Getting Your Loved Ones to Prepare

getting your loved ones to prepare

Note: This article was contributed by Dan F. Sullivan of  To learn more about Dan you can see the About the Author section at the end of the post.

Getting Your Loved Ones To Prepare

One of the biggest frustrations we face as preppers is not the myriad of dangers that threaten our existence. It’s not the fact that, the more we prepare, the less prepared we feel. It’s the fact that no matter how much we argue and fight, our families are oblivious to the idea of prepping. Sometimes they even laugh at us and call us crazy, tension rises and, before you know it, it affects your relationships at a much deeper level than you would have thought.

Getting others to prepare is not an easy task and, with most people, you shouldn’t even bother but, when it comes to your loved ones, things are different. The way you handle your spouse and kids is different than the way you handle other people.

Long story short, you should get you family on board no matter what and you should forget everyone else who doesn’t live under the same roof as you. You know the old saying, loose lips sink ships, right?

Why Forget Everyone Else?

Forget everyone else because they’re not in the right mindset and you don’t see them often enough to properly influence them. They need to be exposed to the same information you’ve been exposed to. They need to make the same logical connections you have, otherwise, they won’t reach the same conclusions as you.

There are basically two reasons people start preparing: desperation and inspiration.

People get desperate when they see the impending danger, such as a hurricane that’s merely hours away. Other times, they became desperate after surviving a disaster or critical event by sheer luck. That’s exactly what happens after each major hurricane: a lot of survivors turn into preppers simply because they’ve seen death with their own eyes and realize that not preparing is the most dangerous move of all.

The second reason is inspiration, it’s the reason most of us do it. We’re exposed to information, we connect the dots and, all of the sudden, it all makes sense: we realize just how dangerous our world is and feel an urgent need to prepare.

Now, if you want to inspire people to prepare, you need to be relatively close to them. Living in the same house, spending a lot of time with them, sharing hobbies and passions. They need to trust you and, if possible, they need to share some of your concerns. That’s a little difficult to do with people at work, neighbors and other people that you don’t see very often.

Sure, we all like to talk politics from time to time but from having a heated debate over which politician is the worst to spending money on preps you may never use… that’s a big leap in the mind of the average Joe.

getting your loved ones to prepare
The family that preps together SURVIVES together!

Why Should You Get Your Family On Board?

To put it simply, you just won’t be able to prepare without them; you really have no choice. Let me give you a few reasons to back up that statement:

  • You and your family are in the same boat, whether you like or not (meaning, the same house and the same location that will be hit).
  • You can’t leave your family behind, no matter how unprepared they are. You’ll do your best to help them go through this because no mother or father can leave their entire family behind and just run away to save their own skin.
  • When SHTF, your family’s going to react like rest of the sheeple. They will freeze, they won’t know what to do, they will hide in the basement or some room even though, to you, it’s obvious that they’re making a big mistake. They’re going to be stubborn and unpredictable and this could kill you all.

Now, I know that convincing someone who’s not awoken to start putting effort and money into something that may never happened is hard but this is your family we’re talking about. You see them every day. You love them. You have the power to influence them. And you won’t leave them behind when SHTF, meaning their fate is your fate.

You can awaken them only if you do it right. Yes, most people do it the wrong way by approaching them in a way that’s guaranteed to fail. What they do is try to scare them with apocalyptic scenarios… and hit a brick wall.

That’s not how the human mind works, ladies and gentlemen!

And to prove it, you need to look no further than yourself. Did you start preparing the first time you heard the acronym EMP? Probably not. You had to let that information sink in, do some further reading, watch some more news, maybe talk to someone who was already preparing.

The dots started to appear to you and it was only a matter of time before you started connecting them.

Here’s another thing that probably happened: you learned about the possibility of small-scale, localized disasters. Things like flash floods, angry protests and even critical events such as electrocutions or terrorist attacks. That’s when things started to become real to you. That’s when you said to yourself:

Hey, this could one day happen to me!

getting your loved ones to prepare
Getting the whole family kitted out is worth it. They will THANK YOU when the time comes. Photo by woodleywonderworks on Flickr.

Starting Small

So, you see, if you want to convince your loved ones to prep, you have to start talking about small scale events that happened close to where you live. Things that are already happening.

Every year we have blackouts, tornadoes, floods, rapes, heavy snow, assaults, failed police raids and so on. You have to look no further than old local newspapers and local news sites to read about all the disasters that happen every month or every week… even if you live in a really small town!

That’s your starting point. Start digging and talk to your family about them. Don’t look scared, don’t look in a hurry to prepare. Talk to them in an assertive manner and they’ll listen.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to awaken them to some of the more complex scenarios. No, no nuclear attacks or a nation-wide EMP just yet. Talk to them about something believable, such as how the U.S. seems to be turning into a police state and it’s only a matter of time until Martial Law is declared.

As a matter of fact, why not show them videos that bring proof about this, such as this one that I made myself. In it, I reveal:

#1. …everything about the “undercover police state” a lot of analysts are saying the U.S. has turned into;

#2.  …why sticking together as a family to prepare is important. How to do it and how to put together a fully-functional family survival plan.

getting your loved ones to prepare
Prepping does not have to be a source of contention. Fit it into family activities if you can. Photo by Loren Kerns on Flickr.

Be Prepared For Counter Arguments

Now, once you start talking to them about disasters, you’re gonna hit some objections. They could say things like, such as:

  • What if nothing happens?
  • Prepping is hard.
  • Prepping is expensive.
  • People will think I’m crazy.
  • People will think WE’RE crazy as a family and are going to laugh at me in school.
  • I’d rather just live my life.

Remember, the first two steps were just to get them interested and open to what you have to say. This is where the “fun” begins. You’re going to have some heated discussions but not like the ones you’ve had before. This time they’re not going to make fun of you, call you crazy. They’re actually going to be logical and a lot more open.

All you have to do is have comebacks for each of them and after that, you need comebacks to their comebacks!

For example, if they say prepping is hard, you can tell them that a 72-hour disaster kit and a few survival skills will make a world of difference. Make sure you leave out the more advanced things preppers do such as having a one year stockpile. Your only goal right now is to get them to make the first step. That’s it. For more information on getting started prepping, CLICK HERE.

Maintaining Momentum

Now, you may be asking yourself:

Once I get them through the door, how do I make sure they stay inside?

Well, you have to make continuous effort to keep them on track. You know what they say:

Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going.

You need to make a habit of doing small things every 2-3 days. Maybe it’s buying some canned food, maybe it’s getting a new HAM radio. Even the purchase of a single bottle of water is a tiny guarantee on their part that they’re IN.

Now, if you really want to hit a home run, what you need to do is make it FUN for them. And what better way to make prepping for newbies fun that camping in the middle of nature?

Camping is not just a great way to “get away from it all” but an opportunity for your kids to brag at school with the survival skills you’ll be teaching them, especially the boys. See, if you want them to commit, you have to find all these reasons that make sense in their heads, not just yours.

If you can do that, if you can get them started, you’ll really be on your way to creating a survival dream-team that won’t be just willing but eager to help you. That means they’ll come up with their own ideas on how to prep, start reading on their own and even come up with new ideas on how to do things more efficiently. Leave it to the kids to browse around the internet for new and exciting ways to prep you never would have thought about.

What’s next?

If you want to learn the A to Z of how to prepare yourself and your family for any disaster, whether natural or man-made, I urge you to watch this video I made. Watch it all the way to the end for a complete family survival blueprint. Why? Because prepping is about the team. Remember: their fate is your fate.

As we mentioned at the top of the article, this post was contributed by Dan F. Sullivan.  If you want more information from Dan on preparing with your family, I encourage you to check out his book, Family Survival Blueprints, which comes with 6 FREE bonus resources that will get your family prepared in no time.  You can check it out by clicking on the book below:

getting your loved ones to prepare
Click on the book to find out more


Your Thoughts?

Getting your loved ones to prepare is a challenge many preppers have in common. Have you faced any obstacles to convincing members of your household to commit to your survival plan? How have you attempted to overcome them? Share your frustrations and successes in the Comments section below, thanks!

About the Author

Dan F. Sullivan runs  He describes himself as:

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don’t take orders from anyone. I’m taking matters into my own hands so I’m not just preparing, I’m going to friggin’ war!

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prepping mistakes

7 Common Prepping Mistakes…And How You Can Avoid Making Them!

prepping mistakes

Note: This article was contributed by Dan F. Sullivan of  To learn more about Dan you can see the About the Author section at the end of the post.

7 Common Prepping Mistakes

Getting ready for the apocalypse is a somewhat complex matter because there’re a lot of variables involved: your age, your location, your financial situation, your current preparations, your neighbors, your location, the climate, your bug-out location, your family and many more.

Complexity leads to mistakes, not that there’s anything wrong with them; it’s always good to make them because that’s how we learn best. People who make the most are usually the ones that are more committed to their cause and have the highest chances of success.

Let’s see some of the most common mistakes you’re probably doing right now that could prove to be lethal if something serious were to happen right now.

Mistake #1: Not keeping quiet about their efforts

The first rule of fight club is… well, it’s true. People are going to think you’re nuts for preparing because they only think “zombies” and “the Apocalypse” when you try and talk to them. It’s a stereotype that clouds their judgement and it’s difficult to get them to change their mind.

I wrote an interesting piece about getting your loved ones to prepare where I talk about Noah and how we all feel like him when trying to get others to prepare. Noah was the first prepper in history. God spoke to him, meaning he relied on spiritual guidance and went against conventional wisdom and he prepared. He did it despite what everyone else thought of him…

Operations Security

He also did one more thing a lot of preppers aren’t: he got his family on board. He couldn’t have done it without them which leads me to mistake #2.

Mistake #2: Not getting their families on board

I know, I know. There are endless debates on whether or not you should “waste” your times getting your household members to prepare. But hear me out.

When disaster strikes, your loved ones might be the biggest threat to your safety. Whether you need to bug in or out, they’re going to be right there with you and influence the events that are unfolding.

So when your spouse is standing at the door, petrified, when your kids are hiding under the bed, screaming, how exactly are you going to put your evacuation plan into action? Are you going to bug out on your own, leaving them behind?

Of course not. What parent could ever do that? Instead, you’re going to drag them out kicking and screaming, wasting precious seconds and putting all your lives in danger. And even if you do manage to escape, the fact that they don’t even have bug out bags means you’re going to have to share with them the little you have. And that’s certain death, isn’t it?

The key to convincing your family to start preparing is to start small. Don’t talk to them about nation-wide Martial Law, a global EMP event or the Yellowstone erupting. They’ll just want to take a smoke of whatever it is you’re having because, they’ll judge, it must be really good.

A much better approach is to talk about smaller-scale disasters and critical events, such as earthquakes, flash floods, home invasions, assaults, rapes and so on. These are BELIEVABLE and easier to swallow. The whole point is to get them through the door, to have them to make the first step and worry about the rest later.

One more thing, try and talk to them about events that are likely to happen where you live. To do that, just browse the archives of your local news websites; you’ll surely find a lot of horrific accidents that happened less than a mile away from you.

prepping mistakes

Mistake #3: Stockpiling food they’re allergic to

I’m not talking about the case where you store peanuts and you know you’re allergic to. I’m talking about the allergies you’re not even aware of. Like the old saying: You don’t know what you don’t know.

Should you test yourself to find out what you’re allergic to? That’s a good idea but an even better one would be to actually eat from your stockpile. Not a lot, you don’t want to put your life in danger, but rotating your food is something you need to do anyway.

Mistake #4: Not practicing their skills

Reading is not the same as putting something into action. In most cases, when you try something for the first time, you screw it up. Big time.

That’s why you need to start practicing bugging out on every route imaginable, living out in the wild, evacuating in the face on an impending natural disaster, giving first-aid, eating survival food, using guns, defending your home and so on. Camping is a great way to learn survival because it’s a safe environment that will give you a small taste of what it’s like to be out there in the wild.

(Of course, camping and prepping are not even close to being the same thing but it’s a great first step, particularly for your spouse and kids.)

Heck, you can even practice in front of the mirror how you’re going to approach your loved ones to help you prep… because if you don’t sound confident, you’re gonna have a much tougher time.

prepping mistakes

Mistake #5: Putting all their stockpile in one place

Your basement could get flooded. Your house could get invaded. Your bug-out location could be compromised. Never put all your eggs in one basket because if that basket is stolen, destroyed or confiscated… you’re in trouble.

Hide your tools, clothes, food and medicine in various places inside your home, in your backyard, at your bug-out location and in your car.

Mistake #6: Overestimating how much they can carry

It’s easy to get the biggest backpack out there and to fill it with everything you think you might need. Only problem is, there’s only so much you can carry. Consider the fact that you’re going to be on the run for hours on end with that thing on your back. No matter how long you think you’ll last, you’re probably overestimating.

To prove this to you, walk for 2-3 miles with a fully loaded BOB and find out. It can be one of your escape routes to your BOL (bug-out location). Get a stopwatch and find out how long you can walk at a medium-fast pace without feeling the need to stop.

Consider that you may not be the one who needs to take a break; it could be one of your kids. And if they stop, you all have to stop.

Mistake #7: Not preparing for all seasons

A lot of the times, when we prepare, we have this image in our head that Doomsday is going to be on a warm, sunny day. But what if it’s freezing cold and 2 feet of snow outside? Or, quite the contrary, what if the temperatures are going to be extremely high?

prepping mistakes

Remember that old saying from Game of Thrones, winter is coming? Winter was no joke before we had all the modern-day conveniences and should never be taken lightly. The cold temperatures might compel people to find shelter and heat, your immune system will be lower, your crops will not grow and so on. Also, consider the fact that a disastrous event could span several seasons or even several years before things would get back to some sort of normal.


OK, that’s it. Those where it: a few of the biggest mistakes a lot of preppers make. You can find your own mistakes (not found in this list) by taking a long hard look at your preps and being honest to yourself. At the end of the day, the best way to discover your prepping holes is to practice everything, to put yourself in adverse situations, to see how you’ll react and then make improvements based on what happens.

Your Thoughts?

Are there any mistakes you see other preppers making?  Have you learned from a mistake that you made?  Please let us know in the Comment Section below, thanks!

About the Author

Dan F. Sullivan runs  He describes himself as:

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don’t take orders from anyone. I’m taking matters into my own hands so I’m not just preparing, I’m going to friggin’ war!

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Drones: A Prepper’s Guide


Inspiration for new preps can come from unexpected places sometimes.  This happened to me when I was last visiting my parents and had the opportunity to take my Dear Old Dad’s quadrocopter drone for a test flight.

The drone, a Phantom 2 by DJI was a blast to fly around.  It also sported an HD camera that took high quality footage of us and the surrounding area.  It was surprisingly easy to control, even for a novice (me).  Watching the drone soar got me thinking, are there any applications to prepping that a drone could be used for?

How Would A Prepper Use A Drone?

I gave it some thought and came up with a few specific situations where having a drone on your side would be handy.  Most of these center around bug in scenarios as no one is going to want to haul around a power source or copter when bugging out.  In particular, using your drone to patrol or inspect your perimeter or the surrounding area would be a huge advantage to have.

Note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive overview of drone technology or all of the models that are available.  But, if you are planning on bugging in, it may be worth giving a drone some thought.

Me taking Dear Old Dad's drone for a spin.
Me taking Dear Old Dad’s drone for a spin.

Defending Your Perimeter

Your first line of defense in protecting your premises will be to build a perimeter security system that will alert you to the presence of trespassers and help you to prepare for any conflict – providing you with the upper hand defending your home.

In addition to this, having a drone on hand to inspect damage or investigate a disturbance would be a major advantage. While the use of drone technology for surveillance dates back to WWI, only recently has it become accessible for private use. With fitted cameras, sensors, and state-of-the-art flight capabilities, drones are showing that their usefulness extends well beyond simply serving as a hobby for aerial enthusiasts and photographers.

What Is a Drone?

Any unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is considered a drone. The majority of commercial drones are multirotors, with the most popular being quadrocopters (4 rotors). Most modern drones can be fitted with a camera to provide the operator with a bird’s eye view of the flight path, and some modern commercial drones come equipped with cameras already.

Drones are not merely military devices that function as insanely fun toys for the masses. They also have practical commercial applications including monitoring livestock, pipeline security, road patrol, search and rescue, wildfire mapping, videography and anti-piracy. As drones have the ability to pursue a manually-operated or automated flight pattern, they make ideal tools for homeowners to safely surveil their property without putting themselves in harm’s way.

Additionally, drones can be fitted with a variety of supplementary features including speakers, tasers, mace, and infrared or night vision cameras. For some models, flight paths can be monitored through smartphone and tablet apps.

Benefits of Perimeter Security

Effective perimeter security allows you to monitor what’s happening around your property from the comfort of your home or shelter and provides you with advance warning of any trespassers, giving you the upper hand.

Depending on the cause and length of your bug in situation, your property may become a target for other survivors, desperate to take your supplies by any means possible. When determining your security needs, consider your location in respect to its proximity to civilization and roadways, as the more accessible you are to others, the more of a target you become.

Other factors to consider when planning your perimeter security include the following:

  • Is there limited visibility caused by terrain or structures
  • Do you have an expansive property that can be easily approached from many directions
  • Are you located near a major roadway where travelers might have to abandon vehicles and continue on foot
  • If you are bugging-in in a suburban setting, are your neighbors close by
  • If you are bugging-in in an urban setting, how is your visibility of the area surrounding your building
Would be pretty sweet for perimeter defense…

Why Use a Drone For Perimeter Security?

In terms of perimeter security, drones provide several advantages over mounted cameras or simply patrolling the property yourself, including mobile video surveillance, remote control and stealth.

Mobile Video Surveillance

Unlike a mounted camera, which is fixed on a designated area, drones are mobile and provide an unlimited field of view. The real-time video surveillance capabilities of a drone provide the ability to immediately assess whether a disturbance is a threat or welcome members of your team.

Remote Control

The ability to operate and control the drone from a distance not only keeps the operator out of harm’s way, but also facilitates the surveillance of large areas in a short amount of time and of areas that would be treacherous to travel by foot.


Drones are generally very quiet and have long range view capabilities. Additionally, drones cannot be avoided or tampered with as can a mounted camera.

One drawback to drones is that, yes, they can be shot down by an intruder. But most people would much rather lose their drone than their own life.

What Type Of Drone Would A Prepper Buy?

You can find drones that sell for as little as $50, but if you want a durable, top-rated model, you’ll need to spend at least $1,000 or more. Drones can be purchased ready to fly or in kits that you assemble. If you plan on adding several of your own features, a do-it-yourself drone is probably the best option; in fact, several brands offer a modular design that adapts well to add-ons.

When purchasing your drone, consider the following:

  • Maneuverability
  • Durability
  • Ability to live stream (first person view) vs. recording you can watch later – this decision comes down to personal preference and circumstances

Look for drones with the following features:

  • Gimbal to stabilize video
  • HD cameras
  • Long stream broadcast distance (more than 100 yards)

Here is a video taken by drone to give you an idea of the scope and range of what an operator can see when in flight: 

What Features Should I Look For In a Perimeter Defense Drone?

There are a variety of different features that can be added to drones, the best ones for you depend entirely on your situation and particular circumstances. For instance, drones come with varying levels of user control, with the most extreme being completely autonomous drones that patrol without any human interference.

Depending on your needs, an autonomous device may be ideal or you may want some level of manual operation to check on specific disturbances.

When choosing a drone for perimeter defense, here are some useful features you should consider:

  • Detection software, which can be installed to recognize perimeter breaches and immediately send the drone to the vicinity of the breach. Additionally, this software can be synched with an invisible infrared geo-fence, motion detectors, or seismic sensors, that can all be positioned in key locations around your property.
  • Flight time charge, this is a crucial factor as you want to ensure the desired flight path can be accomplished with a single charge.
  • Safety features, including proximity sensors that will detect and avoid objects in the flight path, emergency landing gear in the event of mechanical failure, and a ‘return-to-base’ function in the event the battery is low or the connection with the controller is lost.
  • Video, this can be displayed on the controller, streamed to a smartphone or tablet, or connected via video goggles for a first-hand, virtual reality experience. If you won’t be actively monitoring the flight path, you can also have the data sent to a DVR for viewing at another time.
If you see one of these above you it is probably too late...
If you see one of these above you it is probably too late…

OK, So Which One Should I Choose?

The ‘best’ drone for you depends entirely on your particular needs; what is an optimal choice for one person may not necessarily serve the needs of someone else. The following are our top drones picks along with the relative benefits of each, review each keeping in mind your particular circumstances to determine which would be the best fit:

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+

• Ready to fly and easy to operate out of box
• Flight time of 15-20 minutes
• Three-axis camera stabilization
• Shoots full HD video
• Controller is smartphone compatible for viewing video and adjusting camera settings
Parrot Bebop

• Flight time is approximately 10 minutes
• Can be controlled with an iphone or android device; alternatively, a SkyController can be purchased for $400 providing joystick controls, extended range, and HDMI output
• 14 megapixel camera with 180 field of view fisheye lens that automatically stabilizes the image, removes the fisheye effect, and sends image straight to a smartphone
• Records up to 8GB of 1080p video directly on the device
3D Robotics X8+

• Offers 15 minutes of flight time
• 8 motors with 11” propellers
• Can lift 2 lbs. and has a sturdy design
• Modular platform allows for customizing; does not come with camera or gimbal, but these can be added
• “Follow me” gps tracking feature links to your smartphone
Hubsan Spyhawk FPV

• Spy plane design
• Front-facing camera • Built in LCD display on the controller
• Three-axis flight stabilization
Drone in Action - Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone (CUPID)
• Not yet available on market
• Sends live video feed to a smartphone
• Can locate an intruder and incapacitate them with 80,000 volts of electricity (see video!)
ArizonaFPV The Copper Copter
• Offers 10 minutes of flight time between charges
• Programmable
Camera included
Only available from the manufacturer

What Else Should I Consider Before Investing in a Drone?

Remember that in a bug-in situation, power will be a scarce resource. As drones are battery powered, battery life should be a top consideration as well as having an alternative power source at your bug-in location. For instance, in the case of power grid failure, drone surveillance would be rendered useless without some other means of providing power.

power grid failure
What To Expect During A Power Grid Failure

Another consideration to keep in mind is government regulations regarding drone usage. As drones are an emerging technology, the FAA is drafting regulations concerning their usage. The most recent information states that a UAV (drone) must:

  1. Weigh less than 55 lbs.
  2. Always remain within the visual line sight of the operator
  3. Have a maximum speed of 100 mph (87 knots)
  4. Not be operated within 5 miles of any airport

In some situations, you may also need a license to operate one. While these regulations will be of little concern in a SHTF situation, be aware of them now to ensure you stay in compliance while practicing with your UAV.


Drones can be an excellent choice for perimeter security but involve a significant financial investment and require a decent amount of electrical and aerodynamical knowledge to maintain. Drones are also highly dependent on having a readily available electrical power source, an option that may not always present itself in every bug-in scenario. If you are considering using a drone for perimeter security, it is also important to keep an eye on the development of FAA regulations, which are only in the early stages.

The technology to remotely surveil your property and protect your family and supplies from intruders is here now, and it will only continue to improve. If you have a large property and are planning to bug in, a drone may be a smart investment. Always remember, when it comes to survival, chance favors the well-prepared.

Your Thoughts?

Have you ever owned or operated a drone? Would you consider using a drone for perimeter defense? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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bug in vs bug out

Bugging In Vs Bugging Out: How To Decide In An Emergency

bug in vs bug out

Bugging out is undoubtedly one of the most popular topics in survival literature, as well as in online discussion forums.

Assembling a bug out bag is something akin to a rite of passage among preppers, and we love to critique each other’s kits.

We talk endlessly about bug out locations (BOLs) and bug out vehicles (BOVs).  Yet, for all of that discussion, one rather critical part of the plan often lacks attention.

We talk a lot about HOW to bug out, but we often forget that sometimes bugging in is the required course of action.

Weighing Your Options

First of all, I firmly believe that bugging out should be considered your last option rather than your primary plan of action in most disaster scenarios.

For most of us, home is where we have the bulk of our supplies and hitting the trail with even a fraction of what we have stockpiled would be an arduous effort, to say the least.

Sure, we can fit all sorts of supplies in our vehicle but what if motorized travel isn’t a viable option? 

Depending upon the nature of the crisis, streets could be impassable due to debris or even manned roadblocks.

That said, even though it isn’t the best option in many cases, bugging out is still an important part of your overall disaster planning.

bug in plan
Would you have made the right choice?

Deciding When To Bug Out

Deciding when to bug out will largely be a judgment call, of course.

There are many factors that may come into play, and we certainly can’t plan ahead for all of them. 

However, there are a few key indicators, call them red flags if you’d like, that should get you thinking that it might be time to beat feet and head for a more secure location, at least for the immediate future.

Civil unrest in the immediate area

Particularly if you live in an urban or suburban area, this is a big clue that things are headed south and you might not want to stick around.

As I’ve often said and written, frequently the biggest threat in a crisis is other people.

If you are made aware of looting and riots happening in your immediate area, you may want to load up the family truck and head out of town for a bit.

Now, a word of caution, here.

I cannot stress enough the importance of obtaining reliable information on what’s going on around you.

It is one thing if your neighbor tells you they just got back from the grocery store where he saw massive crowds stripping the shelves bare. 

Another thing entirely if he tells you his sister said her best friend’s cousin was told by a random guy on the street three cities over that there were rumors of rioting happening.

This one reason why a working radio is a critical element of your survival gear. Depending upon the nature of the disaster, going online with a phone, tablet, or laptop might not be a viable option. A crank powered radio, ideally one that can tune in shortwave transmissions, might be the only way you can gather information about the world at large. 

Bear in mind, though, recent history has shown that reporters quite often get as much wrong as they get things right.

bug in plan
The Eton FRX2 is an excellent emergency radio

Stores aren’t getting restocked

The common statistic tossed about is that the average grocery store only has enough stock on hand to last three days at normal buying volume.

That’s actually rather misleading as it depends upon the items in question. Food items will go quickly. Toiletries, maybe not so much. 

Either way, if the grocery store has to shutter their doors because they’ve run out of stock on most things, people are going to get rather antsy.

bugging in

We live in an age of immediate gratification. We’ve become accustomed to satisfying our wants without thinking much of it. In fact, people get very upset quickly if the store doesn’t have the item they traveled there to purchase.

“What do you mean you sold out of The Walking Dead, Season 87?!”

They’ll demand to see a manager, who is just as powerless as the store clerk, and pitch a holy fit because the store dared to sell their entire stock of the item without so much as a thought for this important-in-their-own-mind customer.

Now, imagine it isn’t a DVD set, but food.  And rather than just being offended, the customer is starving… and has three kids at home who are just as hungry.

Yeah, you probably don’t want to hang around to see how that plays out.

Emergency services are overwhelmed

As we’ve seen happen time and again in major disasters, emergency services such as fire, police, and rescue can become overwhelmed.

Understand, I have the highest respect for those brave men and women who, when a crisis hits, run toward rather than away from danger. But, they are only human, and there are only so many of them to go around. 

They can’t be everywhere at once, right?

Because of the limited resources, and no matter how large the department is, there are a finite number of emergency responders available at any given time, what’s called triage is going to take place. 

Basically, decisions will have to be made about which emergencies are more important than others.  Of course, dispatchers do that every day. A massive pileup on the highway is going to take precedence over a lost dog. 

However, in the wake of a major disaster, there will most certainly be lives lost simply because of a lack of emergency personnel available.

Making The Call To Bug In Or Bug Out

The most important thing to remember is to trust your instincts.

If your gut is telling you it is time to get out of Dodge, listen to it.

Our subconscious minds often come to solid conclusions well before our active minds can muddle through all of the information. Bugging out can put you and your family in significant danger, whether from the actual crisis at hand or the people reacting to it in a less than an ideal manner. But, the danger of staying at home might be greater.

How to Prepare for Bugging In

To make sure you’re prepared for a situation that requires bugging in, read The Ultimate Guide to Bugging In: Preparing Your Home for a Disaster.

About The Author

This article was written by Jim Cobb who runs

Jim is the author of several books on preparedness and has most recently written “Urban Emergency Survival Plan: Readiness Strategies for the City and Suburbs,” which is a comprehensive look at disaster planning for urban and suburban dwellers.  Find out more about this great resource here:

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The Knowledge prepper Books Review

The Knowledge: Prepper Book Review

The Knowledge prepper Books Review

We’ve all seen post-apocalyptic movies or TV shows that feature heroic survivors scrounging for food and, more likely than not, fighting off some sort of un-dead enemy. It all looks so…achievable, doesn’t it? In the movies, someone always manages to build a fire and find drinking water; no one ever dies of dehydration or from an infected wound. The question is, if civilization were to collapse, could we rebuild life as we know it?

According to The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch by Dr. Lewis Dartnell, the answer is no. In this eye-opening survivalist guide, the author argues that if civilization should fall and necessities such as food and clothing no longer ‘magically’ appear for us on store shelves, then humanity would crumble. With all the advances and conveniences we’ve created, we’ve forgotten how to meet our basic needs if this crutch was taken away. In order to survive in a post-civilized scenario, we would need to relearn many of the core skills our ancestors used to advance civilization in the first place.

Why It Needs to be on Your Nightstand

The book is written from the perspective that if the world were to suffer a major catastrophe, it would be next to impossible for the ‘survivors’ of whatever calamity befell our civilization to retrace the steps of recent generations. Readers will learn the skills essential to rebuild our world in the immediate aftermath beyond just basic survival. By growing and mastering these skills, readers can move on to more complex tasks and learn how to improve their lives should the unthinkable happen.

Can’t we just use all the same stuff we enjoy today?

Consider this: many of the advances we enjoy today were created during the Industrial Revolution, fueled primarily by fossil fuels. At that time, these fuels were easily accessible and abundant, but now can only be mined or drilled using energy intensive and increasingly advanced methods. Oil, for instance, is currently fracked out of the ground using cutting-edge technology; a group of post-apocalyptic survivors wouldn’t stand a chance of pumping oil from a fracking well, let alone distilling it into fuel or plastic.

The Knowledge prepper Books Review

Given that we won’t be able to exactly replicate what our ancestors did, we need to devise ways of leapfrogging many of the steps they took as well as alternative solutions to problems solved during a different time.

A Quickstart Guide To Rebooting Civilization

In The Knowledge, Dartnell argues that “the aim for an accelerated reboot of civilization is to jump directly to a level that saves centuries of incremental development, but that can still be achieved with rudimentary materials and techniques – the sweet spot intermediate technology.” The book will teach you the skills needed to reimagine and recreate many vital technologies, including the following:

  • Melting down and reshaping plastics to make containers and other durable, reusable materials
  • Making steel via the Bessemer Process, instead of forging the way medieval blacksmiths did
  • Damming up a stream to create a millpond for a waterwheel – a technique not used until 600 AD, nearly 1,000 years after the widespread adoption of waterwheels
  • Leveraging chemistry to create a great deal of materials for building and creating, including basic chemistry to more efficiently make paper, soap, and fuels

How do I know this sort of thing is even possible?

Sound incredible? The Knowledge provides plenty of examples of times throughout history when civilizations successfully redeveloped technologies to survive. For instance, the City of Gorazde repurposed a roman-era waterwheel technology to generate electricity in the 1990s.  This was during the Bosnian War when the city was cut off from the grid during a three-year siege by the Serbian army. A few years earlier, Europeans were able to repurposed more than 1 million cars to run on wood, coal and methane gas during WWII.

The Knowledge prepper Books Review
An old wood-powered car. Think you could get it back up and running?

What You’ll Learn About Rebuilding Civilization

The Knowledge provides an in-depth review on the key tenets of civilization and the skills needed to rebuild from scratch. If you were in a post-apocalyptic situation right now, would you be able to weave cloth from plant material? Preserve your food? Put wind and water energy to work? Find your way using only the stars as a guide?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need to read this book. In addition to learning the skills needed for those key tasks, you’ll also learn the following:

  • What makes soil rich, the best fertilizers to use, and the best crops to cultivate based on ease of growing and nutritional value
  • How to turn crops such as cereals into consumables like bread and beer
  • How to preserve your food using traditional methods
  • How to spin yarn and thread from plant and animal materials to weave cloth
  • How to harvest the raw materials for more complex necessities such as soap, fuel and preservatives
  • How to scavenge for basic materials to build tools (such as a blacksmith’s) that will allow you to build more complex tools (such as a lathe or drill press)
  • How to create medicines needed for infectious diseases, childbirth, and more
  • How to perform basic medical exams and diagnosis without MRIs, X-rays, etc.
  • How to manage transportation in a post-fossil fuel world, e.g. wood-powered cars, animal power, wind for sailing
  • How to develop basic communication tools such as quills, inks and paper, as well as more complex medias such as the printing press, telegraph and radio
  • How to use basic chemistry to make explosives for mining and salvage work
  • How to use the stars for navigations as well as primitive tools such as sundials and astrolabes

The Knowledge prepper Books Review

The Ultimate Prepper Book?

If you’re looking to develop your self-sufficiency toolset, this book is a must-have. When disaster strikes, the greatest resources you can have is knowledge. The Knowledge gives you a holistic view of what skills you’ll need so you can prioritize your learning and development. There are also practical examples of how to use those skills to build the necessities of life from readily available materials.

The essential knowledge provided in this book will give survivors the tools to build a strong foundation for the future generations that come after, so that they can do more than survive – they can thrive.  If you are interested in vastly increasing your own preparedness or learning more about The Knowledge, you can read what other people are saying here.

The Knowledge prepper Books Review

About The Author, Dr. Lewis Dartnell

Dr. Lewis Dartnell is a professor of astrobiology at the University of Leicester in the UK. He is a UK Space Agency Research Fellow, STFC Science in Society Fellow, and the Senior Editor of the journal Astrobiology. He has committed countless hours to his exhaustive research of the technologies and skills needed to rebuild our world, and the detailed thoroughness of his book demonstrates this.  In addition to all this Lewis has somehow has time to keep up a preparedness related blog at

I recently reached out to Dr. Dartnell to speak with him about his book and ask the questions both myself and readers of The Bug Out Bag Guide had after reading The Knowledge. His rationale for writing the book in his own words is as follows:

What I tried to do with the book is push much farther beyond what most prepper books deal with – not focusing on the run-up to a disaster or the immediate aftermath, but looking years or generations down the line as to how you would actually need to know to reconstruct a new civilization (not necessarily rebuilding our world) from the ground up and ensure it remains vibrant and progresses. The idea behind the book is what would be the crucial knowledge you’d want to be able to hand to a group of post-apocalyptic survivors if society were ever to collapse (be it from pandemic outbreak, asteroid impact, or whatever) to help them rebuild as quickly as possible – a quick-start guide for civilization itself.

Q&A with Dr. Dartnell

Question #1

There are so many prepper books available, why should this one be on your must-read list?


I have very deliberately written The Knowledge to pick up where other prepper books leave off. You can certainly stock-pile canned food, bottled water, and other consumables, and this would fare you and your family well for riding out a disaster. But then what? What do you do once your reserves have run out? What would you actually need to know to produce everything you need for yourself, and to start recovering a society from the bottom-up? The Knowledge is a thought experiment on how you could orchestrate the reconstruction of a technologically-capable society in the aftermath of a global catastrophe. I take a post-apocalyptic world as the starting point, and ask what is the critical scientific and technological knowledge you’d need in order to reboot civilisation after an apocalypse, how to avert another Dark Ages, and how you might even accelerate that reboot second time around… The one thing I hope people take away after reading The Knowledge is to understand a little more about the behind-the-scenes fundamentals of how the life-support system of our modern civilisation works, and appreciate the everyday things we just take for granted today.

Question #2 – Note This was the winner for best question!

Given a small amount of time and money, what five skills would you recommend a person learn to be ready for any eventuality? In order of importance, please.


Well, at the end of the day, developing any new skill to a meaningful level of proficiency takes time – there are no short-cuts, particularly if you want to be prepared for any eventuality. But as long as your community of survivors has a diverse set of skills represented amongst them, and can work together effectively, you’ll have a much better chance of thriving. Throughout the chapters of the book I talk about the most crucial domains of knowledge and capability, why they were crucial in our own historical development and therefore why they will be needed if we ever have to reboot civilisation from scratch. This, of course, includes areas like agriculture and knowing how to grow enough food to sustain your community, and to keep your land productive and fertile over the generations. Knowing which natural fibres you can harvest and spin into thread, and then weave into clothes on a loom is also important. But history teaches us that building a capable society needs much more than just basic survival skills like these. The knowledge of how to extract crucial raw ingredients from the world around you and transform them into the most useful substances and materials. How to you create soda, needed for everything from soap to glass and paper? How do you get metals out of their rocky ores, to make all the tools and building materials that you need? And being able to use tools is also critical, as well as knowing how to maintain and repair them. I explain in The Knowledge why the lathe is so fundamental, and how it has the astounding ability to reproduce itself. All you need to make all of the components of a new lathe is a lathe, and if you know how, you can even use a half-finished lathe to complete its own construction. All of these crucial capabilities were developed slowly over time, and what I’ve tried to achieve in The Knowledge is provide enough of an outline that these could be redeveloped rapidly during a post-apocalyptic recovery. Well, as far as is possible in one single book, of course!

Question #3

What do you think the hardest thing to master or salvage would be?


If our civilisation ever did collapse and a community of survivors had to start again, rebuilding a progressive and technologically capable society, I think one of the most difficult fields to recover will be medicine. Although there are some herbal remedies that can be extracted relatively simply from natural sources, the vast majority of pharmaceuticals in use today are purified or modified by advanced organic chemistry, and that is going to take a lot of time for a society to redevelop. For centuries of history, doctors found themselves in the frustrating position of being able to diagnose the ailment or injury inflicting a patient but being essentially powerless to do anything about it; without antibiotics to treat infection or without anaesthetics and analgesics to allow surgery. I explain in The Knowledge the fundamentals of these things – how to chemically synthesise nitrous oxide or how you could re-isolate penicillium mold,for example. But in the aftermath of a global catastrophe the survivors would find their health-care capabilities knocked back to basics for quite a while once all the pre-existing drugs and medicines have degraded away (which I also discuss in The Knowledge)

Question #4

What key skillsets would you want to teach the next generation so they could build on whatever knowledge or technology you yourself were able to salvage or re-learn?


Of course there’s only so much information you could fit into a single book, or indeed a whole library of tomes. So the key skill for a society rebuilding after an apocalypse would be knowing how to fill-in the gaps – how to rediscover all of the other knowledge that you weren’t able to explicitly preserve or salvage. And so just with the last two or three centuries of our history, by far the most successful system for generating understanding will be science. The scientific method is essentially knowledge-generation machinery – a process you go through to understand the world around you and be confident that your explanation is the best one.  As long as the survivors can maintain an inquisitive and rational mind-set then civilisation has a chance of recovering rapidly and not getting caught in another Dark Ages of superstition and ignorance.

Question #5

What is the single most important issue with regards to hygiene? They are so many things to consider, from hand washing to location of a latrine, and how to do these things with very limited resources (like water).


I would argue that one of the most important nuggets of modern understanding that should be preserved if all else is lost, is the notion of germ theory. This is the idea that the reason people fall sick and pass their disease on to other people is not because of bad odours or the whims of fractious gods, but that there are things so tiny they are invisible to our eyes, but which get inside our bodies and make us ill. The most easily prevented diseases are spread by what doctors delightfully term ‘fecal-oral transfer’. Health education studies in the developing world have found that nearly half of all gastro-intestinal and respiratory infections can be avoided simply by regularly washing your hands. Although the importance of germs and hygiene seem obvious today, in our own history this wasn’t appreciated until surprisingly recently. As late as the 1850s, people in London, the capital city of the greatest empire on the planet at the time, were pouring their waste into the river Thames, and 20 yards downstream someone else was dipping in a bucket and drinking it. So if you did have to reboot civilisation, imagine the centuries of pestilence that you could leap-frog over with the fundamentals of germ theory. With this understanding, it is immediately obvious why you need to keeping washing your hands, treat carefully your sewage in large settlements, and use antiseptics and aseptic techniques to stop infection of an injury or after surgery. So in The Knowledge, I explain how to make your own soap for personal hygiene, how to produce ethanol as a disinfectant, why privy pits should always be dug at least 20 metres downhill from your source of drinking water, and how to construct a rudimentary microscope to demonstrate for yourself the existence of these invisibly small bacteria and protozoa.

Thank You!

Thanks again to Dr Lewis Dartnell for taking the time to answer our questions, if you want to find out more about the book, you can check out The Knowledge here:

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