Building Your Survival Plan

What is a Survival Plan?  A Survival Plan is the orderly and purposeful compilation of knowledge, skills and materials that enables someone to avoid or overcome adverse conditions, and continue living as best as he can expect afterward.

You can look at a multitude of preparations and lists that others have compiled and get an idea of what is possible, but your plan needs to be tailored to your lifestyle and particular vulnerabilities. It requires thought, not lists and a closet full of equipment. All of the stuff that most view as a “plan” is really just the support system for the thought that went into it ahead of time. Without thoughtful consideration, some real brainstorming and mature evaluation, a Survival Plan will be nothing more than a generic shopping list.

Starting Out
To repeat, constructing a plan requires knowing the start and end points. Without those it will have no immediate relevance to the planner, or enable him to determine when enough is enough. It should also work to prevent “burn out”. We will study the efforts of a hypothetical couple to take some risk out of their lives. This study will proceed from the initial realization that a “plan” was needed, to the completion of said plan to the satisfaction of the planners /preppers. In the following example, Jack, our prepper novice, will work to build a level of overall security for himself and his wife, Jill. They woke up one day with the city water service down, and a three day estimate for its repair. Having to buy bottled water was much too similar to the nursery rhyme for them. Hills and buckets were never in their “plans”. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of the end point of anyone’s plans is subject to individual opinion. Yours may be perfect in my opinion, and sadly lacking in another’s. What’s important is that you have one. Jack and Jill, while not awakened to the need for one until recently, are not the type to let others destroy their efforts via opinions. They will listen and learn, but not be dissuaded. I encourage you to be likewise.

Waking Up J&J were hit hard by the initial realization that there would be no showers that morning, no coffee, no brushed teeth and only one flush per toilet. This quick shock was lessened when they remembered they had a few 500ml bottles of water left on the shelf. Brushed teeth, washed faces and coffee were now possible, but only for the first day. When the city repair department estimated a three day outage, however, their concerns returned.

The Initial Plan
As with any “emergency”, some simple solutions arose. “Go to the store and get as much water as possible.” They did, and they didn’t. Too many others were doing the same, and they came home with just 2 cases – 48 bottles (24 liters, or 6.3 gallons). The next day was a bust, and the third and final day saw another couple cases from an out of town store.

This initial “plan” was an expedient plan… one that is defined and executed on the spot. When they talked and laughed about it with friends later, Jack told his pals that next time he would be okay, since he had some of the water left, and he would buy more next week. He quickly realized how funny that sounded. “Oh, Jack’s ready to face the world!” a friend said. It got his mind to working on problems he never considered before. He knew from recent experience that the only reason he was able to use water was because water was available for purchase. What if it wasn’t available? The obvious answer was just what he related to friends…. it needed to be in inventory ahead of time. But how much?

The “initial plan” was no plan at all. It was a plan for failure. J&J decided that they would need to think about what they might want to have on hand ahead of emergencies. The beginning of their plan, their real plan, thus was born.

J&J Begin Their Plan
“We must decide what could happen, and how to prepare for it.”

J&J took their first serious step towards securing their future by realizing one very important fact. They didn’t know just what they wanted to prepare for. As they discussed things, they also realized that there was no way they could prepare for everything and additionally, some things were more likely to affect them than others.

“What do we plan for, and what do we forget about?”

J&J Rules for Prepping #1
– Discover and Evaluate Potential Threats –
They knew they could not cover everything, but they didn’t want to miss something that they could take care of. Jill shouted out loud, “Some of what we do for one situation might actually help take care of another! Our preps can multitask!”  They sat down at a table with note paper and pens and starting listing potential problems, from the possible to the far out. The list grew longer and longer: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, drought, pandemics, nuclear – biological – chemical attacks, riots, home invasion, asteroids, Mutant Zombie Bikers (they found that one on a forum…), invasion – though not from space, 2012, earth change, pipeline explosions, oil embargoes and more. As they started to slow down due to lack of inspiration, they jumped on the net and looked for more. When they agreed that the list was long enough, they started crossing out the obviously silly. The hurricanes and tornadoes had to go, but earthquakes stayed, as they lived in California. They were not in a flood plain, or near any waterways, so floods were out. Asteroids and MZBs seemed to be too far fetched, so they went, too. But the some of the rest, in some form or another looked to be possible under the right conditions.

At this point, they were starting to feel silly for even considering some of what others might call paranoid concerns. Another in a long line of realizations overcame them. They were responsible for their well being, so outside opinions capable of stalling their efforts needed to be banished. Internal fears of what others may think of them would meet the same fate. Opinions would only matter if they served to help, call attention to deficiencies, or advance their goals.

Their initial list took this form:

  • Earthquakes
  • Home invasion
  • Financial collapse leading to civil disorder
  • Pandemics
  • Terrorist attacks

They ordered it according to what they felt were the most likely threats. They assessed the threats. They lived near 3 known earthquake faults. Home invasions had occurred in nearby towns and cities. The economy was a mess and they knew of many families that had lost income. It seemed that more and more super bugs were making the news the last few years, and terrorist attacks, while not likely near them, were obviously possible.

They asked themselves a few questions.

  • “What can these events do to us?”
  • “What would we need to have and to learn so we can survive them in their worst form?”
  • “What do we have on hand?”
  • “Do we know what to do when these things happen?”

Earthquakes can destroy our home and make transportation in and out of town difficult or impossible.
Being in the foothills, and relying on a few bridges for the most common and accessible routes out of town, the thought of their home collapsing in a quake and leaving them living in their cars wasn’t very appealing. They rode out shakers now and then, and while the risk of a big one wasn’t too high, it was possible. It had happened before. The town did not have many large stores, so getting items such as food and water, camping supplies and first aid kits during an emergency might be a problem. The recent water scare showed how that could be. Living in cars in the winter while FEMA geared up for rescue and housing could actually be a health risk.

Home invasion simply can get us killed.
A few families were terrorized by home invaders the past few years, and some people were killed. It had never happened in their town, but this type of crime looked to be spreading. Jack and Jill lived in a typical 1980s home, with all of the usual security negatives. They really didn’t know what they would do to stop or prevent one effectively. They had to admit that they also didn’t know how they were performed, and that would have to be researched in order to mount an effective defense.

Financial collapse can ruin our savings and investments, and leave us with a mortgage we can’t pay.
So, what? Do we need more money? That’s obvious! Where is that going to come from? This problem looked  impossible to deal with, but they determined to find some answer to it, even if it were strange and unlikely.

Civil disorder removes our security blanket – the police. It could turn peaceful places into war zones.
The uncertainty that such a possibility creates really knows few solutions. But it seemed to tie in with the “home invasion” class of problems, so they would work on these together and see if there was a common prep to deal with both. Multitask!

Pandemics can lead to severe medical illness in our area through contamination.
Fortunately, they were fans of some of the popular TV medical shows. Surely this would prepare them, right? “We’d best do some reading on this, too, and see just what is possible and what is needed.” They saw right away that isolation in the worst cases would be a positive.

Terrorist attacks could hurt us if near by, but could also injure the economy and restrict liberties.
A terrorist cell was rumored to be in a town about 45 minutes away, but nothing came of it. An attack the size of 9-11 might throw the country into a severe panic, and really mess with the markets. This one also required some study. It went on the internet research list.

“Wow, Jill. We have a lot of work to do. You ready for this?” “Of course! This could be fun!”

It would become a daily thing to do at least some work on Rule#1, even as they developed and followed further rules.

J&J Rules for Prepping #2
 – Determine What Skills and Materials each Threat Scenario Requires –

Knowing that their list of threats was surely incomplete, they moved ahead anyway. Obsessing over that list would be as bad as not starting it in the first place. They were sure there would be additions later, and that actually made them want to make progress on these right away.

The easiest way to determine what skills and materials would be needed for a given crisis is to imagine what could be taken away. Of those things, which are necessary? What skills would be needed to compensate, replace, rebuild and defend? J&J worked on the list and discovered that not everything that could be lost was necessary for survival. So, as quick as they were to list items, they also crossed out quite a few. Taking the list they made via Rule #1, they wrote….

Everything! (just a joke, Jill…) “Okay, dear, let’s get serious. What might be lost if…..”

  1. House (through collapse or fire. Check on natural gas shut-off.) Can we fight fires? Can we dig through wreckage?
  2. Cars (if in an area like a garage or under or next to something really BIG). Could we really lose both? What do we do without transportation?
  3. Stored food and water, if the house collapses or slides down the hill and takes it all with it.
  4. Electricity, natural gas, water – might be cut off even if the house stays standing.
  5. Emergency Services like fire and paramedics might not get to us. Can we cope?
  6. Without power, we have few ways to get news. Car radios? Battery powered radios?
  7. Phones, both land line and cell phone. Will the cell towers stay working? How do we communicate?
  8. Looting. Can lose what things are left, or our lives.

Home Invasion

  1. We can lose our lives. Almost like “looting” in the earthquake list. The problem here is PEOPLE. Things can be replaced, but lives can not. The only thing we need to protect here is life.
  2. Health. Might be injured but not killed.

Financial Collapse

  1. Lose our jobs, lose our house – simple as that. Mortgage is too large to pay off or worry about paying down. Where would we live?
  2. Income can be partially regained through?? We need money to survive, or do we?
  3. Can cause Civil Disorder.

Civil Disorder

  1. Order falls victim to people, takes your personal security away. 3rd time “people” turn up as a problem. Need to defend life against those looking to steal, pillage, assault, rape and kill. Petty thieves taking advantage of disorder can turn deadly, too.


  1. Loss of life.
  2. Can cause total isolation in its worst case (aside from death).
  3. Loss of travel privileges.
  4. Government quarantine.
  5. Heavy financial damage if illness takes hold of us.
  6. Economic damage with business disruptions.
  7. Desperate people can do desperate things. People problem #4!

Terrorist Attacks
“This could be huge…” J&J still didn’t know where to start with this one, even after reading a lot online about others’ preparedness efforts. “It seems to require efforts right along with other threats. Depending on the attack, relocation might be necessary, which effectively takes away our home and anything we can’t take with us.”
J&J broke it down.

Dirty Bombs. (Radiological devices)

  1. Nuclear contamination. Very local. If nearby, requires long term relocation. Move our things? Is there time after detonation?

Biological Attack

  1. Similar to Pandemics. Need to stay away from contamination. Self quarantine?

Chemical Attack

  1. Removes ability to stay in the area for a short time. Most chemical agents are non-persistent… they dissolve away quickly. Big cities only?

In reviewing Rule #1, Discover and Evaluate Potential Threats, J&J applied it to Rule #2. Their brainstorming list brought up other threat categories that needed clarification. For instance, under Pandemics, the loss of travel privileges and potential forced quarantines looked to be a problem all their own. “Can we get home while away? Can we STAY home for the duration? How likely is it to happen?”  Financial Collapse and Civil Disorder could both happen, and as a pair, they create a whole new threat – threat to life and possessions.

The Necessary Preps – The Core of any Survival Plan
It took two nights of reading to burn the fog out of their heads and settle upon what they believed to be the necessities. For most people not already living off the land, this list is a must for review. When they had compiled it, they knew it was right. It just felt right. According to J&J, based on Threat Assessment, the necessities are:

  • Shelter – Home and mobile, earthquake alternative and defensible against NBC attack
  • Clothing – 4 seasons capable for shelter and mobile use, sleeping materials
  • Food – Capable of non-refrigerated storage
  • Water – Storage and water filtration capability
  • Air – Stationary filtering for quarantine, and portable for on-the-move
  • Medical – First-Aid, trauma, cold and flu
  • Defense – guns?
  • Energy – gas for cars, batteries, fire starters, propane for cooking
  • Mobility – Truck? RV? (both) Boots?
  • Communications – Wind-up or solar radios, walkie-talkies or CBs? Scanner?

With these categories properly supported, they could ride out just about any condition their Threat Assessment study had produced. Each bit of work produced more questions for them. Knowing the categories of things they might need raised further questions.
“What kinds of ‘stuff’ for each? How much? What type? Where do we get it?” 

One more realization came their way. It is impossible to perfectly tune each of the rules, lists and Q&As as they moved through the process. The entire job would have to be refined as they went along, and as the ideas popped up. Accepting that there would never be perfection, only a perfect effort, they relaxed and moved ahead.

This list covered one half of Rule #2. The other half, “Determine what skills…” was next.

J&J Rules for Prepping #2, part 2
Determine What Skills……

When Jack and Jill put their heads together to evaluate needed skills, their previous list stood as their guide. It wouldn’t cover everything, but it would direct their first efforts. Reviewing the list, they built yet another list based on their perceived needed skill set.

  • Shelter – Home and mobile, earthquake alternative and defensible against NBC attack

For shelter, they would need some way to secure themselves against hot and cold, dust and rain. A good tent, with solid anchors seemed like a natural choice. So did, however, a travel trailer. Since a tent wouldn’t cost anything near that of a trailer, they settled on that first. “Something with some room.” Not wanting to be caught short, and already thinking about a truck to satisfy the Mobility requirement, a nice 6 person tent, with vestibule, heavy anchors and a room divider made the list. They planned on taking it out and setting it up in their backyard once a week. From truck to yard, to full set up as quickly as possible, without going so fast that they damaged it or themselves. As soon as they had decided on that course of training, they recognized that they may lose use of the truck and all its equipment. J&J decided to pick up a 4-season tent for the hard task of being mobile on foot. The crown, though, would be a used travel trailer with large tank capacity, dual 6-volt batteries and lots of storage. Taking it out on practice bug outs would be fun! As an added bonus, and what would turn out to be its primary function, they would go camping semi-regularly for much needed R&R.

Their primary defense against NBC attack would be the bug out. Getting lost before a cloud of any sort reached their town would be a good short term answer to all three types of attacks. There was no shelter capability at home, except perhaps, against biological and chemical clouds using a method to seal their home and filter air. Fallout was just too much of a danger to try and harden their home. Maybe they could buy an in-ground shelter one day.

Skill needed? They didn’t know. It would take some serious reading to even try and boil down the possibilities. They decided to concentrate on what they could do discounting the NBC threat.

  • Clothing – 4 seasons capable for shelter and mobile use, sleeping materials

In the clothing department, they were fairly well set with the basics. They would need to add cold weather gear such as long underwear, waterproof boots, and since they didn’t see themselves becoming TV survivalists, some good over-sized pants and raincoats in lieu of the fancy camo parkas. The idea was to insulate themselves against wind and water, and have the ability to strip off layers as needed. Hypothermia protection! Warm caps and gloves would round it out. To help carry their things on foot, they would need 2 quality backpacks with the ability to size them to their owners. Thinking about packing, and their tents, they chose also to buy a pair of 10 degree sleeping bags and ground mats. Jack remembered reading about separating the bag from the ground via a good mat for insulation from the cold earth. The list was growing into a materials list, instead of a skill set list. “What do we need to do? We need to actually use all of these things often enough to be proficient.”

Added to the needed skill set was the ability to efficiently pack their backpacks, get into them without injury, and set camp from only what they had on their backs. Training for this would be at a local camp ground, so that if they became victims of a major oversight, it wouldn’t be dangerous.

  • Food – Capable of non-refrigerated storage

“We need food we can digest, carry well and prepare minimally.”  Freeze dried foods were lightweight but expensive. Solution…. The sale they saw at WalMart. The day before, Jill saw a section on clearance because of upcoming remodel work. Mountain House packs were at 70% off. Since she was attuned to shopping at a discount, she noticed it right away. “More sale shopping!” Jack rolled his eyes, but smiled. It was one obvious method. While reading on the net, Jack learned about the various pros and cons of food storage.

Freeze dried was light but expensive, and had the longest shelf life.
Dehydrated was a bit heavier, since it had some latent moisture within it, and had a decent shelf life… a few years if stored properly.
Canned was heavy, and made sense mainly for home storage, since all the water was still with the contents.
Dry food in bulk, such as beans, rice, pastas and similar foods would store well if packed properly, but also were best for use at home (or in the trailer to a limited degree).

“We need to determine what we need for our diets,”
Jack said. “We don’t eat very well right now, and most of that stuff will eventually cost us our health anyway. We’ll need to straighten out our diet gradually, stock up on foods within that diet and use what we store.”

Their plan took on a two-prong approach initially. Freeze dried foods would keep for a long time, and hold their monetary value since spoilage would be nil. The first prong had to mimic their new diet, and would actually be sampled often enough to test their body’s ability to handle it. They would also be transportable from a weight perspective. The lighter it is, the more they could move, and the faster they could load it all. The second prong would be bulk foods. These would enable a long stay within their home in case of, well, anything that required staying home – from quarantine to civil disorder down in the valley. The rest of their larder would be made up from a combination of what they planned to eat anyway on a regular basis, such as canned beans, peanut butter, spices, sports bars, nut mixes and foods that could stand being frozen for a long time. The key to this “filler food” was that it had to be relatively healthy with decent caloric value if possible.

Skill needed? Packing food for long term storage, and food prep for all types while at home and on the road.

  • Water – Storage and water filtration capability

“How do we store water?” The answer came from more internet reading. Plastic containers. Jill knew of a feed store that sold “food grade” containers for $15. They were about 30 gallons. “We’ll wash them well, very well, and store water in them.”  Also on the list were 1 gallon bottles, on sale naturally, and some of the smaller 500ml singles purchased in cases of 24 bottles. For filtration, they knew they would need to read up on the various system by Katadyn, Berkey and others. There were small hand held units for camping, and table top systems portable enough to take in the trailer when not in use at home.

Skills needed? Basic operating knowledge of filters, locating water sources, and how to filter water with materials on hand if they found themselves without a good filter.

  • Air – Stationary filtering for quarantine, and portable for on-the-move

HEPA filters pull out almost all dust and dust-borne contaminants from biological, to chemical, and surprisingly enough – fallout, which is nothing more that radioactive dust. Being able to filter all air coming into the home through HEPA filters would be a huge plus. A strong fan blowing into the house through a home made filter box would pressurize the home and keep any contaminated air from entering through the scores of openings that all homes have. Jack would read up on that soon. He instinctively knew that the more powerful the fan, the grater the pressure differential between outside and inside air. The same technique could be used for a single room purposed for quarantine. . Fresh air goes into the room from an opening at the floor, and filtered room air passes to the outside through the window! They looked at each other knowing they needed to learn a lot more, but it was a start.

For mobile use, similar methods could be used in a trailer, but for on foot, things were a lot more concerning. They considered gas masks, but they were heavy and kind of bulky. They crossed that one off because it didn’t seem to fit. Maybe they would think about it more, later.

  • Medical – First-Aid, trauma, cold and flu

This one was simple. They would take a basic First Aid class locally, and see about attending a more advanced class later. They were not kidding themselves into thinking they could deal with battle field trauma – though that would be nice. No, they were more concerned about bad bleeds from automobile accidents, injuries from earthquakes collapses, and knife or gunshot wounds from home invasions. Maybe a good field medicine course really was in order. They might use that knowledge to help people on the road. Two for one! The cold and flu part was easy. They would buy two of what they need when they went out for one. The usual inventories would just have to grow.

Skills needed? Field medical training. More research required.

  • Defense – guns?

Yes. Guns. Jack was sold on getting a shotgun prior to all of this, and Jill came along. Yes, they would pick one after research, and learn how to use it. There were two trap shooting clubs in their area. They would go the whole route and learn how to care for it and shoot it. Hand guns would come later. A couple towns over was an organization that taught combat shotgun techniques. They would see about taking at least beginners’ classes there.

Skills needed? Maintenance, safe operation, effective use.

  • Energy – gas for cars, batteries, fire starters, propane for cooking

“We know how to use this stuff, we just need to get hold of more of it.” “Well”, Jack answered, “we will need to learn how to safely store fuel and propane, preserve batteries, and use fire starters. I don’t fancy using two sticks and a string to start fires.” J&J learned quickly how to use magnesium fire sticks, and fuel preservatives such a Sta-Bil and PRI-G. Quickly added to the list was a hand-cranked fuel transfer pump for moving gas from cans to vehicles.

  • Mobility – Truck? RV? (both) Boots?

“We’re going to need a truck, honey. That all there is to it.” Jack knew they would have to get a truck for all kinds of reasons. 4-wheel drive was a no-brainer due to where they lived. If the roads were washed out or blockaded, they would need to go overland. The trailer would need a good tow vehicle. Any supplies they took with them from home would best be carried in a good truck. Jill added that along with the main truck, they could get a beater as a second bug out vehicle. It didn’t have to be nice, just strong and reliable. They knew that it would be best to know basic maintenance procedures. It didn’t take Jack long to decide on a ¾ ton truck as a minimum requirement. A long bed would carry more in volume, up to the load capacity, but a short bed would maneuver better. ¾ ton is ¾ ton anyway you slice it.

The travel trailer requirement were already in their heads, but they added it to the Mobility section anyway. Large tanks… fresh, waste, and gray. Lots of storage… they need places to put things. Good battery power and perhaps a solar charger to keep the batteries fresh. Tools to go with it. It should be of a weight that would not max out the truck when the trailer was loaded to its maximum capacity. Jack had some math to do. Trailer weight plus cargo weight could not exceed the rating for that unit. If that max weight also maxed out the truck’s towing capacity, they would have no excess left over to carry supplies in the truck bed and cab. They decided to see if they could find a trailer that would not take any more than 50% of the truck’s load rating.

Boots. On foot mobility. They knew nothing of choosing good footwear. This would be a job for some outdoor stores, and maybe some “operator” recommendations from the net.

Skills needed? They would need to learn how to quickly hook up the truck and trailer rig for quick evacuation, from either a storage situation or a camp-in-progress condition.

  • Communications – Wind-up or solar radios, walkie-talkies or CBs? Scanner?

Scanners. They wanted a feature-laden and capable scanner to monitor police and emergency service communications. This was a must. To know what was happening, this would be an important part of their set up. To go along with it would be the usual emergency radio with weather alerts. Wind up, in case their was no power. If they were cheap, then more than one. For J&J communications they would start out with standard 40 channel CB radios. These would be cheaper units and serve for interim communications until they learned enough about other types to make a good decision. Some of the good stuff was expensive! No sense laying out a lot of money twice.

Skills needed? Mastery over what ever they bought, cheap or otherwise. Again, using them regularly would be important. At home, camping, on the road….

As their pile of information and questions grew, they became more comfortable with what they were doing. Coming to a realization of all that is involved had its own kinds of stress, but seeing the what, why and how made it easier to see the end of their work, or at least to define what that end might be.

Lists made everything easier.

J&J Rules for Prepping #3
 – Makes Lists for Everything –

J&J set out to make their additional Lists. To keep things orderly, their initial thought was to build lists based on Threats. But that changed when they started making sub lists. “Messy” wasn’t the problem, it was just the wrong kind of messy. J&J wanted something they felt good about, so they tossed it all out and started again. Still, at the restart, Jack was showing some signs of frustration. “I’m not sure how to do this right.” “Honey. Is there a ‘right’ way to do this? Let’s just do what we feel is good and then test it. We should also probably accept that we’re going to screw this up at least once, and not worry about it when it happens. We’re beginners. We’re learning.” He smiled at her and agreed. “Ok. That’s sounds good. Screw ups are allowed. Any ideas on how to screw this up?”  “Jack, let’s work off Rule #2 and build the lists from that information.”

“Skills and Materials” from Rule #2 served as the basis for the following lists.

J&J decided on 4 simple lists: Skills Required, Current Skills, Supplies Required and Supplies on Hand. As they went through the creation of these, they realized that the “on hand” lists were pretty much already in their heads. Coming up with what was “required ” made the on-hand lists seem redundant. As a result, they are not listed here.

Skills Required

All-weather Sheltering

  • tent setup and care
  • lean-to construction
  • camp site identification (location and weather exposure, available water)
  • off road driving, and vehicle recovery /repair
  • travel trailer maneuvering, setup and care
  • reading weather patterns and charts to determine wind direction and fallout movement

Clothing (“Clothing skills? Can’t we dress ourselves?” “Sure, but with what, and when?”)

  • break in new boots when purchased, check forums on how to pick them and break them in
  • try out cold weather gear and learn to determine when we are too warm or cold while in cold weather
  • learn to adjust, load and carry our Mobility Packs designed to support us on foot in transit, and use them to set up camp


  • preparing freeze dried and dehydrated foods
  • making meals in a camp setting from regular ingredients
  • staring a camp fire
  • using a camp stove (if we get one)
  • putting out fires
  • storing leftovers (try to prepare only what is needed)
  • identify healthy foods for prep storage
  • learn to store foods properly for later use
  • hunting /trapping? (Will we do this? Further thought required.)
  • cleaning up with minimal water usage


  • building an expedient water filter (cloth and a filtered sports bottle setup)
  • using and maintaining a commercially made portable water filter
  • locating water via a map, or plant life
  • using as little as possible for hygiene and cooking, and cleaning
  • heating for cooking


  • how to build a HEPA filter for home and RV over-pressurization
  • how to fit it to the house and RV
  • sealing a room for quarantine, or small area safe room for NBC protection
  • small battery powered filter for use with the tent? Hmmmm..


  • basic First Aid
  • trauma treatment
  • identifying shock, hypothermia, internal injury and bleeding
  • setting broken bones
  • stopping horrific bleeds not covered in basic First Aid
  • advanced class in wilderness medicine (Ohio Medical Corps or similar?)


  • basic self defense skills, hand-to-hand
  • workout and exercise skills, to safely increase strength and agility (Read up! Or talk to Fred!)
  • stun gun usage
  • shotgun usage for the home, and maybe hand guns
  • cleaning and safe usage of the guns


  • learn to safely store gasoline, diesel, propane or whatever
  • how to use fire starters, solar chargers
  • how to treat fuel for long term storage
  • how to transfer fuel from storage to vehicle or device
  • how to store batteries


  • how to drive the new truck (new USED truck….)
  • hooking up the trailer and maneuvering, quickly!
  • basic maintenance and repairs to vehicles
  • navigation via map or GPS, dead reckoning


  • finding and tuning into shortwave news sources
  • identifying emergency services talk on a scanner
  • using public Wi-Fi connections for internet information gathering
  • getting to more forums for information
  • radios, 2, 20 or 40 meter? CB? Talk to users….

Supplies Required

– (includes materials and equipment of all types)


  • large 6-person tent as part of the truck’s equipment, for long duration stays, 3 season minimum (can be used as outer shell for a smaller 4 season tent!)
  • 4 season tent for two (all weather capable – overkill for us, but guaranteed to do the job)
  • lean-to supplies; 12′x16′ dark tarp, rope or 550 cord, tent stakes
  • pair of 10 degrees sleeping bags
  • road and topographical maps of our area, and possible relocation areas, compass, portable GPS unit, information on water sources
  • axe or hatchet, saw for tree limbs, hammer or mallet, medium pry bar
  • some sort of radiation detector or meter
  • 4X4 3/4 ton truck with front bumper winch, spare parts and two spare tires on rims, roof rack and rear bumper fuel can storage
  • used 20′ – 25′ travel trailer with good storage, checked out by repair shop
  • laptop PC or i-Pad with Wi-Fi connection, loaded with apps for weather, news and outdoor survival


  • cold weather gear such as long underwear, over pants and coats, rain ponchos, mittens or gloves, caps, maybe some scarves
  • all terrain waterproof boots
  • pair of large backpacks in dark civilian colors, 4000 cubic inches capacity, clam shell construction or else with multiple points of access to the interior
  • insulated sleeping mats
  • good underwear and good socks, lots of them!
  • cargo pants and shirts in bland tan or light green and brown colors


  • freeze dried and dehydrated foods for home
  • freeze dried and dehydrated foods for on the road
  • home food storage designed to move quickly into a BOV, like in totes or uniformly shaped boxes that can be handled by one person
  • cooking and serving /eating utensils
  • camp stove (Rocket Stoves look like a good investment, so do solar ovens)
  • packaging materials like Mylar bags and 5 or 6 gallon buckets with lids, bag sealer, O2 absorbers or dry ice for packaging (or both), space and racks to store it all
  • MONEY (We will have to create a budget and a purchasing plan and schedule)
  • garden and animals??? salads and eggs??? “Food” for thought!


  • sports or portable filtration like a filtered sports bottle or a Katadyn system
  • portable site filtration such as a Big Berkey or Berky Light
  • storage barrels
  • purification tablets or similar
  • water collection system for the winter (roof runoff or hillside collector?)
  • WATER, 500ml and 1 gallon bottles
  • canteens (2 qt collapsible military surplus)


  • box shaped HEPA filters
  • filter materials (wood screws and tacks, duct tape and plastic, silicone sealant)
  • gas masks? (might need to reconsider and add those…)


  • basic First Aid kit and…
  • extras supplies such as “blood stop” (Celox), trauma blanket or “survival” blanket, chemical hand and /or body warmers, splints, battle dressings and tourniquets (sounds like we want military battlefield First Aid Kits, or IFAKS. We can expand on them, or build something like them)
  • IFAKs (let’s build a couple)
  • any over-the-counter (OTC) or prescriptions drugs we use regularly or seasonally
  • natural remedies for this and that (study)
  • dental hygiene products
  • burn treatment like Hydrogel and burn dressings
  • AED “Automatic External Defibrillator” (grandpa had heart issues, maybe we should have one on hand)

Defense (Personal)

  • a couple good knives that fits our hands
  • a good book on working out and diet
  • some basic weights… a couple dumbbells and a chin up bar
  • stun gun
  • shotgun for home use
  • look into a hand gun or rifle (we have some long distance possibilities up here…)
  • cleaning supplies for any guns, and recommended spare parts
  • ammunition
  • a gun safe (no way we’re going to provide a gun to a thief!)

Defense (Material)

  • home alarm
  • strong dead bolts, maybe even barricade bars to secure the doors when home
  • impact film for the windows (8mils – the kind that prevents glass breakage. Hey! That might prevent blow out from near miss nukes!)
  • bright outside security lights pointing away from the house
  • sprinklers that can hit the walls, and wet the roof, with internal controls
  • axe for inside the home, to get out if earthquake jams the doors
  • tool to turn off gas and water (maybe automatic earthquake gas shutoff valve… necessary retrofit for some homes sold here in California)


  • equivalent of an extra tank of fuel for one vehicle stored in 5 gallon Jerry cans
  • fuel treatment for stored fuel
  • hand cranked fuel transfer pump for can to tank
  • siphon rig with that automatic valve that means you don’t have to
  • solar charger of some sort, for RV and portable device batteries
  • spare batteries
  • fire starters for camp (magnesium, “fire sticks”, matches, long lighters, etc….)


  • get a scanner /scanners that provide access to police, fire, air and nautical, government broadcasts… the more the better, even if over 2 or more scanners
  • short wave radio for news
  • one radio should have NOAA and weather capability
  • MURS radios for home and land use
  • portable HAM or other such radios for news and personal comms
  • laptop for Wi-Fi hookups, or iPad or “notebook”

These, and the prior lists, allowed Jack and Jill to get a good handle on where they stood, and where they wanted to go. Recognizing that they were making mistakes and assumptions as they went along made it much easier to explore their thoughts, concerns and hopes. When they reached the end of the “Supplies Required” list, J&J sat back and looked at each other. Their thoughts echoed those of most start-up preppers: “This will cost us a bit of cash.” It was then that they created a new rule. It was instituted to guide the progression of the previous rules from thought into reality.

Rules for Prepping #4:
– Create a Budget – 

They knew that they couldn’t budget what they didn’t have. Making what income they did have stretch longer would mean cutting out a few things.

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