Step 4 Plan all routes

First thing’s first – download Google Maps
This will allow you to get satellite images of any area on Earth. In my opinion, it’s essential in planning. You can also download different layers (topographical, etc.) to install and enhance your view.

Rule of 3

There are lots of clever rules and sayings out there to prepare or remind you about anything. This rule just reminds me about having plans and it’s not survivalism centered. It could work well with a football team – having 3 offensive game plans to be ready for a game, etc.  Follow along with me:
1 plan is really 0 plans – If your plan has just 1 flaw, then it could be broken and get you in trouble. That’s not a ‘plan’ at all.
2 plans are really 1 plan – If you have 2 plans, great – but that’s really just 1 backup plan, and you’re still putting eggs in 1 basket when you go to a backup plan.
3 option plans mean you have a good backup – I’m not talking about just 3 plans here. I’m talking about having 3 options at every decision point. You’ll see what I mean later – but basically there are significantly more than 3 plans at work here and this gives you about as much chance as you can get when dealing with unknown variables on the fly.

Work to Home

You probably work 8 or more hours a week. Let’s say you sleep 6 hours a day, so you have 18 hours of waking time every day. This means you’ll spend 44% of your time at work – and probably more if you have a 1/2 hour to an hour commute. A significant portion of your evacuation route planning needs to be spent on getting from your place of work to your home, safely.

In town to Home/Church or school to Home
Exactly like the process you just went over, identify other area’s you’re frequently at when not at home and make sure you plan the same way to get home safely.

Home to bugout location

You’ve got a critical part of your evacuation plan done – you’ve reached home. Now you can pack what you need and head to a bugout location if that’s your plan. (Bugging-in is a good idea) When coming home – make sure you identify routes and get a good feel for what traffic patterns look like. You can plan for every single route in the world but it won’t do you any good if you drive up to an escape route that is now turned into a parking lot of angry motorists. You’re going to have to make educated guesses on what planned evacuation routes to take if you were unable to eyeball parts of your plan on the way home. If the way home wasn’t all that eventful, then go ahead and look at optimistic/quick routes and be ready to adjust. If the way home was a nightmare, eliminate routes that include trouble spots.

Speaking of trouble spots…

Things to avoid along your routes
-Bridges (of any kind)
-Gas stations*
-Grocery stores*
-Police departments*

Things to look for
-Family home locations
-Friend’s home locations

*not because they are bad places, just because they will be the first place everyone rushes to. We want options! We don’t want to get into any situations where our options are limited because of others.

Evacuation route planning

We want to successfully navigate from point A (work, church, school, etc.) to point B (home, place where your family is, supplies, etc.) as safely as possible. Notice I didn’t necessarily say as fast as possible? I’m going to assume that you travel that route right now. Travelling out of your way to avoid trouble is necessary at times. There will be many other locations and spots to look for as you begin planning and looking at your area. Take a look at your surrounding area, find things you want to avoid and start plotting out multiple evacuation routes!

Make a path!

In Google Earth, start a new path overlay where you think you might start (work, school, church, etc.) and assign a color to it. Try using green for the safest route, yellow for a medium risk route, and red for the highest risk. Now you can display parts of your evacuation route and see the overall plan!


Starting a Garden

Why start a garden?  What does that do to help you survive?  You can’t really survive on a tiny little backyard garden…can you?

YES!  6000 pounds of fruits and vegetables on 1/10 of an acre of land:

Dervaes family information:
Website –
Youtube channel –

This family is on the BLEEDING edge of self-sufficiency and not everyone will get results like this.  They live in southern California – where the growing season is nearly perpetual.  You will not get results even close to this in your first few years-  this takes a long consistent effort.  If you start now (yes right now) you’ll start to gain experience that will help you produce tons of food.

Location isn’t that important!

Apartments, small backyards, huge farms, urban area’s – are all valid food producing area’s.  You can grow a ton (tomatoes, strawberry’s, onions, etc.) in buckets or pots.  A few years ago I started an in-ground garden.  I just dug up the grass and planted anything I could.  Midway into summer, the garden was over taken by weeds and grass and I had no interest in keeping up with them.  Raised beds will allow me to create my own soil (that does not contain weeds or grass) from peat, manure, and compost. I’m using a method loosely translated to the square foot gardening method.  As with gardening and cooking – it’s never an exact science.  🙂

Square foot gardening (

I’m modeling my bed after this great article on building raised beds from scratch. (

Here is a quick summary of how to get started (check back for posts on each point):
1 Find a mentor – someone who grows and knows alot about growing.  Ask them 1 million questions.
2 Decide what you want to grow – make sure you either will eat or give away whatever you grow and research them (heirloom, variety, etc.)
3 Build your garden – pots, beds, buckets, ground – whatever.
4 Start seeds indoors – plenty of starter kits out there to start with, give them a good start!
5 Plant seedlings outside – take care of them in the ground, and they’ll reward you.

-Try some perennials, usually they don’t take a green thumb to grow year after year.  Things like strawberry, asparagus, blueberry, etc.
-Plant a small fruit bearing tree.  They usually don’t produce fruit for awhile, but you can get started for the future.

Disclaimer!  I am not a master gardener.  I do pretty well with growing things, but its probably dumb luck.  I do not know everything about gardening, but I like to learn and recognize the value in providing food for yourself.

The Survival Podcast on iTunes has a bunch of very good articles on starting a vegetable garden.  The forums from that show are also a great resource.  Just get going and plant something!

Step 3 Identify safe havens

A safe haven is a spot where you can get shelter, food, water, and be protected from the elements and other people.  This isn’t necessarily your home, although it could be.  For our purposes it’s going to be a place where you either have permission to be, or a place you own.  Squatting can get you in trouble – or worse shot at.  This is not an effective survival technique.

Ideally your home is the best possible safe haven.  You stay there all the time, you know every square inch.  You know the surrounding area, neighbors, and routes near your home.  Even if you know of a great safe place a few towns over, unless you live there or have lived there recently – you lose many of the advantages of your home.  There are tons of great reasons to leave your home for a safe place (or ‘bug-out’) – but there seems to be a push in different survival/preparedness communities in favor of ‘bugging out’.  You have to sit down and decide where your best chance at survival is for various different emergencies.

Things to consider when looking at safe havens

The cheapest (free) way to get a great view of potential safe havens is Google Earth software.  It’s free satellite imagery of anywhere on the planet.  It can be printed out and stored.  Identify the following in the surrounding areas:

-Interstates/Highways/State roads
-Police departments
-Grocery Stores
-Wal-marts and other big box retail stores
-Distribution centers

Pro’s to Bugging-in at home

You know how to walk in the dark and not stub your toes.  You live there!  You know by touch or feel how to get around everywhere in your house.  You know the roads, the routes to and from your house.  You know your neighbors, who to avoid, who to take care of.  You know where things are safe, and where they aren’t.  This is your home.  You own it, or have lived there.  You have a right to be there.

General Con’s to Bug-in

All the positives can lead to negatives.  Confidence – or thinking your position is secure when it’s not.  If you have an enemy or someone knows you have supplies and resources then you’re marked as a target of opportunity.  If you live in a city or near a huge interstate artery – your hope of staying out of the flow is wishful thinking.  Also – if you don’t have a good deal of storage, your position isn’t long-term.

General Pro’s to Bug out

It’s a good idea to bug out when you’re in the situation above – right in the middle of people or traffic.  Also, if your place is near the emergency or riot or whatever- get out.  If you’re near a prison for obvious reasons bugging out might be a good idea.  If you’re near grocery stores/big box stores, etc. – believe it or not bugging OUT is a smart move.  Everyone and their brother is going to gravitate to these stores in hope of scoring free stuff during an emergency.  When they find that it’s all gone – they could bleed into the surrounding area looking for other targets to loot.  It’s something to take into consideration.  Don’t forget to do this type of evaluation to wherever your location is that you’re heading to.

General Con’s to Bug out

Bugging out means travelling.  This is the root of the problem.  Travelling during an emergency is going to be extremely difficult at best – at worst flat-out impossible.  This isn’t a guess, read back through accounts of hurricanes, etc. through the southern states.  You have no control over your situation when travelling.  There are too many variables.

Look at your area, mark off zones that are potentially bad spots.  This is going to help you decide about safe zones – every situation and circumstance is different.  Gather intelligence (sound familiar?) and make a good decision.

Step 2 Gather information

Now that you have a community to use as a resource, you need to inventory nearly everything you’ve got and create a contact list.  Notice we haven’t spent a dime yet.  🙂

Get out of Debt

You need to get out of debt as fast as possible.  I am not out of debt.  I am trying.  The Dave Ramsey system is a really good system to start with.  There may be parts that aren’t for you – I’ve found that it really centers on families without little kids.  The major principles are simple.

1 Inventory all your spending for 30 days in a notebook
2 Inventory everything you eat for 30 days in a notebook

This is done to show you where you can improve.  You’ll review your spending habits, and it should be fairly obvious where you can improve.  Now set a budget and stick with it.  Pay the smallest bill completely off.  Use that money you used for that old bill and apply it to the next smallest bill.  Rinse, repeat until you are debt free.  Being debt free makes you more liquid with your assets and allows you to make investments in land, etc.

Inventory all food that won’t spoil

Bring out your notebook, and write down everything  in cans, sealed containers, frozen, etc.  that will keep if you lose electricity.  Knowing what you have will allow you to start estimating how long you can be fed from what you have.  This will either scare you or make you feel better.  If you’re scared at this point – don’t panic.  You can fix this with one trip to the grocery store.  We’ll go over what to pick up later.

Master contact list (documentation)

Last but not least is the all important contact list.  Build a list of local and long distant family and friends.  Names, addresses, phone numbers, cell phone numbers, allergy’s, medications, insurance policy numbers, home insurance numbers, mortgage information, car titles, bank account numbers, potential properties or resources any of them might have.  Think farms (and phone numbers if they have them), tractors, RVs, cabins, weapons, vehicles, water storage tanks, etc.  Anything that’s note-able about their environment, or resources – add it to the list.  Don’t feel weird about this, you aren’t going to loot them- you’re just getting an inventory of resources.

Now list external information and data.  Police phone numbers, fire and rescue phone numbers, HAM radio repeater frequencies, NOAA emergency radio frequencies, etc.

Once you have this list you’ll want to make sure you have it secure.  It will be your link to your critical data.  Keep it in your go/bug-out bag (we’ll go over that later), or directly on your person.  You might be surprised who will want this list in your family once you’ve got it made.  It’s a helpful thing to have if its updated and ready to go.

Step 1 Find A Home

There are various communities around the internet that center around preparedness and survival theory.  Some of them are a bit…off.  Some of them really mean well!  All of them have guns.  🙂  I would suggest that you do some simple google searches, maybe find some blogs with organization links, etc. and find a few potential communities that you think you’d fit in with.  The reason I support finding a community as your first step is because you need to know that you’re not the only person in the world thinking about this.  There is a reason this industry is growing fast – more people are concerned about being prepared than ever.  You aren’t the only one – in fact, you’ll probably not only find people in the same stage of research as you, but probably find that there are some people in your region from that community!  Use these people for help – some of them have lots of great experience.

I choose to spend my time in the interestingly named – Zombie Squad (  Don’t be fooled by the names, or the appearances, or the sheep- the Zombie Squad is:

Zombie Squad is an elite zombie suppression task force ready to defend your neighborhood from the shambling hordes of the walking dead. We provide trained, motivated, skilled zombie extermination professionals and zombie survival consultants. Our people and our training are the best in the industry.

When the zombie removal business is slow we focus our efforts towards educating ourselves and our community about the importance of disaster preparation.

To satisfy this goal we host disaster relief charity fundraisers, disaster preparation seminars and volunteer our time towards emergency response agencies.

Our goal is to educate the public about the importance of personal preparedness and self reliance, to increase its readiness to respond to disasters such as Earthquakes, Floods, Terrorism or Zombie Outbreaks. We want to make sure you are prepared for any crisis situation that might come along in your daily life which may include having your face eaten by the formerly deceased.

You see what they did there?  That’s the old ‘bait and switch’ if I’ve ever seen it.  Reel you in with promise of zombie killings, then make you learn about emergency preparedness and helping the community when you’re not looking.

If you jump into the forum, introduce yourself and get to looking at all the vast resources laid out for you- you’ll begin to understand that this is a great community of people who want to help each other, and their local communities with emergency preparedness.

Before you post your second topic (your first being your introduction of course) in the forums, please read the wal-mart thread.  It is entertaining, and informative.  And very very long.  Enjoy!