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VIDEO: Prepping For The Worst – Basic Survival Strategies For Everyone

VIDEO: Prepping For The Worst – Basic Survival Strategies For Everyone

Prepping expert Lisa Bedford gives her methodology and strategies. My big takeaway: “It’s the water that really worries me.”

On July 31, 2022, we held our online event on prepping.

It was an outgrowth of my concerns about the fragility of the supply chain and various utility grids, something I wrote about a year ago, Prepping for the Worst.

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, and I’m not panicked. I’m just concerned, and thinking the unthinkable….

The pandemic made clear we live on a thin line that can be disrupted. It’s not unthinkable that our key systems — the electric grid, natural gas supply, gasoline — could fail….

So all in all, I no longer view “preppers” as crazy. Maybe they were right, just early. Better early than late.

I don’t plan to be late….

I have so little faith in the people running this country at various levels that stocking up on long shelf-life food and other prepper-lite protections seems to me, for the first time in my adult life, to be one of the least crazy ideas.

The event featured “The Prepper Mom” Lisa Bedford:

Lisa Bedford is better known as The Survival Mom and founder of The Survival Mom blog and online prepping courses. Since 2009, she has encouraged families to adopt a calm and common-sense approach to an uncertain future.

Lisa is also the author of Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios and Emergency Evacuations: Get Out Fast When It Matters Mostand has been featured in national and international media. Her goal is to reach everyday families with the message of preparedness.

Lisa did most of the talking during the event and answered a lot of questions. Her presentation focused having a methodical approach centered on “The 8 S’s”. I found that really helpful in how to think about an overall approach, rather than being random and reactive.

The presentation also focused on relatively short-term (30-day) preparation, rather than what it would take to live completely off the grid for longer periods in case of complete collapse. I think people need to be prepared for a longer period, but for most people in most places, the first 30 days are critical.

While personal security was addressed in passing, this was not a self-defense presentation. That’s another issue which needs to be discussed separately.

Last but not least, her presentation focused me on water. Water. And more Water. It’s the hardest thing to do in many ways because water is such a critical immediate need and the quantities needed are more than most of us have handy. So water solutions are something I’m definitely focused on:

“It’s easy to buy 30-days worth of food. That’s easy. It’s the water that really worries me.”

Lisa has a for-pay course “Survival Begins With Water” that I plan on taking.

Here is the full video. There is no “highlight reel” this time.

Many attendees asked for Lisa’s slides. Here the are (pdf.):

Prepping for the Worst – Basic Survival Strategies For Everyone by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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Have a plan with a post-catastrophic-event time line for when you expect having to make decisions. Food is easy. Ammo is easy. Water more difficult but you would be surprised how much water you can store in the many empty spaces in your home. Communication will likely be the most difficult challenge. Work on that.

I have planned mostly for “the big one” and am prepared to deal with the worst for it. No need to go into the details since there are too many factors to consider. But this would be a “bug in” event where I am fully prepared to hunker down and survive for 6-8 months. By then you would expect the government to have had enough time to get things going up and running again. If not, the reason is likely national or global in nature. What do you then do? That’s why communications is important. What you plan to do depends on what happens.

Surviving the event itself is out of our control. But post event, your supplies should carry you through or at least long enough carry out the next leg of your plan.

Realistically, my earthquake plan is very likely to be more than I will ever need. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for worse. That part is forever a work in process. The hardest part is planning for communications and deciding on who will be involved and what will be the ultimate destination in the event we have no option but to converge for survival.

rabid wombat | August 4, 2022 at 9:03 pm

First, remember the priorities. Air, Water, Food, Shelter. You have about 2 minutes without air. A few days without water. Depending next…either food or shelter…ambient defines. Shelter in place or leave? How to protect? Communication – cells go down, but texts go through. Ham, internet, etc?

Define what you are preparing for. End of the world…get me for the rendering. Local weather or political event (Harvey, Katrina, George Floyd, Rodney King, ‘68)….rooftop Koreans….what is the likelihood of each event

Remember, in a power outage a generator will make you stand out with noise and light. What is drawn to light?

How do you interact with neighbors and others? How do you protect yourself when others want what you have more than you do?

So many questions…..

Good points.

One mentioned above but which is nearly always missed: FIRST decide which events you think are important to prepare for, either because you consider them likely or because while they are very unlikely, have such high consequences that you want to be prepared.

Example of the first: in Florida and the Gulf Coasts: hurricanes, of the later: a major house fire. The latter is extremely unlikely, but the consequences so high that we all have insurance as a matter of course. We hardly think of it as prepping.

Water: if you have a basement you likely have plenty of room for water barrels. If you live near a source of fresh water like a stream or pond, consider water filters. Do you or neighbors have a swimming pool? Get water filters.

Check your area for pools with Google Earth and print out any positive results. We store water for ourselves but two neighbors have pools and we have filters for over 6000 gallons of water. We can’t feed the neighbors but we sure can help them survive after a hurricane or earthquake with drinkable water. That helps keep the neighborhood intact and peaceful.

Food: long term storage basics like rice and beans packed for 25 year shelf life are great -we have some from the LDS store- but the real basics are your own standard canned goods, rice, and pasta as they all last at least a year. Just keep rotating your stock so they never go way out of date. That costs nothing because you’ll eat them in the course of normal events. Unlike very expensive freeze dried food, that isn’t very sexy, but it is highly effective.

You’ll find that prepping well for one likely event also prepares one pretty well for less likely events. We prepped for hurricanes, but when we realized that earthquakes are also an issue, all we had to do was add permanently stored water (instead of empty collapsible water containers which we’d fill as a hurricane approaches. Earthquakes don’t give notice.)

When we’d prepared for hurricanes and earthquakes, we read that our city is very high on the list of probable hubs for a pandemic. All we had to add were N95 masks, so as it happened we were prepared for Covid a lot better than most people. We were even able to send several to a family member in Asia so she could wear masks on the flights home, and to another in Seattle.

Do prepping right and it doesn’t have to be terribly expensive. It can even become a bit of a hobby, especially if you enjoy camping or target shooting.

Being prepared for two to four weeks without shopping or electricity should get one through almost any disaster, man made or natural, and you’ll feel some satisfaction. Enjoy.

Colonel Travis | August 4, 2022 at 11:05 pm

This was really good advice. The only thing I would disagree with somewhat, and it wasn’t a main focus of the presentation, is the bugout scenario. The more I’ve thought about that, the less I think it’s a smart thing to do for most people. If you live in a crowded urban high rise and have a structure to go to outside the city, and it’s safe to get there, it could be the best option.

If you are in a single family home, I see the advantages of staying outweighing leaving. All the big quantities of stuff you have at home – food, ammo, car(s), gas, tools, etc. When I think about all that’s here vs. the little I could take, I’d really rather not leave it. You also have neighbors, which presumably would be more helpful than going it alone in the wilderness. Your neighbors might be jerks, I don’t know. You leave and they steal your stuff. Anyone could. Even an EMP disaster, I’d stay put.

Now if your house is destroyed, your entire neighborhood destroyed in the midst of a war, sure, get the heck out of there. Where I am in the country, that would most likely mean a nuke hit vs army invasion. At that point, you’re probably gonna need more than a bag!

    Your bug out assessment is something I’ve given a lot of thought over the years and I came to the same conclusion. Here in SoCal, even if there is an urgent reason to leave, we probably won’t be able to. There are only five exit routes and those that aren’t destroyed in the earthquake will be absolutely clogged by cars stuck in traffic and eventually out of gas. Permanent blockage.

    I keep thinking of the Y2K scare where it seemed the universal rule seemed to be “wherever you are, you need to get somewhere else”. Identifying a suitable location might seem like a good idea until you realize that you aren’t the only one who thinks that way. Better to wait until things settle down and then, assuming you have had good communications and there is still a need to relocate, work out the details and make a decision. It is impossible to be fully prepared but with good communications and a number of good reliable friends who have coordinated their preparations, you will have options as things evolve.

    All of this sounds good but the only thing you can control is your own personal situation. I am a
    “bug in” guy hoping all of the other planning works out, especially the communications.

    BTW, having a lot of ammo might sound crazy since it is very unlikely we will ever use it. Any situation where might you actually need thousands of rounds of ammo is almost certain to end bad in the early stages. You might be lucky to use 100 rounds. However, ammo would likely become the prime currency for bartering if law and order were to disintegrate.

    Whatever we end up planning, it is very unlikely to work out the way we expect. That remote mountain retreat by a lake sounds good but it may turn out to be in the bug out plans for thousands of other people. So stay put if at all possible.

      Reports from people we know who evacuated for various hurricanes showed them still stuck on the road after 3 days. And, since everyone was evacuating along the same routes, fuel and locally acquired sustenance were scarce.

      I have determined anything less than a Cat5 would have me sheltering in place, and even a Cat5 would be a decision to make, not a given.

    Well, you’ll just need as many bags as there are people in your family….

    One more item that is mentioned, but often gets short shrift: your whole community.

    What does it mean to your neighbor when a hurricane hits? My house has to worry about a couple of trees, but the folks across the street back up to woods with lots of REALLY tall pole pines. How do I plan in relation to that? How much responsibility do I take? How much do I rely on them? (Do they have a chainsaw, so I don’t need one?) How much do I prepare for, say, moving a neighbor into my house when the hurricane knocks the tree down on theirs? Etc.

    And, of course, the lawyer’s question to Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?”

    Like so much else, there are few “right” answers, lots of wrong ones, and a WHOLE LOT somewhere in the middle of your circumstances.

I regret missing this, being on vacation. Two of the families we visited are prepared for at least six months. Water is crucial. Yes. Filters, or storage. Then my step son mentioned CASH, if credit is not available. Not something I really thought about.

    danvillemom in reply to amwick. | August 5, 2022 at 8:05 am

    Thank you for the presentation. I have not prepped that much beyond food but I am certainly going to start. The 8 Ss are a great roadmap.

    Milwaukee in reply to amwick. | August 5, 2022 at 9:43 am

    For cash, remember small bills. My collection has 5s, 10s, and a few 20s, with smattering of 1s. Probably need to work on the ones. People won’t be interested in making change. Don’t put it all in one pocket.

I am really glad I got to see this! Being LDS I was already well familiar with food and water storage, having medications on hand, having a generator, extra cash. However I learned about things I had never considered. The importance of tools. Communications. The importance of routines and schedules to help keep sanity. Developing relationships with a small group of people you trust so you don’t have to “survive” alone. The importance of easy-to-prepare meals for when you are stressed. Man, I felt so stupid when Lisa Bedford said that! I should have thought of that! I remember how upsetting it was when everything first shut down with the pandemic – we did survive those first few days on simple meals but we had power. When your world is upside down and you are upset how much harder it would be to try and feed your family if there is no power? Water is effort to obtain? It is 5° below 0, or 105°? I thought I was prepared. I’m not!

All the above. Also, have a set of camping supplies, which both work when the power is out, and are portable, if you must bug out. Always keep your car fueled. 4WD is ideal, as is an old one without all the electronics that will get wiped with an EMP. And, like on an airplane, memorize the exits.

I once lived in Milwaukee. Really don’t want to think about how that city has declined and how they will handle adversity. Now on Gulf Coast, the west side. We have limited exit routes. Our guess is a hurricane with fuel shortage, and loads of people caught on the road. Just this week I was mentally designing a solar water distiller. Things need to be simple and easy, effective is important, but so is reliable.

    mentally designing a solar water distiller
    A baggie placed (and taped shut) over tree leaves (on the tree).
    Standard survival one requires a hole in the ground, some sturdy clear plastic, and a wide and deep container that will fit in the hole. Oh, and a rock – to put in the middle of the plastic.
    Also, two tupperware-like plastic containers, one large enough to hold grass/leaves, one small enough to fit inside the first, and sturdy plastic to go over the top. Oh, and a rock, to go in the middle of the plastic.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Milwaukee. | August 5, 2022 at 10:51 am

    EBT Totes, food grade for water. Have sodium hypochlorite, dry pellets are best, on hand. have a gas pressure washer on hand, it can be used to drill a well. Even if you are in a city, you can drill a 30′ well in a few hours. Better yet, do that now and have the water tested.

      If you do it now, you might need to do it surreptitiously. A lot of places it would be illegal to drill a well.
      Also, in a city you have serious issues with what’s under your house/land when you start drilling.
      But a well is something that would be very useful.

    My nephew and family live in a house in Miami. When they last got hit with a hurricane they evacuated to Tampa. By the time they got to Tampa, that was under evacuation orders. They ended up with friends in NC.

    They did have the issues with traffic and gas supplies, but had done something smart: they had gas cans which they filled while that was still possible, so that extended their range considerably.

    So, keeping some empty gas cans is a prep. We keep small, never used ones in our vehicles for the off chance we run out of gas. It would be very embarrassing, but at least we wouldn’t have to rely on a gas station to loan us a container.

    I suggested to him that if they did get caught in impossible traffic, find a parking ramp and get onto an upper floor. Weather the storm in the car. Uncomfortable, but above water. In the end they didn’t have to, but it’s an idea to keep in mind.

taurus the judge | August 5, 2022 at 10:17 am

It was interesting.

I have been doing and training people with our group on these areas literally for 40+ years ( long before anyone knew or cared what “prepping” is or was) and still doing it. I not only support but really advise every person to invest some time and effort into the field because I personally see a “bad moon rising” and we never know when a natural disaster is going to happen.

I point that out to say this for people who are entering or considering the subject (I hesitate to use the common words like “survivalist”, “prepper” or whatnot)- BE CAREFUL about reviewing those who sell this and think this through before you invest money and/or time.

taurus the judge | August 5, 2022 at 10:31 am

Follow Up….


There are many books, articles, sites and tube vids on this subject to the point where its almost like being hit with a tsunami.

I know many of these guys personally and have been involved with a few in their organizations (plus ours) so no names or recommendations ( positive or negative- totally vendor neutral) and the majority are military experienced 9 a few career outdoor types too) and what they do is top of the line-state of the art.

Others are not however.

Step one for the beginner: this field is so large and so open that its impossible to prepare for “everything”. One thing a lot of schools do is what I call the “Rambo” or “Red Dawn” scenario.

Their model scenario is a weekend long romp in the woods with healthy people hiding from “the enemy”- that’s good training but not true “prepping”.

Thing one is design the scenario and plan of what exactly you are prepping for?

The next thing is preparing YOU. You can buy and be proficient with every whiz-bang “thing there is but if you do not have the mental awareness, judgement, and other factors to employ them under stress- you still die. Train YOU first.

Then, consider the location and duration of your scenario ( and every living entity you intend to support) One of the “fatal flaws” I get asked about is SUSTAINMENT.

First, there is a hard limit to how much you can ruck and another limit to what fits in a vehicle.

there a million videos on sawyer purification, fire starting and every subject known to man but they don’t touch on SUSTAINMENT. (how long- 3 days, 30? 90? indefinite). What type of environment (passive or whatever?) Local procurement? ( buy, scrounge, steal, make or even availability in general be it raw material or finished goods)

Resupply or cache? Barter?

Just think though the scenario first and realize there is no “one size fits all” plan or solution.

Just FYI.

    I will whole-heartedly endorse the consideration of MENTAL PREPAREDNESS.
    Those who did best and benefited most from survival training at the Academy and on active duty were those who actually were able to shift their thinking based on the situation and not be bound by their non-survival preconceptions. (One of my flight-mates borrowed our instructors blow gun and spent the entire base camp time training with it. He did have to buy the instructor some new darts, as he left quite a few in squirrel’s tails!)

It’s interesting that this week “prepping” also hit Instapundit. Two posts (one repeat) garnered over 500 comments.

I will give my 2¢ as a survival instructor and an aficionado. (Unfortunately, I missed the event here.)

First, as taurus mentioned: MENTAL PREPAREDNESS.
Just considering the possibility and what it realistically means goes a loooong way to preparation. Then consider the scenarios and game them out realistically. This means doing things like looking at your “evacuation routes” and determining if they’re even usable, examining your capacity for storage, will your house be a liability or an asset, etc.

Second, ordering those 8 S’s properly: Safety is first (like, get out of the water, away from live electrical lines, out of the house with the tree falling on it, etc.), then Shelter, then Sustenance, then Sanitation.

Third is to absolutely decide on what you’re planning for. Are you evading an enemy to reach friendly lines? (That was our Academy survival situation.) Are you hunkering down in the face of a hurricane? Are you fleeing in the face of a hurricane? Are you planning for surviving a tornado or earthquake? Dissolution of local social order? Complete elimination of all civilization? Do you lose utilities temporarily or permanently?

All of those things have different considerations – amounts of food, need for things like electricity, requirement for self-defense, etc. But, as others have said, they all overlap in some areas, and planning for that is helpful.

For example, I have planned for the need to survive in my car for a short period for various reasons. But I have also planned on the need to get out of the car and get somewhere safer (see I-95 in Virginia last winter). So, I have two bags – one for taking with me to get somewhere safe, and one that handles staying with the car. The first bag contains items for both, so I’m not over-packing.

Fourth, knowledge. On paper. This includes everything from edible plants to various shelters to build to how to mill grains into flour. A good book for extending your thinking is The Knowledge: How to rebuild civilization in the aftermath of a cataclysm, by Lewis Dartnell. I don’t agree with everything he says, but it definitely made me think a lot further out than I was.

Lastly, I will parrot the call for tools and the ability to use them. Non-powered hand tools: hammers, saws, screwdrivers, pliers/wrenches, and pry bars. Also, rope, nails, screws, and some basic lumber. This will work for everything from local natural disasters to societal dissolution or global thermonuclear war.

My only caution is that lots of people seem to be declaring they’re prepping for TEOTWAWKI but they’re stockpiling freeze-dried food. That is only planning to survive as long as that food lasts. If you’re truly considering TEOTWAWKI scenarios, you need to consider how to actually make food. You need to be able to do real sanitation – you will eventually run out of plastic bags to do your business in, and the bears will resent you using their bathroom. You’re only planning for TEOTWAWKI if you’re really planning on starting your own little civilization.

taurus the judge | August 5, 2022 at 11:22 am

As a freebie, lets talk water because this is always the second most important thing ( air is first but just understood and not counted, shelter is second, water is next then comes food) Depending on your personal situation and physical condition- you have about a max of about 3 days before you die but you will be SEVERELY affected in less than 24. (Speak from experience)

How “much” you need depends on several factors such as the environment you are in, the work you are doing, the clothes, physical and medical conditions at a minimum. Don’t go by the chart- go by your personal needs and in a family unit- go to the weakest one.

Also, remember that this is just POTABLE( drinking use) for consumption and not accounting for potable/cooking and non potable for cleaning etc.

That number goes up significantly then.

Purification- (disclaimer- this is for academic discussion use only as this subject required a detailed instruction before actually using)

Forget Sawyer and Katadyn (both I highly recommend)- the water and CONDITION will determine what and how much purification is needed. NOT the ad you read.

For water that is suspected to be poisoned, chemically contaminated, salty, brackish and many bio agents- RO or full distillation is about all that works. Even then, you will need to add minerals back under these processes.

These filters work for cloudy “dirty” water and a carbon element helps a bit more. Tablets work if you don’t mind the taste of most.

The big decision about water is “store” or “tote”. Water is HEAVY and makes noise.

If one is bugging in- I have always recommended a well, or some form of cistern/pond whenever possible when how long is “indefinite”- otherwise food grade containers ( don’t use anything else for drinking water) is the option. Then storage capacity/space and security become issues.

If one is bugged out or basically manpacking- I recommend searching for sources and do like the deer- stick close to a source. You cant carry but so much and you need constant resupply.

In all cases, learn how to “forage” for water- water is everywhere but you may need to know where and how to look ( a science all to itself)

Just discussion fodder

taurus the judge | August 5, 2022 at 11:31 am

Here’s a “fatal flaw” on many courses designed by military types (yes, this includes me because I too was guilty of this until it was pointed out to me once and I realized it) and it applies to a “civilian” ( defined as a non military or experienced outdoorsman/bushcrafter)

Military manuals and training are designed and constructed for an individual who is ALREADY HIGHLY TRAINED AND DISCIPLINED as well as in physical/mental shape. (obviously because that’s who they are originally written for)

They also imply a certain standard and quality of the gear as well as based on a military logistics scenario and routing TRAINING AND PREPAREDNESS IS PRESUMED.

Don’t think buying a copy of FM 21-76 will make you an expert. ( more likely to get you killed)

That post GW made is gospel. THINK AND PLAN first

Make is SCENARIO specific

BUT TRAIN AND EDUCATE YOU FIRST!!!!!! ( fail there and you are DUN)

All of the above….

Something to consider when bugging out / evacuating….you may have special requirements / documents to come back in…what documents do you need to provide to come back to your own home? What else do you need in event of leaving? Do you have them all rounded up and in one location for easy access?

A Pelican case is your friend….

    I’ve found that a great way to store documents is with a phone camera, with cloud storage.

    When every place in sight demanded we show Covid vaccination cards, we never had a problem with presenting clear photos on our phones or iPads.

    Drivers licenses, passports, insurance cards (be sure to keep updating as they expire every six months -at least ours do), bank account info, hotel information, car license plates including rentals, important phone numbers and email addresses, etc. Even if you lose your own phone, you can access the info by signing in through someone else’s phone or computer.