Have you ever shipped a packaged containing something extremely fragile? One year, we mailed a fragile, blown glass ballerina. We wrapped the little dancer first in a few layers of tissue paper, carefully winding it around her outstretched arm and leg. Then we nestled her into a small box filled with Styrofoam “popcorn”. We closed that box, wrapped it in tissue and then bubble wrap before sliding it inside of a bigger box. We stuffed all the openings in the bigger box with more tissue, sealed it up and sent the package on its way. When the little ballerina arrived at her destination and was carefully unwrapped, she was still in one lovely sparkling piece.
When you are well prepared, you are cushioned by layers, somewhat like that delicate little ballerina. If the outer layer of tissue and bubble wrap doesn’t protect you successfully, the danger still has to get through the second box, the Styrofoam popcorn and more tissue paper. Every layer of preparedness that you add shields you and your family, placing them just a bit further out of the reach of danger.
Build a Foundation
I have found that when starting your preparedness measures, it is best to start at the beginning in order to ensure you have everything you need to build up your foundation. Start your preparations with a 72-hour kit  and then create a vehicle 72-hour kit . Once that is complete, you can begin ensuring your basic needs are met for longer periods or begin targeting other layers of preparedness. The 52-Weeks to Preparedness  series offers a complete list of getting your home and family ready for unexpected disasters.
Having multiple emergency plans is another example of layering up. Not only do you always need a Plan B, you need Plan C, Plan D and on through the alphabet for every situation. Keep the following tips in mind when beginning your preparedness foundation:
- Keep family members and any medical or special needs in mind when planning
- Don’t forget your pets
- Continually adding onto your layers will makes for a more economical approach to preparing
- Many preps have multiple uses and can be used for multiple disasters
Let’s look at some other examples of how you might layer your preparedness.
Your initial line of defense would be the two week supply of bottled water that is recommended in Week 1  of the 52 Weeks to Preparedness  series. If the danger lasts longer than two weeks, you could fall back on your water treatment preparations, mentioned in Week 17 , such as water filtration systems, distillation, or the addition of bleach or water treatment capsules for water that is not potable as is. If the issue continues as a long-term problem, water will have to be collected and purified on an ongoing basis, requiring the steps you took in Week 24  to be put into action.
Most preppers have some short-term food  stored to be used for things like a power outage, being snowed in for a week, and those things that are more “inconveniences” than actual disasters. Many of those foods require little-to-no cooking and can be eaten at room temperature.
As another example, you need a plan in place for what you would do once your stored food is gone – so, you would prepare to learn to hunt, to raise livestock and to grow food.
Most people strive to make their homes safe and secure . We install motion lights, fence the yard and make windows difficult to open. We have good quality locks on the doors and sometimes burglar alarms as well.
In a disaster situation, this may not be enough. We need only to look at the situation on Staten Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to see that looters are out in full force, taking advantage of the people who have already lost so much. As we’ve said here before, “If you can’t protect it, you don’t own it!”  Most preppers have guns and ammunition with which they will defend their homes and families.
In an even longer-term situation, more plans for defense  would need to be made, with perimeters, night watches and an organized plan.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are our preparations. It takes time to research and plan what your family needs to be disaster ready. When you invest in your preparedness foundation, you are slowly adding preparedness layers that your loved ones to rely on. Each time you add to your preps, always think ahead to the day when the item you just bought runs out and begin planning now to solve the problem before it happens. In every situation, increase your protection layer by layer, just like preparing that spun glass ballerina for her journey through the mail.