Prepper Skill Training Resources

by David Morris on April 15, 2011

Last week, I asked for your help in crafting an argument to present to DHS and local law enforcement to help them more accurately differentiate between preppers andpotential domestic terrorists.

More than 160 of y’all wrote in and shared your thoughts and ideas on how to accomplish this! I’m thrilled with the response and appreciate the time that people put into their answers.

I’m going to share the three winners with you in a second, but I want to suggest some organizations that you may want to look into for additional training and connections that will be helpful in long term survival situations.

CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) – CERT is under Citizencorps, which is what Obama wanted to make bigger and better funded than the military. Citizencorps is connected to FEMA and DHS in ways that seem to change from week to week. That being said, most of the training is done by local first responders and preppers who get money, supplies, and training from Citizencorps.The training is free or VERY inexpensive and will include medical, trauma, and whatever disasters/hazards are particular to your area. One of the core tenants of CERT after a disaster is to take care of yourself, then stabilize your house, then stabilize your immediate neighbors, and THEN report to your local rally point to help CERT.

I had a couple of options for which CERT I would work with in my area. I picked the one that I train with based on the quality of the leadership. In my opinion, the makeup of your particular CERT will have more of an impact on whether or not you want to join than which Federal agency it happens to be getting funds from this particular week.

Medical Reserve Corps – This group is primarily made up of people who already have semi-advanced to advanced medical/trauma skills and their primary purpose is to be able to respond to disasters and support local full-time medical personnel. The most common reason for deployment in recent years has been hurricane relief.Civil Air Patrol – Known as the Air Force Auxillary, the CAP helps with search and rescue operations, disaster relief, and counter drug operations.Local Search and Rescue – If your area has a search and rescue team, it may or may not be a great resource. In many parts of the Midwest, the role is filled by other groups. In wilderness areas, search and rescue is a bad*** group to belong to. Training includes medical, severe trauma, high angle rescue (ropes/climbing), and weapons in some areas.Law enforcement reserve or auxiliary – This could be as simple as doing traffic control for funerals and big events, manning base stations during an extended event like a manhunt, or many other tasks, depending on where you are. If you’ve got good leadership with your local law enforcement, this is a good way to make yourself known and recognized by local law enforcement as one of the good guys.Volunteer fire/rescue – In smaller towns, and even some medium sized towns, this is a great way to get training and experience with trauma and medical skills, as well as positive exposure to local law enforcement.These groups are neither all good nor all bad, and whether they are good or bad will depend a lot on who happens to be in charge in your area. If you check them out and aren’t comfortable with local leadership, then try another group or skip it. If you are comfortable with local leadership, then you may have found a GREAT way to contribute locally that will also benefit you and your family after a breakdown in civil order.

Specifically, they can benefit you by giving you training, experience, valuable relationships, gear, and in some cases, priority cell phone access after disasters.

If you’re only in it for yourself, skip it. You’ve got to go into these organizations ready to give if you want to get anything out of them.
Winning entries!

And now for the winning entries from last week! Over 160 people wrote in and it was next to impossible to pick winners. I got some help from other people and here are the winners:


I was a FED at FEMA during the Katrina Disaster. The news only reports and certainly distorts the reality of any disaster situation to meet their sensationalist needs.

Previously, in large scale disasters like Hurricane Andrew, which devastated S. Florida, that FEMA was beat up in the media for not responding fast enough after a major disaster. FEMA then overtly advertised to the public to have 3 days of emergency supplies to support yourself and your family until help to arrives.

Many years have passed by, the disasters have grown in scope and scale. populations often are experience back to back like in Japan recently. I have personally seen from the inside of how FEMA functions. There are a huge number of really good people who perform the grunt work at FEMA. They really care, are extremely patriotic, and many of them are preppers themselves. You almost have to be after you see the reality of how very slow the federal machine moves and how very desperate people become after the disaster’s impacts affect them.FEMA wants to rush in, they want to provide the resources so desperately needed after a disaster strikes, but, the reality is they can’t, and sometimes there isn’t enough to spread to all the affected areas. My life changed after the back to back disasters of Katrina striking the gulf coast and the levy breaking and flooding New Orleans. When a major event strikes the mid Atlantic/DC area, I know my family will be taken care of because I have prepared. I implore everyone to adopt this attitude and be responsible for yourselves. The government is not capable of taking care of everyone. I refuse to die or allow my family members to die waiting for help from the government.

To put it most succinctly, The Federal government honestly needs as many people as possible to be prepared. Without preppers the federal systems will fail again and again.

The main differences between domestic terrorist and preppers is pretty straight forward. Terrorist don’t care about being prepared to take care of themselves as much as seeking ways to disrupt normal public activities and daily life. The terrorists’ aim to spread fear and panic. To inflict as much pain and suffering on people as possible. The terrorist is not buying food, water medical supplies quietly to take care of their family, they are buying bomb making materials, explosives, toxic materials casing public venues looking for soft targets to attack. Much of their activity is spent planning or engaging in illegal activities and purchases. More often they will steal the materials fly they can fly under the radar. Non of my activity has been illegal. I am community service oriented not a recluse trying to stay out of sight.

I am a prepper. I know why I need to be prepared and I know what the potential risks and threats are. After I concluded my time at FEMA I worked at DHS NPPD. I am acutely aware of our nations’ infrastructure and its’ need to be protected. I know many of its vulnerabilities and weaknesses and its’ strengths. In know how we are protecting it and much about the DHS mentality. Conspiracy Theorists’ give the DHS/LE organizations far too much credit when it comes to information sharing and training.

I have already said why I put my energy into being prepared- I don’t know government will be there to save me when the event/events happen. I love my family too much to do nothing.

Great Grandma Kara (who might get picked for additional screening at the airport 🙂

I am a great-grandmmother. My father was a “prepper” long before it was a word! When I was growing up, it was called being self-sufficient… and it was encouraged. We were taught one to three YEARS food was an appropriate amount of food to store (dated and rotated, of course). We gardened. We saved seed. We canned and dried vegetables and fruits every year. So did most other people we knew. We shared the excess with neighbors and friends. If someone had a bad year, we helped out, even if it was a stranger. This was called being a good neighbor. Being self-sufficient, hard-working, and neighborly was called being a Good American!

Many of us went camping and hunting. We owned tents, compasses, shotguns, knives, waterproof matches, and other “survival” type gear. We stored oil, gasoline, and kerosine. Some of us poured our own bullets. Many of the men had camo and gas-masks that they brought back from WWII. My father did. He said it “might come in handy, someday.”

We were encouraged to “stock-pile” things. Nuts, bolts, nails, tools, electrical cords, non-electrical appliances (like an egg beater, a can opener, or a crank type meat grinder), medical supplies (Bandaids, gause, antibiotic creams, clove oil, aspirin, etc.), cotton rope/string, spare car parts, copper pipe/wire, popsicle sticks (to mark garden rows) – and on, and on, and on… I’m quite sure that if kevlar had existed then, he would have had that, too! Such were the times I lived in.

1) Why are preppers an asset after a disaster?Not only are we able to take care of ourselves, and our families… freeing up the resources and emergency responders for those less able… but we are able to help many others in our immediate area. Many of us ARE medically proficient enough to render First Aid, and have experience in Security / Emergency fields.

2) How are preppers and potential domestic terrorists different? (buying patterns, activities, etc.)Are we? Well, somewhat.

If I buy a gun for defense, I’m probably only going to buy one or two. I’m probably going to register it. (Although if things start looking like the government is going into confiscation mode… all bets are off on that one!) I’m probably not going to buy several hundred cases of shells… or armor piercing rounds.

If I buy certain products for my laundry, I probably plan to have clean clothes… not make bombs. Again, the difference would be quantity… but if I DID plan to make bombs, I would buy small amounts – often – and pay cash… so you can’t go by that either.
If I bought a large parcel of land, I’d probably be planning a farm, or a B&B resort… not a “compound” with a tactical training range. (You’d see horses, not 42 armored SUV’s)It might have a hedge or a fence… but not a 12′ steel, electrical, with razor wire on top!

I might buy a kevlar suit if I planned to go hunting – or walking – much (I was raised where you had to paint COW on both sides of your livestock during hunting season.) but I probably wouldn’t buy several – in assorted sizes! You get the point.

3) Why do you consider yourself a prepper? What do you love enough that you’re willing to spend time and money on preparedness?Actually, until recently, I never concidered myself a “prepper’… just “my father’s daughter”. I didn’t realize that my “normal” way of life could get me into trouble with the “powers that be”, or that anyone “official” might be looking at my buying habits suspiciously.

I love my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my country. I am willing to help anyone I can in an emergency. I am disturbed by the idea that all the time I spent raising my kids to be “Good Americans”, I was teaching them lessons that might get them labeled “potential domestic terrorists”. Being independent, self-sufficient, and prepared for life’s emergencies is just being a responsible, intellegent, adult… and a good citizen. Would you want less?


Nothing personal, but as far as the DHS goes, you are wasting yourtime and breath.  It wasn’t that long ago, shortly after the MurrahBuilding bombing in OKC, that Janet Reno issued a profile of the “new”domestic terrorist, (1990’s version, still unchanged) and I fit 9 outof 10 items on her list. (I missed a perfect score because I had nointerest in overthrowing the government.) At the time, I was a memberof the Army who served in cleaning up the mess there, and was supposedto be one of the “good guys,” too,  yet my government, my employer sawme as a nearly perfect  potential threat.  I am deemed dangerous tothe new government because I am willing to fight to defend my country,my constitution, and my way of life. This makes me dangerous to theones who want to change things, who want to enslave me. If thedefinitions are so political and so skewed to serve someone’s purposeinstead of using a more reality based approach, all efforts are fornaught.

That being said, here are my answers:

1. Why are preppers an asset after a disaster? They respond instead of react. They have things necessary to help and carry on.  They augmentlocal emergency personnel, and are a force multiplier.  Most of all,they help relieve the load that will be falling on local, state andnational resources.

2. How are preppers and potential domestic terrorists different?(buying patterns, activities, etc.) There may be no discernable difference between the buying patterns of the two, as they both usethe same tools and training. Both have guns, both may stockpile foodand water, both may enjoy running around in the woods shooting stuff.The difference is going to be in motive, which is hard to discern, andin activities, which is going to be easier. For instance, when was thelast time the Baptist Ladies Auxilliary blew up a bus? How many attacks on subways have Presbyterian Bible Studies committed? How manysuicide vests have the Lions Club  detonated in coffee shops? On theother hand when was the last time a muslim flew a plane into abuilding, or tried to bring one down with explosives hidden in theirclothing, or tried to blow up a car full of explosives during acrowded holiday celebration, or started shooting soldiers in a waitingroom?   The difference to look for is obvious, but we are unwilling toadmit that the religion of peace is not peaceful. This is the easiestand most effective way to differentiate, but we are more afraid ofoffending someone than fixing the problem.

3. Why do you consider yourself a prepper?  What do you love enoughthat you’re willing to spend time and money on preparedness? Thenature/nuture argument comes into play here.  Was I an above averageBoy Scout and Combat Engineer because I like this stuff and tend to be prepared, or am I better prepared now because I was a Boy Scout andCombat Engineer? I love God, family, and my country (the old country,where people were free), and will fight to the death to defend any andall of them.

Congratulations to these 3 winners, who will receive a package of some of my best selling products, including a copy of my book, “Urban Survival Guide” and a deck of “Urban Survival Playing Cards.

You probably got a couple of emails this week about Jeff Anderson’s “Surviving Social Chaos” book. I’m doing some extreme product testing this week and next, but the guys told me that they sent out a couple of announcements about it.

In short, it’s a very solid book. Jeff sent it to me a couple of months ago, I read it, and told him I couldn’t endorse it unless he made several major changes. He made those changes…and more, and it’s a very solid book now. I had a chance to read it about 3-4 weeks ago and I can tell you that if you get it you WILL be happy you did. It’s worth your time to at least go over to and check it out.

What are your thoughts on the organizations I listed above? Any more to add to the list? Any that you have personal experience with? If so, please share by commenting below.


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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Chuck Van Meter
April 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm

In rural America most towns and villages have volunteer fire departments. These folks are the local first responders and most of them are hunters and/or fishermen/women. Many towns have small police departments but most rely on the county Sheriff for law enforcement.. If push ever came to shove, I believe the local PD would contact the volunteer fire department to help maintain order in that they have the largest organizational structure with the most staff.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jon
April 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

To: G,G Kara. I love the moxie. I am a young man and my work at times deals alot with those in there winter years. they move, down size and I help them with what they need and also after they pass. OK TO THE POINT! At the time when my work is done in come “THE CLEAN OUT GUYS” who then “CHUCK THE Crap” food,firstaid/drugs,clothes,and all of the items that you listed and more. Ok some of it is moved to help those in need but just a random %. In just under 20 years I could have stocked for 50 people for ten years on a small % of all of those good americans. I loved them there storys and their pride. For anyone who reads this the Point is, learn from G,G Kara’s input for david when he goes to D.C . … Gram/Pop are not mad but you are if you do not listen to the people that know how to LIVE in good times and bad. Take care…


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
April 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Hey David,
Hope all is well.
Loved the responses! It’s also good to see and know there are a lot of sincere people out there.
What dates are you in Washington D.C.?
I’m finishing up with SpecForces and heading east.
I’ll be in that part of the country soon and I’d like to connect for the cause.
Best Regards,


Vote -1 Vote +1Joey
April 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I spent 25 years in law enforcement before retiring a few years ago. Twenty fives years of responding to the needs and security of others while my family was left at home to fend for themselves. I lucked out during Hurricane Andrew as my family and I lived in the northern part of Dade County, Florida when the Southern part was devastated. When called out in preparation for Andrew, I was assigned to work security at a Middle school where evacuees from Miami Beach were housed to ride the storm out. Working with me was a police sergeant who lived in South Dade… where his family spent most of the violently stormy night without him. I distinctly remember listening to him on the telephone calming his wife while she and their children cowered in the bathroom with the house falling down around them. Not being able to take it anymore, the sergeant abandoned his post and drove through the storm for 25 miles to be with them. Luckily he survived and his family survived. Their house was devastated along with the rest of the area. And this is my point! With every hurricane, tropical storm, riot or other major issue, my job was to be on call or called out to respond somewhere else despite the conditions in my own community, around my own home. But that is what duty is all about. And I followed it just as I swore to. I remember telling myself time and time again that once I retired, I’d be spending those times of need with the people who trust and need me the most – MY FAMILY. I recently considered signing up with a CERT training program in my little surburban city. I figured I’d get updated training and I’d be able to contribute something to my community by being able to help my neighbors in time of need… just like the brochure said. But just prior to signing up, I was reminded about DUTY (which I take seriously)… although there was nothing in the brochure that indicated that I would be dutifully helping “neighbors” miles from my home. So I asked. And after a little prodding, the city rep said that when a disaster hit and I was called out I would be sent with a team of other CERT members where ever directed. This pretty much put me back in the position of duty. Again… I have no problems with duty. But it has its demands, requirements and sacrifices. I declined the training. Anyone else who thinks that they will sign up for these volunteer training and assignments thinking that they’d be given government training, equipment or even funds and expected to only help their families and immediately surrounding neighbors on the block are in for a surprise. And if you think that you’ll short the government by obtaining these benefits and go AWOL when you’re expected to respond to a call out… well… maybe you can, considering you’re a volunteer. But then… you’re sacrificing a very important element… your duty. So… my advice is to think it over wisely before you consider signing up with a CERT program. It really is a serious matter.


Vote -1 Vote +1MaryAnn A.
April 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Well said, Joey. I hate to say it , but it seems that a lot of the ‘younger generations’ seem to overlook ‘duty’ and only think of self. It’s nice to hear someone lay it out so clearly. Thank you.


Vote -1 Vote +1Sue Blake
April 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Good stuff….


Vote -1 Vote +1Sharron Boyagian
April 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm

What I would like to know is how to store the extra water we are supposed to have / person?

I had a large container from years ago.. but, I threw it out, d/t it not being free from PBA.
That is a big concern to me, as I have water bottles, that are free from that.
Also, it was advertised on TV, that a certain store in our area had a survival kit for 2 people
which cost $1,000. Since we have a handicapped son, living in our home, and a nurse for every 8 hrs.. This type of kit would not be helpful for anymore than 2 people.
We do not have the extra money it would cost for complete coverage for 4 people.
Any suggestions would be helpful…


Vote -1 Vote +1Damon
April 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Sharron:although water storage is very important you might want to invest in a good quality water purifier, that way you dont have to worry so much about (“do I have enough”).Also if you had to leave your home a purifier is a lot easier to take with you! As far as a survival kit, dont by the expensive ones, go online to find out what the contents are, and buy one or two items a month (or more if it fits into your budget) and you will very quickly build your own survival kit at a more affordable rate and it will be more taylored to your needs.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jim
April 17, 2011 at 10:34 am

Log in to search for “emergency”. You’ll find 55 gallon water storage drums. For $150 or so you can have 110 gallons of water. Not the end all answer, but a start. Remember the water in your water heater.

You can get 5 gallon pails of beans or rice from costco for around $50 each. Again it’s a just start. And to repeat what David has said; buy extras of the things you use every day. Most canned goods have a two to three year lifespan, so if you rotate your stock, you will always have long term storage.



Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
April 19, 2011 at 6:30 am

Water: Consider 2 types — Potable for drinking and food preparation which you may want to use special PBA free certified containers for and Nonpotable for washing, flushing and other sanitation use that can go into any leak resistant containers that have not previously held highly toxic materials. For non potable water you can use bleach bottles, etc. Quantity: 1/2 to 1 gallon per person per day potable water and up to a gallon or so per person per day of non potable water (more will dramatically improve comfort level). Time frame: 3 day minimum supply, 1 – 2 week’s supply would be much better, a month’s supply would be a little better still.
Your local store ‘survival kit’ for 2 people is most likely a bit expensive (often these are sold for 2 – 10 times what they would cost you to assemble — convenience is expensive!). It may also have serious defeciencies — many do. You would be best off to inform yourself and then to make your own kit. Unfortunately many of those selling supplies do not understand the issues involved with survival and are only interested in a fast buck, so due caution is advised when allowing someone else to gather your supplies for you.


Vote -1 Vote +1D.m
April 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

I’d like to thank for this week’s post. The segment about joining a local volunteer FD really hit home. I have been wanting to join for the last three years. My wife wants me to wait until our kids get a little older, but I don’t see eye to eye with her. Friends & coworkers tell me to just do it anyway. I guess until that happens, I’ll just keep running to the window every time I hear a siren. Your thoughts please.


Vote -1 Vote +1Charles Hart
April 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Dear Sir:
You do not seem like a terrorist to me. Instead, you are doing what every real American should do, namely preparing to take care of the needs and safety of your family. After that is secured, you will be able to help some others. That is, and should be , the American way. As far as the head of DHS goes, her last big message to law enforcement in the U.S. said to watch out for people she was concerned about. It seemed to me that she covered about 2/3 of the population in her bulletin as suspect.


Vote -1 Vote +1BaldEagle
April 15, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I’m a Scout leader & we have a Merit Badge called “Emergency Preparedness.” You can get the book for this MB & should add it to your library.

In 2008 we had to abandon our home that had never even had water in the basement
to a “millennium flood.” But day before I had gotten my 90 year old Mom to higher ground &
the next day got my family, all the camping gear & all the guns to a safe place.
That afternoon we abandoned the house via my canoe & then went back & saved other people. (I was even on the weather channel for 5 minutes.) We were able to stay in my Aunt’s house on higher ground, although the power failed & the City water was almost gone, BUT we had our own water & camping gear & we could have camped quite comfortably.

There were plenty of other guys besides me helping folks, but I tell you this because the writers are correct…every “official” grunt in the civil service did an outstanding job but there was just too much for them to do on their own. I credit the Good Lord, my Dad’s early instruction regarding “duty,” family, and the Scouts for our overcoming the flood. Two years later I must admit, I & my youngest son suffered some post-trauma depression (moved 4 times in 1 yr, our old dog & then Mom died) but again the Good Lord, Dad’s words & the Scouts helped tremendously.

In talking about it with my son, we realized that despite the challenges we beat the flood,
miraculous help appeared out of nowhere, we helped others, re-built the old house into a better house…we “did our duty.” In fact, Mom when she moved back in with us was just amazed at what had been accomplished.

After the flood, the volunteers poured into our town & WOW were they fantastic! When I’m done rebuilding (still at it) I’ve told my family that I will volunteer to go help others. They were extended family, Scout groups, “8 Days of Hope,” and many, many church groups…what an example to other fellow Americans. None of them were paid, nor wanted us even to buy them lunch!

When the FEMA people came by (4 times); some had been at Katrina & really complimented us on our positive “get ‘er done” attitude (of course anybody from the
mid-West knows “winter is coming) but again, they could not do everything.

My wife & I are even more “prepping” than before…raised gardens are going into the
yard next, maybe chickens after that: Our grandparents dried, canned, raised chickens in the backyard & even had a goat for milk…all in the city.

By the way, anybody reading this who helped in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (5th largest Nat. Disaster in USA we’ve been told) a huge heartfelt “Thankyou.”


Vote -1 Vote +1ItCanHappenToYou
April 16, 2011 at 8:27 am

Its interesting that both of these groups have been a benifit to the American cause, the terriost because that is what won the war of independence against the British and the preppers that were the ones that survived the harsh begininngs of the USA. While growing up in the “60’s” my older family had all of the food that they needed, except for sugar and floor, by producing it themselves and then preserving the rest for the coming winter with extras to help the younger family members who “hadn’t figured it out yet “There where no grocery stores or anyone to come and help in bad times but your neighbors. But now the terriost are from another country or someone really scared of their goverment, who wants to change the constitution and their American way of life. While the preppers want to preserve the country and the american way of life the terriost want to fight the established goverment. But the Bible says to be humble so using that as a guide I think the preppers are more about preparing for themselves and there family and neighbors, besides at the rate that they are going ,the goverment will self-destruct and the problem will take care of itself.
To sum up the difference the war cry for the terriost is ” FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT” while the preppers mantra is ” DON’T WAIT, HELP YOURSELF” . GOD luck.


Vote -1 Vote +1Sam
April 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

I have been a “prepper” since the 1970’s when we were called “survivalists”, teethed on Kurt Saxon’s “the Survivor” magazine. Three years go I went through the local CERT training, and the advice there was to forget “3 days and 3 ways”, If there is a real disaster be prepared for months, if possible. There is not much difference in what is required for “survival” except that the CERT attitude is that the disasters will be eventually over and we will get back to normal, while “preppers” acknowledge the possibility that they won’t. CERT also don’t speak about the problem of defending ourselves in the absence of law and order. The FEDGOV has no moral compass to judge people by, so they only look at what we “have” (like guns) to determine our motives. Stupid FEDGOV, Eh?


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Red Ryder
April 16, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Other volunteer organizations to consider:

Wilderness or urban search and rescue groups
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES): Civil Defense-sponsored Ham Radio groups
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES): Ham Radio self-organized for public service communications
Radio Emergency Associated Communication Teams (REACT): CB & GMRS local groups

Regarding last week’s comments, I think a lot of responses missed the point of your question, at least from a DHS point of view. Many of the comments talked about differences in intentions, presuming that the individuals are being interviewed by someone. There are not enough DHS employees to do that. What they want are indicator flags to put into computer programs, comparing purchases, internet postings, emergency room visits, and so on. They want to have the computer software pop out a list of “persons of interest” to watch instead of deploying field agents. And paying cash or not, buying gradually or all at once (tax refunds?) are not accurate indicators to differentiate subversives from the self-sufficient.

And as far as helping first responder agencies as a “force multiplier,” I have worked on enough incidents and drills to know that if the officers/workers do not know your face, you will be considered just another bug coming out of the woodwork. They will not have time to pause their response while you try to explain your skills and capabilities, and will turn you away from the incident scenes. It is still possible to reduce their workload by taking care of yourself and your neighbors, though.

You could be known to them if you are in the same gun club, lodge, or church as the sergeant in charge of a scene, and have your character known through a history of social chats. But the best way to respond is by working with volunteer groups. This both gives a framework and support system to respond in, plus local people get to “know your face” and learn what you can offer beyond the core mission capabilities of the group.

On the Federal side, there is no way they can show up in town and know everyone. That is why they have certification and identification systems. They know that if you are an “x” level medic or a “y” level firefighter, you will have been trained to a certain skill set, and be expected perform at a certain level without supervision. You will usually have to be working within an organization to get the background required for certification that meets their standards.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
April 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I don’t get the relationship at all. A “prepper” is a law abiding citizen that wants to survive a disaster, a terrorist is a criminal that wants to CAUSE the disaster. They are polar opposites and in NO way similar. Kind of like a cop only intersects with a criminal at the crime. They are not related and don’t travel in each others groups. Just because a cowboy and a train robber both rode horses doesn’t make them the same. One is always good, the other is always bad!


Vote -1 Vote +1John H. Baker
April 18, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I am a retired SSG E-6. Washington Army National Guard. Disaster relief has to go through several layers of resources before the state even requests Federal assistance. Naturally it takes time for FEMA to react.


Vote -1 Vote +1Butch
April 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

To comment on Joey’s comment. The CERT group I belong to here in NH does not force you to do anything you feel you are uncomfortable with and they state that you take care of YOUR family first and then when that is secure, you go out on other assignments! And for that reason I believe we have one of the largest and best teams in the area!


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Nancy Golf Tango
April 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

REF: CERT–I agree with the guy who said it makes a difference on the people in your CERT–and the attitude of your city about CERT. I live in one city but chose to attend CERT training and attend meetings in another city, 20 miles away. Why? Because the CERT in my city, Hampton VA, is not well organized. It lacks leadership (except for one strong neighborhood group) and their CERTs have no supplies. The city’s CERT leadership (Fire Chief) is obsessed with SOPs and rules. I’ve attended two meetings and they’re all about organizing committees to rewrite the SOPs and establishing that CERT people are basically “wannabe” fire fighters who can’t get a job. The city I chose for my CERT participation, Chesapeake VA, has very motivated people who put a lot of their own resources into their kits and equipment to be prepared beyond CERT’s requirements. They meet and train regularly and interact with their surrounding CERT teams. Hampton does stupid stuff like: designates CERT neighborhoods by code numbers instead of local community names. Most CERT people don’t even know the codes for their surrounding CERTs. Even the Fire Chief doesn’t know the codes for the different neighborhoods! When I became CERT qualified, Chesapeake GAVE me a kit to keep with me at home (or in the car) with lots of good stuff to help do the job. Hampton doesn’t give kits to CERT people–the kits are locked in a closet at the neighborhood fire stations. This means that, during a disaster, Hampton CERTs have to find a way to GET to the fire station (thru floodwaters, around fallen trees, etc.) and hope someone’s still there to open the locker! Then they lug the stuff back to their neighborhood so they can help rescue people next door or stop further damage across the street. For me, the CERT program is useful, regardless of its roots or political basis. CERT training is excellent, especially for disaster prep and scenarios. I intend to give my support to the city that welcomed me, trained me, equipped me, and gave me the motivation to volunteer. Chesapeake has training opportunities for learning stuff like how to clear debris with chainsaws, while Hampton says they’ll let CERT volunteers man the emergency shelters set up by the local Red Cross–IF you can pass the background check. What a difference in philosophy!! BTW: Hampton’s CERT-qualified people get badges with their name and photo, and IDs them as “Hampton Volunteer”–with no mention of CERT qualification–now, that’ll do me a lotta good in Hubbell, Nebraska, during a disaster if I’m in the area and offer to help.


Vote -1 Vote +1J Rosas
April 21, 2011 at 11:33 am


I have read your forum for months now. It is a great communication device. I really appreciate all that you do to keep this up and running. Thanks.

I have to address a point that few people talk of; mental and morale. We can get all gung ho making lists: B.o.b, 72 hour, 3 month etc. But what I have found mostly absent from these lists are personal items we all take for granted in everyday life. In all likelyhood, a vast majority of the local population will be going to a community center. Obviously, not the ideal place to be. If we are there or on our own let’s not forget the real essentials. So here is another list to help refine and add to you own.
In a 5 gallon bucket (in the back of my pickup, I have a camper shell.) with a lid I have an extra shirt, antimicrobial socks, t-paper, cards, paper pencils and pens, several small books to read, travel games, 3 days of mre’s snacks, 100 ft. 550 cord, knife, water filter, small bottle of bleach with instructions taped on the side, some of these are in a small coffee can. (cooking pot, cup, etc.), hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a large bar of soap, a small towel, meds (vite, prescription, others), spare reading glasses, a small tarp for privacy while using the t-paper, flashlight and batteries. I could add a frisbee or tennis balls for street ball.
This is tailored for me and my two kids. Being clean, eating, killing time with activities until the s**t gets stabilized is absolutely imperitive to keep the spirits up.
Killing bad guys, building fires, and all that is much less probable than short term breakdown, personal or sytem, preparedness.
I know the other extreme stuff should on a list but imagine what would you take if you were going on a trip and expand on that. With a little more imagination we could make a better list than what I have. It’s a common sense list to make it a little more comfortable for those around us. After all if mother ain’t happy, well you know.

Again, Thanks and I am looking forward to more discussion on this topic.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Oprondek
April 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I’m not in the position to purchase anymore than I can afford… But I’m using all the info gleaned from your messages and from past experiences to have a solid month’s worth of provisions (in all categories) predicated on the everyday use of items now… In time of need it will last twice that.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Oprondek
April 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I also have more than fifteen years martial arts training and teaching… all weapons I have learned with can be carried out of sight and are devastatingly effective.


Vote -1 Vote +1derek thompson
May 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

dear dave:

i live in jersey city new jersey right accross the hudson from manhattan but also have a place in wall township n.j (the burbs) jersey shore not far from the ocean 1 mile exactly from spring lake. if the shtf where am i better off? i dont have the resources to prep both sufficiently. but i am wiling to defend to the end?where should i go ?or should i stay on the move? thanks derek thompson


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1rocco
February 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm

The difference is that a few local prep folks in my area are big in teaching garden, hunting, fishing, water,food storage skills,and love to teach and talk about prep. The paranoid prep folks worry about the government watching them via their cable tv, or computer,and every stranger is a govt spy.


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