Beyond Doomsday: Preparedness on the Urban Homestead - PVP26

Show Notes

What the hell!? She is filling the bathtub and buckets as directed by the US government for use in case of fire or bomb raid. When the bomb sirens sound--fill your tub and such! 1941.Library of Congress, Prints and Photography Division, #LC-USE6- D-001822 and Photo Credit for bomb shelter: #LC-U9-6743-6

There are so many prep lists and strategies to be prepared in case of doomsday...but the more likely event is a local or homestead disaster--loss of job, loss of health, short termloss of electricity, gas, or water. This isn't even Prepper 101 this is Beginner Prep to get ready for Prepper 101. These are the super basics.

I don't consider myself a prepper, until folks notice my stores, then I admit to my squirreling away strategies. 

What we do is what I call 'being ready for when the chips are down'. Strategically acquiring and maintaining store of supplies to be used in the event of an emergency.

I don't have special stores--our stores are the same foods and supplies that we use regularly. What's different is the quantity that we keep on hand. In the city the assumption of 'always available right there at the store' gives rise to the false feeling of security that the leads to utter chaos.

A chaos that happened in San Diego just a few years ago. In 2011, lights were out for 24 or more hours. People didn't have water, food, cash, batteries, light was amazing how many people didn't know how much of city life relies on the grid. Lines were out the door at our local 7-11. Yes, the gas station needs electricity to pump gas so, don't let your tank run on fumes.

What did we do? We took what we needed out of the fridge and put it all in a cooler along with frozen jugs of water. Then put a piece of tape to remind us not to open the fridge. Then got out the oil lamps, candles, battery lights, and so forth. Later that evening we ate dinner and enjoyed a few games of Fluxx. It really is the ultimate card game! Terrific for families and children or adults and tequila!


Over the years 99% of the folks I've known do not have any water stored up. That's right nearly zippo. I don't know what it is but city folks don't think that day will come or when it does come it will be short lived. So, while I value many of the prepper lists out there...many of us are not ready for the briefest of service interruption.

Water is quickly, easily, and nearly free to store. We used 5-gallon containers from a restaurant that stack like bricks. Easy, simple, and zero dollars with just a bit of effort.

Consider refilling gallon vinegar jugs and other robust containers. Lightweight PET milk jugs and water jugs might not be the most robust choice and can be pierced and thus leak easily. Ask around. Clean out, fill, and stash away. You'll thank me later.

Consider rain water catchment and bulk water storage. Consider water filters and understand how you can clean water that is potentially unsafe. And lastly, don't forget to have water for your pets and animals.


I am not a fan of massive stores of special foods that you and your family do not ordinarily eat. Over the course of weeks or months simply buy extra of the shelf stable food your family enjoys. If you listened to recent episodes or checked out the blog then you know about all the tuna that we canned, over 60 pint jars for the larder. Don't be the person that needs to go to the store when the lights go out. 

Instead of one jar of pasta sauce buy two or three. If it's on sale buy a case. Instead of one pound of pasta buy two. Slowly you will stock a larder with adequate provisions for weeks maybe even months. And eat that food--rotate through it and replace it the next time you shop. 

If you listened to Pressure Canning: Not Bombs, Food! maybe you are ready to start pressure canning. Pressure can a batch of soup or chili. 14 quarts of soup is a good bit of soup for the larder!

Don't forget food for your animals and pets.

The point here isn't to end up with a bunch of #10 cans waiting for doomsday, although #10 cans are terrific. If you don't have any stores, start with the basics.


Fire, energy. The idea here is that you need to have a way to power things, cook food, light. I have a preference for a diverse portfolio. Small solar set up that for small items that need recharging. Grill, fire pit, and wood on hand. Solar oven, rocket stove. The idea here is to have a plan for the need for energy. Or if needed think smaller: BioLite and other super small rocket-type cooking options. Flashlights, oil lamps, candles, and so forth. 


We have a dry toilet (aka humanure toilet) along with a composting set-up that is appropriate for composting humanure. You might not be able to have such a set up but there are other options--look into the options and select one. A bucket and dry covering material might be all that you need.

Wasting potable water to flush poop isn't something you want to do when the chips are down.


Start with basics and build from there. Pain, blood, burns, cuts, and so forth. Don't run low or out of medication that you need. Don't run low or out of homemade preparations that you need regularly. Consider toothpaste and other sundries that will make life easy or the back-ups such as baking soda and salt. 

Each time you head to the drug store or order online--just add a couple of items to have on hand.


Beyond guns and weapons. Consider hatchets, hammers, knives, and other tools that could solve a problem such as cutting and breaking. Fire extinguisher, such a simple item, yet many homes don't have one on hand. How are you going to communicate? How are you going to get news updates? Do you have a pre-determined meet-up location for family and friends? What's the plan if the children are in two different schools, you're at work, the babysitter took the little one to the park, your spouse is stuck on the freeway, and oh yeah, everyone frantically wasting cell phone power calling into a overloaded system.


What's the back up if your shelter, your home isn't an option? Tent? Camping gear? Is it something you can carry? Do you know how to set up your tent? Do you have gear in your car or motor vehicle?

Last Words

It isn't my intent that this is a go to list, this to open eyes to be ready in the very likely event of service interruption other short term emergency.

  • Start storing basic provisions--water and food. Then grow your emergency plan.
  • Be sure that you rotate your inventory.
  • Be sure that you know how to use your tools and equipment. 

And sometimes these provisions come in handy during sickness or some other challenge that means no trips to the store. It's amazing how comforting it can be to know you have what you need to meet your own needs (and your family's needs) in case of emergency.



  • Special thanks to Dale, Nia, and Steph for all the love and support! 
  • Raleigh, the guy I love to hate when it comes to all things internet.
  • Aaron Glasson, Permaculture Velocity logo
  • Music: Tell Somebody by Alex Beroza featuring AdmiralBob, digccmixter, licensed underCreative Commons 3.0
  • And to all those podcasters out there sharing good information on podcasting for those of us just getting going with this podcast thing! Thank you!