New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Building A Needs Based Preparedness Plan – Putting it All Together

I'm not so good at putting things into the written word, and this final part to building a Needs Based Preparedness Plan is more along the lines of 'gotta see it', so bear with me and follow the link at the end of this post to 'see' all the examples that give you an idea of what I am trying to explain ;-}

Organizing a plan is probably the toughest part in making any plan and a preparedness plan is no exception.  Over the years, the following strategy has proven instrumental in accomplishing this.  It is basically a ‘grouping’ of the ‘needs’ that are then put into an outline format.

Outline format allowed changes to my plan as I moved into or out of various areas that were prone to specific types of crises – without having to re-write the entire plan!  All I had to do was cross the Roman numeral out and then move that page to the end of the plan when I moved out of an area; or write a replacement Roman numeral for any new crisis when I moved into a specific area.  It sure does beat re-writing the entire plan ;-}

First and foremost we have to remember that a preparedness plan is NOT a set of how-to instructions on utilizing your goods or supplies.  Rather, this is the basic methods, processes and procedures associated to each need (goods, knowledge, skills) on your Per Crisis Needs Lists.

Let’s take Food Storage as an example:

Your preparedness plan will deal with the projected timeframe you want the food storage items to sustain you.  It will NOT however be your detailed inventory of how much food you have in storage at any given time or even exactly where it is stored.  Nor will the plan contain any recipes or medicinal uses.  Any detail or physical inventory on the quantity of each food item in storage, etc., will be in your Important Documents book under ‘Food Storage’.

So if your ultimate goal is a year’s supply of food and water, but you only have 6 months right now, your preparedness plan will read something like this:

Food Storage
  • Quantity: 6 mths, goal 1 year; budget is on track with our goal
  • Location(s):  primary retreat and several caches; goal secondary retreat

Note: If you have some ‘goods’ that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, you won’t be able to utilize without a set of step-by-step instructions, then highlight these and be sure to create a ‘How To’ or ‘Instructions’ section in your Important Documentation book and put the instructions for these items there.

Most of the ‘needs’ on your Per Crisis Needs Lists can likely be grouped into one of the following group types.  So review your Per Crisis Needs lists with these potential groupings in mind.  

Keep a scratch pad with several columns on it and just make quick notes as you notice the various groupings of ‘needs’.

When you finalize these groupings, try to give each Roman numeral its own physical page when you type it up.  This will allow changes without having to re-write the entire plan.  Once this is completed print it off and put in your Important Documentation book – hard copy is for the truly prepared.  Make  changes as needed to your hardcopy to keep it up to date.

These ‘groupings’ are what I call ‘organizational indicators’ for your preparedness plan outline.

I.    The simplest ‘grouping’ concerns those needs that fall into the ‘goals and objectives’ realm.  Think along the lines of what you have yet to acquire, the quantity you wish to obtain or a retreat location goal or the example above on food storage and the like.

II.    Repeat ‘needs’ tend to be the more critical stuff and that alone forms one type of ‘grouping’ of needs.  For instance most of the following will usually fall into your repeated needs ‘grouping’:

  • Budget
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Storage Areas
  • Practice Drills
  • Mobility
  • Physical Necessity to life:  breathable air, nutrition, water and shelter from the elements (clothing, shelter, heating, cooling)
  • Psychological Necessity to life:  spiritual and mental wellness, entertainment to eliminate boredom
  • DSS:  Defense, Safety and Security
  • Communications:  contacts, call tree, listening network, alternative powered radio, alternative 2-way communications
  • Medical, Dental, First Aid
  • Sanitation and waste
  • Alternative energy for heating, cooling, cooking and the like
  • Maintenance needs of all of the supplies:  usage and rotation of items based on use and shelf life.

III.    Another ‘grouping’ usually shows up with long duration crises:

  • Education
  • Physical Fitness and exercise
  • Renewable food, gardening, seed saving, canning, dehydrating, Hunting, fishing, trapping, snaring and or food animals like fish, goats, chickens, etc.
  • Replenishable water

IV.    What methodologies, processes and procedures are utilized for the consumable and reusable ‘goods’ is another ‘grouping’; like food or sanitation and waste.

When looking at food we have some process and procedures as well as methods and tools or equipment associated to it:

  • Storing – containers, a safe location with the proper food storage environment
  • Preserving  - each food preservation method requires a ‘device’ or two to perform.  Think canning, dehydrating, smoking, curing and the like
  • Cooking  - pots, pans, utensils and a cooking heat source
  • Replenishing  - methods of procuring more food. Like gardening, hunting, fishing, trapping, snares, butchering, etc.
  • Eating – bowls, plates and utensils

Sanitation & Waste is another of this type of grouping:

  • Personal Hygiene – body, teeth, hair
  • Laundry
  • Cleaning of the various food cooking, eating, preserving and storage containers and utensils
  • Human waste disposal
  • Grey water re-use and disposal
  • Compost
  • Trash/garbage disposal

V.    Another type of ‘grouping’ appears when items repeat for a couple of specific crises on your list and are direct reflections or symptoms of the consequences of these particular crises.  For example let’s say you have 4 crises on your list along the lines of:

  • An ice storm takes out electricity, county wide for 5-7 days
  • A CME takes out electricity for several months or more, multi-nationally, and fries all digital devices
  • A hurricane takes out electricity, regionally for several weeks
  • An EMP takes out electricity, regionally to nationally for several months or more and fries all digital devices

All 4 of these crises involve loss of electricity and all that electricity provides, for more than an hour or two.

The ice storm gives one a chance to have a generator for 3 or more days, depending on how much fuel fire codes in your area will allow you to store.  After that you need something for cooking and heating.  A renewable energy source like solar, wind and hydro, complete with energy storage (battery bank, inverter, etc) would provide electrical energy for the long haul.

For the two electromagnetic crises, things are for a much longer time period.

Some of your items, like inverters and radios will need additional protection – a Farady Cage and you will also need to plan for replacement parts to some devices that are critical. Then there is the radiation and radioactive fallout hazard to consider too.

A CME does have some radioactive aspects, however geological evidence shows that most of the deadly radiation is diverted by the earth’s atmosphere and magnetic fields.

An EMP incident will present a much greater radiation aspect as it is detonated in the upper atmosphere.  In this case the radiation will be greatest near the detonation area, however windblown microscopic radioactive fallout can affect a much larger area for a longer timeframe.

For a ground detonated nuclear device, the range of the effects of the EMP portion of the blast will be reduced.  However the radioactive fallout from a ground detonated nuclear bomb will generate much more particulate debris (fallout) that ‘rains’ down for quite a while, over a very large area (even global).  It can take months for all of this debris to completely exit our atmosphere and we won’t always be able to see it.

This means that in the case of an EMP or ground nuclear detonation event you are not only dealing with no electricity for an extended period and the Farady Cage for electronic devices; you will also need radiation protection.

Note:  A CME or Coronal Mass Ejection is much stronger than a solar flare or storm.  A solar flare does have some electromagnetic elements; however it is mostly in the light spectrum range and not the super charged electro/ferromagnetic range of a CME.  Also, not all CME’s are associated with solar flares or sun spots or vice versa.  (See CME? EMP? Farady Cage? – Oh My! @ for more detail)

VI.    The last type of ‘grouping’ concerns the non-repeated or singular needs.  The placement of these ‘needs’ is based on the priority of the crisis itself in your Moderated Crisis List.

For instance say you live in an area that is just above sea level and usually very dry, yet on your Crisis List you have ‘Global Warming’ Flooding.  One singular need that may appear in this case is some kind of boat or raft or moving to higher ground.

Any of these bullet points could be their own Roman numeral in the preparedness outline, yet don’t have to be.  These groupings are merely to give you an idea of where to place these items in the overall plan.

Once you have notes on what kind of groupings your needs fall into, review them and decide which way you want to organize these in your outline formatted preparedness plan.

Some individuals will find a particular grouping method works best for them, while others may like utilizing more than one grouping method for their plan.  This is where the plan becomes even more customized for you and your household’s needs.

(There is an example of the Doe Family Preparedness Plan at the link on the end of this article.)

This plan should be stored in the beginning of your Important Documentation Book.


  • Prioritized Crisis Lists: Possibility (emotional), Probability (science & education odds), Moderated (balance of human gut instinct and irrational fears against science and educations truths and fallacies).
  • Per Crisis Needs (goods, knowledge, skills) Lists, Prioritized; along with a list of what we have yet to acquire.
  • Mobility Issues: getting home to shelter in place and evacuation/bug-out (Who, What, When, Where schedule & map, alternate retreats, routes and secret communication/rest stops)
  • Organizational Indicators to a Needs Based, Outline Formatted Preparedness Plan
  • The finalized plan in outline format

All of these steps have been geared to grab those variables within our realm of control, to balance emotions and logic and raise our survivability quotient.

These steps do take effort, time and some soul searching and none of this is easy in today’s world. Yet if we really want to be prepared, if we really want to do more than just survive, we will do this and reap the rewards.

If you feel you do not have enough time or money, really stop and think for a minute.  I hate to tell you this, but you are most likely wrong about that!

Don’t believe me? 
Well I was a single parent with two toddlers, two dogs and a non-child support paying ex; I worked two jobs, stayed off welfare and only took WIC assistance for the first year; I grew most of our veggies and melons; baked bread (cause it was cheaper than purchasing) and sent my kids to school with bag lunches.   In order to keep a roof over our heads, cloths on our backs, the utilities on and nutritional food to eat I had to make the best use of my time and money.  I can’t say it was easy; however it is indeed quite possible.

If you ‘don’t have enough time’ consider this:  Everyone has 24 hours in a day, no exceptions.  The average person gets about 8 hours of sleep, so that leaves 16 hours.  Then this person works for a living so take out 10 hours to allow for commuting and lunch, that leaves 6 hours.  Now let’s apply those 10 hour work days to the weekend to account for all those household chores and such.  This means that the average person has 6 hours every day to devote to other things.  So if preparedness takes only 1 of those hours every other day, you can be prepared in a year!  (And ya gotta admit that 20 hours a week for household chores and tasks is a bit on the generous side, which should balance out if the workweek day are a little longer than 10 hours for work.  For people who do not work, I don't know what to say except that you must not be utilizing your time wisely or you don't really want to be prepared.)

If you ‘don’t have enough money’ try this little experiment:  As a family put a jar or can in the kitchen and then for the next two weeks every time any one of you gets ready to pull out the wallet to pay to do something or purchase something ask yourselves “Will I die in the next month if I don’t get or do this right now, this instant?”.  If the answer is NO, then every other time, don’t do it or buy it and when you get home put the monies in that jar.  At the end of the two weeks count the money in the jar.  I’m willing to bet there will be more money than $30.00.  Here are your preparedness monies!

Above all, remember that a Preparedness Plan cannot be wrong unless you do something nucking futs like build a house on the San Andres fault and do nothing more for earthquakes than match building codes - OR - You chose not to obtain or learn something that could prevent your family from suffering more trials and tribulations (or worse), when you could have; and when a crisis hits you then become a danger to yourself and everyone around you.

In my mind preparedness, beyond first aid kits and insurance policies, means that you care, so it is a way of 'taking care' of your loved ones and who doesn’t want to do that!?!

For additional examples of the various groupings, the Doe Family Needs Based Preparedness Plan and additional information see: Building A Needs Based Preparedness Plan – Putting it All Together @

Good Luck & Be Prepared, Not Scared


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Building a Needs Based Preparedness Plan – The Final Data Collection

Well now, we have created our Crisis Lists (possibility, probability, moderated), we have defined what goods, knowledge and skills we need to survive these crises for their potential scope of involvement and duration, plus what needs we already possess and have yet to acquire; and we have planned for the worst case scenario, utilizing our Who, What, When and Where Schedule and Map. 

What else can there be before we actually draw up our plan?  To be honest, two more biggies in terms of potential ‘dings’ to our survivability quotient and a few, shall we say, housekeeping issues. Both of these fall under what I call the ‘sad and bad’ ‘don’t want to think about it’ category.

To avoid some of our nasty human characteristics – like hating to think about anything bad or sad.  Remember that it is far easier to think and plan about this ‘sad and bad stuff’ when we are NOT under the duress of actually being in that situation, than it is to attempt to do so in the middle of a crisis. So here we go …

Mortality:  We humans just hate discussing death, yet this too is best done without the burden of the actual crisis. 

Most of us have wills of some kind, this is good and a copy should be in your Important Documentation Book.  However, our world now and our SHTF world could be two very different things.  You may wish to have a ‘SHTF Will’ that covers what to do when funeral homes and the like are not available, or if say, the disposition of your remains are taken out of your survivors hands. 
When your household knows how you want things done in the case of a SHTF death, there will be no guilt or remorse because they could not fulfill your physical body disposition last request. 

The next biggie is the dreaded Evacuation or Bug-Out scenario.   Many of us feel we would rather die than consider that we may have to vacate our homes.   However, reality is that there are some things that could cause us to do so in order to stay alive.  As mentioned before a house fire is the most common that we will likely face.

Before we can discuss the possible evacuation from our homes we need to understand some fairly standard authorative/governmental actions that occur when evacuation notices are issued or when a large crisis hits that requires authorative/governmental post crisis action.
It takes a lot of money, effort, organization, equipment, supplies, human-power and time to issue and implement an evacuation – no matter if it is large or small.  So issuing one is almost always done at the last possible moment!

This means that once the notice is issued you will NOT have the time to decide and pack what to take with you, yet alone to decide where to evacuate to.  Nope, you have to be ready to go within minutes of the notice being issued.
Most countries have two (2) types of Evacuation Notices:

  • Mandatory, which does NOT mean the authorities will drag you out of your home kicking and screaming.
  • Suggested, which is used when the scope of involvement has a few too many variables.  (Remember New Orleans and Katrina)

In the United States, where our states still have some independence and sovereignty, you may have only one type of notice or several additional types of evacuation notices. 
For instance in New Mexico they do not have a mandatory notice, only suggested evacuation notices.  Also in the US there is this thing called the ‘No Notice Evacuation Notice’ that can be issued by any department of transportation entity, at any time and does not require door-to-door notification.  This is generally issued in the case of say, a toxic spill or gas explosion and the like.
Then there are the usual ‘After Crisis Protocols’ which all the public safety, fire, search and rescue entities use to leverage their minimum equipment, human-power, time and finances to help the most people.  It goes something like this:

  • The area that received NO Evacuation Notice will be addressed first.  This is where the greatest number of people are likely to be trapped and or in need.
  • The area that received a Suggested Notice will be addressed second, as this is the next largest number of people trapped and or in need are likely to be.
  • The area that received a Mandatory Notice will be addressed last.  Historical crises have shown this area to have no more than 7% of people who are likely to be trapped or in need.

That takes care of the authorities, what about other things that might cause us to vacate our homes or render them un-safe to stay in?  Well I feel we are all smart enough to think these up ourselves, so I won’t list them.  Just know they are out there and ‘Murphy’ is just waiting to throw one our way.
No matter what, we need to identify what to look for in determining if we should vacate our home, be it a potential ordered evacuation or just a judgment call our part.  Discussing this NOW, without the stress of an actual crisis, is not only much less stressful, we also have more time to think about it than if we attempt this during the crisis.

Bottom Line: If we do not discuss and plan for this, it can lead us and or our loved ones into a deadly situation.
There are 3 key questions to ask yourself on this subject:

  • Will staying change anything when it comes to ‘saving’ my home?

  • If I stay behind and keep my family with me, can they handle what I can handle?

  • If I stay behind and send my family on, can we all handle the possibility that we may never see each other again?
Note:  There is a great podcast on this subject that discusses in detail the 12 questions that are pivotal to making a bug-out or evacuation decision @  Bug In or Bug Out - 12 Questions to Ask - Episode-289 found at:
We also need to hone our Situational Awareness by keeping an eye out for some ‘signs’ that ‘indicate’ that others feel evacuation is eminent or the authorities  are contemplating issuing an evacuation notice.
The more ‘signs’ we can quickly identify, the faster we can pack and go, and decide which secondary retreat will be best.  A side benefit to this is that you and your household will have a very good chance of beating the rush to get out of Dodge!

  • Stay aware. Keep your eyes and ears open and be alert to what is going on around you.  Take advantage of every possible type of news communication in your area:  Newspapers, TV, Radio, HAM, CB, Scanners, internet, weather alerts and the like.  The more sources of information, the faster you will be able to determine if you can stay put or must bug-out.
  • A rush or long lines at banks, gas stations, grocery, home improvement, sporting, camping or gun stores and the like
  • An increase in police, fire, rescue and military personnel or vehicles
  • An increase in barrel, barricades and their trucks
  • Ambulances and medical personnel are flocking to the hospitals
  • Long term care facilities appear to be removing residents
  • Nearby airports or military bases appear to be ‘on alert’ and or are calling in personnel.
  • Civilian air travel may be halted or flights canceled.
  • Public transportation may be halted, delayed or unusually crammed.
  • A sudden shift of who and what is out and about in your area.  Are the streets suddenly empty or crammed?  What kinds of people are out and about, doing what?  What kind of vehicles?
  • There is more traffic leaving your area than approaching 

All these signs tend to appear before any evacuation notice is ever issued or the potential is reported on the local news.
Remember that the needs and agendas of authorities and governments are different than that of its citizens.  They are not being cruel or mean, it is just the way things are, especially when contemplating something as complex as an evacuation.
All of this is your choice, your responsibility and yours alone! The stakes to this bet are the lives of you and yours.

  • We have identified and prioritized what crises we are concerned about, both consciously and unconsciously.
  • We have identified and prioritized what goods, knowledge and skills we need to survive the crises on our list.
  • We have identified and created our Who, What, When and Where schedule and map with its alternate routes and retreats.
  • We have addressed the two types of mobility issues and what we plan to do about them.
  • We have used methods to grab control of the few variables to our survivability quotient to reduce (or eliminate) the trials and tribulations of surviving the crises on our list.

Some things I have not mentioned or discussed are your budget and Important Documentation Book.  Although these things are very important, they do not affect the needs based plan per se. We’ll cover these later.

Next time we will go over how to take all this data collection and formulate a plan that is good, cheap, flexible, viable and based on the process and procedures behind all our goods, knowledge and skills or needs, required to survive any crisis on we are concerned about.


"Be Prepared - Not Scared"

To download this information see: