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Where Do I Start?


Beginning with the July 2016 issue, I began a stint as a staff writer for Two Lane Livin' (www.twolanelivin.com).  While I don't think I write particularly well, it has given me another outlet to reach people with the message of emergency preparedness.  

I will present those articles, in their unedited form, here.  

Where Do I Start?

This series of articles will focus on emergency preparedness. My aim is to discuss the different aspects through a topical approach, rather than holistically. Today’s article, appropriately, starts at the beginning.

Through my business, I encounter people, nearly daily, who have become aware of the need to prepare for emergencies and disasters, but have no idea how to begin. As such, much of my business has become focused on educating people to how to launch and sustain their journey. It is indeed a journey—a journey of learning and self-discovery and one you can stop whenever you are comfortable with your level of preparedness.

Preparedness is a custom process. Everyone’s approach and outcome is different. I will present my philosophy and, hopefully, explain why I have come to believe a particular approach.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its website, www.ready.gov, directs the American public to prepare for a range of emergencies, including the zombie apocalypse. Their approach outlines a “Bug Out Bag” for each family member covering personal needs for 72 hours. This is a discrete, vague solution to an unknown problem. While better than nothing, the bug out bag should be just a part of a larger plan.


The first phase of your journey becomes one of replacement. When you examine the parts of your world, look for the things that are required to sustain life. While there can be addition to the list, the one provided below is taken from the book How to Survive The End of the World by James Wesley Rawles:

8 Basic Human Needs 6 Supporting Needs

1. Food 1. Medicine/First Aid

2. Water 2. Communication

3. Air 3. Electrical Power

4. Shelter 4. Transportation

5. Sleep 5. Protection/Security

6. Heating/cooling 6. Financial Security

7. Hygiene/sanitation

8. Light

Survival is, by definition, a dirty affair. Do not attempt to recreate your current life in a survival situation. Survival creates crisis and crisis creates abrupt change in your daily affairs. Do not expect the government to swoop in and save you. It cannot and it will not.

Regardless of your life situation, there are some commonalities among all people:

  • Where will I sleep?
  • What will I eat?
  • How will I cook?
  • How will I have potable water?
  • How will I keep warm/cool?
  • How will I use the bathroom?
  • What will I use to provide light in the dark?
  • If I must leave my home, how will I have shelter?

Remember that, in this phase, the focus is replacement. These are the types of gear and supplies that make up the contents of a bug out bag, but also, minus the last question, must be gathered if you are to “bug in”, which refers to remaining in your home.

Emergency preparedness is not about “stuff”. It does not matter how much gear you have if you do not know how to use it. Whenever gear or supplies is purchased to satisfy an identified need, it is critically important that you take the time to learn the proper way(s) to use it. For example, learning to start a fire in the midst of a crisis would not be “prepared”.

Many products in the survival market are designed to serve multiple functions. These are must haves. Why? Any time a product can be purchased that solves several problems at once, money is saved and weight is avoided if you have to carry your gear. An example is a shemagh. The shemagh is a desert scarf, usually 42 inches by 42 inches of woven cotton, that is used by militaries all over the world. It can be used as a scarf, a sling, a bandage, a mechanical filter, and literally a hundred other things. Plus, it is available in many colors.

I hope this have given you a little introduction to the “what” of emergency preparedness. The “why” is as varied as the people who are preparing.

We are always available to talk with you about your emergency preparedness plan. While it may sometimes feel like it, you are not alone. There are many many families in West Virginia who are on their own prepper journeys. Contact us if we can help.

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