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The Three-legged Stool


The Three-Legged Stool

There are many different philosophies when it comes to preparedness. Some will emphasize personal or family preparedness while others advocate a neighborhood or town approach. Most seem to suggest a philosophy that reflects their particular background or where they currently live. I have worked to take an approach that is uniquely Appalachian and one that takes our culture, population density, and infrastructure into account.

It is my thinking that, in order to prepare for the broadest number of potential disasters, a three-pronged approach is the most wise. Sure, there is an amount of gear, equipment, and supplies that are needed. To that, I would add skills and knowledge. The third leg of the three-legged stool is community.

Gear and Supplies

As discussed in the July 2016 issue, the first part of the preparedness journey involves replacement. If there is no access to stores or internet sites, if there is no utility service, and the government is unable to help, it will be everyone’s or every family’s responsibility to fend for themselves. Will you be prepared? Do you have everything you need to provide for yourself and your family for an extended period?

Skills and Knowledge

In addition to “stuff”, there are many skills that are helpful in a crisis situation, such as firestarting, medical and first aid, sewing, manual carpentry, and mechanical skills to name a few. What do you know how to do? What do you have an interest in learning in short order? The skill set you possess can help, not only to meet your own needs, but also others and potentially a way to get other things you might need.


One person cannot know everything or have enough hours in the day to do everything that might be needed in a disaster situation. As evidenced during the recent flooding, we need each other. Think of your world in circles: You stand at the center. Your family is the first circle. Your neighbors represent the second circle. Maybe your town is the third circle. The fourth circle might be your county. As your level of preparedness grows, reach out to the next circle. How can you help your family, your neighbors, your town become more prepared for what may come?

Some of my earliest customers have impacted the preparedness community in different ways. One started a YouTube channel to share his knowledge and love of bushcrafting. Another wrote a post-apocalyptic work of fiction set in West Virginia. The third teamed up with her daughter to create and manufacture a product line for a need that had not been met in the preparedness market.

Be creative. There are many ways to reach out to your community. Here are a few ideas:

1. When you feel like you are fully prepared, add a little more to be ready to accept orphans. Yes, orphans. In an extended crisis, as has been evidenced around the world, there are always orphans. Prepare to take in at least two.

2. Share your knowledge with the next generation or with a neighbor who does not have your skill set.

3. Ask a neighbor or friend to teach you a skill you do not have. You never know which skill will end up making the biggest difference.

4. Select a preparedness project and involve the family. Improving and solidifying family relationships is an important readiness task.

5. Take a class on a topic that interests you.

6. Obtain a first aid certification.

7. Test for a ham radio license.

8. Read. Constantly look for ways to improve yourself.

Never forget that we are all in this thing together. Prepare to work and play well with others.

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