Preparedness submenu [ preparation homepage | 72hr kit | B.O.B. | water | everyday preparedness | Coleman stoves and lanterns | which SHTF stove? | Preparedness simulations/scenarios | kerosene lanterns | canning frs/gmrs radio ]
"You don't save grasshoppers by feeding them when winter comes; you save grasshoppers by turning them into ants." -- Jack Spirko.
"When grasshoppers get hungry they turn into locusts." -- LdMorgan

Be Prepared

I am that guy that always carries a Swiss Army Knife (SAK) and notices where the exits are. Safety dork. Awareness geek. Ex-soldier and boy scout. The guy you make fun of, right up to the time you need to get into your lunch at work after the electric opener dies. And I have dorky interests like dualsport motorcycling, scanning, canning, GPS, Coleman gear, kerosene lanterns and homebrewing that have substantial overlap in the preparedness and emergency management community.

In 2009 a couple of factors encouraged me to consider preparedness more seriously and methodically. One of the best men I know recently reminded me of the concept of a Bug Out Bag (BOB). Then my next door neighbors, a nice LDS couple, invited me to a preparedness seminar. Ok, I get it. The universe is nudging me. I started to work on my own BOB and 72-hr kit.

different levels of commitment to preparedness

But first, a note about zombies. The zombie concept pops up frequently in preparedness circles. "Zombie" refers to all threats that the responsible citizen should plan for: natural (tornadoes, floods, heat, drought), man-made, panicked/unprepared people (i.e. "sheeple"), economic upset and criminal thugs. "Zombie" is a funny/memorable shorthand term for a serious and complex set of challenges. If you are opposed to the term zombie when talking about human threats feel free to substitute terms like hordes or sheeple.

Having said that: There is continuum of preparedness. From least prepared to most prepared it might look like this:

  1. zombie: unaware. Likely to be caught completely unprepared for anything that occurs. Unable to care for themselves or others. Unable to get out of the way. Zombies make matters worse. In emergency situations zombies will generally trample or get trampled; they are best avoided.
  2. citizen: Aware of personal and civic responsibility, though with differing levels of dedication. May or may not have some level of preparation, but generally will not cause additional problems for others. Can usually follow direct, simple instructions well enough to stay out of additional trouble.
  3. boyscout: Can follow or lead as the situation requires, willing and able to help themselves and others. Here you will find soldiers/scouts/hikers/campers/Mormons. Is that last bit surprising? It shouldn't be. LDS folk are skilled/motivated in matters of emergency preparation, particularly food storage and preservation; each LDS family is encouraged to stock one year of supplies and the knowledge to use them wisely. No, I am not LDS but I do respect their approach to self-reliance and preparedness.
  4. zombie hunter (ZH) : A person with a high degree of awareness and preparation. A zombie hunter is a person who has an appropriate level of readiness for most foreseeable threats. The ZH may consider preparedness an end unto itself, or a hobby, or a lifestyle. Zombie hunters are usually active in the community giving classes and walking the talk. They buy their houses and vehicles with preparation in mind. They like to fly under the radar with quality civilian gear rather than stick out like paramilitary tinfoil-hatters (below).
  5. tinfoil hat: The extreme fringe of the readiness community. Black helicopters, conspiracies, impending doom/communism/fascism/[fill in the blank], etc. Bunker mentality, loves camo, black SWAT outfits and looking "tactical". Interestingly, few have actual military, LEO, or scouting experience. Best avoided.

My approach is probably "boyscout" level (my Eagle Scout card card was signed by Pres. Reagan). Could I be more prepared? Definitely. Could I think about it more? Sure. But ZH status consumes more time and energy than I am willing to devote. For me it's a decreasing-returns situation. My family and home are best served by boyscout-level preparedness. I suspect the trick to balanced, pragmatic preparedness is slip-streaming it into one's current lifestyle.

Some key concepts and acronyms

some useful strategies

my gear

Here is a selection of some of my favorite gear.


/ GnuPG public key

Shameless commerce
See "emergency preparedness emergency management survival planning" at Amazon or in Amazon electronics.
How to identify offsite links: Amazon, eBay. 100 Hottest Books, CDs, Videos, and DVDs. Discounted wireless refills. Instant PIN delivery.