One of the important issues to discuss is where you are going to go if you have to evacuate or are forced to leave your home. Some people think that staying put is the right thing to do. Others don't have a formal plan but just think heading to the "mountains" would be a good idea. Still others have thought they would head for mom's house or grandpas house. The ideas are all good but only if you have a definate plan in place.
So you decided to stay put, you live in an urban area with several houses per block, the corner mega market etc. The issue here is how protected are you when your neighbors run out of food or water? How protected are you when street gangs start going house to house looking for food, water, weapons and anything else of value? Have you made a plan to protect yourself and your family? How secure is your home? How long can you stay there before you have to leave to find food and water? Most of the food stores are going to be empty within 3 days of an event. Two weeks after an event most of the rioting and looting will have began and people will have already either cleared out or barracaded in. One month after an event half the looters will be out of places to go for food and water and will start heading for other places. If its an event in which there is a gas shortage or vehicle shortage most people can only get approximately 30 miles out in any direction and will start looking for farms, dairies, agricultural areas etc.
Most serious preppers have either located a safe place to go immediately after an incident or are already living in their retreat. If you have a place planned to go to then you need to prep that place too. Making sure you have food, fuel, heat sources, and a way to replenish your food supply with either the ability and knowledge to grow it and protect it from both wild life and wandering people or a way to barter for what you need. Both are acceptable and I would be preparing to do both. If you think that this is unnecessary and believe the government will help you out or FEMA then I urge you to read this article: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/08/20/politics/survivalist-congressman-is-ready-for-doomsday/ about a government official that also has been prepping for years because he KNOWS what to expect from the government or FEMA.
You will need to start with reading everything you can about growing food, animal husbandry, food preparations, food storing and water collecting. A lot of people believe they can always use a generator for their electrical needs and they can if they have planned a way to store fuel to run it. Fuel does break down if it doesn't have a life extender added. You would also have to store an awful lot of it if there is a major grid breakdown. The other thing to think about is that a generator is loud and could attract attention by undesirables. You could cook with wood if you have a way to adequately store enough to get thru the winter and a supply nearby for replenishing your stock. The wood stove could be as simple as a wood stove used for heat or as elaborate as an old fashioned cooking stove. It could be moved outside in the summer and inside in the winter for a combined use of heat and cooking.
The bottom line is whatever you have decided to do make sure your kids and family members knows what the plan is and where they need to be if you are all separated. You might be at work miles away, the kids might be in school or on a field trip or even at college a state or more away. How will you reunite and where? All things to plan for practice.
This is the best time to get things in order, before something happens. You just never know when an earthquake or fire might cause a major evacuation. Weather issues in some parts of the US is very serious be it tornado's or hurricanes there are ways to be ready and to prepare.
We are going to go into some more food preparations for beginners in the next few weeks, I want to talk about some international foods that would serve us well as good food sources both filling, tasty, and full of good things for your health as well as just plain old filling.