"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
-- Benjamin Franklin --
Strategic Relocation: Full Movie with Extras - Alex Jones
Documentary - HQ
Alex Jones, founder of alternative news networks Infowars and Prison Planet, presents a
full-length documentary/presentation with Joel Skousen, author of Strategic Relocation, North American Guide to
Safe Places and The Secure Home, to discuss the long-term threats facing Americans and how to relocate for safety
and security. Joel and Alex examine the information within Strategic Relocation including the effects of natural
disasters, nuclear war, long-term power failures, large-scale social unrest and police state tyranny. They consider
the pros and cons of countries around the world but give particular emphasis to the state and provinces in the US
and Canada. Joel also describes cost-effective ways of securing a residence to protect yourself and your
preparations. Whether you are looking to expatriate off-shore or build a dream house away from the serious threats
facing us, you'll find answers in this fact-filled interview and companion to the wide-selling book, Strategic
Joel Skousen is a political scientist, by training, specializing in the philosophy of law and
Constitutional theory, and is also a designer of high security residences and retreats. He has designed
Self-sufficient and High Security homes throughout North America, and has consulted in Central America as well. His
latest book in this field is Strategic Relocation--North American Guide to Safe Places, and is active in consulting
with persons who need to relocate for security and increased self-sufficiency. He also assists people who need to
live near a large city to develop contingency retreat plans involving rural farm or recreation property. http://www.joelskousen.com/
Disasters often strike without warning and leave a trail of
destruction in their wake. Yet armed with the right tools and information, survivors can fend for
themselves and get through even the toughest circumstances. Matthew Stein'sWhen Disaster
Strikesprovides a thorough,
practical guide for how to prepare for and react in many of life's most unpredictable
In this disaster-preparedness manual, he
outlines the materials you'll need—from food and water, to shelter and energy, to first-aid and
survival skills—to help you safely live through the worst.When
Disaster Strikescovers how to find and
store food, water, and clothing, as well as the basics of installing back-up power and lights.
You’ll learn how to gather and sterilize water, build a fire, treat injuries in an emergency, and
use alternative medical sources when conventional ones are unavailable.
Stein instructs you on the smartest responses
to natural disasters—such as fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods—how to keep warm during
winter storms, even how to protect yourself from attack or other dangerous situations. With this
comprehensive guide in hand, you can be sure to respond quickly, correctly, and confidently when a
Foreword by James Wesley, Rawles
There's never been a better time to be prepared.When Technology Fails:A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the
Long Emergencyis author Matthew
Stein's comprehensive primer on sustainable living skills including food, water, shelter, energy,
first-aid, and crisis-management skills prepares you to embark on the path toward sustainability.
But unlike any other book, Stein not only shows you how to be prepared in seemingly stable times,
but also how to live in the face of potential disasters, lasting days or years, coming in the form
of social upheaval, economic meltdown, environmental catastrophe, and man-made or natural
When Technology Fails covers the gamut. You'll learn
how to start a fire and keep warm if you've been left temporarily homeless, as well as the basics
of installing a renewable energy system for your home or business. You'll learn how to find and
sterilize water in the face of utility failure, as well as practical information for dealing with
water-quality issues even when the public tap water is still flowing. Also, learn alternative
techniques for healing equally suited to an era of profit-driven malpractice as to situations of
social calamity. Each chapter (a survey of the risks to the status quo; supplies and preparation
for short- and long-term emergencies; emergency measures for survival; water; food; shelter;
clothing; first aid, low-tech medicine, and healing; energy, heat, and power; metalworking;
utensils and storage; low-tech chemistry; and engineering, machines, and materials) offers the same
approach, describing skills for self-reliance in good times and bad.
Fully revised and expanded, the first
edition was written pre-9/11 and pre-Katrina when few Americans took the risk of social disruption
seriously. When Technology Fails ends on a
positive, proactive note with a new chapter on "Making the Shift to Sustainability," which offers
practical suggestions for changing our world on personal, community, and global
No home is complete without this essential resource.This easy-to-use manual is designed for
self-reliant living in today's changing world.
When Technology Fails with Environmentalist Matthew Stein
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body to perform at the peak of health.
The Top 5 Reasons You Need Nascent Iodine
1. Iodine is an essential mineral that supports thyroid health, the immune system, the central nervous system, and
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Survival Shield® is manufactured in a state-licensed facility that meets federal regulatory standards, is
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The production process of Survival Shield® has a stabilizing effect on the elemental iodine, making it far more
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of elemental nascent iodine, also referred to as monoatomic iodine, without the addition of iodides!
Shocking Statistics About Iodine
· According to the World Health Organization's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, iodine
deficiency is a public health problem in 54 countries.
· The CDC states that iodine deficiency is one of the four major deficiency diseases in the world (but,
fortunately, the easiest to correct).
· The 2013 USGS iodine commodity summary warns that there are no comparable substitutes for iodine.
· Information published by UNICEF notes that iodine deficiency is the most avoidable cause of stunted physical and
Pandemic Preparedness FREE Online How-To Course By the Health Ranger, Mike Adams
If you’re involved in the preparedness lifestyle, you’re
probably into planning. Most likely, you research and study the excellent preparedness strategies put out
by experts. Whether we prepare for incidents small or large, we all ponder what we’d do if something
world-as-we-know-it-ending went down.
The trouble is, a lot of the plans that get made are more likely to get you killed than to save you. And people
post these plans online, then new preppers read them and think, “Wow, what a great idea.”
I really love being involved in the preparedness lifestyle. I get to meet and correspond with lots of
like-minded, down-to-earth people. We have those awesome conversations that you just can’t have with the checker at
the grocery store cash register. I get to engage in email and social media discussions too, the likes of which
would never occur with my second cousin who thinks that missing a pedicure appointment is a disaster worthy of
government intervention. But sometimes, I kind of cringe. Not all preparedness plans are well-thought out and
practiced. In fact, there are several recurring themes that I hear or read that are not good ideas for most
preppers, and I bet that many of you reading have also privately rolled eyes at one of the following strategies.
(Or maybe even publicly.)
I’m truly not trying to be mean when I share them with you here, nor am I trying to say that I’m the Queen
Prepper of the Universe, who knows absolutely everything. I’d just like you to consider the variables if one of
these plans happens to be your default strategy.
Bad Strategy #1: “I’ll just hunt and live off the land.”
Oh my gosh. No, you probably won’t. You might try to hunt,
but guess what? Loads of other people have this same idea. Unless you live hundreds of miles from civilization, the
population of deer and wild turkeys will be quickly decimated in an event that renders the food delivery system
Furthermore, hunting is not as easy as simply wandering into the woods, taking aim with a rifle, and popping a
wandering buck in the head. Have you ever hunted? Have you done so recently, and by recently I mean within the past
year? Have you ever field dressed an animal? Can you hit a moving target? Do you know how to set up snares? Do you
know how to butcher and preserve meat? Are you in good enough shape to drag a 200 pound carcass through the
If you can’t say yes to every single question listed here, hunting should probably not be your go-to plan for
feeding your family.
Bad Strategy #2: “I’ll go into the woods and live there.”
This is closely related to Bad Strategy #1.
But it’s worse. Living in the wilderness is not going to be a marshmallow roast. First off, there are no
marshmallows out there. Just lots of predators and food that has to be killed and skinned before you can eat
In this strategy, people like to talk about their proximities to a national forest. “There are thousands of
acres, just on the other side of my fence.”
Okay. But when is the last time you went into that forest more than a few miles on foot? Did you spend more than
a couple of nights there? Was the weather inclement? What are your local predators (not including the human
variety)? Do you have a camping kit that you can carry in on foot? Will your children and spouse be able to also
carry supplies? Are you planning to build a house with some tarps and a Swiss Army knife? What will you eat and
drink? Are you adept at foraging in your area? For how long can you actually survive on what you can carry? How are
your First Aid skills and what supplies will you have? Can you handle the loneliness? And what about the other,
perhaps less than moral, individuals that have the same idea? Have you ever lit a fire with wet wood? Have you ever
camped, outside of a campground area? What if it rains? In many climates, getting wet is a death sentence.
Bad Strategy #3: “I’ll bug out on foot for 73 miles through the mountains, even though I don’t regularly
If bugging out on foot is one of your plans, I’d like to
suggest you pick a clear day, put on a loaded backpack and some hiking boots, and go for a practice hike to your
location. Go ahead. I’ll wait here.
This one really bothers me. There is a large contingent of armchair preppers who have this idea. However, they
don’t exercise regularly. They look back 20-30 years to their high school or military glory days, when they played
football, ran track, or had a drill sergeant screaming right behind them as they ran. Just because you were once
very physically fit, that doesn’t mean you are still able to hike up a mountain in bad weather with a 50 pound kit
on your back.
This is a classic recipe for a heart attack, by the way. Extreme over-exertion. High-stress situation.
High-sodium, easily packable food. Out-of-shape person. A few miles into the journey, particularly if it includes a
steep climb, the person will experience a pounding heart, dizziness, and faintness, as the body tries to shut down
to protect itself from the unaccustomed demands. If the physical stress continues, the heart won’t be able to keep
up with the demand to pump blood. Game. Over.
Embarking on an overly ambitious bug-out journey can endanger not only you, but the people making the trek with
you. What if you have a heart attack half way up the mountain? What if you have an asthma attack? What if you
injure your out-of-shape self? Who is going to help you? If the situation is bad enough that you’re bugging out,
you aren’t likely to be airlifted to a hospital for medical care. Will someone put their own safety at risk to hang
out with you while you recover, thus forcing the family to divert to Bad Strategy #2?
I’m not trying to talk anyone into staying in a bad situation when bugging out ould be the wiser course of
action (like in Bad Strategy #11). But if your bug out route is a long distance or over difficult terrain, you need
to get out there and start training before you put the lives of everyone in your team or family at risk.
Bad Strategy #4: “I don’t need a group. I’m going to go it alone.”
Ah, the rugged loner.
This is not a winning plan for many reasons. Being with a group, even a small one, has many benefits. As Scott,
from Graywolf Survival, wrote:
Humans started banding together to survive millions of years ago. They did this
for one thing: because there’s safety in numbers. If you live by yourself, you can’t collect food, improve your
fighting position, patrol the area, chop wood, filter water, and be on all sides of your property – all at
once. Plus, you have to devote a large amount of your day to sleeping each night. And besides, who are you
gonna bitch to about your day if you’re all alone?
…Even a small group of 12 has a HUGE advantage to defending an area and
continuing on with other operations at the same time. With an adequate number of personnel, not only can you
have a rotation of assignments to support 24 hour operations, you can afford people to specialize in certain
tasks. This specialization increases the efficiency of the group overall (synergy) and was one of the largest
reasons why we developed into a society.
‘Tacticool’ training is not only designed to simply make you look and feel good,
but more insidiously it will give you the idea that you are tactically trained and proficient, when you are
not. It is the sort of training that will give you enough to really get yourself in trouble. For example, basic
marksmanship and square range training have a solid place in the training progression, but you must move beyond
the static range to tactical field firing training in order to be tactically trained. You have to understand
how to operate your weapons ‘out in the wild,’ and to maneuver in real environments. Often the problem with
‘tacticool’ training is that among the instructors there is not the experience or facility to move beyond the
square range, and there is only so much you can do, so instructors make stuff up that may in fact be
disadvantageous to your heath. At Max Velocity Tactical the tactical ranges have been designed out in the woods
and utilize electronic pop-up targets, bunkers and other such training aids to bring a realistic tactical
environment, This allows a certain amount of stress and battle inoculation to be brought to the students in
training. And critically, this is all done in a safe and practical manner. (You can read the rest of his
Maybe you only have a handful of people you trust. Maybe
you only want to be with other military dudes. Keep in mind that there are things that you will need in a SHTF
scenario that are a bit kinder and gentler. It’s not just about brute force and protecting the camp or retreat.
It’s about food, building a future, farming, sitting down, and even relaxing from time to time. Not every moment in
a situation like that will be like a scene from an action-adventure movie. We’ll still eat dinner, read a book,
talk with others, sleep, and have relationships.
Bad Strategy #5: “I don’t need to store food, I’ll just take everyone else’s because I’m a bad-ass.”
Who can forget that episode of Doomsday Preppers that was
shared all over preparedness social media and websites, in which a redneck and his team of merry marauders
discussed their plans to take everything that preppers living nearby had stored away?
Most preppers, Smith says, are concerned with marauders taking their supplies.
It’s not an unfounded fear, he says.
“We are those people,” he says. “We’ll kick your door in and take your supplies.
… We are the marauders.”
We’re not in it to stockpile. We’re in it to take what you have and there’s
nothing you can do to stop us,” Tyler Smith says. “We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming.”
Smith, 29, is the leader of Spartan Survival. The group has more than 80
dues-paying members. Smith founded the organization in 2005 to train and prepare others on survivalism.
Smith (a paroled felon who incidentally went back to jail shortly after his televised waving around of firearms)
might be a joke, but you can’t ignore the danger of groups with similar plans. This yahoo had 80 people on board
with him, for crying out loud. And if you happen to have such a plan, you should probably realize that those of us
who are really prepared won’t stand around wringing our hands and crying when you come to attempt to relieve us of
our supplies. We’ve prepared for people like you, too. The post-SHTF life expectancy of those who plan to survive
using Bad Strategy #5 will probably be a short one. You might manage to raid a few people’s retreats (particularly
those using Bad Strategy #4, but if the situations is WROL (without rule of law), it’s pretty much a given that the
justice which will be meted out by the intended victims will be swift and final.
Bad Strategy #6: “I have lots of weapons and tools. I’ve never used them. But I have them.”
Do you have prepper tools that are still in the box? How
often do you make it to the shooting range? When’s the last time you actually felled a tree then chopped firewood?
When did you do it without a chainsaw?
There are loads of different examples that I could give about tools that just sit there in their boxes, awaiting
their moment of glory when it all hits the fan. For the purposes of Bad Strategy #6, I’m including firearms as a
tool. Skill with an axe is not a given. Accurate aim doesn’t stay with you if you don’t practice. Have you ever
attempted to pressure can over an open fire? Even building a fire is not easy if you’ve only done it once or twice.
(See Bad Strategy #9 for details.)
Not only is it vital to practice using your tools during good times, when you have back-up options available,
but you need to test your tools to be sure that they operate as intended. I once purchased a water filtration
system for use during off-grid situations. It was missing an essential gasket. Without that gasket, it would be
totally useless. Sure, I could have tried to MacGuyver something, but the point of buying all of this stuff is to
save your MacGuyvering for things you don’t have. Because I checked out my tool before I needed it, I was able to
send it back and get a replacement.
Bad Strategy #7: “I don’t store food. I store seeds.”
I really love gardening and have stored an abundance
of seeds. Seeds are a very important thing to store. However, if you store them to the exclusion of food, you’re
going to have a really bad time.
The problem with depending on seeds for your food supply is that Stuff Happens. Stuff like droughts. Stuff like
aphids. Stuff like blossom-end rot. Stuff like the thrice-damned deer that managed to get past your fence.
Furthermore, if this is your plan, have you grown a garden recently? Have you produced food on your current
property or your retreat property? Do you have a compost system? Have you developed your soil? First year gardens
almost never produce what you expect them to. Do you know how much produce your family will consume in a year? How
are you at food preservation? What about off-grid food preservation?
Because of these concerns, a garden should not be a stand-alone survival plan. It is a vital part of a long-term
preparedness scenario, but you must also be prepared for the potential of failure.
Bad Strategy #8: “I’ll just run a generator and continue on like nothing ever happened.”
Generators are loud, smelly, and finite.
If you want to bring attention to yourself in the midst of a down-grid scenario, the surest way to do it is to
be the only house in the area with lights blazing in every window. Generators are commonly stolen, because they’re
impossible to hide, rumbling away beside your house. A person following Bad Strategy #5 would be likely to think
that if you have a generator with extra fuel, you might have some other awesome stuff that they’d want too.
It goes further than simply drawing attention to yourself though. Gas, diesel, and propane generators can be
dangerous. They can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, so if the plan were to enclose it to deter
thieves, it could be deadly. Trying to power your entire house by backfeeding while still hooked up to local
utilities could endanger the lives of neighbors or utility workers. Refilling a generator that has not completely
cooled is a fire hazard. Make sure that your generator doesn’t fall into the category of Bad Strategy #6. There’s
more to it than simply flipping a switch and having power. You need to learn to operate and maintain the generator
long before you have to rely on it.
Keep in mind, if you do opt to use a generator, that this is not a long-term solution. There’s only so much fuel
that anyone can store. Eventually, it’s going to run out, and if your plan was completely dependent on being able
to run a generator, what will you do then? My personal preparedness plan is to revert to a low-tech lifestyle that doesn’t require
Bad Strategy #9: “I’ll just use my fireplace for cooking and heating.”
This is one that I learned about the hard way, myself. A
few years ago, my daughter and I moved from the city to a cabin in the north woods of Ontario, Canada. I figured
that with a giant lake at our disposal, a well, our supplies, and a woodstove, we’d have all we needed to surive an
extended power outage.
Unfortunately for us, born and raised in the city, lighting a fire and keeping it going was not that easy. The
mere presence of a fireplace or woodstove does not warmth create. It took me an entire month of daily trial, error,
and frustration to master a fire that would warm the house. I also learned that cooking on a woodstove was not as
easy as sitting a pot on top of it. Dampers had to be adjusted, heat had to be increased, and the food required far
more monitoring than expected. The year we spent there taught us more than we ever imagined about what we didn’t
If using your fireplace or woodstove is part of your survival plan, how much wood do you have? Is it seasoneed
and dry? Can you acquire more? Have you actually chopped wood before? Recently? When is the last time you prepared
food using your stove or fireplace?
The good news is, you can make this strategy work, as long as you don’t go all Bad Strategy #6. Ramp up your
wood supply and begin using your fireplace or woodstove on a regular basis to work out the bugs in your plan
Bad Strategy #10: “I’m going to hunker down in the city and scavenge what I need.”
This is a terrible idea on so many levels it’s hard to
know where to start.
First of all, when utilities are interrupted, those in large metropolitan areas are left with few options. It’s
hard to dig a latrine in the concrete jungle. Remeber when New York was hit by Superstorm Sandy? People were
defecating in the halls of apartment buildings to try and keep their own apartments moderately sanitary.
Unfortunately, sewage built up in the pipes and spewed into apartments, filling them with deadly human waste.
Store shelves will quickly be emptied before and after disasters, leaving little to scavenge. If you happen
across the wrong place, you’re likely to be shot by a property owner defending his or her goods. If you wait too
long to evacuate, roadways will be blocked, and you can end up being a refugee, with no option but camps. Cities
will be populated with desperate people, some of whom were criminals before the disaster struck. Even those who
were friendly neighbors before the disaster can turn on you, because desperation can turn anyone into a criminal in
order to feed their families.
Highly populated areas without outdoor space will quickly become death traps in the wake of a disaster.
Bad Strategy #11: “I’ve got my supplies, and now I don’t need to think about gloom and doom.”
Some people like to stock their goods and then forget
about preparedness. They don’t like to consider the threats they might face. But mentally preparing for disasters
is a very important step. I recently made a list of prepper movies (you can find it here) and suggested that they be used to run scenarios in your head.
This very vital step can help you to do the most important thing when a disaster occurs: accept that it has
actually happened. The prepper mindset is one of problem-solving and flexibility.
It’s a unique way of looking at a situation, assessing the options, and acting that defines the prepper
mindset. Think about any stressful situation that has ever happened to you. Once you accepted the fact that it
had happened you were able to set a course of action. Once you had definitive steps to take, you probably felt
much calmer. You took control of the things you could, and you executed your plan. Only by taking that first
step – accepting that this mishap had indeed occurred – could you take the next two.
By refusing to consider the things that could happen, you run the risk of being unable to immediately accept it
when it does happen. This sets you up for a very dangerous period of hesitation that could mean a death sentence
for you and those who depend on you.
Bad Strategy #12: We’ll set up a perimeter and shoot anyone who breaches it.
With folks like the ones who intend to practice Bad
Strategy #5 around, it’s no wonder that some people intend to practice Bad Strategy #12.
However, there are a few reasons that this is a bad idea.
First, instead of just protecting you, this can actually make you a target. Less than ethical people may start
to wonder what you are protecting so stringently, and may work to develop a plan to overtake you. Alternatively,
more ethical people may decide they don’t want a group like yours in the area and plan to forcibly evict you. If
the situation doesn’t start off like the wild west, people who adhere to this Bad Strategy will turn it into that
And finally, the real kicker: those who survive some life-changing event will be the new founders of our
society. Do you really want to live in a place where people have to shoot first and ask questions later? How we
choose to live will set the course for how we continue to live.
There’s time to adjust your plan.
There’s good news, though, if I just peed all over your
There’s still time to make adjustments to make your plan more workable. You can brush up on your hunting and
foraging skills. You can start an exercise plan so you don’t die when hiking. You can test out your tools and find
your weak points. You can adjust your plan to be more ethical. You may not need to chuck the plan altogether, but
merely test and modify it.
Finally, consider the kind of world you want to live in. If there was a giant reset, those who survive would
pave the path for a different society. By our plans and actions, we can create a different type of world. One with
justice, kindness, ethics, and freedom.
Right now, our society is led by criminal corporations, sell-out politicians, and thugs, both in and out of
uniform. I’d like to believe that we can do better.
One day, you’re just moving through life with everyone
else in your office or at your church, and then, for whatever reason, the reality of how tenuous our current
lifestyle is, hits you squarely between the eyes. You realize that electricity and grocery stores and
transportation are all things that you’ve been taking for granted and that these things could actually disappear.
Maybe you’re concerned about a natural disaster. Perhaps you saw something on the evening news. It could even be a
job loss that puts these things out of reach.
But whatever the reason, suddenly, you know in your heart that you need to prepare for a different type of
future, just in case.
Where on earth do you even start with something like that?
Start with information
Before you start making enormous purchases or moving your family to a bunker, take some time to learn.
That is the key that unlocks the door to preparedness.
When you begin reading websites about prepping, sometimes it can be overwhelming. You see people talking about
their one-year food supplies, their bug-out lodges, their ammo collection, and their homestead that is so far out
in the wilderness that they have to climb a big pine tree on top of the mountain to get an internet connection
(where they then boast online about their seclusion on a prepper forum).
Getting started does not require a $20,000 investment or your children feverishly packing beans and rice into
Ziplock bags late into the night. It requires enough information to properly assess your situation. It requires
some guidance to help you develop a plan to keep your family safe, housed, and fed, regardless of what comes in the
So I want you to do three things. First, bookmark some websites. Second, begin building your preparedness
library with books. Finally, create your own reference book from the information you’re collecting.
#1. Bookmark these preparedness websites. (Free)
The internet is a wonderful place, and best of all, this
knowledge can be found for FREE! The more you know about crisis situations, the more ready you will be to face
them. Some sites are friendlier to beginners than others, so if you stumble upon a forum where people seem less
than enthusiastic about helping people who are just starting out, don’t let it get you down. Move on and find a
site that makes you feel comfortable. Following are some of my favorites, and the link will take you to a good
starting point on these sites. In no particular order:
Some sites are friendlier to beginners than others, so if you stumble upon a forum where people seem less than
enthusiastic about helping people who are just starting out, don’t let it get you down. Move on and find a site
that makes you feel comfortable. If you see them utter the words, “If you aren’t already prepared, it’s too late,”
run, don’t walk, away from them. No one needs that kind of doom and gloom. It’s stressful, unhelpful, and honestly, kind of
mean. Plus, I firmly believe it’s never too late as long as you just get started.
Following are some of my favorites, and the link will take you to a good starting point on these sites. In no
This is where some money could come into play. Most of the
time, people in the preparedness world like to have hard copies of important information. This way, if the power
goes out and you can’t access the internet or recharge your Kindle, you still have access to vital advice.
Some of these books are for just such an event, while others are guides to building your self-reliance skills.
Commit to picking up a good book each pay period until you have a library to reference during any type of
The Organic Canner (It’s awesome to grow your food, but how will you make it last through the winter,
particularly during an off-grid scenario?)
The Complete Tightwad Gazette (While this book is about hardcore frugality, trust me, there’s crossover. There are a
lot of great suggestions for creating stockpiles on a budget, living simply, and doing things the
old-fashioned way. And saving money is always a good idea, so that you can use it to help you become more
Be sure to check out used bookstores, libraries, and
garage sales, too. Look for books that teach self-reliant skills like sewing, gardening, animal husbandry,
carpentry, repair manuals, scratch cooking, and plant identification. You can often pick these up for pennies, and
older books don’t rely on expensive new technology or tools for doing these tasks.
#3. Start a notebook. (Free)
The next step is to create a preparedness binder. If you
use a 3 ring binder (swipe your kid’s school binder from last year for a freebie), you can print information from
your favorite websites and keep it in the binder for future reference. You should also make your own section, with
notes, lists, important phone numbers, and addresses. Add something with pockets to keep photocopies of ID,
insurance documents, and physical maps in case GPS is not working.
Keep this in a safe, accessible place. In the event that you have to bug out, you should be able to grab this
and take it with you. Some people keep a second copy of the binder in their vehicle with them, in case disaster
strikes when they’re away from home. If you do this, consider excluding your personal information from the travel
binder, in case it gets stolen.
If you’re new to this, there’s no better time to start than right this minute.
Start reading. Do all of the plotting and planning, and then put your plans into action as your budget
Whatever you do, stop waiting around. Disasters won’t wait until it’s a convenient time for
If you have been at this for a while, please share your experience with newbie preppers in the
comments below. If you have friends and loved ones you’d like to help get started, send them this article to start
them on their journey. Help encourage people to join our community of self-reliance! By turning neighbors and loved
ones into allies, you’re building a team instead of burdening yourself with added responsibilities, or worse,
having to turn them away later when they’re desperate.
You can have enough food to ride out 15 years of
Armageddon. You can have a fully stocked retreat or a bunker. You can have so much ammo stashed that your
floorboards are groaning. You may have followed your favorite preparedness book’s guidelines to the letter, and thus have all of the physical aspects of survival in place.
But regardless of this, you may not be fully prepared.
Because surprisingly enough, none of these is an indication of “the prepper mindset.” Those items are a great
start, but until your head is fully involved in the game, you’re not actually prepared.
To me, the pinnacle of preparedness is a way of thinking about pretty much everything you encounter. It’s a
unique way of looking at a situation, assessing the options, and acting that defines the prepper mindset. Think
about any stressful situation that has ever happened to you. Once you accepted the fact that it had happened you
were able to set a course of action. Once you had definitive steps to take, you probably felt much calmer. You took
control of the things you could, and you executed your plan. Only by taking that first step – accepting that this
mishap had indeed occurred – could you take the next two.
There are 3 steps to handling any crisis with aplomb. While the execution isn’t always easy, making these steps
second nature will greatly increase your chances of survival, no matter what kind of disaster you are facing.
No matter what situation comes your way, the first step is
to accept that whatever the event is, it really happened. This is tougher than it sounds, because our minds are
programmed to protect us from emotional trauma. Cognitive dissonance means that when a reality is uncomfortable or
doesn’t jive with a person’s beliefs, that person may opt to believe in something false just to assuage his desire
for comfort. Psychologist Leon Festinger, who identified the principal of cognitive dissonance,
suggested “that a motivational state of inner tension is triggered by logically inconsistent ways of
If you’re wondering exactly how powerful cognitive dissonance can be, check out Amanda Ripley’s book,
The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why. Ripley, a journalist, covered many disasters of immense scale: plane crashes, natural disasters,
and 9/11. She became curious about the difference between those who survived, and those who did not, wondering
if it was dumb luck or if there was some other quality that made survival more likely. She interviewed
hundreds of survivors and got her answer. The ability to immediately accept what was
occurring was the quality most of the survivors possessed.
The story that stands out in my mind the most was the one about the people in the World Trade Center on
September 11. They described the last time they saw some of their coworkers. There were many people who simply
could not accept the fact that a plane had crashed into the building and that they must immediately evacuate. They
gathered their belongs, tidied their desks, finished reports. They didn’t feel the same sense of urgency that those
who survived did, because the situation was so horrible that they just couldn’t accept it. Their inability to
accept the scope of the danger caused many of them to perish in a tragic incident that other people, who acted
When disaster strikes, you can’t spend 5 minutes thinking, “This can’t actually be happening.” It
is happening, and moving past accepting that propels you through the first step into the second
Once you’ve accepted that this incident is indeed going
down, you must devise a plan. It’s a whole lot easier to come up with a plan if you’ve spent just a little bit of
time doing that previously.
This is where more mental preparedness skills come into play. Last week I put together a list for “Prepper Movie Night.” To build your prepper mindset, develop the habit of watching
situations unfold and thinking through them. What would you do in such a situation? What are the potential
pitfalls? What is likely to go wrong?
Watching movies and reading books with survival situations is like a dry run for actual events. Obviously, it’s
not the same as having an actual experience, but it’s a good way to practice the skills of assessing a situation
and making a plan.
You can also work on building your awareness. My friend Graywolf told me about “Kim’s Game“. He said,
Groups including everything from the Boy Scouts to sniper schools to government spy agencies and
surveillance teams use a simple game to teach situational awareness and develop your memory. This is a
fantastic game that you can play with your kids or your team to get them to be much better at noticing and
The game is based on
a book by Rudyard Kipling, and it teaches you to immediately observe your surroundings and commit these observations to
memory. I have played a version of this with my kids for years, asking them questions like:
What are 3 things you could use in this restaurant as a weapon?
Can you find 3 ways out of this building?
Can you close your eyes and tell me how many people are sitting at the counter? What do they look
The habit of observing and absorbing information before a situation occurs will help in the creation of your
plan. You don’t have to spend the extra time taking in the specifics, because you’ve already done so
When you make your plan, don’t stop at just one. The best-laid plans are at the mercy of a fluid situation, and
disaster often comes in bundles. If your Plan A doesn’t work, you must immediately go back to Step 1 and
accept that it didn’t work, then move on to Plan B.
Finally, this is the step that will save your life. You’ve
accepted the situation, and made your plan. Now, it’s time to act.
This sounds easier than it is. Many people freeze in a disaster situation. The ability to break this paralysis
is paramount to your survival.
Part of Barlow’s (2002) description of an
adaptive alarm model suggests that a freeze response may occur in some threatening situations. Specifically,
freezing — or tonic immobility — may overwhelm other competing action tendencies. For example, when fleeing
or aggressive responses are likely to be ineffective, a freeze response may take place.
Similar to the flight/fight response, a freeze response is believed to have adaptive value. In the
context of predatory attack, some animals will freeze or “play dead.” This response, often referred to as
tonic immobility (Gallup, 1977), includes motor and vocal
inhibition with an abrupt initiation and cessation… Freezing in the context of an attack seems
counterintuitive. However, tonic immobility may be the best option when the animal perceives little
immediate chance of escaping or winning a fight (Arduino & Gould, 1984; Korte, Koolhaas, Wingfield, & McEwen,
2005). For example, tonic immobility may be useful when additional attacks are provoked by movement or
when immobility may increase the chance of escaping, such as when a predator believes its prey to be dead
and releases it.
Some of our data suggested that reports of freeze were more highly associated with certain cognitive
symptoms of anxiety (e.g., confusion, unreality, detached, concentration, inner shakiness). This leads to
some very interesting speculation regarding whether freeze responses are also manifested cognitively (i.e.,
the cognitive system, together with the behavioral system, being shut down). There has been some speculation
that a form of cognitive paralysis occurs due to immense cognitive demands that occur in the context of
life-threatening situations or stressors (Leach, 2005).
So, in the context of this particular study, the freeze
response could be related to an overload of stimuli because of the demands of creating your plan. By having thought
through various situations and getting into the habit of quickly developing plans, you can override your body’s
natural desire to “freeze” and you can take definitive, potentially life-saving, action.
In an emergency, hesitation can kill you. The faster you can move through steps one and two, and then act, the
more likely you are to escape many situations.
Please keep in mind that sometimes, your action actually seems like inaction. For example, a person who is aware
they would have little chance of victory in a direct combat situation against a stronger, more experienced opponent
might take the action of hiding and being very still. Sheltering in place in some situations is a better course of
action than proceeding out into more danger. The key is to think clearly and assess each situation on its own
Here are some examples.
You don’t have to be in the midst of a terrorist attack or
on a crashing plane to apply the three steps above. Here are a few examples of apply the three steps above to other
Job Loss: In this economy, the possibility of job loss is not that far-fetched. If the
primary bread-winner in your home became suddenly unemployed, here’s how the 3-step Survival Method would
The job is gone. The income source is gone. You can’t go out to an expensive dinner like you’d planned, or
take that pricey vacation, because as of now, you have no income. You must not act as though your income is the
same as it was yesterday.
You go through your bank records. You check how much money is going out, how much you have, and figure out
what expenses you can cut. You check your pantry and calculate how long the food will last.
You take decisive action, immediately cancelling cable, pushing back the family vacation indefinitely,
sending out newly-rewritten resumes, and dialing back the grocery bill. You sell some stuff just sitting in
your basement and you fill out the paperwork for unemployment insurance.
Car Accident: Sometimes the aftermath of an accident is more dangerous than the accident
Your car is halfway down a ravine, held in place by a groaning tree that could give at any moment. Below
you is a sheer drop off. You have to get your kids out of the car before it plunges further down, because no
one could survive that.
You assess the kids and it seems everyone is conscious and relatively uninjured. The car, however, is not
so great and could tumble the rest of the way down at any moment. The electronics on the car are working. You
speak calmly to them and explain that they will be going out the back window driver window one at a time. They
are to immediately run to the left and get as far away from the vehicle as possible. You will be right behind
them. The meeting point is the top of the hill by the big rock.
You roll down the window, cut a jammed seat belt with the knife from the console, and wait for the kids to
get out and clear of the vehicle. Then, you make your own escape.
Convenience Store Robbery: Occasionally, you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As you’re browsing through the cooler checking the price of a bottle of water, you hear a crash, then
shouting up near the cash register. It’s not a movie, a robbery is actually going down.
You listen and realize the criminal is armed. You are, too, but you have your small children with you, so
taking aggressive action is not an option. You decide that your best bet is to hide, but be ready to defend if
You duck down and whisper to the kids to be quiet. You direct them to a hidey-hole, you pull your weapon,
and you get between them and anyone that might come down the aisle. Then, you wait.
There is a giant fire drawing near. It is entirely possible that everything you own will go up in smoke.
You have 15 minutes to get out.
You grab the bug out bags, the safe full of documents, the pet carriers, and the photo albums. You also get
swim goggles for the whole family and respirator masks out of your kit.
Pets, kids, and important items are loaded in the vehicle. You’re already down the road in 10 minutes,
while other people are still trying to put together an overnight bag.
Have you ever had to use your prepper mindset to survive?
Studying situations in which others have survived is a
valuable way to develop your prepper mindset. Have you ever been caught up in the midst of a situation where your
preparedness mindset was helpful? Want to tell us about it?