Are you properly prepared to survive and thrive in the event of a disaster?
Have you ever wondered what emergency preparedness tactics the pros like to use?
In this article, you’ll discover strategies the experts use to avoid having to rely on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) broken crisis system and exactly what inspired them to start taking action.
We interviewed 10 top survival experts to share their most crucial tactics and asked them the following questions:
- What initially interested you in survival skills and preparedness?
- What got you into prepping and becoming a survivalist?
Here are their responses:
Survivalist # 1- Damian Brindle
If someone has just started prepping, what is the very first thing they should do?
The very first thing a person should do if they’ve just started prepping is stop reading all the negative and nay-sayer blogs. They’re easy to get sucked into and you’ll spend more time worrying about everything that could go wrong or that IS wrong and spend less time preparing.
Instead, listen to the people who have been doing this for a long time and focus on providing quality content. Blogs like backdoorsurvival.com, doomandbloom.net, thesurvivalistblog.net, graywolfsurvival.com, and thesurvivaldoctor.com are great places to start. There are plenty of others.
Beyond that, start with the things everyone needs. These are definitely water and food first and foremost. Start by copy canning (buying two cans of food when you only used one), buying water barrels, filters, including and using bulk foods into your diet, and so on.
There’s plenty more you can do but these are things everyone NEEDS no matter what the circumstances
#2- Jamie S.
What initially interested you in survival skills and preparedness? What got you into prepping and becoming a survivalist?
A lot of things played a part in me turning to the dark side. The biggest wake-up call I had was after Hurricane Ike when I realized I was not nearly as prepared as I thought I was. If we went without power for much longer we would have all died from food fatigue, you can only eat so much oatmeal before just wanting to starve! Also, food is great, but having a way to cook it is as equally important – dried pasta is just gross!
I won’t lie, I was slightly mortified that my friends who went through the same experiences, but went right back to fantasizing about having their own desperate housewives show once the power was restored. Someone needed to knock some sense into them, so in a roundabout way, that’s what I have finally accomplished through my blog.
#3- Patricia Scholes
Soon after we married, we moved from Wichita, Kansas, to Salina, Kansas, where we started our family. Being only ninety miles away, we were close enough to visit family, but far enough away that family couldn’t directly interfere with our lives.
Visiting family became a regular part of our lives and we made it our goal to visit once at least once a month, occasionally staying overnight with his family or mine. While preparing for one visit in particular, I packed extra diapers and a blanket. To this day I don’t know why I packed those items, but they became a necessity later that same weekend.
It was a Saturday night and we needed to get back to Salina because we were scheduled to be greeters at church that Sunday. The problem was, my Mom made a terrific chocolate cake and I wanted another piece before we headed back. This delayed us about thirty minutes past the time we should have left. This meant it would be after midnight when we got home, and my husband was not pleased.
With the two-year-old buckled into her car seat, and the baby in my lap, I soon fell asleep. I was awakened by a tremendous thunderstorm. Lightning flashed every other second. Thunder boomed around us, and the rain came at us faster than the windshield wipers could whisk it away. We were going only about 5 mph because of the severity of the storm.
All electricity was off. There were no lights at the Interstate exits, meaning no way to know without reading the signs where we were. We found we needed to depend on the lightning to tell us which exit to take into town. Then we needed to count blocks to find the right turn-off to our street. Debris flew everywhere.
By the time we arrived on our street, most of the storm had passed, and all we faced was wind and a downpour. Still, there were no lights, so we couldn’t see across the street, just the street ahead of us.
We finally got to our driveway. Our headlights turned toward the tree in the front yard. It was torn off at an angle about waist high. The whole top portion was completely gone.
I said, “Oh, Dennis, the tree!” I wasn’t thinking about brilliant statements at that time.
Then our headlights illumined what was left of our house. The walls were on the ground, the roof nowhere in sight. I said, “Oh, Dennis, the house!”
He gave me a worried look. Was I one of those women who fell apart during a disaster? Would he need to take charge not only of our survival, but of me and the children too?
I looked at the babies, and chose – and it was a choice – to set my mind to think of what we needed to do next, and I said, “Maybe we should go back to Wichita and spend the night at my parents.”
We didn’t get that far. To avoid a wire blown from its pole that whipped across the road, my husband slammed on his breaks. The baby was flung from my arms into the air conditioner. (This was back in the late sixties, and cars didn’t automatically come with air conditioners, neither were their laws that required car seats for babies.) Because the babies tiny head wound was bleeding so heavily, we went to the hospital instead. I used one of the extra diapers I had packed to hold it against the cut.
While we waited for our baby to be seen, people began to pour into the emergency room from the Kannapolis Reservoir. One woman was shaking so badly, I took the blanket I had packed out of the car and draped it around her.
Although we believed God provided for every ones survival, that night, we vowed we would continue to be prepared going forward. One of the things we learned was that disasters don’t wait until you’re ready.
#4- Keven Card
For over 10 years I lived on the island of Guam in the South Pacific. There, nearly every year we’d experience a Typhoon that would devastate the area and delay services for weeks and in one case several months. That’s where my initial interest in preparedness started. But it was amplified in 2005 after we’d moved to Texas and Hurricane Rita grazed Houston, Texas.
That’s when we experienced the real aftermath of a disaster, as thousands of motorists were stranded on Houston highways. But as the highways cleared the real devastation was revealed, gas stations were drained dry and we were forced to ration our fuel resources. Thankfully, I knew how to preserve my perishable food by making a poor man’s freezer with ice and salt.
That allowed us to store our perishable food for over a week, while others were forced to throw their food away. We dried other meats for long term storage and had a stock pile of canned goods giving us the ability to shelter in place and avoid the risk of confrontation at the stores.
It’s funny but I never really started out looking for survival or preparedness websites; being ex-military I guess I had an inflated confidence in my abilities that most guys have at some point. It was around 2007 that I started getting a gut feeling that life as we know it was not going to be rosy forever. Something drove me to start investigating and I quickly realized just how fragile our just in time society was.
It could have been prompted by natural disasters, but led to infrastructure issues. I realized that my family was no better off than millions of others if we had to go without food, power or security. We were on our own. That eventually led to prepping and taking steps to care for my family and not depend on government systems or some illusion of order that can easily be shattered in the right circumstances.
#6- David Alexander
I read the book “Rich Dad’s Advisors: Guide to Investing In Gold and Silver: Protect Your Financial Future” by Michael Maloney in 2009. This book is more about learning the real history of the world then a book specifically about gold and silver investing. This book started me down the rabbit hole of truth in world history and real economics. This book made me realize that a possible financial collapse was in our near future and I had better start preparing and educating myself to protect my family.
Since 2009 I have been studying non-stop and I have probably read over 100 books related to world history and Austrian or free market economics, watched thousands of hours of video and have read volumes of text in articles and blog posts. I consider myself a very educated person on world history, Austrian economics and of course self-defense since 2009. Prior to 2009 knowing what I know now, I would have to consider myself a blind fool and a borderline idiot for not seeing the truth that was always in front of me.
#7- Alex Miklovic
I have always found self-reliance to be empowering, and I think that’s why I was originally attached to survival skills and preparedness. As I get older, I find myself thinking a lot about my future and the things I can do to make my life easier down the road. Most of the time, this means saving money, eating healthy and exercising, but it also means preparing for a rainy day.
I think we call this growing up, or being responsible, but to me it looks a lot like prepping. I think, as adults, we naturally become preppers in some form or another. It’s practically all we do. We work to prepare for retirement; we buy health insurance to prepare for sickness. Having a plan for the worst-case scenario is just a small drop in that bucket.
#8- Alec Deacon
Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of those success stories that I can talk about easily and proudly. On August 5th, 2006 I was at work when a fire started at my house. A faulty wire in the pantry caused it, I had no idea about it… I still blame myself for not preventing the accident, even though I couldn’t have possibly foreseen it.
My wife and kids were at home, trapped in the bedroom… Ana was calling me desperately that the fire squad was taking too long… It was a nightmare. The firemen wouldn’t let me go in, I was absolutely helpless. I thank those amazing men for saving my family that day… But I swore I would never let anything bad happen to them for as long as I live. And that’s basically how I got into survival.
#9- Richard Fleetwood
My wife and I grew up in North Texas, in the Dallas area, the bottom part of the original Tornado Alley. We saw a few storms, but never suffered any real damage from them. We moved to Alabama (job transfer within the Federal Government) in 1993, and immediately began having to live with tornado threats every year.
In fact, not even two weeks after we moved to the state, the 1993 storm of the century hit, and plunged us into the dark ages, trapping us in our home for 5 days with no power, and a LOT of snow, causing tens of thousands of downed trees throughout the area. Every highway in the state was shut down by the governor. We also enjoyed living through two hurricanes, 3 years of massive flooding, a lightning strike on our home, a house fire, and neighborhood crime issues.
We also had family get hurt and lose their home in the F5 Tornado on April 8th, 1998 that killed dozens in Jefferson County, Alabama. Those same family members were also struck by the historic tornado outbreak events of April 27th, 2011, During this time one single tornado was on the ground for over 81 miles, traveling through both Tuscaloosa and parts of Birmingham. This massive twister struck their new home, destroying everything they owned…a second time.
In dealing with these storms, I saw a family need for many items, food, tools, and backup communications (1993 snow storm that affected the entire east coast killed our power for 5 days, and travel was impossible because of downed trees on ALL local roads in the rural area we lived in). With the tornado threats several times a year every year, I began my search for shelter plans. That was the start of my website project, sharing those plans, my ideas and thoughts with a global audience.
#10- Gaye Levy
For most of my life, I have been a city girl. I was born, went to school, and was married in Seattle. Long story short, in 2006 I moved to San Juan Island in Washington State. This is a rural community located about 30 miles off-shore to the US mainland. We are served by what I call a “rust-bucket” ferry system. There are no bridges.
Needless to say, if there was a disruptive event in Seattle (earthquake, terrorist attack, pandemic, you name it), our island community would be cut off from incoming goods for quite some time.
Shortly after moving here full-time, I did a walk around inventory to determine what I needed to do to assure that I was self-sufficient following such an event. That is the day I started prepping in earnest.
How has a prepping skill ever saved you in some instance?
Interesting you should ask, because we are experiencing a water apocalypse as I write this post. We have had no running water for 5 days and it appears we will not have running water for an additional 5 days.
As a result of our backup supply of bottled water, Berkey filter for raw water, 55 gallon water barrel, rain barrel, and the knowledge of how to conserve, we are quite relaxed. We consider this a big adventure as we test our water preps.
When a disaster strikes, the difference between the people that live and die is more dependent on their individual levels of preparedness rather than how much “luck” they have. I hope our interviews with these ten survival experts have not only educated you, but inspired you to make sure you are prepared when a disaster occurs. To continue reading more about surviving in extreme conditions click here.