Where To Start

“A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”


  • What To Prepare For
  • Order of Preparation: Mindset — Skillsets — Assets
  • The Five Phases of Preparedness
  • Phase One – Immediate – Personal
  • Phase Two – Short Term – up to 72 hours
  • Phase Three – Intermediate – up to three months
  • Phase Four – Long-Term – as much as a year or more
  • Phase Five – Indefinite – EOTWAWKI
  • Where To Start


What To Prepare For:

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Order of Preparation: Mindset — Skillsets — Assets:

You can only prepare in this order:

  1. Mindset
  2. Skillsets
  3. Assets

It would be a mistake to go out and start buying food, water, and gear (assets) if you haven’t first developed a survival mindset, and developed the skillsets to employ the assets. “Stuff” is important, but with the right mindset and skill sets you will be able to survive with less, and be able to adapt with what little you may have to survive.


Order of Preparation Commentary, submitted by “Mike”:

January 15, 2015

Order of prep: The philosophy of spread thin before stacking tall comes to mind.

Ask yourself…what will kill you first? thirst, hunger, or lack of ‘blank’? I know a lot of people with dozens of guns and 1,000’s of rounds of ammunition, that will die from lack of water. This is what we call “skip ahead”.

“The Skip Ahead”: The act of putting off buying a high priority item, to buy a more wanted, but less needed, item and delaying the high priority item. A good example would be buying a 2nd AR-15, before you buy water and food.

“The Make Do”: The act of buying/making do with, a lesser quality item that is cheaper, to free up $ to buy other same priority items. The combination of purchases is typically better than a higher quality item by itself. Example: Buying a AR-15 for $1,000 and having no money left to buy bullets…or…buying an AK-47, 10 mags, 300 rounds of ammo, and 100 gallons of water. This is similar to the “spread wide before stacking tall philosophy”.

The “skip ahead” and “make do” phrases are what we use in Mississippi. When we see a guy with very little food and water, buy a $1,000 scope for his rifle…we call that a “skip ahead”. Buy all means, get the $1,000 scope…but only after you have the more important stuff.

When a guy shows up with some old, bull-crap, used body armor for $100…we call that a “make do”. Not the best armor…but appropriate for someone who has NONE. And, if ridiculed, all he usually has to say is…”ok, so show me your armor”, and that ends the conversation. If its doesn’t, and the guy says my $1,000 interceptor vest is in the trunk…then the reply is, “well, my trunk is filled with $900 in food!”

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The Five Phases of Preparedness:

Many beginning preppers make the mistake of initiating their preps with the intention of surviving the zombie apocalypse. Your first step should be preparing for realistic, everyday personal and family emergencies. The next step will be to prepare for 72 hours without any outside resources or utilities, or to execute a hasty mandatory evacuation. Once you can survive for 72 hours without help, you should training and prepping for longer and more involved catastrophes. Prepare to operate off-grid for a month. Once you feel that you are ready, simply continue to add resources to last as much as a year, or indefinitely.

Levels of Preparedness (2)The circles picture to the right (click to enlarge) illustrate each phase, level, or layer of preparation. Each overlapping layer encompasses the mindset, skill sets, and assets of its subservient layer, and adds new MSAs required to survive the exponentiating complications of longer and more severe survival scenarios.

The first level of preparedness, labeled “Personal”, applies to realistic, everyday types of emergencies and the mindset and preparedness to survive them. These might include medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest, choking, bleeding, or a broken bone; loss of employment or income; home or vehicle fire; legal issues such as divorce or law suite, illness or death of a family member; personal assault, robbery, or home invasion.

The second level of preparedness, labeled “Immediate”, applies to emergencies that might only affect your and your community for a few days. Examples might include blackouts, floods, blizzards, wildfire, etc. These emergencies will require the mindset, skill sets, and assets of the personal level of preparedness, plus a few additional to successfully survive and prosper. This level may require you to live for a few days without outside utilities and resources (electricity, running water, fire-rescue and law enforcement), or to quickly leave you home and live on the run for a few days.

The third level of preparedness, labeled “Intermediate”, applies to regional type of emergencies that my require many months to recover from. Examples might include post-hurricane or post-tornado rebuilding, however during that time you can expect financial help from your insurance carrier if you are properly covered. You may not have a home, but there will be government assistance for rescue and cleanup, and insurance will put you in a motel until you can rebuild. In many countries it may be quite a while before you receive any assistance, if any at all.

The fourth level of preparedness, labeled “Long Term”, applies to large-scale emergencies that might take as much as a year or more to recover from. Examples might include global economic collapse, US economic collapse, EMP attack on the United States, regional war, regional pandemic, etc. All resources will be precious, security will be a concern as people try to take what you have, and you will probably find it necessary to form some type of mutual aid and support group.

The fifth level of preparedness, labeled “Indefinite”, applies to an EOTWAWKI type catastrophic event. Major examples might include total economic collapse and collapse of the United States government, nuclear attack or terrorism that permanently disrupts our society, or solar activity or an electromagnetic pulse attack that destroys the nation’s or world’s electrical grid infrastructure. You will be on your own, and no one is ever coming to help you. It will require the mindset, skill sets, and assets (MSAs) of the first four level, plus the addition of many more complex and sophisticated MSAs in order to survive and prosper. The fifth level will encompass everything that you can muster. You will need it all.

The different levels represent the order and magnitude of emergencies and disasters that you should prepare for. Completely prepare for the personal level before preparing for short-term emergencies, and prepare for short-term emergencies before preparing for long-term emergencies. Each level encompasses the preceding levels within, so it is truly impossible to prepare for the end of society without first getting yourself into basic physical and financial shape and learning basic skills. First learn to crawl, walk, and finally run. You can’t run without learning the others first.

When attempting to master the next level of preparedness, concentrate first on mindset, then skill sets, and lastly, assets.

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Phase One – Immediate – Personal:

While everyone loves planning for the zombie apocalypse and is looking forward to rappelling the roving bands of marauders intent on taking your buckets of beans, how many have actually prepped for some of the life’s more probable disasters?

EDCYou have a flat tire late at night in a rural area; your child is choking on a grape or hotdog; your smoke detector activates at 3:30 AM; someone is following you as you walk through the mall parking deck; your computer goes tango uniform; you lose your job; your house is robbed; you find a “lump”; your marital status changes by someone else’s choice; you become disabled and can not work; your spouse passes away; etc.

These scenarios aren’t as exciting as ISIS tanks rolling down Flatbush Ave, or Zombies climbing out of the ground, but I can bet that at least one of the aforementioned scenarios will happen to you. You’ve had your whole life to prepare. Why aren’t you ready?

Before you start preparing for the end of the world, start preparing for some of life’s more common emergencies. You can apply the Order of Preparation theory (mindset, skill sets, assets) discussed earlier. Develop a survivor mindset and condition your body so that you will be able to mentally and physically deal with the stress of an emergency or disaster. Learn basic survival and emergency skills so that you will know what to do when something bad happens. Position yourself legally and financially so that you can easily recover from a disaster. Acquire the equipment and gear to deal with life’s realistic emergencies.

Personal Mindset Examples:

Personal Skill Set Examples:

Personal Asset Examples:

  • Save six months worth of living expenses.
  • Make sure that you insurance policies are up to date: health, life, supplemental, home owner’s, flood, etc.
  • Make sure that your will, health power-of-attorney, and other similar documents are up to date.
  • Secure important personal and financial documents into one binder. Store in a fire-proof safe or remote location .
  • Secure digital photos and other important computer files on external media that is stored in a fireproof safe or remote location.
  • Provide a safe home. Conduct a home safety inspection. Provide smoke/fire/CO2 detection equipment, fire suppression equipment, home security equipment, and first-aid kit(s) and supplies.
  • Provide safe and reliable transportation. Properly maintain your vehicles.

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Phase Two – Short Term – up to 72 hours:

Once you are prepared for life’s more routine emergencies, now you can start preparing for more dramatic catastrophes. You will need to seriously analyze your geographic area and decide what you should prepare for. The east coast has hurricanes, blackouts, and occasional civil unrest. The mid-west has droughts, blizzards, and tornadoes. The west coast has wildfires and earthquakes. There are nuclear power plants, petro-chemical plants, and other mega-industrial facilities scattered all across the United States. These have the potential for accident or are prime targets for terrorism.

In your analysis you will have to decide the best course of action for your anticipated disaster and then plan and prepare accordingly. Your plans for a wildfire or hurricane will be different from an earthquake or blackout. Regardless, after a major disaster you will need to be prepared to provide water, food, shelter, heating or air-conditioning, light, medical care, hygiene, transportation, security, and self recovery for yourself and your loved ones. When you have established your list of perceived threats you can begin with preparing for those threats. The first and most important step in your preparation will be to develop a survivor mindset. Next you will need to develop survivor skillsets (knowledge to help your survive in adverse situations). The final step is to acquire assets (gear and equipment to help you survive).

doomsday_preppers_instore_ambientOn average it takes the federal government at least 72 hours to move resources and establish relief in a disaster area. FEMA and the Red Cross recommend that every family have enough supplies to survive at least 72 hours without outside resources. The first phase of your planning should be to cover a 72 hour in-home emergency such as a blackout, blizzard, or an evacuation from a wildfire, flood, or nuclear emergency. Your preparations will include making a 72-Hour Kit for your home, a Bug-Out Bag for each member of your family in case you have to evacuate your home with little or no warning, and a Get Home Bag (GHB) for each vehicle to help get you home should you be caught away when the SHTF. Bottled water, MRE or canned food, battery-powered lights and radio, and a few other convenience items should help get you through until order can be restored. You will want to get prepped for an “immediate” and temporary type of emergency before you start planning for more long-term and elaborate disasters.

Short Term Mindset Examples:

  • I have analyzed the geographic area and know what disasters to prepare for.
  • I have a plan on how to quickly evacuate the area, and have a place to go.

Short Term Skill Set Examples:

  • Ability to defend yourself and your family.
  • Ability to survive in the wilderness.
  • Ability to make simple repairs of damaged buildings, vehicles, and gear.
  • Ability to perform CPR and simple first-aid.

Short Term Assets Examples:

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Phase Three – Intermediate – up to three months:

Disaster Examples: regional disasters such as hurricanes or cyclones, tsunamis, civil war, etc. Although we in the United States are fortunate enough to be able to expect some type of rapid disaster recovery and relief from our government, you may live in a part of the world where civil recovery make take longer.

sandy5n-5-copyAfter you have enough supplies and training to stay in you home without outside resources and supplies for 72 hours, or to evacuate your home and live on the run for 72 hours, or to work you way back to your home should you be caught away when the SHTF, then it is time to start prepping for to survive a longer period of time without outside resources. Three months is a good goal.

You will want to store potable water in bulk, and have a way collect and purify more water as your supply begins to dwindle. You will want to have accumulated large amounts of canned and dried foods. You will want to have a way to cook your food, such as a grill or camp stove, and enough fuel to run it for an extended time. You will want to have a way to recharge batteries, such as a solar panel(s). You will want to have enough basic tools and supplies to make basic repairs to your damage home, such as a large tarp to go over a damaged room. You may want to invest in a generator that can, at a minimum, power your refrigerator/freezer and a few appliances. You will have to safely store enough fuel to run your generator.

Level Three Mindset:

  • I may have to barter my skills, services, and assets.
  • I know my local neighbors and friends and I am aware of their individual skill sets and assets.
  • I may have to physically protect myself and my family.
  • I may have to regenerate resources (water, food, etc.)
  • I need to maintain OPSEC with regards to our equipment, supplies, and capabilities.

Level Three Skill Sets:

Level Three Assets:

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Phase Four – Long-Term – as much as a year or more:

Disaster examples: global economic collapse, US economic collapse, EMP attack on the United States, war, etc.

food-storage-varietyAfter you have prepped for a month of survival without outside resources, you can now start saving and prepping for “long-term” off-the-grid living for up to a year… or more.

The fourth level is where you settle in for the long haul. You will have to produce your own food, water, and other resources, and create a group for mutual support and protection. Everything that society has provided for you before the trigger event (safety and protection, utilities, food & water, transportation, communications, sanitation, etc.) will be gone and you will have to provide it yourself. This level will be extreme.

Planning for “long-term” will involve storing canned and dried foods in much higher bulk levels, and creating a way to purify large volumes of drinking water, charging batteries with more elaborate solar or wind generators, and acquiring enough fuel (firewood) to cook and heat with. You may want to stock up on seed and gardening supplies so that you can supplement your bulk supplies with fresh fruits and vegetables. You will want to store hunting and fishing gear so that you can supplement your food stocks with fresh meat. You will want to accumulate a year’s supply of all of the items that you use in your house each day. You will need to accumulate all of the tools and spare parts that you might anticipate needing to make repairs to your home and vehicles for the next 12 months. There isn’t any way that you can plan for every contingency, so you will most certainly find yourself trading and bartering for other goods and services.

Level Four Mindset Examples:

  • Everyone wants what I (we) have, and may do anything (including killing us) to take it.
  • Every resource is precious.

Level Four Skill Set Examples:

  • Group organizational experience and training.
  • Defensive Tactics.
  • Military training with combat MOS (weapons and tactics).
  • Military leadership experience and training.
  • Hunting: can kill and process game.
  • Gardening : can produce more food than they can eat.
  • Amateur radio operation: can talk to the world.
  • Food canning (long-term food storage).
  • Advanced medical training (doctor, nurse, dentist, paramedic, etc.).
  • Electrician.
  • Carpentry.
  • Plumber.
  • Automobile mechanic.
  • Seamstress.
  • Cook.

Level Four Asset Examples:

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Phase Five – Indefinite – EOTWAWKI:

Disaster examples: Electromagnetic pulse or solar activity that destroys all electronics on a global scale, nuclear holocaust, global pandemic, asteroid impact, etc.

the_book_of_eliHelp is never coming.

First, and most importantly, you will absolutely have to have some type of survival group of people with various skill sets and expertise that you can trust with your life. You won’t make it on your own. You will need to have a way to purify water indefinitely without replacement filters. You will need to know how to raise livestock, hunt, fish, butcher meat, and grow fruits and vegetables. You will have to know how to protect yourself, your family, and your group. You will need a way to generate electricity, such as solar and wind generators. You need lots of hand tools to make repairs, and work the gardens. You will absolutely have to become a master of bartering and scavenging food, fuel, batteries, etc.

EOTWAWKI is outside of the scope of Savannah Arsenal since it is all theoretical, but if you are preparing for that, then you will definitely be prepared for any lesser emergencies.

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Where To Start:

If you a former Boy Scout, a veteran of the military, work in the medical profession, work in law enforcement or fire / rescue, a pilot, or an avid outdoorsman, then you most likely have already be instilled with the survivor mindset and have a firm grasp of many of the skill-sets on this site. This blog will be a good review. If don’t have any similar type of life experience and training then you will have to make a concerted effort to develop the survivor mindset so that you will be ready when the SHTF scenario occurs. This blog will be a good place to begin your journey.

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