting with being prepared. I agree it is fun, but self protection is just one part of preparation.

Food, water & shelter are in most cases are much more important than another 250 rounds of ammo when it come to preparing for a disaster. The cost of 250 rounds can buy 2 people food and water for 2 weeks. Read the forum and you will see how

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Post by LittleTeapot » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:39 am

Hi icebrain.

Pop in to the "Introductions" section of the board and say hi.

A lot of folks check that section out and learn a bit about each other. I'm sure you have a lot of useful information to contribute, despite feeling overwhelmed.

I look forward to reading more of your posts!
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Post by icebrain » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:39 pm

Thanks for all the advice, guys. If it's not too presumptuous, I'd like to keep this thread going as my plans evolve, and maybe let it serve as some kind of example for other newbies once I get it figured out.

As someone pointed out above, the biggest threat here is most likely a hurricane. Although this city hasn't been hit directly in a long time, it's still very possible, and I saw enough of Katrina's aftermath (including doing cleanup work in Mobile and NO) to realize I don't want any part of that. So, I'll start by working through this threat. Might add that I'm a bit of an amateur weather geek; I check NHC's website constantly throughout hurricane season.

Given enough warning, I'm thinking bugging out will be my best option, since I live very close to a river and I doubt the ability of the apartment to stand up to a storm. I'll probably take state highways inland (avoiding I-16) before cutting north and heading to our parents' places in the Atlanta area. In this case, I figure a 3-day BOB and trauma/FAK will work well enough, plus some jerrycans and a standard car emergency kit. I'll probably also keep a bag with two changes of clothes for each of us ready to go. The guns will come too, as much so they don't get stolen by looters as anything else. If possible, we'd take an extra 10-15 minutes to pack up other valuables and throw a bunch more clothing in a suitcase before heading out.

If we do wind up staying, I want to start with at least two weeks' worth of supplies on hand, adding to it as I go. I need to get better at storage, though. A larger ammo stash isn't as much of a problem here.

I'm going to skip right over massive nuclear strike (Cold War style). I live about a mile from a military airbase, and I work at ground zero of a prime target. If anything like that comes in, I won't even know what hit me...

As far as other disasters... I want to put together a get-home kit for my car in case the roads are fouled up; I have a 13-mile walk from work, and most likely will either be walking in the dark, or holing up overnight. My wife could use one too, really.

Anyways, I'm putting together a proposed BOB and FAK; that'll post in the next day or two.

Thanks again!

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Post by Blast » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:37 pm

Welcome Icebrain. The fact that you are even thinking about this puts you ahead of most people. It can be pretty overwhelming at first but the advice you are getting in this thread are worth gold. You need to figure out what your threats, base your gear/stockpiles on those threats, then figure out how to take advantage of your surroundings. Sidenote: water, lots and lots of water!

I recently wrote a survival primer you might want to look at. ... rimer.html

Basically, I break down the aspects of preparedness that YOU can control into three corners of a triangle and then show how they are interrelated.

Yes, I am a blog-whore. :lol:


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Post by KayGee » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:54 am

The first rule of Zombie Squad is we dont talk about Wal-Mart.

Read this thread. It is made of win and lols and is the perfect example of what NOT to do in the event of the Apocalypse/Armageddon/Rapture/Judgement Day/Zday/Red Dawn :D May as well read this too.

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Post by icebrain » Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:28 pm

GHB posted here, though still a couple minor changes to it. Aggregation/preparation begins Friday after work.

Next up is a five-day BOB and primary FAK, then bug-in plans and a gun bag. [/url]

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Post by bcvojak » Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:25 am

KayGee wrote:The first rule of Zombie Squad is we dont talk about Wal-Mart.
Dang. . . And I was about to recommend that he bug out to Wal-Mart! :D

A couple concerns:
I have nearby access to "fresh" water and there are deer and other game in the area.
What does "Near by" mean, and how fresh is fresh? As in a stream? lake? Pond?

Water weighs a lot! So if you are going to be making daily trips for water I'd suggest the following - Purchase:

6 six gallon water jugs
1 folding 2 wheel shopping cart (for transporting full jugs of H2O)
1 good water filter (PUR, MSR) + spare filters

Use 2 of the jugs to collect the "raw" water from the source, the use the filter to purify the water, filling the clean jugs. Mark the collection jugs and the clean water jugs with a marker and always use the same jugs for the same purpose. Keep your clean jugs clean!

You already have more guns than you need for now. Depending on your ammo stock, add to that.

Focus on food. Set up a pantry, and stock it with food that you normally eat. Don't fall for the MRE or survival foods stuff. Just stock real food that you normally eat. Replace it as you use it, and rotate your stock. My backup (survival) pantry focuses on things that are easy to prepare. Soups, rice, caned meats, candy, snacks (dried fruits), noodles, sauces, and such. Mostly heat up or boil, or eat cold (tuna, cereal, snacks). Nothing that requires ovens. (the gas & electric might be out) We bought a little extra every pay day and now were pushing a 90 day supply.

Make sure you have standard OTC meds that you use or might need, on hand. Aspirin, Sudafed, Pepcid AC, Imodium and so on. . Same for prescription meds.

Buy some camping equipment like:
dual fuel stove. (uses Coleman AND automobile gas)
gas siphon
oil lamps
sleeping bags
baby wipes - great for staying clean without using water!
extra rolls and rolls of TP!!!
Small cheap Dollar store pails for water handling. Flushing toilets etc.
Short garden hose so you can drain drinkable water out of your hot water heater.

Lots of plastic bags for waste/trash.

Small AM/FM/Shortwave radio Doesn't have to be expensive. Just capable of pulling in the stronger SW stations like BBC. Extra batteries

Cheap wide mouth thermos containers. Use them for cooking things like beans and rice. Boil water, put beans or rice into thermos, add water, seal, wait. . . Saves on cooking fuel. . .

I converted all of my Battery Sucking MAG lights to LED lights (about $20 per conversion). Now my Dollar Store batteries last forever in my MAG lights! Extra batteries

A pair of family channel walkie talkies could be handy. That way you can stay in touch with the home base while your getting the water. Extra batteries

Do you have children? Infants? Things like diapers, wipes, baby food.

Do just the basics and you will have increased your survival chances by 400%.

---- And most important ----

Or they will be at your door demanding food and water when TSHTF!
Pacific NW

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Post by hdandb » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:15 pm

southalabama wrote:spend a weekend reading old posts..........
In my case the "weekend" has been months with notes and spreadsheets and selling the Lexus for a 4x4 with a couple of dirtbikes and...
In short, keep educating yourself and not like me, realize that this is an ongoing and evolving endeavor.
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That sounds about right, ?

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