We’re going to take a few minutes to discuss how to put together a realistic preparedness action plan. In less than a ten-minute read, you’ll have a solid idea of what YOUR preparedness action plan should look like.
I even tell a couple of stories because I’m all about teachable moments mixed with a good time. 🤸♂️ That’s right – It ain’t boring!
- Step One – Threat Assessment
- Step Two – Personal Situation Evaluation
- Step Three – Prioritizing Risks
- Step Four – Understand You Can Not Be Prepared For Everything
- Step Five – Don’t Worry About Prepping – Prep For A Peace Of Mind
- Step Six – Take Action
- Step Seven – Don’t Forget Common Sense Preps
- Easy Sharing – It Couldn’t Be Easier
Step One – Threat Assessment
Doing a quick threat assessment doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I’d recommend keeping things simple with room to pivot later.
Consider things like hurricanes, tornados, storms, fires, traffic accidents, pandemics, power outages, earthquakes, intruders, robbery, flooding, drought, etc.
Are you in the desert? On the coast? Tornado alley? Big city? Miles from anything?
Write down realistic SHTF events that are possible where you live.
Now we’re well on our way to a preparedness action plan and no one fell asleep yet. Let’s move on…
Step Two – Personal Situation Evaluation
As we saw from above, your location plays a big role in the potential risks you may face. Understanding your personal situation helps determine what solutions are required for those risks, as well as finding other, more unique risks you need to prepare for.
Do any family members have health issues? Rely on medications or medical equipment? Is your home older with outdated wiring? Is your job dangerous? Do you have risky habits or hobbies? Think along these lines – factors that are unique to you and your family.
Again, add these realistic SHTF events that are possible to your preparedness action plan.
Step Three – Prioritizing Risks
Sorting potential risks by likelihood and severity can help prioritize tasks needed.
If a hurricane is very likely where you live, you know an evacuation plan might be in order. If you live a couple of hundred miles from the coast, perhaps backup power and long-term food storage might take priority over a bugout plan.
If you have a family member that relies on oxygen to breathe, as an example, those preps are probably high on your preparedness checklist.
Take the list you just created and sort it from “most likely” to “least likely”.
Holly cow! Is a preparedness action plan really this easy?
Step Four – Understand You Can Not Be Prepared For Everything
If you’d won the $768.4 million Powerball back in March 2019 and now had almost unlimited resources, you still couldn’t prepare for everything.
You could buy one of those missile silo bunkers, stock it with a decade’s worth of food and water, EMP and nuclear bomb-proof it – All just to choke to death on a piece of steak or slip in the shower and break your head.
Can you plan for an alien invasion or a planet-killing commit impact? Can you prep for WW3 nuclear war or an extinction-level supervolcano eruption? Would you even want to?
Step Five – Don’t Worry About Prepping – Prep For A Peace Of Mind
Stay realistic and, as many of our mothers taught us, don’t worry about what you cannot control. Ninety percent of our worries never happen anyway.
Don’t forget to live life and enjoy being alive. Don’t allow worry to steal your joy. I can speak from experience that when you have no debt, a decent emergency fund, and food in the pantry, a little of that stress goes away. Not all stress, but at least the stress you can control.
As preppers, at one time or another, we get the question, “Wow, what are you so afraid of?” My reply, “Not too much now that I’m prepared. How do you stand on that front?“
If you don't like me brother that’s okay I ain't gonna let it wreck my day I keep stylin’, smilin’ Handin’ out the sunshine I got no good reason why Good to Be Me ~ Uncle Kracker
Step Six – Take Action
You know the threats. You know your situation. You have those threats prioritized by likelihood. Now take action. Seriously, RIGHT NOW.
In case you haven’t noticed, things are a little unstable and uncertain right now. Don’t let that cause you to lose sleep, but now is not the time to sit on our hands.
Prepare for a piece of mind.
A Little Exercise – Just For Giggles
Here’s a fun scenario just for the fun of it. Notice we’re planning but not overthinking things. Overthinking causes a delay in action. Analysis paralysis.
✋Note: This exercise is all from the top of my head with zero research. Do NOT consider my scenario’s solutions as valid. Do your own due diligence and prepare accordingly.
Porter Wagonstein is 36 years old. He’s married to Patty, also 36, and they have two small children on a three-acre homestead in Montana.
A quick threat assessment, based on their location, looks a little like this:
- Yellowstone supervolcano
- Very cold and severe winters
- Potential for flooding
- Risk of forest fires
- Some risk of earthquakes
A quick personal situation evaluation looks like this:
- Everyone is blessed with good health
- There are two young kids in the home
- Homesteds are hard work – chance of injury
- Small town with a long drive to a hospital
Let’s prioritize the risks. In order of most likely to unlikely, we have:
- Severe winters – Emergency backup heat, well-stocked pantry for snowed-in situations. Backup power and a fuel rotation system.
- Injury – Have an extensive first aid kit. Know where the nearst medical care facility is and how to contact them. A couple first aid and CPR classes are in order.
- Flooding – Take precautions in advance – keep things stored off the ground, waterproof as best as possible, have an evacuation plan.
- Forest fires – Setup a news alert system. Carry the proper homeowner’s insurance. Have an evacuation plan. Know your area and ALL the ways leading out to safety.
- Earthquakes – Try to keep stored items in stable locations. For example, my pantry shelves would have bungie cables accross the fronts to keep items from falling. Make sure everyone knows what to do at the first sign of an earthquake.
- Supervolcano – Don’t worry, be happy. Be right with God if it blows.
So in the scenario above, the Wagonstein’s know many of their threats, have evaluated the potential impacts, and are forming a preparedness action plan to address as much as they can.
Porter and Patty aren’t up at night worrying about the next infrastructure cyberattacks, for example, because they’ve already designed a plan for what little they can to prepare for that type of event. They’re working on backup power, food storage, a fuel rotation system and have their own phones and computers protected.
Step Seven – Don’t Forget Common Sense Preps
Why isn’t there a prepper pantry listed in the Wagonstein’s preparedness action plan? You’re right, EVERYONE should prep with long-term food storage and an emergency water supply. Add it to your preparedness plan if that helps, it should be at the top of every prepper’s list.
By the way, you’re already a prepper. Trust me. You probably have prepared for emergencies with auto insurance, life, health, and home owner’s insurance.
You probably have virus protection on your computers and devices. You, hopefully, use a good password manager.
I’ve been using LastPass for over seven years now and I feel safe with them. That’s not an ad or affiliate link, just an honest statement.
Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and a spare tire. Maybe even cameras and an alarm system.
You did all that, and more, without a preparedness action plan. Now take a few and add them to your plan – just for evaluation and adjustment.
It’s worth a few hours of your time to sit down and evaluate your common sense preps.
For example, if you’re still making a car payment, ask your insurance company about gap insurance. It might go by another name, depending on the insurance company, but it basically pays off your car loan if you total your car in an accident, even if your car isn’t worth the owed amount anymore.
👨🏫 Story Time: My wife had a serious car accident about ten years ago. We were paying on a new car but, as with most new cars, we were deep in the red as far as value -vs- the amount owed.
Thankfully, no one was hurt and we had gap insurance. We would have still owed over eight thousand dollars after the insurance claim. Ouch!
Guess how much we were paying for that gap insurance over our auto insurance policy? Something like $3.80 a year. A YEAR! The car was less than a year old and for less than four bucks, our insurance covered the entire debt.
/Story Time. 🖊️
That, ladies and gentlemen, is worth a few minutes of evaluation and a simple phone call. Just give everything a once over and make sure everything’s kosher.
Once you’re satisfied, make digital and hard copies of everything. Store your hard copies in you’re emergency binder and securely store your digital backup using encryption and password.
Related: The Prepper Mindset – And Going Off The Deep End
Next Steps: More in our Prepper Series:
- Why You Should Become A Prepper
- Becoming A Prepper – Take On A Preparedness Mindset
- Prepping For Beginners – How To Start A Prepper Pantry
- Expanding Our Prepper Pantry Beyond Two Weeks
- Inspiration – My Prepper Pantry Tour Video
This seems like a good time to ask for your trust and offer you a free subscription to our weekly email list. You can unsubscribe anytime and I won’t hammer you with emails.
Stay safe. Stay prepared.
Easy Sharing – It Couldn’t Be Easier
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This Post Has 4 Comments
GOOD ARTICLE – subject well covered >>> what I find wrong with most prepper’s action plans – firstly, most don’t have one – secondly they lump all the possible realistic SHTFs into one single action plan – there most certainly will be similarities between SHTFs – but – the order of priority actions to be taken can and will differ ….
IE: most SHTFs you’ll have concern of the utilities being cut – get those “last minute” water containers like your WaterBob filled – but – with something like a domestic disturbance the action plan priority shifts to a home/neighborhood defense roll-out >>> need a whole different action plan between those two particular SHTFs ….
Exactly Warrior, it’s not a one fit all type of plan. And there are so many factors to consider. It’s not difficult. It just takes a little thought. A lot of preppers are copying off something they read or heard, and that can be dangerous.
Last week someone asked if they could pay me to build them a get-home bag. I said I have no idea about their situation, so it would be impossible for me to know what they needed. He said to build it exactly like mine. That was one of the reasons for this topic.
Great article Brian. Keep up the good work.
Thanks, Buddy, I appreciate it. 🙂