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The Four Tenets of Physical Self Sufficiency

slogan2Often times when it comes to being prepared to handle a disaster, people aren’t sure where to start. It can seem like a daunting task to gather 6 to 12 months worth of food or to set up a bug-out location where you can survive totally off the grid in all forms of weather. If you’re new to prepping, don’t panic. Today we’re going to share the 4 basic tenets of being physically prepared and self sufficient. Β Better yet, we’re going to show you how to put together a plan to get prepared without breaking the bank.

How to Have Physical Self Sufficiency

In our world at least, physical self sufficiency means being able to care for yourself in four basic areas: food, water, shelter and first aid. If you’ve got those 4 things covered, you’ve got a start. Here’s how you can get a start on having those four areas of your prepping plan covered.


If you’re in a situation such as a natural disaster where you can’t leave your home due to weather conditions, a situation where you can’t go to stores due to a widespread power outage, or where you can’t leave your home due to an unforeseen disaster such as a terrorist attack or sickness outbreak, you’ll want to be sure to have an ample supply of food on hand so that you don’t have to leave your home, even if you have the physical capability to do so.

When it comes to preparation, self sufficiency and food, there are some things you need to remember as you create your stockpile.

1. Get foods that require little to no preparation. Since you might not have access to cooking heat, it’s wise to get food that requires little to no preparation. Fully cooked soups and stews, canned legumes, canned veggies and a variety of nuts, dried fruits and snacks is a good place to start. Be sure to have enough to feed your immediate family for at least 7 days, and longer if you feel it’s necessary.

2. Get foods that you like. Be prepared to thrive, not just survive, should a disaster hit. Don’t get foods you hate and will abhor eating just to have a stockpile. Shop considerately and get foods that everyone in the family likes.

3. Consider having some cooking tools on hand. If you prefer to have hot food, keep a camping stove with filled (portable) propane tanks available or keep portable grill supplies handy at all times. These supplies aren’t expensive and don’t require a lot of room to store, but you’ll likely be glad you have them if a disaster strikes.Having basic heating and cooking supplies on hand also helps give you the option to expand your food storage stockpile to include things like instant rice and Ramen noodles.

4. Rotate your stockpile regularly. This is another reason it’s wise to get food you like. Don’t waste your stockpile via expiration dates; instead get foods you like and rotate them out occasionally, taking them off your stockpile shelf and replacing them with new items at the same time.


It’s vitally important to have a secure water supply in the event of a disaster. The human body can go several weeks without food but only a few days without water. Smart preppers should have a gallon a day for each member of the family for the number of days they want to be prepared to survive and thrive in the event of a disaster. For our family of six, that would mean that if we wanted to be able to survive for 7 days without a regular water supply, we’d need 42 gallons of water.

Some water preserving prepper options?

These highly rated Amazon products give you both short and long term water storage options. AND: for those of you with pets, don’t forget to add water for your pets into the equation. Water storage for cats and dogs, depending on the size of the dog, will vary. Cats will be fine with a pint of water per day. For those of you with farm animals such as horses, cows and goats, consider getting a manual pump for your well if you don’t already have one. A manual pump that is set up to surpass the electric pump system will nix the need for any additional water storage, provided you’re not dealing with a ground contamination problem. If you want to be prepared to not use your pump if the water isn’t safe and you have farm animals, I’d suggest several of the 55-gallon storage units.


Hopefully if an emergency comes, your house will remain intact. If not, do you have a plan for what to do? Here are some options:

An On-Site Safe Room

Depending on the type of disaster you’re facing, an onsite safe room might be a good option for weathering a disaster. An on-site safe room should be strong enough to weather even large weather disasters, have the ability to siphon in fresh air, having heating and cooling properties, and have enough room for you and your supplies to bunk comfortably for several days. Many construction companies here in the Midwest anyway are including an option for rooms such as bathrooms to be made into safe rooms to help prepare for disasters such as tornadoes.

A Bug-Out Location

If you can afford it, a bug-out location such as a cabin or a vacant lot in the woods with a camper, situated 2 or more hours from your home, might be a great idea for providing a second option for secure shelter during an emergency. Just make sure that you follow this rule of prepping:

  • Always keep your gas tank at least half full

so that you are able to reach your bug-out location provided you have working transportation.

An Out-of-Town Friend or Family Member’s Home

If you’ve got relatives or friends that live far away that would welcome you in the event of an emergency, set that up as a possible option for obtaining safe shelter during a disaster.

The option you choose isn’t important – as long as you have an option that’s affordable and wise.

First Aid

Having proper first aid options if professional medical help isn’t available is a smart move in being prepared for a disaster. Here are some things you can to to prepare your family for medical help.

  • Take a local community course and learn the basics of first aid and emergency care
  • Have an emergency supply stockpile, such as this waterproof emergency care kit

  • Have a good medical book, such as one of the two shown below:

With some education and preparedness, you can have many of the supplies you need, along with the knowledge you need, to handle minor medical emergencies that might otherwise require a doctor when there’s none available.

Being prepared for Physical Self Sufficiency may seem overwhelming, but by following the above tips to ensure you’ve got food, water, shelter and first aid options available in the event of an emergency, you’ve already won half the preparedness battle.


    • Laurie says:

      Agreed, Ali! It’s hard to forget the suffering people went through during times like Katrina and Sandy. Prepping for them will at least help some during future events.

  1. Kirsten says:

    When I was in college in Florida, we faced the threat of hurricanes six months of the year. Obviously, as a college student, I couldn’t stockpile supplies but there are things that anyone can do to be ready for a short-term emergency like that. You raise an important point about always having gas in your tank. Also, always have some cash on hand! That’s the only currency anyone will take when the power and internet are out. Everyone can have a first aid kit handy – don’t forget important things like bug repellant and sun screen. Also have a wind-up radio so you can stay informed!

    • Laurie says:

      Awesome additional tips, Kirsten – thanks so much for sharing! We visited the West Coast recently and the kids – well educated by us in the area of prepping – asked “Are there hurricanes there?”. At least we’ve got them thinking. πŸ™‚

  2. I think to many of us don’t think of this type of preparedness until its too late. Always good to have the backup plan ready and discuss with loved ones, so everyone understand in case any event occurs.

    • Laurie says:

      We need to discuss our plans with the kids more. We’ve recently been working on listening ears and obeying immediately when mom and dad call, just in case our sugary sweet tones are code for “We need to get the hell out of here, and NOW!” πŸ™‚

  3. Lance@HealthyWealthyIncome says:

    Great list. We work so hard to save money and prepare, but rarely spend any time to prepare food or other life essentials. When there is a natural disaster or fire you will be in competition with everyone in your city for these vital resources. I have seen cities wiped out of bottled water within minutes, even from a contaminated water supply. You can’t wash dishes, brush your teeth, and a lot of things. I also can’t emphasize enough having cash on hand and don’t make it a pile of $100 bills. Have at least $200 in small bills so you can go to the store when power is out. A lot of emergency supplies can be camping supplies as well so they don’t just sit around gathering dust. And if you do like Laurie excellently suggests and rotate your food you will be prepared when that challenge come. For a lot of my neighbors it hasn’t been a natural disaster but a job loss, but they were able to save money because they had a nice food supply and emergency fund to get through those months until the next job came along.

    • Laurie says:

      Lance, I think of you and your neighbors so often when we talk about prepping. Their “disasters”, the job layoffs, are something many of us wouldn’t feel the need to prep for, but prepping helps in that type of a situation just the same.

  4. Hannah says:

    7 days of food and water supply is a really good tip. Whenever a storm comes, I always try to fill various water pitchers and water bottles even though our water is unconnected to electricity.

    Growing up, we had a storm that cut out power and dirtied water for 5-6 days in our neighborhood. One neighbor carried a power generator from house to house and allowed people to hook up their freezers for 4-6 hours to keep meat from going bad. Another neighbor had a huge grill out with venison steaks. My dad bought about 600 gallons of water from Wal-Mart in a different city and distributed them around the block.

    Still, we keep some food, and fuel for our camping stove, and bottles of water around just in case we end up having a much worse disaster come rolling through. First aid kits are also a great suggestion.

    • Laurie says:

      Sounds like you learned a prepping lesson first hand, my friend! Good for you guys for following suit and having your own disaster preparedness supplies on hand.

  5. Kathy says:

    We already do many of the items you mentioned, but I do need to put a first-aid kit in both vehicles. We probably would take the truck since it would hold more supplies. We are building a home and we actually have a safe room being built into the most weather proof part of the basement. Something that a lot of people don’t like to talk about, but should consider is having a firearm and appropriate ammunition. Watching the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore should drive home the fact that there are people out there who – especially in the time of national disaster – are willing to steal and even kill to get something you have that they don’t. It is a nice Utopian thought that the nation would pull together to get through a crisis, but the reality is that there are those who would think nothing of taking anything you have. You need to have a plan to protect all the things you planned ahead for, in the event something awful occurs.

  6. Laurie says:

    Kathy – SO TRUE!!!!! So many people think everyone would be nicey-nice and helpful in the event of a disaster, but the truth is that fear and desperation would prevail in most places. Did you ever see that old Twilight Zone episode where that happened? Very powerful, at least for us.

  7. Tre says:

    I hadn’t really thought about it, but we would do okay in a disaster. We prepped and didn’t know it. Or maybe my husband prepped and didn’t tell me πŸ™‚

  8. Nice product recommendations Laurie. I think the first aid medical kit is necessary. I remember when I was in college that every year we have 1-day seminar on how to use this kit. And now after getting these series of course, I know how to properly use this kit and apply this knowledge when that time occurs.

  9. Chella says:

    these are indeed great tips for one to achieve self sufficiency. I would echo the point on first aid. Many are times we live in great oblivion for the future and accidents could occur that could be fatal. A first aid kit at your disposal could be the difference between life and death. people should have their first aid kits where they can easily access it in the time of an emergency. there is no better way to assure health and safety efficiency in our homes.

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