The best thing about improving your preparedness is that anything you do, no matter how large or small, will benefit you and your family.
Don't focus on expensive purchases or huge projects like building bunkers similar to those on Doomsday Preppers on Netflix, start small and build up.
During the Cold War our governments issued advice on what to do and expect during an emergency, recently Sweden sent booklets to all citizens in a similar way but for most western citizens our governments have ignored civic preparedness for decades.
So what should be your first preparation step aka prep?
The rule of Three
This is a phrase that has become popular among many preppers and whilst not specific is a good general guide for you to prioritise you preps.
The average human can survive;
3 minutes of oxygen deprivation
3 hours in extreme climate without shelter
3 days without water
3 weeks without food
These aren't hard and fast rules, we are all individuals and our circumstances and abilities vary, but as a general guide they highlight what and where to focus your early goals in prepping.
Your first prep should be to alleviate your most likely threat.
If the world runs out of oxygen we're all toast, if you're at home you already have shelter so your most pressing concern in a SHTF situation for whatever reason will be water.
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink...
Thirst can kill if you're not careful!
For most of human history every drink of water has been a game of Russian roulette with the risk of disease or bacterial infection.
Beer is delicious and helps get a party started but the reason humanity started fermenting alcohol was to make our water supplies safe to drink.
The word whiskey is an anglicised version of the term water of life from the ancient celtic gaelic langauges.
Today we're able to turn on a tap and have access to a virtual unlimited source of safe drinking water, but if there was a power cut the pumping stations will fail so the first prep should be how to collect and sanitise water for drinking.
I live in the UK so collecting water isn't an issue for me, it rains a lot!
In most locations a simple filter like placing a cotton cloth over the opening of your canteen placed into a stream or river facing downstream will remove most particulates, then suspend the container over a fire so that it boils vigorously for several minutes will kill most protozoa, now its safe to drink.
You can also use chemical purification tablets, add them to simply filtered water to kill harmful organisms.
So your first prep should be a metal container of at least 1 litre (35 fl oz or 4 cups if you're american) and a good cotton filter such as a bandana (also a multi use item 😉) .
There are many small commercial filter systems available at a very low cost too that let you utilise water from rivers and streams whilst hiking to scout new locations and routes, then later you can expand to water storage such as rainwater harvesting tanks.
*Special note I believe in some US States harvesting rainwater from your property can be limited which for me sounds crazy!