Alabama preppers and aspiring preppers, this article is dedicated to you. We recently covered a brief history of natural disasters that have struck Alabama, so it now makes sense to give some Alabama-specific advice on where and how to start prepping for the state in which you live.
Alabama as a State (Prepper Perspective)
To know how to prep in Alabama, it’s helpful to get a picture of the state as a whole so we know what we’re dealing with.
Climate – Alabama summers are some of the hottest in the nation with average daily highs above 90 degrees F. Winters are mild to cold. Alabama has two main weather-related disasters which it faces on a regular occurrence: hurricanes and tornadoes.
Food and Water Resources – Alabama has a 365-day growing season. It has around 39,000 farms, ranks 2nd in the nation in freshwater fish production, 3rd in poultry production, and 3rd in peanut production. (Source.)
Politics – Alabama is a heavily conservative state with only 36% of the people voting Democrat. Alabama is also a gun-friendly state.
Population – Alabama has a population of 4.9 million as of 2021 spread out of 54,420 total square miles results in an average 94.4 people per square mile. This puts it at 27th in the nation by population density.
Alabama is 7th in the nation when it comes to perennial stream miles. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that approximately 10% of the freshwater resource in the entire continental U.S. originate in or flow through Alabama. However, in the last 20 years, with additional demands on groundwater and some droughts, some areas of the state have seen a gradual drop in groundwater resources. (Source.)
Prepping in Alabama
How do you go about being a prepper in Alabama?
The “beans, bullets, and bandages” saying is a good place to start for most any prepper, but it’s vague and over-simplified advice. Still, preppers should always start with the basics and build from there, but not before conducting a personal threat assessment!
That link, combined with the state-specific article, should give you all you need to start wrapping your head around where to being, which in almost all cases begins with water.
Water, being the most critical resource, isn’t even mentioned in the “beans, bullets, bandages” saying. To start your water supplies, I recommend first determining how much water you need by trying our water calculator. It’s not going to be a perfect calculation for everyone, but it is a good place to start thinking about what you might need and how to store it.
Going into the details of all of the basics a person needs to become prepared goes beyond the scope of this article, but I have recommended articles for you to visit to get started:
Guns and ammo, the favorite category of almost every prepper, is an area that fewer visitors here need help with. If this is an area that you’re less familiar with, my advice is two fold:
- Start by buying a copy of Survival Guns: A Beginner’s Guide by fellow SHTF Blog writer Steve Markwith.
- Once you have an idea on the guns you want/need, visit our ammo calculator to know how much ammo you should stock and how to store it.
There are some hazards and threats specific to Alabama (and the related region) that other states may not face. The most obvious being hurricanes and tornadoes. If you’re prepared for both of these events to the best of their ability, combined with the basic prepper supplies previously described, you should be well-suited for any emergency that strikes your state.
Fortunately for Alabamians, they don’t have long, cold winters. This reduces the need to stock heating fuel or require an ample supply of firewood. As cold as it might get in January, you’ll get by with some warm clothes and shelter.
Alabama is also fortunate to have the year-round growing season, so farmers and hobby gardeners can have a “grow your own” approach to supplementing food supplies.
So, specific to Alabama, the two biggest threats are the aforementioned hurricanes and tornadoes. Let’s see how these might influence the two choices anyone must confront in a regional crisis of this type.
If the weather turns bad and you make a choice to stay where you are, you’ll need the supplies to hunker down and wait out the storm. Doing this means having adequate supplies stocked, mainly food and water.
A more hardcore approach would be to build (or buy) a storm shelter of some type.
Building your own is possible if you have the time and basic skills. We have a complete list of PDF fallout shelter designs, many of which could easily double as storm shelters. You can also buy a storm shelter, but they can be cost-prohibitive. A barebones one will cost you $5k or more just for the unit itself.
- Powder coated inside and out for longer-lasting finish.
- FEMA rated for 8 occupants.
- Nearly 2,000 Lbs. of American made steel.
Stay mindful of the fact that any underground shelter that will protect you from a tornado could turn into an underwater grave during a hurricane that brings in floodwaters!
Sheltering in place when the water supply and power cuts out might also mean needing alternative options for using a bathroom. The most basic, low-cost solution to this is something like the Luggable Loo, a bucket with a toilet seat attached. Marketed as a portable camping “toilet,” this basic setup will make hunkering down significantly more palatable when stuck inside for an extended period.
Make sure to stock some heavy-duty trash bags, toilet paper, and sawdust (or something comparable) inside the bucket itself so it’s always ready for use should the need arise.
Where power outages often accompany adverse weather events, you will need the energy and supplies to cook food, boil water, get news and communicate, operate lights, etc. Perhaps one of the most important pieces of equipment would be an NOAA radio that can be powered by a hand crank.
- ▲5000mAh Replaceable Li-ion Battery & 5 Power Sources▲This 𝗪𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗼 comes with 5000mAh large-capacity rechargeable Li-ion battery ensure your cellphone will be fully charged in emergency.5 power options,never worry it power off anytime.when the built-in li-ion battery is power off,it will be charged by the backup power sources include winding up handle,solar crank or micro USB input connection or 3 pcs AAA battery.
- ▲Handy Bright 𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗹𝗮𝘀𝗵𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗟𝗘𝗗 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗟𝗮𝗺𝗽▲When power failure In the emergency,wind up 𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗸 to work as a handy LED flashlight to light up in full darkness to keep you safe.flip up the solar panel to become a reading lamp with built in 6 bright LEDs to illuminate your way to the bedroom at night,as well as a must-have for camp in tent outside.
- ▲𝗘𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗖𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗽𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗿&Loud SOS Alarm▲Your Cellphone will Never Power Off even blackout and internal Li-ion Battery outages,hand crank continuously genarate power to recharge the built-in battery and connect the included usb output charging cable for cellphone charging.allow you to make a phone call for help or get in touch with your family in emergency.The red SOS flashing beacon which is morse code and loud enough to attract the attention of would be rescuers.
Radios of this type will give you news about the weather, availability of emergency services, etc. Luckily, these are almost always accompanied by internal flashlights that can also be powered by the hand crank.
Bugging in during adverse weather is usually not the best choice, but sometimes it’s the only choice. The alternative – bugging out – is generally a wiser bet.
Being right in contact with the Gulf Coast, southern Alabama regularly gets hit with hurricanes. Thankfully, we live in an age where technology can give us enough of a heads up of such weather patterns that we can make plans accordingly.
Everyone living in southern Alabama absolutely needs a detailed evacuation/bug out plan for the entire family. Everyone should know where they are going if the need rises to get out of town ASAP. Everyone should know, or have access to, emergency contact numbers, back up bug out locations if you can’t reach the first one, etc.
Have a game plan of where you will go in the event of an impending hurricane, what you will take, and how you will get to your retreat. Make sure you have multiple routes to your destinations as well in case Plan A doesn’t work out.
Everyone should have a pre-packed bug out backpack with all of the supplies needed to survive a minimum of 72 hours. This is your “grab and go” security bag. This is necessary even if you plan to shelter in place. A properly stocked pack should go into any emergency shelter with you, because – if done right – it will have the necessary equipment to help you survive.
A plan to bug out, usually by vehicle, also means having enough gas stored in advance. Anyone that has endured a regional storm of any significant size knows that there’s a rush for gasoline as people plan to stock up for generators or to just leave town.
If a storm is coming in quick the last thing you want to do is be waiting in line at the gas station to leave town. Know how to store gas – and do it.
Any Alabama preppers worth their salt is going to be positioned to help their neighbors pre and post-disaster. Communities are always stronger when they act just that way – as a community. A well-prepared prepper with the right skills and know-how is a valuable asset during a crisis and often emerges as a leader whether they want the role or not.
The single best way to be positioned to help after a crisis is having the ability to communicate, to know where help is needed. A simple, inexpensive ham radio is one of the most widely accepted forms of post-disaster communication.
If a tornado or hurricane hits an area it is very liable to destroy all the cell phone towers in the area. This means that post-disaster you’re going to have to rely on something other than a phone or a computer to get in contact with somebody else.
- 128 Channels 50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby, A/B band independent operation, High/Low TX power selectable: Busy channel lock-out(BCLO)
- High/Low TX power selectable: Busy channel lock-out(BCLO),128 Channels 50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby, A/B band independent operation, Keypad Lock: Channel Step: 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5 KHz, Voice companding: 50 CTCSS/ 104 DCS coder & tone searching, Tri-color background light selectable: 0-9 grades VOX selectable. Large LCD Display, Emergency Alert: 12.5KHz Switchable, LED Flashlight: High/Low RF Power Switchable, Support manually program. Easy to program via PC. Support CHIRP quick programming
- Tri-color background light selectable: 0-9 grades VOX selectable. Large LCD Display
The Baofeng UV-5R handheld ham radio is probably the cheapest way to cover this base. It’s an Amazon bestseller and comes with very high ratings. Just know that for the novice ham operator, figuring it out may be a bit of a challenge.
Worry not! SHTF Blog writer Aden Tate has written a much easier instruction manual for the Baofeng EV-5R.
Radio – whether that be CB, FRS, or amateur – is going to be the key to keeping in contact with your friends, family, church, and neighbors in the aftermath of such an event. This allows you to ensure everybody is okay, to figure out where everybody is at, and to determine what everybody needs.
Want more information? Consider these resources:
- Alabama Center for Emergency Preparedness (part of the Alabama Public Health Department)
- Alabama Preppers Network (Facebook page that doesn’t seem very active)
- Alabama Survivalist Boards (forum)
- East Alabama Preppers (Facebook page that doesn’t seem very active)
- Randall’s Adventure & Training (survival training in Alabama)
Alabama Preppers Summarized
Tornadoes and hurricanes must be taken seriously. They have been and will continue to threaten Alabama and – unfortunately – lead to widespread damage and death.
By following the advice here, starting with basic preps and then looking at what you face in Alabama itself, you’ll be better prepared for these types of events.
Do you live in Alabama? What are your thoughts on the situation? Are there other preps for Alabama that you believe deserve being discussed? Let us know in the comments below!