Basic Preparedness Strategy

Basic Preparedness Strategy

This is the document that I used for a recent podcast about a forming basic preparedness strategy. It was taken from a correspondence that I had with a friend of mine, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It’s only one example of how to go about creating a strategy for getting better prepared. Adjust and modify for your needs.

Start with the current analysis of what you feel is the most likely situations or events that threaten your well being and safety (see previous podcast on Threat Analysis  ).  This Threat Analysis covers those circumstances and events that we need to make sure that we can cope with; either through physical preparation, mental preparation, or both.

Brief note on the threat analysis.  It was mentioned before, but I want to say it again, just in case I failed to properly explain it before.  The Threat Analysis is just a thinking tool to get you started.  There is little to be gained by making up a separate plan for each threat that you identify, as most situations have a common denominator that you need to provide for.  Things like food, water, shelter, warmth, safety, defense, etc. are needed in most situations that last longer than a few hours.  But there are some threats that have special conditions that you’ll need to address, and that’s where listing the threats comes into play.  Go over the list and check to make sure that you can handle anything that isn’t covered by the basics.  For example, radiation or a cloud of toxic chemicals.  You can be exposed to both either by accident or design, but you should be prepared to handle them.  The Threat Analysis list is exactly what you use to identify these sort of things.

Okay, onto a basic preparedness strategy.  This is from an essay I wrote to a friend of mine years ago when trying to put to paper what it was that we wanted to accomplish.  To put it into perspective, it was written shortly after the tragedy of 9/11.  Also, please keep in mind that this, like most of what I present to you, is a thinking tool.  Use it as a place to start and modify it to suit your own needs.  Do your own research.


Ultimate Goal: (general statement of what our final objective is)  To each own a cabin in the mountains; close enough to each other to provide mutual aid and assistance.  Ideally, the cabin(s) would be located on a large parcel(s) of land (40 acres or more) in an area that has deep wells and a diverse geography so as to support gardens and continuous firewood.  Additionally, each cabin would be stocked with food, water and supplies for a long-durational occupancy, with an effort to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Intermediate Goal: To cooperatively purchase a cabin, large enough for our two families, in an area that would be conducive to our survival in the case of a societal disruption.  Additionally, the cabin would be stocked to afford the self-sufficient stay of both families for at least one month.

Immediate Goal:  To begin preparations and purchases that will better position us to effect relocation to an area that will support our survival. All of our preparations in this phase would be made with the other two goals in mind, so that when the next goal is accomplished, all of the previous preparations will be harmonious.

Durational Periods

There are 3 distinct duration periods to consider.  I call this the 3/30/300 plan in reference to the number of days that is covered by the preparations.  Note that it is always the goal to survive for as long as possible and that this 3/30/300 plan serves nothing more than an incremental guide to making preparations.

3 Day – This is the standard 72-hour kit, but with an emphasis on being able to survive in the woods if necessary.  Most categories are expedient in nature, providing a “bare necessity” of preparedness.

30 Days – This level provides everything needed for 1 month.  The preparations at this level are more of a semi-permanent nature.   The attempt is to have everything needed for a 30-day self-sufficient existence, but some concessions can be made for procurement in lieu of storage (particularly water and food).

300 Days – This is actually a year, but it looks better to use the number 300; also, the thought is that if you can make it for 300 days, you can make it another 2 months.  Ideally, everything needed would be stored, except water.  However, storing this much food has logistical problems that can only be solved by having storage space at the retreat location.

The thought here was by using the “threes” fir the duration, it would be a little easier to increase our survival duration.  IOW, if you had a good 3-day supply, you needed 10 of those for 30 days.  Once you had a good 30-day supply, taking into account that you needed different supplies for a month long duration, you could replicate that and increase it to 12 “30-day modules” for your year supply.  Keep in mind that every increase in duration will require the addition of supplies and gear that you probably didn’t need in the preceding shorter duration.

For example, you can easily get by without cooking for 3 days by storing foods that don’t require cooking.  But it would be a lot harder to go 30 days without cooking, as it’s easier to store more of the foods you eat everyday, than it is to store more MREs or freeze dried foods.  Likewise, as your survival duration gets closer to a year, and especially beyond that, you’re going to find that storing bulk foods is easier than a complete year of everyday foods.

Preparation Categories

In order to provide better organization, if for no other reason than planning, I have identified the various common categories that we’ll be attempting to provide for ourselves.  These categories are similar to previous lists that I have generated, however, I have distilled and reorganized them to reflect a more organizational theme.

Sub-Strata: (not in order)

These are the distinct categories that each durational goal needs to meet:

  • Food and Cooking
  • Immediate
  • Procurement
  • Water
  • Immediate
  • Procurement
  • Shelter, Fire and Warmth
  • Immediate
  • Construction
  • First-aid and Medical
  • Defense (safety and security)
  • Communications
  • Navigation and Signaling
  • Transportation
  • Motorized
  • Non-motorized
  • On foot
  • Economic (cash, silver, gold, banking strategies)
  • Information
  • Written (books, print outs, etc.)
  • Collected (word of mouth, radio, TV, etc.)
  • Light
  • Auxiliary power
  • Ideally, the ability to provide refrigeration is paramount, recharging batteries would be another important task here
  • Clothing
  • Rugged, durable clothing and shoes
  • Clothing for extreme environments
  • Personal Care and Sanitation
  • NBC detection, protection and decontamination
  • Tools, Repair, Utility and Misc. Equipment
  • Pets
  • Concealment & Camouflage


Thorough preparation is a costly and time-consuming endeavor.  Therefore, it is best to take it in steps.  Outlined below are the recommended preparation steps based on a most-likely/need basis.

The most likely events to occur, on any given day, are those listed in Personal Events (See Threat Analysis).  For that reason, the first thing that needs to be done is to make sure that you have a proper amount of insurance for your home/house, auto and self (health).  Then, make certain that you have some sort of security system in place, even if it’s only a watchdog.

After the preparations for the Personal Events are taken care of, then we move onto the preparations for survival.  Thought also needs to be given to the fact that for any given crisis event, we probably will stick it out at home.

Step 1: Immediate

These are the things that need to be accomplished as soon as possible because these are the items that will be needed to survival on a minimum basis in a most-likely scenario.  This step concentrates on a 3-day scenario.

The “Plan” – Create a plan of what you are going to do for scenarios where you will shelter in place and for those that require evacuation.  Make sure everyone has a copy of the plan and that they know what the plan is.

72-hour kit (see separate list entitled, “72-hour Kit Contents”)

Stored fuel; 15 gallons for each vehicle, primarily for use in case of an evacuation (bug-out);

First-aid, small kit tailored to a shorter stay (see separate sheet entitled, “First-Aid Kit”)

Coordinated plan for egress out of the city, including maps, routes and retreat areas.  These plans also include a predetermined course of action for each threat listed in the Threat Analysis.

Stage One Grab List (items must be grabbed, like eyeglasses)

Vehicle maintenance (vehicles should be kept in a well-maintained state at all times)

Pistol kit (1 pistol and ammunition per family, ready to go)

Pet kit, everything each pet needs for 72-hours

Our initial reaction to this is that this is probably much less than what we’d want to have on hand that’s ready to go, but, remember this is only the first step.

Step 1a: Immediate Next

These are also considered an immediate need, but slightly less so.  Therefore, they can wait until Step 1 is completed. This step concentrates on a 3-day scenario where applicable.  At the same time, you can use this opportunity to increase the ‘time-of-stay’ to 14 days.

72-hour kit auxiliary pack, this is another pack containing items that would make survival easier (see separate sheet entitled, “Auxiliary Pack”)

Communications plan (this includes a list of phone numbers and radio gear and coordinated frequencies);

Gun Kits, complete kits for each firearm that’s intended to be taken;

Biological/Chemical Response Kit: this is a kit that contains masks, Tyvek suits, detectors, and decontamination ability.  Most important for those of us that travel into or close to downtown.

Drill – conduct mock scenarios where you test your plan. Have one scenario for sheltering in place and one for evacuation.

Update the plan to account for the new preparations, as well as any modifications that are needed from lessons learned during your drill.

Step 2: Increase to 30

This step increases the duration to 30 days and also increases the comfort level.

30 days worth of food for all members of family

Water filtration capability that can accommodate a minimum of 2 gallons per day for each person (non-expedient)

Cooking equipment

Increased shelter and warmth capability

Sleeping bags, rated to a minimum of 15*F


Clothing, for all weather

Medical kit, larger kit tailored for an extended stay in the field (see separate sheet entitled, “Medical Kit”)

Personal Care and Sanitation kit

Stage Two Grab List (things that would be great to have if time allows, these items cater to more of a longer duration)

Economic hedge (small quantity of junk silver coins)

Improvised construction equipment (shovel, chainsaw, axe, sledge, wedge, hammer, nails, etc.)

Pet supplies, everything each pet needs for a 30-day duration.

Drill – conduct mock scenarios where you test your plan, based on any modifications or additions to your preparations. Have one scenario for sheltering in place and one for evacuation.

Update the plan to account for the new preparations, as well as any modifications that are needed from lessons learned during your drill.

At this point, you should be able to accomplish everything that is listed in the “Common Daily Tasks” and the Common Survival Tasks” (future podcasts)

– Rob
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