Preparedness 101, or One Survivalist’s Manifesto

by Evan on February 5, 2010

Preparedness 101, or one survivalist’s manifesto

After I’d been serious about preparedness and self reliance for a year or two, I realized that my buying, training, and planning had been based on whatever was the most exciting or urgent to me at the time.  I’d go through a gun phase, then a food phase, then a natural medicine phase, but I didn’t have anything to tie it all together.

I want to go over a few things that have acted as a compass for my personal preparedness planning.  Yours should be unique to you, but feel free to use mine as a jumping off point to create your own.

1.  I define survival/ preparedness/ self-reliance, in part, as the ability for my family to survive and possibly thrive during periods of civil breakdown without having to depend on government agencies or non-government agencies.  This will be as a result of a combination of our family preparedness and because of relationships with friends who have also prepared in advance.

2.  We have decided in advance that we will make the necessary preparations so that we don’t have to compromise on our morals and values in civil breakdown situations.  A large number of people’s survival planning involves stealing/looting after a disaster.  Ours does not.  Remember, at some point, some form of stability will return and you’ll have to live with the consequences of your actions.

3.  We are not so focused on potential disaster that we miss out on daily fun.  We continually evaluate our decisions and purchases based on how they will play out, regardless of whether we ever have to live through civil breakdown.  This keeps us balanced.  As an example, we tend to buy large quantities of food that we already eat rather than large quantities of MREs that, truth be told, we really don’t like.  We actually USE a lot of our survival supplies on a daily basis.

4.  Preparedness planning should not only be useful in a disaster, but enrich your daily life.  Increasing your situational awareness will cause you to see more beauty as well as more potential threats.  Exercise will help you be more resilliant in a disaster, but will also burn off stress hormones and help you sleep better every day.  Learning trauma skills and natural health care will allow you to treat yourself when there are no doctors available and it will put you more in tune with your body.

5.  Preparedness planning should be realistic.  I’m always amazed at the number of people I talk to who’s plan is STILL to “head to the hills” when “it” happens.  I kind of laugh because if half of those people actually DO go to the wilderness, the wilderness is going to be hunted clear of food in no-time.  Then all the people will die…except for the handfull who actually know what they’re doing.  The reality is, most people live in urban areas (even communities of a few thousand) and will have to survive disasters in those areas.

6.  “Survival” is not necessarily romantic, fun, or comfortable.  If it was, it would be “Primitive Living.”  Understand it, prepare for it, practice it if you’re able, and if you are ever forced into a situation where you need your skills to survive, you’ll have a more realistic idea of what to expect.

7.  Most people will never understand preparedness.  Whether you call yourself “self-reliant”, a “prepper”, a “survivalist”, or just practical and moderately observant…everyone is not going to share your passion.  Fortunately, we have a community online that does share your passion.

8.  You’ll never be 100% prepared for everything that could happen…deal with it.  We’ve got dozens of natural and manmade threats to contend with.  Dirty bombs, EMPs, earthquakes, hurricanes, mud-slides, cyber attacks, economic collapse, attacks on the electricity grid, local accidents, etc. etc.  Don’t waste your time worrying about it…Just start taking steps to prepare.

If all of your gear is at home and an earthquake buries it while you’re at the store, you’re going to have to improvise, adapt, and overcome.  (and maybe decide to set up some caches)  Especially as you’re starting out, try to focus on the basics…food, fire, water, shelter and then medical, security, and tools.  These are all things that will help you on a regular basis and will help you if you go through rough economic times.  They’re also ways that you can get prepared that are more “tolerable” for relatives who aren’t on board yet.

9.  You don’t have to be rich to get prepared.  Focus on skills and double up on groceries as you’re able and you’ll be light years ahead of people who have a pallet of food in their garage but no manual can opener to get them open.

10.  Since most people live in urban areas, most people are going to have to survive disasters in urban areas.  Some have no intention of leaving and feel honor-bound to stay.  Full-time law enforcement and first responders, sheepdogs, CERT personnel, and others who aren’t willing to leave.  It may not be ideal, but if your plan (or backup plan) for survival is to Survive In Place in an urban area, you aren’t going to be on your own.  After every disaster, there will be remnants who are currently training to be able to help stabilize neighborhoods, cities, and regions if necessary.

The fact that you might HAVE to survive for a time in an urban area is the core of the 12 week Urban Survival Course.  To see more information about the course, please go to

Until next week,

David Morris (

P.S.  Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
February 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm

This is one of the most realistic perspectives that I have seen towards preparedness, self sufficiency and the overall reality of challenging conditions. The characteristics needed to sucessfully handle challenges in fluid environments are one in the same with life and the business world. The single most important attribute is to maintain a positive attitude and constantly be looking for opportunities that can work in your favor.


Vote -1 Vote +1david denny
February 8, 2010 at 11:28 am

we all need to get this out and get anyone to train this survivalist’s manifesto


Vote -1 Vote +1Criss
February 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Great points… makes me feel like I have been doing the right thing all along ;-} Although I have been planing for years and am now on the verge of moving rural. I’ve always to re-capture my life on my grandparents farm and the time is right for me now. The principles you listed “Preparedness 101” apply no matter where one is. You can’t count on an emergency or whatever to be “kind” enough to happen while you are at home!!!!! That’s why I have been a “go-bagger” for the last 10 years. When disaster strikes you only have yourself, your knowledge and skills and what you have with you at the time. Keep up the great stuff !!!!!

Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday …

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper.


Vote -1 Vote +1Michael Monell
February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Good thinking. Makes you think.


Vote -1 Vote +1Randi
February 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Very informative and motivating. This made me feel like I am actually accomplishing something even though at times it feels like not enough fast enough. Thanks for the encouragement!


Vote -1 Vote +1Phil Smith
February 6, 2010 at 12:12 am

As usual, great information. Keep it coming. Returned from an extended trip today and found my Urban Survival Guide cards. They were one of the first things I read to refresh my memory. I plan to order more as gifts.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jeff
February 6, 2010 at 1:05 am

One thing we learned during our Y2K preps was that most skills and items of gear can be also be used for our family camping and Boy Scout outings. So now when we prep we also make sure whatever we acquire will serve “double duty”. At times this will push you towards lighter or smaller gear than for use at home (due to weight when backpacking) — but on the plus side we may wind up buying 2 of the item to cover a full “bug in” scenario and then store 1 in our bug-out bag and cache 1 in our car-kit or at work.


Vote -1 Vote +1Cal
February 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

Thanks for this perspective. I think everyone needs to take a “balanced” approach to disaster preparedness but get overwhelmed as to where to start.
There are many ramifications of particular preparedness scenarios that any one individual may not think about, so it’s good to see what others’ experiences can teach you.


Vote -1 Vote +1Dave
February 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I whole heartly agree with your statements. I have not been able to purchase a years supply of food but am able to purchase #10 cans on sale on a montly basis from my supplier. I will be able to prepare slowly but steadly.


Vote -1 Vote +1Terrance
February 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm

David – Thank you for sharing all your survival info. The urban survival playing cards are a great resource. Now is a good time for a survival I-Phone application. Hope you can develop one soon. All the best, Terrance


Vote -1 Vote +1Glenn Willis
February 7, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I think you hit the nail on the head in every aspect. I cannot figure a “But” or an “Except” in any instance.
Having been out hunting, I can say it is hard work. In over 20 weekends of hunting, I managed to take two pigs in the wild, and one on a guided hunt. The last place I want to be if TSHTF is in the wild.
Surviving in Place seems like the most secure, safest, comfortable thing. We do have our lont term food storage stored in three or four places. Some survival gear in each vehicle. Sometimes my other half thinks I am crazy/paranoid that I don’t want to be more than an hour from home without flashlights, food, blankets, meds, and persuaders along, but when someone in the group gets sick away from home, they come to me for stomach and bowel settlers.
You’ve an invaluable site, I am surprised more aren’t looking at it.
Do you mind if we spread your web site address?


Vote -1 Vote +1Big Pete
February 8, 2010 at 5:12 am

Very well laid out. Those with comon sence with some country living experience “should” fair well. A water source will be one of the gratest things to have, and getting to an area which is out of the main stream. Timing will be EVERYTHING, and its not to early NOW!!! Keeping peace, and finding an area where people WORK and Watch out for one another is a good idea. Don’t depend on others, but don’t ne afraid to help someone who is staying with a good heart. Good luck to those who have the comon sence to do something for their families. One good idea is RICE in quart soda bottles will last up to 10 years. “just food for thought.; I will make more suggestions as the days come closer.


Vote -1 Vote +1Scott
February 8, 2010 at 9:45 am

GREAT post. It’s very practical and addresses the preparedness mindset that the majority of the population needs to focus on (including myself). I have fire insurance but don’t sit around worrying that my house is going to burn down. I have auto insurance but don’t drive in constant fear of an accident. I now have food insurance, water insurance, cooking insurance, etc. Not because I worry about the end of the world, but because situations in the world are such that I may need those insurances. Prepare, learn, train, and enjoy life.


Vote -1 Vote +1Richard M Tylock
February 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm

It is refreshing to see all those needed skills, ideas, and years of preparation are mostly correct and fit into a plan for others to survive any collapse of life as it was known. Get so tired of those that have bug out plans and do not know what unknowns they may face, and pay no attention to those areas and things that are familiar with. Bug out! How much can you carry for an unknown period of time, where would you go in the unknown that would be proven safe if you could reach a destination. How would you survive in an unkown environment? Very thankful that my area is such that it pretty well covers all conditions to be able to survive with others around who are starting to see an over all picture of self suficient being a part of a start, without moving into unknown failures, or thinking you can meet any problems without being prepared and unequiped. Citizens and government are just now becoming aware that even natural disasters, help could be a long time in coming, or not at all.


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