Where to begin....first of all there are thousands, if not millions, of articles on survival arts and prepping scattered across the internet. For me to to write another chapter on the subject would be silly; besides, I'm far from being an expert. If you want expert advice may I suggest you try my two friends James W. Rawles, the writer of Patriots (and if you haven't as yet read his book, shame on you) and Arsenius the Hermit of 'Living Out There' fame. Links to both can be found on my sidebar under 'blogs I read.
As an old military veteran preparedness was drilled into my head, I believe Arsenius made this point recently. It's a way of life for us. Why I am writing this now you ask, because I've received many questions over the last few days asking my advice. Okay, you'll get it, you may not like it, but here it is - use a little common sense. It works and it's free.
In my early days I followed the teachings of Mel Tappen and Ragnar Benson, old school. Google 'em. Read their books, study.
There are certain rules you should follow towards this lifestyle, they are fairly simple. First, read, I mean how simple is that, just read. Even works of fiction can teach you, like Rawles novel, Patriots. Its nothing more than a primer in the form of a story. There are many others I just haven't time to list (I own a business after all and customers tend to get angry with me when I tell them to sit down and shut-up while I write) but do a bit of research and you'll find many hours of fine reading.
Rule number two, keep at least a years worth of food in your pantry. This rule should be adjusted upwards if you have more than the standard four per household. I personally know families with a zero food supply. They must shop for every meal they cook. Sadly, my son and DIL fall into this category; I refer to them as mushrooms.
I never buy just one can of anything, I purchase by the case. And, please, don't get caught up into thinking it's necessary to stock only canned food. Follow the rules and use the guidelines of the Mormon church, good people who have the art of food preps down to a science.
Each trip I make to the grocery store I grab a ten pound bag of rice, or a bag of dried beans, salt, sugar, flour. I then walk over to the bakery section of my local store and ask them if they have any plastic five gallon buckets. They give them away free. Sometimes I get, depending on the stock, a three and a half gallon, but hey, it works. Now, take those bags and seal them inside those buckets. Google Walton Feeds for further instructions. Simple and cheap and those buckets, if kept sealed, will last for years.
This will take all day at my current pace.
Over the last few years I've ordered, on a three month basis, cases of #10 cans of freeze-dried food from such companies as Emergency Essentials and Preparedness Pantry. Every bed in my home, all four bedrooms, has a stash of cases. They will last for at least thirty years. Think about it. And, learn how to can your own food. 'Nuff said.
Rule number two - security - protection of not only your family members and friends but yourself. You will need firearms, and if you're one of those, 'I have a shotgun and I'm good to go type people,' never mind. Find some purple clogs and a poodle and sally forth.
Again this is one of those 'written to death' subjects. I will only, as requested, touch on 'get home bags.' Let's assume you are intelligent enough to have by now purchased, not only a handgun, but a battle rifle and have gotten some expert training and do indeed practice with your firearms, okay. If not, poodle walking time.
My get home bag is nothing more than an old surplus Czech ruck-sack filled with items I think and hope will help me get home from any natural or man-made disaster if I were stranded on the road. I keep it and a small medical kit along with another ruck-sack which contains my 'critter-getter' in the back seat of my truck. I also have the same setup in my wife's vehicle. One of my readers asked if I worried about thief. Of course I do, but I'd much rather have the peace of mind knowing my bags are always with me, and besides, if thief is a great concern, then remove the bags each evening and replace the next morning.
Contents, well it's kinda personal, but I have water, Datrex food bars (Emergency Essentials) spare clothing, a fire kit (remember the rule of three here, more on that later) a small radio, para-cord and assorted other items. Personalize yours to your needs and climate, adjust to the seasons of the year.
Why you ask, because once upon a time I found myself broken down in the mountains of western Washington State. The nearest help was ten long miles via logging roads with sunset just minutes away. Guess where I spent the night.
Let's pretend, shall we, you are twenty miles across a large city from your home. The Great One has taken one up side his noggin by a freak with a baseball bat and said freak hits a home run. What do you think will happen within the next fifteen minutes....go ahead, take your time. I'll tell you - we will have what we military guys call a 'target rich environment.' Now, you or your wife or your child is 'way out yonder' and their car or truck gets taken by the zombies, and if they escape with their lives, dodging lead and burning buildings and they have a twenty or thirty mile walk home, what do you think their odds are of making it to the safety of your loving arms. Think about it. Any questions?
Folks, I've run out of time. If you want me to continue this, let me know. I do so appreciate your time and patience. Duty calls. And please overlook my edit work, I'm too far behind to worry about it. Thanks.