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16 Important Rules of Survival and Preparedness

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
16 Important Rules of Survival and Preparedness

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Having a survival mindset means you are always ready to take on new challenges, right?  Although I fully believe that new challenges are a good thing, it is sometimes downright frustrating to recognize that prep as we do, we are never really ready.

Part of the disconnect from being totally prepared is having the knowledge that we will never be able to prepare for everything.  As recently as four years ago, we were preparing for the end of the world as we know it and a global economic collapse.  And now?  The flavor of the month is a pandemic, a cyber attack, and the potential for another world war.

16 Important Rules of Survival

As preppers, this leads us down a path of indecision.  Do we continue to add to our preps, focusing on the worst that can happen or do we soldier along, preparing for the more likely nuances of Mother Nature?

This is a decision each of us must make on our own or in partnership with others in our household.  It is not easy.  I don’t know about you, but coming to terms with not being ready for anything and everything is a tough mind game.  SHTF this and SHTF that tends to dominate the landscape whether taking a hike, reading a book, or shopping at the grocery store.

If you too are struggling with the dilemma of not being ready and therefore not being prepared, take a moment to re-focus on these 16 rules of survival and preparedness.  They just might help you come to terms with not being fully prepared.

16 Important Rules of Survival and Preparedness

1.  Skills and stuff are equally important.

What do I mean by that?  Simply that you can have a years’ worth of freeze dried food, six ways to purify water and a well-stocked first aid kit but if you don’t have the skills to defend yourself, the knowledge to find food in the wild, and the ability to tend to serious wounds, all of the “stuff” you own will be of little use to you following a post-apocalyptic event.

2.  You will never go hungry if you have seeds.

Hoard heirloom (non-GMO and non-hybrid) seeds even if you are not currently gardening and growing your own food.  Those seeds, when brought into a survival community, will be worth more than gold.  Don’t worry if you do not know how to use them.  Others in the community will likely have gardening skills and together you can prepare the fields, sow the seeds, tend the crops and bring in the harvest.  But you first need seeds that will reproduce themselves as true, year in and year out.

3.  Community organization with like minded people can and will save lives.

Unless you live in isolation, the bad guys are going to come around and it may be difficult if not impossible to defend yourself on your own.  Not only is there strength in numbers, but members of an organized team will most certainly have a wider variety of skills at their disposal.

4.  Mental discipline and a level head under pressure will prevail when tough decisions need to be made.

When roaming groups of looters show up on your street, or even worse, at your doorstep, they may be tired, hungry and in need of shelter.  What do you do?  Who gets to stay?  How do you decide?  This is just one example of the tough decisions you may have to make in a collapse situation.

5.  Do not underestimate the need to defend yourself in ways you can not fathom in advance.

How will you defend yourself, your family, and your worldly belongings following an apocalypse?  Sure, it is easy to say that you will shoot anyone that comes close but could you really do it?  Moreover, have you thought of alternative methods to defend what is yours such as setting up blockades or no-enter zones?

6.  Wolves arrive in sheep’s clothing.

Trust is something earned and even though it may feel instinctive, be wary.  It is okay to put strangers through some tests and even then, be conservative in doling out trust cookies.

7.  Perceived “good guys” may be bad and perceived “bad guys” may actually be good.

No surprise here. Just be prepared to evaluate, interview and act based upon as much knowledge and gut instinct you can muster. Trust no one until that trust in earned.  Start building your criteria for trustworthy-ness starting today.  Practice your interview questions and learn how to say “no” if you have to.

8.  In every situation there is a moment where you may have the chance to turn the tables.

Learn to take advantage of those moments now, while you can hone your skill at recognizing those opportunities.

9.  No matter how well you know how to do something, keep training and keep learning.

Practice what you know and learn what you do not know.  Read books about life and about history.  Discover how others have responded to adversarial situations, whether in ancient history or as a fictional manifestation of a talented author.

10.  Feelings and compassion count as does the love and support of friends and family.

This is an important point. Without these qualities, the will to go on may be compromised.  A good example of how feelings and compassion play a role in survival is demonstrated in  in Cormac McCormack’s “The Road”.  In the book (there is also a movie), the love between a father and his son is paramount to their ultimate survival.

11.  Grieving is important as is the need to spend personal time alone to rest and recharge.

No one can do it all 24 hours a day for days on end.  When and if the time comes, you will need to take time to grieve your losses and also time to rest and recharge your mental and physical batteries.

12.  When and if the SHTF, total inaction is not going to save you.

To do nothing is to die.  Sorry to be blunt but making decisions and following through with a plan of action will give you at least a 50/50 chance of survival.  Do nothing and you become a target.

13.  Likewise, if the SHTF, There will be casualties.  Be prepared mentally and physically to deal with the seriously wounded and the deceased.

You may feel prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit, antibiotics, suture kit, and a full complement of trauma supplies.  But do you know how to use them?  How do you determine dosages especially when the drugs on hand may be in short supply?  Who gets them and who does not?

And equally important, if people die (and they likely will), what will you do with the bodies?  Bury them (hope you have a strong back and a good shovel)? Burn them?  The ramifications may be horrific but if you are one of the survivors, you will have to have the mental capacity to deal with this.

14.  Take whatever strengths you have and teach others.

Remember that children are like sponges and can be taught survival skills at a very young age.  Take them under your wing; they represent the future.

15.  There are leaders and there are followers. In a healthy society, both are equally important.

No one is more important than another.  The leader is important, yes.  But so are the teachers, the scouts, the cooks, and the laborers.  All are equal in importance within the context of the survival community.

16.  Firearms are not the only weapons you need to survive.

Sure, they help but the most important weapon you have sits between two ears.  Although closely related to #4, using your brain encompasses more than mental discipline.  Learn to think on your feet, read body language, and act decisively.  After making a decision, move forward with resolve but also know that you will not be right 100% of the time.  There will be no time for remorse so just keep going and hope that your next well-reasoned decision will be better.

The Final Word

If you have made it this far, you may be thinking that these rules are not anything new and you have read it all before.  Okay, I get that.

Still, during these troubling times of angst, it is important to remind ourselves that it is okay if you still have a preparedness to-do list a mile long.  It is okay to be less than ready, and it is equally okay to take a break.  This is more difficult to do than you think but it is something you must do if you are ever to resolve this very real prepping dilemma.  It all gets down to having the survival mindset.

Coming to terms with not being prepared may be a hard pill to swallow but when you think abut it, isn’t being a little bit ready better than not being ready at all?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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 Below you will find  items related to today’s article.

One Second After:  For many, the novel “One Second After” was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared.    If you have not read this book, you really should.

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse: Although this is a book of fiction, it is also serves as a survival manual of sorts.  The depiction of society three years following a collapse is so very real that I could almost put myself in the same room as the members of the survival group that has banded together to protect each other as they live in a communal retreat.  The section on a bartering market was hugely insightful and gave me some idea of how it might work in a real, SHTF situation.  Considering when this was written, Patriots is eerily timely.

The Road:  Even if you think it will never happen, you need to watch to this film, based upon Cormac McCarthy’s book, ‘The Road’.  As I recall, the film is also available on Netflix streaming.

Seeds of the Month Club:  Having heirloom seeds will never be a coulda woulda shoulda since new packets arrive monthly, right on schedule.  In the past two years, I have yet to receive a duplicate seed packet.  Not only that, the seeds are regionalized to my geographical area here in Washington State.

Conflicted:  Conflicted is a survival card game designed to make you think.  Four different decks are currently available with more to come.  Using these cards, you can do some role playing and actually open up discussion relative how you would act and react in a survival situation.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight:  FAVORITE! Here we go with another flashlight.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery.

mini Cree_0    

Pofung UV-5R Ham Two Way Radio: The Pofung (formerly Baofeng) UV-5R is a compact hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. It is a compact, economical HT that includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported.  Here is the antenna I ordered along with the programming cable: NAGOYA Antenna for BAOFENG UV-5R and USB Programming Cable for Baofeng UV-5R UV-3R+.

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13 Responses to “16 Important Rules of Survival and Preparedness”

  1. I sincerely hope that a SHTF situation does not occur in my lifetime. My head may recognize the things I need to do and prepare for but my heart may not allow me to do them all. Could I pull the trigger if necessary? To defend myself and my family I believe I could but one will never know until that day arrives.

    • Oh, I am sure it would. I was just wondering if people are more concerned because of their religious faith — terrorism against Christians etc? and how that affected their preparations.

  2. I don’t see this talked about often on these prepper blogs, but it may be there. You can prepare as much as possible but the may be a time when no matter how prepared you are, something happens which pushes you beyond your ability to manage it. It’s been called many things, the current phrase is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It can happen no matter the age. This is one where, when you learn the signs and deal with it sooner rather than later, the better it is. There is also the emotional stress which comes no matter how prepared you are…i.e. knowing you’re losing a loved one but not being ready for the loss even so. So as you prepare for find like minded people, look for someone who knows how to deal with this if you can’t or don’t want to.
    Second, as to #7. I have done this with children. It works for adults too. Take a child/adult one at a time, to where you can observe people w/o being obvious. Select and watch individuals, one at a time. Take the time. Watch, do his/her actions match his/her words? Ask your self many questions w/o talking to the person being observed. This is training you and the person you’re with. What’s your instinct tell you about this person? Could/would you turn your back on him/her? This is the first step to teaching yourself to listen to your instincts, instead of getting it from a book. In an event, you won’t have time to check the book. You may only have seconds to make a decision and respond. This is easy to teach your children now, so even if/when they tell you someone makes them uneasy. That’s a teaching moment for you and them…listen to what they are seeing/sensing…often adults can’t see what children can, because they are too busy expecting something else. Like some animals, in this children can be very perceptive.

  3. From experience all alcoholics and drugees will relapse and steal from you for money in the best of conditions. They are a weak point in a crisis The only ones you can really half way trust are blood kin and them only half way. A few long term friends of decades may stand with you but they have family also who may want you supplies. Some such I know are retired special forces and bring neat ideas to the table. Never full trust anyone always have a reserve only you know about. Yout most trusted family member will talk about your preps in detail

  4. Survivors, some…survival communities, never in a million years. There is going to be so much chaos within three days we won’t be able to trust ourselves let alone those marching through the woods around us. No disrespect intended it’s just a fact that after teotwawki getting close to anyone will mean certain death. Thanks and God bless.

  5. Fantastic article. Yes I have read ever point you have made, many times before. this does not make it any less important a read.

    When I was in the army, we use to do exercises, we would always start out for the first two weeks, redoing the basics, food, cleanliness, basic patrolling methods, security, etc.

    You need to keep doing the basics over and over again, always.

  6. Thanks for the idea. I have been thinking about who I would ask ever since your comment came in. I have an idea or two and will follow up.

    Another thought: it might be good for us all to practice our poker faces. There might be occasions when a little white lie is useful for the greater good.

  7. Great article, Gaye.
    I have done quite a bit of thinking about Rules 6 & 7. To simplify; Knowing who to trust. Even with years of trusting a well-honed instinct of who is lying or telling the truth it will be, as you noted, much more difficult in a SHTF situation.
    I have found a couple of good books on the market are helping me determine who is lying based on body and eye movements etc. It takes some studying but I think the information will be invaluable when all I (sic You) own, or your life, is at stake. I recommend everyone find one or 2 books that fit their needs on the subject and study them. This knowledge will be indispensable when the SHTF.
    Gaye, maybe you can find an author or two with whom you might do interviews to help us on our way? It is a subject mentioned but not expounded upon when talk of Prepping arise.
    Again, thanks for another great article. JM

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