Monthly Archives - June 2016

How to Travel Like a Prepper

How to Travel Like a Prepper

Prepping for a large majority of us involves analyzing the risks we see inherent with situations we could be faced with and taking steps to mitigate those risks. For a lot of risks, the answer is simple. To avoid starving due to a disruption with our food delivery system you can grow your own food, you can plan to increase your storage of long-term foods by canning or purchasing quantities of extra foods, freeze-dried foods or bulk food items like wheat, beans and rice. Other aspects we prepare for involve a similar process but usually the place where we are best prepared is home.

Sure we can plan for bugging out if needed. Our bug out bags extend our abilities to leave our castle in the face of impending doom and move to a safer location. We can outfit bug out vehicles with additional capacity to move overland and carry extra supplies but nothing really replaces a strong, stable location where we have systems in place to help us survive. As well has having all our stuff, we know the land, usually have some relationships with neighbors or friends to further build-out ourpotential survival group. Our home base has incredible advantages that we might not miss unless we are away when some disaster happens and you are forced to make it home with only what you have on you and what you are able to scrounge or scavenge along the way.

I think of this subject at least once per year because I travel on business. My family travels to see relatives or to vacation in some nice place if we are lucky. When either of those things happen and I am hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, I feel less prepared for anything than when I am sitting in my suburban (non)bunker with all of my support systems surrounding me. However, I have learned that just because your man-cave isn’t within arm’s reach and all your weapons and gear aren’t as easily available, you can and should still prepare. There are some lessons I have learned and rules that I try to follow as closely as I can when I travel that could keep me alive and help me make it back home if disaster struck and I was away from my family. Today I want to talk about how to travel like a prepper so that you aren’t left with nothing if faced with disaster.

I have discussed in the past how to pack like you are never coming home. That article captured some of my thoughts around what you should consider if you were traveling with family via car somewhere away from home. Today I will focus more on the scenario of a trip where you are going to be traveling alone perhaps on business and need to plan for getting back home and surviving should some emergency occur.

Do your homework before you travel

Naturally, where you are traveling to, what your reason for traveling is, who you will be with and the method of travel all factor into decisions you have to make before you start throwing the first pair of socks into your suitcase. If I am headed an hour or two away, I would not plan the same way I would for a trip overseas. If I was traveling in my car, I would have different items than if I was traveling by plane.

Here are a few things I think about:

  • How far away from home will I be?
  • Is the destination a major urban center or more rural?
  • How will I get there?
  • What restrictions if any are there on what I carry or how I dress?
  • Can I make it home if needed on foot from this destination?
  • What is the best/safest route?
  • How long would it take?

The goal is to consider my travel destination within the context of what I am traveling for and take with me items that appropriately could mitigate my situation if some emergency happens. These emergencies can scale from minor travel disruptions to a complete grid-down mess.

What prepper tools can you bring with you on your travels?

Many of us leave the bug out bags and our go to war chest rigs at home when we travel and that makes sense. If you leave town for a business trip, you simply won’t be able, without an inordinate amount of headache, take many of your prepping supplies with you.

There are some staples that I bring with me whenever I go that are multi-use and offer me several advantages that the casual traveler won’t have. Before I get into those, make sure your situational awareness doesn’t take a break when you are out-of-town. Know where the exits are at all times, especially in a strange place. Do you know the route back to the airport? Where are the major freeways? Are you watching the news for current events? Keeping connected to what is going on around you is advantageous too.

EDC items packed in suitcase

Many people who fly these days pack all their luggage in a carry on. This has some advantages but many more drawbacks in my opinion. First, you can’t bring anything on the plane that could be construed as a weapon so that rules out knives and firearms obviously. Yes, I know people will say that you can never lose your luggage if it’s with you in the overhead compartment, but I would rather take my chances with that than to not have some defensive measures with me. Actually co-workers have looked at me strangely when they saw I was carrying a knife on a business trip because the idea is so foreign now. They even said, “How did you get that through security” because the idea of checking luggage is so foreign to them. Oddly enough another co-worker. when they saw I had a knife and a multi-tool said, “I know who I am hanging out with if anything bad happens”. They could see I was thinking ahead.

How to Travel Like a Prepper

CamelBak Arete 18 Hydration Pack – Day pack for carrying essential gear plus water bladder

  • Knife – I bring along my tactical folding knife whenever I travel because the utility and advantages of a knife in a survival situation are too great to ignore. Yes, I assume that there might be some way for me to purchase one at my destination should all hell break loose, but who wants to take that chance?
  • Multi-Tool – Another force multiplier that goes with me. My Leatherman Wave has 17 tools that I could use if needed during an emergency. Some will say that since you have a knife on your multi-tool you could leave the other knife at home. Yes, you could, but I have a backup.
  • Headlamp – I have extolled the benefits of a great headlamp many times in the past and you don’t even have to worry about sneaking this past security. Being able to see with the added benefit of hands free is a great advantage in a lot of situations. Need to get out of the hotel at night because of an earthquake? Wouldn’t you want to slap your headlamp on your head before you move out?
  • Bandana – Cheap multiple use item. The ubiquitous bandanna can offer protection from contaminants in the air, can be used to shield you from sun, as a bandage, a sling and many other tasks limited only by your ingenuity. Carry more than one because they don’t weigh anything or take up space. You can have one in your carry-on luggage.
  • Source of fire – Pack a couple of Bic lighters and some dryer lint or a few WetFire packages to get a blaze going when you need to.
  • Firearm – If I am traveling any place that has a reciprocity agreement with my state on concealed carry, I am flying with a firearm. Flying with firearms is perfectly legal and relatively pain-free. I also carry a spare magazine, a holster and at least one box of ammo. If the worst does happen and I am forced to deal with a horrific situation, I want something more than harsh language as self defense.
  • Bag/Backpack – I won’t pack anything large, but a small bag to carry items is another useful thing if you have to walk. Many travelers already have a backpack that they throw their laptops in. If you have one already you are good. I don’t have a backpack though so I carry the Camebak Arete 18 which does two things for me. First, it is a simple day-pack that can hold a modest amount of gear and supplies. I can throw all of my EDC items in this pack if I need to plus some shelter options and maybe some food and hit the road. Additionally, it has a water reservoir so I can carry water to drink at the same time. You can never have too much water capacity though so I also pack a 48 Ounce Nalgene Wide mouth canteen. This rolls up to about the size of a small deck of cards when I am not using it, but allows me to double my water capacity. I throw in a Sawyer Mini Water Filtertoo. For its size, it is phenomenal and gives me the ability to filter more water than I can probably drink in a couple of years safely.
  • Watch – My Pathfinder watch is solar-powered and it has a compass so if I get lost, this could help point the way.
  • Backup power – I also carry a battery backup system. The RAVPower 16750 Battery pack can charge my cell phone 6 times. If you are delayed somewhere or the power is out but cell service is still working, this can keep you talking with family. Also makes long overseas flights better when your devices don’t crap out on you mid-way across. Bonus feature, this has a light on it.
  • Cash – Always fly with cash because your credit cards or ATM cards may not work where you end up. How much cash should you carry? That depends on what you are comfortable with. I generally tend to bring enough to get me out of minor jams, but not so much I could buy a car. A couple hundred dollars could go a long way.
How to Travel Like a Prepper

You could be forced to make it home on foot. Will you have the right supplies to do that?

How will you make it back home if the worst happens?

So the EDC items above give me some advantages. I can cut things, shoot at bad people if they try to harm me, light my way and know where I am going. These tools above can help you anywhere you are, but what if you are forced to try walking home? What can you bring with you to assist you on that journey should you be unfortunate enough to have to make it back to your family.

Consider your clothing

I love sitting in airports and observing the outfits that people fly in. I imagine something tragic like a crash landing on a remote mountainous region and visualize how these people in their flip-flops and short shorts will fare.

For starters I always fly in good laced up shoes just in case I have to make it out over sharp or hot surfaces but I also pack a walking outfit that fits the climate and terrain I will be traveling through if I have to make it back home. This isn’t anything fancy and I am not bringing changes of clothing but I do have some basics.

  • Long pants – Preferably some that are a little more durable. Hiking pants that convert to shorts would work too and pack down small. Extra pockets give you the ability to carry more and make sure they have loops for a belt.
  • Long Sleeve Shirt – Yes even in hotter climates I pack a (lightweight) long sleeve shirt. I can roll up the sleeves if needed, but cover up if sun is an issue. Longer sleeves also help with mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Hat and Sunglasses – Seasonal. For warmer weather Hats offer a break from the sun and you always need to protect your eyes. In colder weather the hat would be a toboggan.
  • Rain Gear – A jacket at minimum even if there is no rain forecast for where I am staying. A rain jacket also doubles as a wind breaker. Colder locations I would bring other layers and a fleece.
  • Good walking shoes – These don’t have to be hiking boots but something that you can comfortably walk in all day. For many days potentially.

Know your route home

Sure you might be able to pick up a road atlas at a store before you leave, but know the route you would take back home just in case. One business trip I was on put me on the other side of the country. There were several routes home, but most passed directly through large cities. It may be necessary to avoid these in a really bad collapse.

Discuss plans with family

My family knows that if something happens when I am away that I will be coming back as long as I am alive. Cross country trips on foot could take months so they know it may take some time. If communication is open, then likely the emergency isn’t so wide-spread that civilization has failed.They know where the supplies are and what to do in order to stay safe. Make sure your family knows this too.

The items above only scratch the surface. There are so many other ways to stay safe when you travel that aren’t mentioned here but I find that the items above are the ones that most people leave at home. I could go on and on with other items that are useful, but I thought that this list covers most bases. What do you pack when you travel?

How to Travel Like a Prepper was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

17 Tips for Taking Charge After A Disruptive Event

17 Tips for Taking Charge After A Disruptive Event

“Oh no! Now what?  A disruptive event has just occurred in my area and what do I do?  I know that I have prepared an emergency kit and can survive for a week or two but what do I do now?  I am confused and can’t think. Help me!”

Although this is a fictional scenario, those might likely be the thoughts that run through your mind following an earthquake, hurricane, flood, wildfire or other natural disaster. Those thoughts and worse will jump to the forefront if the disruptive event is a pandemic, nuclear event, or civil unrest where your life may be in danger.

While some may think that the likelihood of such a disaster landing on your doorstep is low, it could happen. That is why you prepare, right?

Given that a disruptive event might occur without warning, what will do you do?  Here are some tips and possible solutions to the “OH NO! What do I do now?” dilemma.

Take Stock of the Situation

Tip #1:  Are you and your family safe? Can you keep yourselves warm, fed, and out of harm’s way?  Remember, being prepared for a disaster is part of your basic responsibility. If you have been caught unprepared, this will be more of a challenge than if you’re able to be completely self-sufficient.

Tip #2: If it appears that you are safe inside your home, determine what the conditions are outdoors.  Is it even safe to go outside or should you stay put and shelter in place?

Tip #3:  Do you have a way to let family and loved ones outside of your home know that you are safe?  What communication systems are functional (telephone, cell phone, texting, internet, shortwave radio)?

Tip #4:  Are you facing a true emergency or do you need help immediately?  If you are okay and the event is a major disaster, place a sign in your window or on your door that say’s “OK”.  If you need medical assistance of other help, put up a sign that says “HELP” or “INJURED”.

Prepare Your “In the Moment” Mindset

Tip #5:  Assume that you are going to be on your own for a while. Local services will be overwhelmed and you should only look to them for help in true life or death emergencies. Don’t call 911 to ask for information, report power outages, or to pass on information that is not life or death in nature.

Tip #6:  Plan to subsist on stored food, water, and supplies.  If the situation is dire, transportation systems and power systems will be only marginally functional if they are functional at all.  The shelves of the stores, if they are even open, will be empty within hours.

Tip #7:  Disasters bring out the best and the worst in people. Be patient with those who do not respond well, and work hard to ensure that your own response is positive and constructive.

Tip #8:  After a disaster or disruptive event, there is a natural tendency to blame someone for the event. Remember, disasters are usually no one’s fault, and are an unavoidable part of simply living in our world. Focus on the things you can control such as helping your community heal, staying positive, and moving forward.

Tip #9: Roll with the punches and make the best of a bad situation.  Stay secure in the knowledge that things can only get better.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and the complete article can be viewed here:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on

How To Organize An Amazing Camping Experience For Kids

How To Organize An Amazing Camping Experience For Kids

The summer holidays are a time for adventure, and there’s no better adventure than sleeping under the stars during a camping trip. Camping may not be as comfortable as relaxing in a hotel suite, but if it’s done right it can be a great experience for the kids. Choose a weekend this summer to bring out the tent and get back to nature.

What to Bring

Aside from the basic essentials (a tent, sleeping bags, camping stove, etc), there are a few things you should pack that will really improve the experience. Packing a football is a good idea, as there are various ball games that you can play during the day with the kids. Another good idea is to bring some duvets. If it’s your child’s first time camping, they may not be comfortable in a sleeping bag. Even then, you’ll be glad of the extra warmth if the nights are chilly. Bring along some disposable barbeques, too, for a spot of summery al fresco cooking. Bring some small prizes as well, if you want to organize a treasure hunt.

What to Dobicycles-6895_640-300x225

Kids need to burn off energy, and there are plenty of ways to do that if you’re camping. Hire some bikes for the day and explore forest trails, or hang around the tent and kick the ball around. There are lots of ways to keep children entertained with a ball, so it’s a good idea to read up on ball game ideas before you go.

Sick, Dying, Dead is a fun game to play: even if it doesn’t sound like it would be! Stand in a circle and throw the ball to each other. If you miss the ball once, you have a ‘headache’ and have to keep one hand on your head while you throw and catch with the other hand. If you miss again, you have a ‘tummy ache’ and have to keep one hand on your belly while you catch and throw with the other hand. Miss again and you’re ‘dying’: get down on your knees and throw and catch with both hands. Miss once more and you’re dead! Lie down, you’re out. Last person alive wins.

Another good idea is to organize a treasure hunt. Leave clues around the campsite and get the kids to follow them to the prize. The first team to arrive wins. You can combine this with a bit of orienteering by giving the children a map and compass, and incorporating them into the clues.

On rainy days it’s a bit more difficult, as nobody wants to go out in the rain. It’s still a good idea to keep the holiday active, so instead of going to the cinema or the museum try something like indoor rock climbing or swimming. Before leaving for your trip it’s always a good idea to look online and find out what’s nearby.

What to Eatbarbecue-651932_640-300x168

It’s always a good idea to bring your own ingredients when you go camping, as you don’t want to ruin the illusion of being back to nature by running to the supermarket every day. Raw meat tends to spoil quicker than cooked meat, so if you are having a barbecue make sure you pack any raw meat in a cool box and that you use it on the first and second nights.

It’s sometimes a good idea to pre-cook meals, too, and heat them up on the camping stove.

Nothing beats cooking al fresco, and these great camp site recipes are perfect for the campfire (or the gas stove, as the case may be). They’re also super easy for little hands to make, so in the evening you can wind the kids down by letting them make their own banana splits, pizzas, and corn on the cob.

What are your favorite things to do on a family camping trip?

Author: Catherine Helsey is a keen outdoors person and regularly enjoys getting away from the city and heading back to nature.

This article was written by INCH Survival and can be viewed here:

Surviving an Urban Disaster: Do You Have the Essentials

Surviving an Urban Disaster: Do You Have the Essentials

The last census results in 2010 showed that a total of 80.7 percent of Americans lived in urban areas, up from 79 percent in 2000. That should tell anyone reading this article a few things about survival. If something does happen, an overwhelming majority of us will face whatever happens in an urban environment. The prepper mantra is to get rural, get out of the cities and find land far away but the reality is that is simply not practical for all of us. For the concerned prepper, living in an urban environment isn’t a death wish, but it does present you with different realities and challenges.

Richard Duarte has written a book titled: “Surviving an Urban Disaster” to address specifically those challenges that a large piece of 80% of us could end up facing. His book is the second he has written, we reviewed his other, Surviving Doomsday back in 2013 and I was fortunate enough again to sit down with Richard (virtually) and ask him some questions about his new book.

Before I get to the questions, I wanted to briefly share my thoughts on his latest book. Surviving an Urban Disaster is a concise reference guide for people who don’t want fluff, just information. He very succinctly covers many topics of survival and provides enough background and context to convey the importance of each subject. Richard starts with “What to Know” for each topic, sprinkles some Quick tips in there to highlight important items and then tells you what you need to do.

I think this is a great guide for people who are just looking for a crash course in survival and may not have the desire to sit through a longer read. This book is easily digested and offers handy reference for lists of prepping supplies that you need to focus on in an urban survival environment. I highly recommend this to people who may be curious about prepping and want to learn more, but not be overwhelmed. I think Surviving an Urban Disaster is an excellent entry into the subject as well as a ready resource that can come along if you are running out to the store.

TPJ: You have a new book titled: “Quick-Start Guide, Surviving an Urban Disaster” What’s this new book about, and who is it for?

Surviving a natural, or man-made disaster takes planning, preparation and skills. But for many people, getting prepared can be a difficult, time-consuming and even intimidating process. While there’s no shortage of useful information available, many people just don’t have the time to sort through it all; this creates a lot of confusion, and frustration. The Quick-Start Guide (QSG) offers an easy-to-understand approach to help everyday people prepare with minimum effort, and no stress. Getting prepared is actually quite simple once you focus on what really matters.

On the other hand, if you’ve already gotten started, the QSG can serve as an easy resource to ensure that you’ve covered all the survival essentials. After all, if there are deficiencies in your preparations the time to identify and correct those problems is now.

The Quick-Start Guide provides:

  • Real-world survival basics in an abbreviated, user-friendly format.
  • Survival essentials in an easy-to-understand outline.
  • Simple step-by-step guidelines to get started with minimum effort, time, and money.
  • Comprehensive lists of products and supplies to buy and store.
  • Practical information without sensationalism, fear mongering, or drama.
  • A handy reference and easy access to quick tips, ideas, and information.

Surviving an Urban Disaster: Do You Have the Essentials
In other words, much of the heavy-lifting has already been done for you. The QSG is a simple, but powerful tool to put time on your side, and to help make your efforts more productive. Using the QSG anybody can make significant progress in as little as a few hours; this represents a tremendous advantage over the old hit or miss way of doing things.

TPJ: Why did you use a quick-start format?

People are busier than ever, and many just don’t have a lot of disposable time. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from my readers asking for simple, basic information/instructions in an easy-to-understand format. The QSG cuts to the chase by focusing on what I call the Core Survival Elements (CSE):

The QSG is packed with full-color photographs, illustrations and lots of tips, ideas, lists and suggestions. These are the fundamental building blocks for just about any disaster plan – but it’s all set-forth in a format that’s easy to read, and quick to implement. It’s the information people need, and nothing they don’t, to help them get their preparations started quickly and efficiently.

TPJ: You said in an earlier interview that it was hurricane Andrew that prompted you to begin researching prepping. Many people focus directly on what seem to be the most logical events (like the potential of a hurricane in Florida) and ignore everything else because the chance is just so low. What do you say to people who are stuck in the mindset of prepping for a single event?

I strongly encourage people not to focus on any particular potential risk, and to instead focus their attention on what I call the Core Survival Elements (CSE). These are the things that will help keep you alive no matter what disaster comes your way. The CSE are – food, water, security and self-defense, first aid and medical, knowing when to stay put (sheltering in place) and when to get out (bugging-out).  The CSE address the core needs that all human beings will have during, and after, any disaster. Focusing on particular risks is counterproductive, and worse yet, will result in a sort of tunnel vision that limits your ability to create a well-rounded survival strategy.  While there are many overlapping preparations, if you limit yourself to one particular event you will also be limiting your options, and your chances for survival.


Surviving an Urban Disaster: Do You Have the Essentials

The QSG is packed with full-color photographs, illustrations and lots of tips, ideas, lists and suggestions.

It’s difficult to imagine a long-term survival situation during which an individual, or a family unit, would not benefit from being part of a larger group. I’m convinced that it would be almost impossible to survive long-term without the help of others. No matter how big, strong, or knowledgeable you may be, you can’t do it all yourself. You’ll need help; but what you won’t need are freeloaders, so plan carefully. There are, pros and cons to everything. If you do reach out to neighbors, or other like-mined individuals, make sure that they will bring something to the table, and also make sure that they are making plans and preparations that mesh with yours.  It’s best to proceed slowly and in carefully planned stages. Start with some of the basics and build on those efforts. If nothing else, helping your friends and neighbors to prepare will ensure that there are fewer “unprepared” people around you in the aftermath of a disaster.TPJ: Are you yourself part of a larger group of preppers or are you keeping your plans to yourself largely?

TPJ: The news is filled with prophecy, cycles ending and a confluence of dire coincidences that are pushing the sense of urgency to higher levels it seems. Do you feel an increased sense of urgency now or is it just another day?

There have always been bad times, and Mother Nature will always be wildly unpredictable . But, recently I do feel a more pronounced sense of urgency regarding man-made disasters. There are lots of things happening, here at home and around the world, that worry me. I want to be optimistic, and I’m still hopeful that humanity will somehow find a way to overcome the greed, selfishness, and ignorance that seems to be so pervasive. But until then, the very worst thing we can do is to bury our heads in the sand.  We need to acknowledge the risks/threats, and plan accordingly. We owe it to ourselves and the people we love. Sadly, way too many people have no idea what’s going on in their own communities, much less half-way around the world. Even if it’s just in a small way, I’m hopeful that my books will help everyday people better assess the risks, and prepare accordingly.

TPJ: What’s the most common mistake that people make with their preparations and planning?

Many people totally neglect the basics, they underestimate the risks, and overestimate their abilities. They just don’t realize how quickly the average person can become dehydrated; or how important basic security/self-defense is during, and after, a disaster. I always recommend that folks focus on the basics (water, food, security, sanitation/hygiene, first aid/medical, knowing when to get out, and when to stay put); and finally I stress the importance of just getting started. Many people over think their planning, (paralysis by analysis) and end up doing nothing. Preparedness is a lifestyle, and each person’s plans and preparations should constantly be evolving with their particular needs and circumstances. The QSG is a great way to get started, and stay focused on the things that really matter in a survival situation.

TPJ: Where can people get a copy of Quick-Start Guide?

The Quick-Start Guide is available on in paperback and Kindle edition. I recommend that readers get the paperback since it doesn’t depend on any external power supply; it can be tabbed, highlighted, thrown in a bug-out bag, etc. But lots of people like the electronic readers, like the Kindle. To accommodate everyone, we’ve made it as easy as possible to get both – with Amazon’s Kindle Match program, when you purchase the paperback, you can get the Kindle edition for just $0.99; you can get both editions for one low price. This give everybody what they’re looking for.

TPJ: Any parting advice for The Prepper Journal Readers?

I expect that the next 18 months will be very challenging for many folks, both here in the U.S. and abroad. There are already a number of social, economic and political factors that all seem to be converging as we approach 2016. There are also many potential flash points that can erupt without any warning. This is not intended to be a prediction of gloom and doom, just a realistic assessment of potential risks. It’s really easy to get caught up in the daily routine, and to lose track of what’s really going on around you. But, I recommend that everyone take a moment, catch their breath, and set aside some time to assess their situation and make the appropriate preparations as soon as possible. When the moment comes, regardless of the particular catalyst, you’ll either be prepared, or you won’t; it’s that simple. Don’t squander your opportunity to makes preparations for yourself and your family.

Survival Kit for Not Quite the End of the World was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:


What Is Your Emergency Response Plan?

To be truly prepared for any type of disaster requires a good bit more effort than simply reading blogs, watching videos and accumulating supplies although I don’t discount at all those methods or preparation. The background investigation you do doesn’t all have to correlate specifically to your plan and in my experience so much of what I have researched, while not something I proactively work on, I feel it gives me perspective and as such contributes in some way to my overall prepping efforts. But at some point it helps to put your emergency response plan down on paper. When you start looking at the different aspects that could affect your life, it helps to give this process a little more structure and that is what I want to discuss today.

Many people come to the Prepper Journal after a crisis has hit the news. Some have been prompted by an inner urging that motivates them to research preparedness as a way to mitigate tragedy. The reasons for wanting to prepare are different for each person, but there are a lot of common situations we can find ourselves in that require action. Action is better with training and training is born out of a plan for success. What could an emergency response plan for your family look like and where would you start prepping?

Emergency Response Plan First Step


If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest you sit down and write down the risks you feel could impact your family in some way. Many of the next steps will fall in line after you know what you are prepping for.

  • Hazard Identification – Do you live in a high-rise in a major metropolitan city or at the edge of a natural forest? Each of us has hazards that perhaps other people don’t need to worry about. What specific hazards could impact you directly where you live? Some common hazards you could be concerned about could be Fire, Hazardous spills from railroad or chemical plants nearby, Terrorism, pandemic, utility outages, cyber-attack. Write down any situation you feel you should be prepared for.
  • Vulnerability Assessment – Understanding the risks above, who or what could be at risk if one or more of those hazards actually happened to you. There are people usually, maybe your own property, the larger hazards will/could impact infrastructure and supply chains. Some hazards can pollute the environment to the point wheremoving either temporarily or permanently may be necessary.
  • Impact Analysis – Looking at the vulnerabilities above in light of the hazards, you start drilling into what prepping needs you should focus on. There could be injuries, property damage, loss of business income or other financial loss, environmental contamination or worse.

I find that it helps some people to write down specific lists for each of the items above because that should start directing your efforts. You can almost look at the impacts and work backwards. I know that injuries are very possible in almost any hazard I identified above so medical preparation is a given. I also know that some of the risks above highlight other security needs so I can begin planning for what we need to take care of before any emergency.


Having your risk assessment done should help you build your own preparedness plan. In my case this illuminated needs for many areas:

The list above is large categories and each can be split into multiple sub-categories beneath those levels but it is a start. In many cases I was able to inventory the prepping supplies identified above that already existed in some capacity and use that to determine what was left to take care of/acquire/learn.

So that gets you to a point where you are thinking about a broad spectrum of things that could need addressing by you and what your plan of action may be. It is a start.

But then an actual emergency does happen.


This could be after you have been prepping for years or before you have bought the first bag of beans or case of bottled water. Once the emergency has occurred, you have to put your emergency response plan into action. Hopefully you have considered the following areas below before you are forced to act.


The minutes directly before or after a disaster will afford you with a few choices and the time you have to decide can vary greatly. For the immediate safety of your group, you are going to need to figure out quickly which path to safety you need to follow.

  • EvacuationGetting the heck out of dodge may be the best thing you can do but that is easier said than done because there are so many variables. What methods do you have for evacuation? Are you able to use vehicles or are you forced to walk? Which direction are you heading and do you have a destination that you have already planned? How long will the evacuation take and do you have the rest of the city to contend with? Many of us plan to bug out but that isn’t always the best or most appropriate thing to do in all situations.
  • Sheltering – Violent storms like tornadoes or hurricanes could force you to community shelters. Do you know where these are located in your city? Do you have go bags prepared and are ready to go in a moment’s notice to make it to the shelter? Do you have family members that may be on another side of town and will need to meet you at the shelter?
  • Shelter-In-Place – In a widespread pandemic, it may be necessary to shelter in place and avoid contact with contagious individuals until the virus has run it’s course. Do you have the supplies to lock your home down and prevent contamination? Do you have the tools needed to make your own quarantine room if someone comes down with the infection? Do you have enough food and water to last the duration of the quarantine assuming that many utilities could go down as they are run by humans too who get sick or refuse to leave their homes.
  • Lockdown – Temporarily you may need to barricade yourself as in the case of an active shooter. I usually don’t recommend this approach unless you have the means to really secure the room you are in, but if you can prevent entry and need to wait out a violent situation, that may be called for. If you have no locks or no really good way to prevent someone intent on doing harm from entering, I prefer either Fight or Flight approaches as opposed to sitting and waiting to be shot, but each person must identify their own risk tolerance with the situation.



In most disaster situations, there is a period when the disaster or crisis has passed. Storm waters recede, the wind stops blowing, the earth calms and the shooting stops. This is when your emergency response plan actually focuses on a different aspect of survival, but the entire process could repeat over and over again if circumstances change or the emergency event is protracted. Later, rinse, repeat.

  • Check on people and assess damage – Do you have everyone accounted for and are there any injuries? Triage the most critical injuries:
    • Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
    • Those who are likely to die, regardless of what care they receive;
    • Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome.
  • Ensure safety – Assuming no one requires medical care, analyze your present location and situation. Do you need to move to another location for safety, either from the elements or bad people.
  • Gather Intelligence – Do you know what has happened and what the situation is with other people in your group? Is communication still possible by phone or radio? Do you have communication alternatives like anemergency weather radio or Ham radios?

Determine next steps based upon understanding of your people’s current state and needs for security. It may be that you just roll out the barbecue, fire it up and start cooking those steaks you had that will go bad without power. It could be that you need to evacuate to another city or prepare to defend your home. Any emergency response plan is just a framework for helping you critically analyze, plan for and prevent threats, but it isn’t a solution. Your emergency response plan should enable you to act, but you will be on your own at some point. All the planning in the world can only prepare you. Reality gets a vote and you may find the situation completely different from what you planned for.

The exercise is still valid I think and perhaps this will help those who don’t know where to start prepping with a little direction. There is much to think about but doing so now will help you later if you are forced to live through your own emergency.

Survival Kit for Not Quite the End of the World was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here: