Preparedness 101 or one survivalist’s manifesto by David Morris

After I’d been serious about preparedness and self reliance for a year or two, I realized that my buying, training, and planning had been based on whatever was the most exciting or urgent to me at the time. I’d go through a gun phase, then a food phase, then a natural medicine phase, but I didn’t have anything to tie it all together.

I want to go over a few things that have acted as a compass for my personal preparedness planning. Yours should be unique to you, but feel free to use mine as a jumping off point to create your own.

1. I define survival/ preparedness/ self-reliance, in part, as the ability for my family to survive and possibly thrive during periods of civil breakdown without having to depend on government agencies or non-government agencies. This will be as a result of a combination of our family preparedness and because of relationships with friends who have also prepared in advance.

2. We have decided in advance that we will make the necessary preparations so that we don’t have to compromise on our morals and values in civil breakdown situations. A large number of people’s survival planning involves stealing/looting after a disaster. Ours does not. Remember, at some point, some form of stability will return and you’ll have to live with the consequences of your actions.

3. We are not so focused on potential disaster that we miss out on daily fun. We continually evaluate our decisions and purchases based on how they will play out, regardless of whether we ever have to live through civil breakdown. This keeps us balanced. As an example, we tend to buy large quantities of food that we already eat rather than large quantities of MREs that, truth be told, we really don’t like. We actually USE a lot of our survival supplies on a daily basis.

4. Preparedness planning should not only be useful in a disaster, but enrich your daily life. Increasing your situational awareness will cause you to see more beauty as well as more potential threats. Exercise will help you be more resilliant in a disaster, but will also burn off stress hormones and help you sleep better every day. Learning trauma skills and natural health care will allow you to treat yourself when there are no doctors available and it will put you more in tune with your body.

5. Preparedness planning should be realistic. I’m always amazed at the number of people I talk to who’s plan is STILL to “head to the hills” when “it” happens. I kind of laugh because if half of those people actually DO go to the wilderness, the wilderness is going to be hunted clear of food in no-time. Then all the people will die…except for the handfull who actually know what they’re doing. The reality is, most people live in urban areas (even communities of a few thousand) and will have to survive disasters in those areas.

6. “Survival” is not necessarily romantic, fun, or comfortable. If it was, it would be “Primitive Living.” Understand it, prepare for it, practice it if you’re able, and if you are ever forced into a situation where you need your skills to survive, you’ll have a more realistic idea of what to expect.

7. Most people will never understand preparedness. Whether you call yourself “self-reliant”, a “prepper”, a “survivalist”, or just practical and moderately observant…everyone is not going to share your passion. Fortunately, we have a community online that does share your passion.

8. You’ll never be 100% prepared for everything that could happen…deal with it. We’ve got dozens of natural and manmade threats to contend with. Dirty bombs, EMPs, earthquakes, hurricanes, mud-slides, cyber attacks, economic collapse, attacks on the electricity grid, local accidents, etc. etc. Don’t waste your time worrying about it…Just start taking steps to prepare.

If all of your gear is at home and an earthquake buries it while you’re at the store, you’re going to have to improvise, adapt, and overcome. (and maybe decide to set up some caches) Especially as you’re starting out, try to focus on the basics…food, fire, water, shelter and then medical, security, and tools. These are all things that will help you on a regular basis and will help you if you go through rough economic times. They’re also ways that you can get prepared that are more “tolerable” for relatives who aren’t on board yet.

9. You don’t have to be rich to get prepared. Focus on skills and double up on groceries as you’re able and you’ll be light years ahead of people who have a pallet of food in their garage but no manual can opener to get them open.

10. Since most people live in urban areas, most people are going to have to survive disasters in urban areas. Some have no intention of leaving and feel honor-bound to stay. Full-time law enforcement and first responders, sheepdogs, CERT personnel, and others who aren’t willing to leave. It may not be ideal, but if your plan (or backup plan) for survival is to Survive In Place in an urban area, you aren’t going to be on your own. After every disaster, there will be remnants who are currently training to be able to help stabilize neighborhoods, cities, and regions if necessary.

The fact that you might HAVE to survive for a time in an urban area is the core of the 12 week Urban Survival Course. To see more information about the course, please go to

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David Morris




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