Survival Buzz: Getting Started With the Pillars of Preparedness

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 3, 2019

What exactly are the basics of survival?  Speaking from the heart, even I am a bit unsure these days.  Long gone are the days when a well-stocked pantry, a generous supply of clean drinking water, and bug-out bag were all you needed to be prepared.

As much as I would like to answer this question in a definitive manner, the more I know and the longer I am doing this, the more I realize the nature and scope of what we need to prepare for has changed over the years and, if anything, is far more exhaustive than I could imagine when starting in 2010.

What does one do?  Where does one start? 

Getting Started With the Pillars of Preparedness | Backdoor Survival

Today in the Buzz I am pointing you to a sampling of the articles covering survival basics that have been shared on this website.  I have loosely arranged them in sections that are commonly referred to as the “Pillars of Preparedness”.

With over 1,300 articles published to date, this represents a very small sampling of the information I have gathered over the years.  Still, experienced or not, I hope you find this review of survival  basics useful.

Pillar #1:  Food

The Six Enemies of Food Storage

Pillar #2:  Water

Emergency Water For Preppers: Resources You Need to Know About

Pillar #3:  Medical

How to Create an Emergency Ammo Can First Aid Kit

Pillar #4:  Communication

How to Set-Up and Master Ham Radio Without Going Crazy

Pillar #5:  Security

20 Home Security and Crime Prevention Secrets for Preppers

Pillar #6: Defense

13 Steps to Prepare for Civil Unrest

Like I said, this is a mere sampling of topics that fall under the umbrella of “Survival Basics“.  Furthermore, there are many more pillars to preparedness that are not even mentioned.  Shelter, Fire, Mindset, and Planning are just a few and I am sure you can think of dozens of others.

Still, we all need to begin at the beginning and step ahead in a forward direction as best we can.  And sometimes we need to go back and start all over just to stay current.

Additional Reading:  Prepping and Survival Basics

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

I heard from long-term reader, Elaine K. recently and want to pass on her insightful suggestions for surviving if or when the SHTF.

Here are my two cents worth.

Know how to give without expecting anything in return. It teaches others to share and to have compassion. ]

Know how to work with others that are “in it for me” attitude. Identify others who do not have any regard for you, but want what you have.

Learn how to raise and use herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes. Identify weeds and know how to cook and use for medical uses.

Learn how to say: “NO!” and learn how to stand back and let someone reap results of bad decisions.

It seems to me that learning to say NO is especially important.  Thanks, Elaine!

Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways

Prepper Book Festival 12: DIY Solar Projects + Giveaway

With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.

Reminder: Register Now for a Free Webinar on Home Canning the SAFE Way

Next month I am hooking up with Melissa K. Norris, to present an online webinar on home canning the SAFE way.  The official title of this free online even is “How to Can Safely at Home with Confidence“ – a subject near and dear to many of us.

During this online session you will learn which canning methods are outdated and just plain dangerous.  At the same time, you will learn about methods that are safe plus some best practices for building up food storage with real food you “put up” yourself.

I promise you, this is a fantastic chance to learn from one of the nicest and most sincere persons you will meet online. Be sure to save the date, August 9th, at 6pm Pacific.

Spots are limited and registration is now open!  Note that this is a free event.

The Final Word

Today the Buzz is purposely short.  I am recovering from eye surgery earlier this week and have some additional medical procedures scheduled for next week. Rest is on the agenda.  I tell you this not because you need to know, but rather if you have some health or medical issues to attend to, doesn’t it make sense to take care od them now while you still have a choice in the matter?

I have purposely stayed away from the political shenanigans going on at the national conventions this week, and instead continue to focus on what I can do for myself, independent of government, military, or political interference.  I go back to the pillars of preparedness to learn and practice self-reliance to the best of my ability.

In whatever small way that you can, I hope you will do the same.  Have a great week, everyone.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Below you will find the items related to fire-making skills plus some other perennial personal and reader favorites.

Survivor Outdoor Fixed Blade Knife with Fire Starter: This knife has measures 7 inch long overall, has a full-tang stainless steel blade, is equipped with thick green cord-wrap handle, and has a nylon sheath plus a magnesium-alloy fire starter.  How does it work?  This is not a Kershaw, Gerber or other high quality blade.  On the other hand, the fire starter works great (better than great).

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel:  This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.

Magnesium Flint Firesteel Fire Steel Starter: This magnesium flint stone fire starter is about two bucks with free shipping. How to use it:

1. Place the flint on ground upwardly, and put the scraper vertically to the flint, then scrape some magnesium powder on inflammable material like paper or branch

2. Place the flint on ground at about 45° and 2.5 cm from the magnesium powder scraped just now, then scrape the flint fast to produce spark so as to light up the inflammable material

Magnesium Fire StarterThe Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items   Backdoor Survival:  This Campers’ Magnesium Emergency Fire Starter.

Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter:  Zippo has been creating virtually indestructible, windproof refillable lighters for more than 75 years. The Zippo Street Chrome pocket lighter is no exception. This lighter features a classic textured chrome finish and carries the same lifetime guarantee–to either work or be fixed by Zippo free of charge–for life.  All wearable parts including flints and wicks are replaceable.  Every prepper should own at least one Zippo!  Learn more about Zippos in the article What You Need to Know About Zippos and Lighter Fuel.

100 BIC-style Lighters Disposable Classic Lighter:  Running about 16 cents each and free shipping, these are great to have on hand for both survival and barter use. Want fewer than 100.  You can also get a pack of 50.

Coghlans Waterproof Matches 10-pack: There are 10 boxes of 40 matches.  That is a good deal for 400 waterproof matches.

Paracord Planet Mil-Spec Commercial Grade 550lb Type III Nylon Paracord:  This makes a great clothesline! An ideal all-around utility cord in the field, paracord is tough and long lasting. It is made from 550-pound test nylon and features a seven-strand core for maximum strength. Also, it is manufactured in the United States.  Note that some colors may be more expensive than others.  Need ideas? See 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival.

12 Color Pack Bandana – Assorted Colors:  This is the #1 seller in the bandana category. I love these bandanas and you will often see me wearing them in photos here on the website. Be sure to read How to Use a Bandana to Save the Day.

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: FAVORITE! This is a great knife that is currently priced with free shipping.  Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller in both the camping and hunting knives categories.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and safe a couple of bucks.


What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival




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10 Responses to “Survival Buzz: Getting Started With the Pillars of Preparedness”

  1. Prayers for a swift and full recovery

  2. Prepping for survival is simple. Shelter, water and food are all that you have to cover. Prepping for living is much more complicated. Simply survivaling is not enough,you must plan for a life that is fulfilling and lasting, ensuring continued personal growth and a stable future for those who come after you. That is where prepping gets complex.

  3. I agree with you & Elaine. I’ve always had trouble saying “No” & letting others reap what they sow. I’m getting better at it though. Like when my 16 yr old wanted to dye her hair purple! Within a week she was whining “Why did you let me do this?” LOL Hope your recovery is quick.

  4. Great reminder of the basics needed to ‘get started’. With all the things happening in today’s world more and more are looking for off grid property and trying to do their best to prep for a SHTF situation. We have seen a lot of couples from various areas looking for land in this area.
    It is sometimes hard to explain to them that they need to prepare for what they will face while trying to build a small homestead and go off grid. We try to help when we can but we have learned quickly that many do not want the ‘work’ only the results. Those are the ones we will have to learn to say “NO” to later.

  5. i’m glad you’re taking care of yourself, gaye; i hope your recovery and upcoming procedures are as painless as possible.

    elaine k.–now that you mention it, how DOES one deal with people who are only in it for themselves? i get along great with anyone who is willing and able to engage in reasonable discourse, and who has even a minimal capacity for empathy, but what about psychopaths and other narcissists? i was raised by a sadistic psychopath, and all i really learned was to stay as far away from such people as i could, but there must be better ways to deal with them when one must.

  6. Most folks who check out survival blogs/videos are aware of the physical things and how-to crafts needed. Even if only to get through hurricane season and the like. What is generally missing, though, are the mental and psychological factors. It may be helpful to check out blogs that focus on the spiritual/religious aspects of life. Ask yourself, are you a good judge of character? Could you sense if some person cannot be trusted? How is your ESP? Do you know if your close ones are safe or need help? (I call it the Spiritual Internet.) Are you able to withstand dangers and turmoil with a steady hand? Can you manage people who are losing their minds with panic? Just a few questions to get your mind rolling in a different direction.

    I love to read online stories about ladies who fend off bears with a pillow or grapple mountain lions with their bare hands to save a child. It’s SPIRIT that imparts what we think of as super-human courage when needed. All of us have that potential, whether a strapping young SEAL or a defiant homeowner armed with just a broom.

    • The ones I refer to are those naïve individuals who think that once they have a solar panel system in place and a shelter they will be fine. They have never lived in the area before so have no idea about ‘low water bridges’ that can leave them stranded for days, the icy conditions that make traveling nearly impossible, or the dropping water table during dry seasons that make most water wells virtually useless. They don’t think it through and investigate the area before purchasing that “great piece of land with a fantastic view”. These are the ones that will be caught unprepared in a serious situation.

      The adrenaline rush that helps us all when we or are family is in danger will be a great help to many. I have heard of people lifting up cars and moving huge boulders that would be impossible to do under normal circumstances. It is knowing how to handle yourself and what can be done that makes a huge difference.

      We all need to prepare ourselves mentally as well as physically as much as possible. I have never fired a gun in my life – something I plan to work on soon – but I worry that I would not be able to pull the trigger when necessary. The thought of killing another human being is hard for me to grasp and something I pray I never have to face.

  7. Cheers to good health…and prayers for a very speedy recovery. I agree. Do what you did yesterday, and do it a wee bit better. If we stop and look around, we’ll bet confused and trampled upon. Keep moving ahead. Lots of good advice in that short little post! Good for you! Take care of yourself.

  8. Some of us can’t stay where we are and grew up, and know like the back of our hand. We can’t stay in FL, because everyone is moving here!!
    We have bought property in AL, and have tried to consider our long term WTSHTF needs. I’ll be transporting my pantry and canned foods and freezer and water filter. And weapons and ammo! And hope/pray we get it built on time. Putting in a root cellar, and passive solar orientation and a masonry heater, because we don’t do cold well. And we have lots of woods there. I’ve been saving seeds, and have had gardens in the past (no room here on .20 acre total lot). Putting in nut and fruit trees, and have done several foraging classes; will have to find one up there. Got my HAM Lic and are working on that and the firing range. I’m thinking rabbits and garden are first priorities when we move for me, and defenses, and secondary well/catchment systems for my husband. And he’s a hunter, so will restock our meat. And looking for a EMP proof old truck or SUV,
    whenever that shows up! Any suggestions are appreciated, because it is daunting!

    • You did not mention it but on’t forget to learn to can your own bounty!

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