What this article is and what it isn’t.

It is the purpose of this article to give you a strategy or methodology in your preparations. It is not a detailed treatment of preparing for a disaster. For a more detailed treatment of planning (or PREPPING) please follow this link to: and for part II go here: .

What? Me? How?

A couple of times a week I get asked the inevitable question: “I hear what you are saying and I agree something is terribly wrong but how/where do I start?” I know that there is absolutely no one at Don’t Tread On Me that needs to know this, but on the off chance someone somewhere comes across our site, I want to try and answer that question.

Where/How do I get started?

First you must make some decisions: What do you plan on surviving? And what do you already have that will make survival of that emergency a likelihood? In other words, what are your resources? Now, you have a starting point for what you need to acquire in order to make your survival a reality!

First you need a plan!

Here is a list of emergencies that you might want to consider for you preparations plan:

(1) Economic Collapse   

(2) Civil Unrest  

(3) Police State                                                                                                                                                          

(4) Nuclear Disaster i.e. Fukushima/Chernobyl                                                                         

(5) Chemical disaster, i.e. Bhopal, India

(6) Biological Disaster, i.e. weaponized bird flu

 (7) Earth Changes

             (A) Weather

             (B) Earthquakes

             (C) Volcanoes/Super volcanoes

             (D) Meteors/Planet X/ Asteroid / Comet impact

(8) EMP/CME/Solar flare

(9) War (nuclear or conventional or other)

If you live near the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers you know how little good a storm cellar is when the rivers flood. By the same token a storm cellar is great for tornadoes. The type of emergency you are planning to survive will dictate the type of preparations you must take.

Your preparations should always match your emergency!

When I was a kid we lived about 40 miles from the Louisiana Gulf Coast. If a particularly dangerous hurricane was predicted to make landfall in our vicinity we would board up the house and head for my grandparents’ house in central Louisiana. This was an adequate response for this type of emergency. If you are reading Don’t Tread On Me for tips or hints on survival, I will assume that you are not here worried about the next hurricane. I am going to make a bold step and guess that you are here because you feel that something is inherently wrong with our economy and/or political structure in America. In short, you are hoping to survive either a political, social or economic collapse. Therefore, with this in mind, I will take the liberty of addressing these emergencies.

Referring back to the list above, the preparation strategy I will give you may help you plan for emergencies 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9. Numbers 4, 5, 6, and 7 could happen anywhere in the country or world and affect you and it would have immediate and possibly fatal results. I am not saying don’t try to prepare but I am saying that most of these types of emergencies have a tendency to be TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) type of emergencies and beyond our control.

I will say this about emergencies 4, 5, 6 and 7, if you leave a large metropolitan area and move to a rural area some of these hazards can be reduced, but not eliminated.

Alright, I know what you are thinking, if it cost 1.5 million dollars to buy a loaf of bread isn’t that the end of MY world as I know it? The answer of course is, yes, but it is not the end of THE world. It may feel like it at first, but you can survive and even thrive (I call this THRIVIVAL (three-vi-val)) in such a scenario.

Now you know what to plan for; economic, social, political collapse which may or may not devolve into a police state, more so than it already is.

Wow! Sure beats all that doom and gloom about the economy!

I don’t have a TV so I can’t watch network news or shows so I was taken aback when I had a flood of questions about how to prepare and people told me about a National Geographic show titled Doomsday Preppers. So, I was told about people preparing for a nuclear war scenario, 2012 Coronal Mass Ejections (sounds dirty), economic chaos and yada yada yada. Then they asked what I was preparing for? Simple, all of the above and more. Take your pick. One lady screamed, shook her fist at me and walked off. Luckily it wasn’t my wife. Actually, the lady did call later and apologized and asked for help. Like I explained to her, to prepare for nuclear war or disaster and not economic collapse is a waste of time and effort.

So, you feel deep down there is something wrong. You want to prepare so you can preserve your family and loved ones. Where do you begin? Don’t run out and hire a swimming pool contractor to dig up your back yard and start building an underground shelter just yet. Let’s look at a few things and see if that is a good idea or not.

Where do you live?

This is a basic question and it is the most practical one to get out of the way first. If you live within 50 miles of a major metropolitan area, (pop. 500,000 or more) you need to:

(1) think about abandoning your home in time of trouble,

(2) selling your home and relocating to another area at least 100 miles from a major city,

(3) purchasing a piece of “vacation” property in a rural/remote area

First, abandoning your home in a time of trouble. If there were not advantages to this strategy I would not even mention it but there are, so let’s look at the pro’s and cons.


If you have a comfortable six figure income which leaves you with a adequate supply of disposable income that will enable you to tackle your survival needs then by all means, if relocation is impossible, stay in the city or suburbs and work there as long as practical. Ideally, this job will provide you with enough cash to purchase a piece of property so that you can “bug out” later. It should also provide you with the means to stock adequate provisions at your refuge and where you live.


In an economic breakdown, when the government stops sending entitlement checks or inflation is so high that the average welfare check will not purchase a hamburger, the population dependant on those checks will start looting and pillaging and your beautiful house or apartment will look like a mini-Wal-Mart to the average low life. Not only do you have to think about this but you must also consider that if you wait just one day too long to get out of the city you are S-O-L (Sh*t Out of Luck). Even your $250,000 specially armored Hummer won’t get you out of town. The highways will be parking lots, just like in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. All it will take is for one car to break down or run out of gas and you have instant parking lot and instant death trap.

Second, sell your home and move a hundred or more miles away. I personally have used a similar strategy. I moved everything to my refuge and continued to work in the “city” by renting an apartment until the end of my contract. At any time I would have been less than 3 hours, by vehicle, from my refuge and could easily have hiked the distance had I been forced to.


Keeps you close to big city job markets and salaries while having a minimum invested in the actual city economy. This keeps you light and mobile and if forced to you could walk, cycle, motocross or drive your way to safety.


You are still separated from your refuge even if only a hundred or so miles. Even though a person can walk 4 miles an hour, that is over a flat terrain and for only one hour. A sustained rate of walking is more along the lines of one to two miles an hours for eight to ten hours. If you are in good condition and the terrain is fairly smooth then you may make more progress. Otherwise, if you are out of shape, you have rolling or hilly terrain or over 5,000’ in altitude, or in my case all of the above, consider 10 to 20 miles/day real good.

Thirdly, purchase a remote piece of “vacation” property. Yes, I have used this strategy as well as it does have a certain charm to it. You still live and work in the city but you can “get away from it all” whenever you chose.


It gives you a get away to de-stress and relax when city life gets to be a bit much. In the interim you can be building and stocking your refuge for hard times without actually having to “rough it”. My first wife’s idea of roughing it was when the TV remote control went out in the hotel room.


This approach keeps you at arm length to your retreat. You don’t experience the discomfort but you also miss out on the thrill of accomplishment in overcoming some “adversity”.

Now, as far as…

Wait a minute Codger, you missed the most important one of all. What about moving to your refuge now and making a living on a local economy or the internet?

Well, I’m glad you asked. There are several reasons why I am not covering this option at this time. One, is that this article is a preppers primer, so to speak. Also, it has been my experience that about, and if you have other statistics please let me know, 1 in 10 people are aware of what is going on. Further, about 1 in 100 people are actively preparing in some way. This would mean that about 3.5 million people in this country are actively preparing for disaster. Some people put that number as high as 30-40 million. I am talking hardcore preparations. Someone buying a couple of silver dollars off of EBAY is not a hardcore prepper.

Conversely, areas that make good refuge locations have very small, family oriented job markets, farming, ranching, small town stores, etc. Personally, I believe you lucky guys and gals that derive some or all of your income from the internet are probably the best equipped to move “back to the land” and make a go of it. People like me either have to live off the land, by farming and ranching, or market their skills in a mid size city somewhere.

I have a certain degree of envy for those of you who can make a living in the digital world, anywhere in the world, and enjoy doing it. Somewhere around 2003 or 2004 my mind just clicked off and said “Computers are not fun anymore.” It is too much trouble for me to even watch TV. So, I went back to my roots and found more enjoyment in farming than ever before.

So do you see, that the ranks of those who can move back to the land and make a living from it or make a living just working on the internet are few and far between. If you can, all I have to say is, what the hell are you waiting for?

Survival based on needs. (Remember your PRIMACY of needs.)

You must base your needs on NEEDS and not wants or tastes. You need fresh, clean drinking water not EVIAN (have you ever spelled Evian backwards? That’s right!) So the first need you must address in any survival situation is water. One rule of thumb, the more you have the longer you live! Plan for one gallon/day/person. You can live on less but who wants to. Now itemize your water resources.


1. City water at the apartment (or house wherever you live.)

2. Bottled water. (quantity)

3. Water well (yes or no is adequate. If yes, then…)

     A. A means to pump water should you lose power (Y/N)

     B. A means to store it.

4. Creek, river, or stream (Y/N)

     A. A means to filter it (Y/N)

     B. A means to transport or deliver it to your refuge (Y/N)

5. Second use water.

     A. Gray water

          (i) Can you capture it

          (ii) Do you have storage options? (barrels, tanks, a pond, etc.)

          (iii) Can you use it to water your garden

     B. Rain water

          (i) Do you have gutters?

          (ii) Do you have containment options?

          (iii) Uses (irrigation, washing, drinking, etc.)

     C. Pond water

This is the methodology and you can use it for each category when you take stock of your present situation. You also use it to identify your future needs. Let’s try the next category, food.


Freeze dried food will last 20-30 years



1. Fresh (quantity on hand)

2. Canned (quantity on hand. Be mindful of expiration dates)

3. Canned in jars (home canning of fresh food)

4. Dried, salted, pickled

5. Meats (dried, salted, pickled)

6. Seeds

     A. Seeds for sprouting

     B. Seeds for eating

     C. Seeds for planting (should be only open pollinated)

Do you notice one category missing? Congratulations if you did. It is frozen. Frozen foods will either have to be canned (in jars, dehydrated, pickled or salted or eaten first before they spoil when the lights go out.)

I never had sex with that woman.

Your next need is shelter. With shelter you have the usual categories plus a few you may have forgotten. Shelter is a roof over your head but it is also, clothes, a tent, a car or RV, it may be someone else’s roof while on your way to your refuge. These are things you must consider. Here is the scenario: For arguments sake, let’s say you live in an apartment in Columbus, Ohio. I’ll make up an address of 2121 S135th Street. You purchased a piece of property with your income tax refund in 2012 with your 2011 refund. It is located in La Veta Colorado. Your father‘s brother, Uncle Fred lives in Paducah, KY. Your spouse‘s cousin lives in Joplin, Misery often misspelled Missouri. Now, your mother‘s half-brother‘s family, he died in a car accident involving a hooker and a gallon of white lightening, lives in Ulysses, Kansas, yes, there will be a test so remember all these names. You have made arrangements with these family members in advance to preposition food, water and specially wrapped packages in their cellars or barns. Okay?


This beats sleeping in the snow or rain.


1. Apartment at 2121 S135th Street

2. Uncle Fred’s in Paducah, KY

3. Cousin Willy in Joplin Missouri

4. Aunt Hannah’s in Ulysses, KS

5. Cabin in La Veta, Colo.

6. Pop-up camper

7. Dome tent in Little Bobby’s bedroom closet

8. What are the national parks or forest between Columbus, Ohio and La Veta, Colorado?

Do you see that going from house to house is the most desirable? As a backup you could pull the camper, if you had to. Will it use up the extra fuel that you have? Will it be difficult to negotiate in traffic? Will it slow you down so much that you become an easy target? Does it make you look like a more inviting target, i.e. richer? have more food? Do you see how you must evaluate and re-evaluate each condition based on numerous factors? Is it before the overall collapse? Is it after the collapse? Are the roads still open? Is fuel still readily available? Do you see the drill you MUST go through?

Is it safer to leave the trailer behind, because you were late leaving Columbus, to use the dome tent in Little Bobby’s bedroom closet than to pull the pop-up camper? Do I have enough fuel to pull the camper? Are there any riots in the towns I must go through? These are all things you must think about NOW!! Don’t wait until you back out of the drive way and then get mad at your wife because she hasn’t already planned for all this. Savvy?

Okay, it is time to talk about your transportation options. You commute so you use a Toyota Prius. Your spouse works at home via the internet and has a crossover with all wheel drive. Which is the most desirable? What are all your options?


1. Prius is most fuel efficient

2. Crossover has the best towing capacity and all wheel drive.

3. My spouse and I each have a motorcycle and can ride double with the kids.

4. We all have mountain bikes.

5. Walking/hiking. (At this point a push scooter or stick horse would beat walking.)

Do you see how each stage of the exercise has to be evaluated to a conclusion? Look around you and try to visualize, understand and plan for your needs. And now, you have to look at your escape options. This will include a predetermined BUG-OUT plan, right?



1. Can we stay at 2121 S135th Street (Y/N)

2. How do we get to Uncle Fred’s in Paducah?

     A. Before the collapse take the interstate highway system.

     B. After the collapse take US 62. Less traffic, smaller towns, fewer people.

3. From Uncle Fred’s to Cousin Willy’s in Joplin.

     A. Take US60 from Paducah to Mansfield, MO

     B. Go from Mansfield to Ava, Ava to Monett.

     C. Monett to Carthage and Carthage to Joplin.

4. From Cousin Willy’s to Aunt Hannah’s in Ulysses, KS

     A. From Joplin go to US160 at Crestline, KS. Proceed west.

     B. Follow US160 to Ulysses

5. From Aunt Hannah’s to La Veta, CO.

     A. Take US 160 from Ulysses, KS to Trinidad, CO.

     B. From Trinidad take CO 12 to La Veta.

Isn't this better than Columbus?

Do you see what I did? I calculated the longest and presumably safest route from Columbus, Ohio to La Veta Colorado. Stay off the interstate system whenever possible. Interstate highways all depend on ample fuel, no accidents and relative calm in inner cities. Comprende? If you leave months before the collapse, by all means take the interstate highway system. If there are already riots, whether or not there has been a general collapse, stay the hell off the interstates. Most interstate highways go through the center of cities. These areas will be plague by riots, robberies and murders. Need I say more?

Next category? Some of these are relevant to only your final destination. Some are relevant no matter where you are or end up.


1. Weapons

     A. Rifles

     B. Handguns

     C. Shotguns

     D. Bows

     E. Knives

2. Ammunition

     A. Rifle (Y/N and quantity of each caliber. 10k is best)

     B. Handgun (Y/N + quantity)

     C. Shotgun (Y/N + quantity)

     D. Other (Arrows, etc.)

3. Surveillance equipment

     A. RF cameras

     B. Motion or heat activated flood lights

     C. Night Vision goggles

     D. Binoculars

4. Fencing

      A. Barbed wire

      B. Chain link

     C. Stock fence

     D. Razor ribbon

     E. Tangle foot

5. Communications

     A. Family channel radios

     B. Voice or battery activated field phones

     C. CB radios and walkie talkies

     D. Frequency Scanners

     E. Intrusion alarms

          (i) Trip wire activated-Military surplus

          (ii) Seismic detectors

          (iii) Homemade intrusion alarms

          (iv) Tiger traps and punji sticks

Okay, do you get the general drift of the exercise you must do in order to get to your goal? You must think this through. You must go through all the mental masturbation that is necessary so that you can insure that you and your family survive. Got it?

You may have many more options for each category than I have enumerated in this drill. You may not have thought about it in this fashion ever before and now have to think of all your options. You can never, ever cover every contingency. This should not keep you from planning for the NEXT contingency. Got it?



12 comments to STEPS TO PREPARE.

  • trailhiker

    Great primer CC! Keep up your work, I certainly enjoy and learn from your writings.

  • Archangel

    Thanks CC! This is most reassuring to me, I have been working through the very same thought process in my notebook. Great stuff!

  • Marijan

    Interesting war on home produced food.

  • Country Codger

    Thanks for the comments and encouragements. They are greatly appreciated. I know I didn’t cover every contingency but I was trying to get a person STARTED in the process of planning.

    Many of my articles come straight out of the journal that I kept back in the 80’s and 90’s, so by all means, everyone, keep a journal or notebook.

    Interesting you say that. My wife and I were discussing that very thing while i was writing the article. My home canned food is fresher, contains not additives or preservatives, AND I use no chemical pesticides, herbicides or additives in my farming. I opposed the “organic” movement in the 80’s and still do. One: the government will screw up any and everything. TWO: anything that possesses a carbon molecule is considered organic. (Ever study organic chamistry?)

    We prefer the term BIODYNAMIC. BIO = (Greek) life, & dynamic (comes from Greek dunamis) = power. So you have power of life or you could say DY-NO-MITE (Jimmy J.J. Walker) from live food. Please go to the AcresUSA website to learn more about BIODYNAMIC garding and farming.


  • Health Warrior

    So CC do you plant by the moon then? I’ve used the bio-dynamic calendars before. Where is a good supplier of the remedies that are recommended for pests in the states? I’ve read some of the bio-dynamic philosophy too. Good stuff, yet burying remedies in the ground in a horn for a number of days sounds a little off to me; but who knows there is a lot of what goes on in our world that we haven’t even begun to understand, and if it works we may not yet understand why yet.

    Have you read or used quantum agriculture techniques? Acres also discusses these. It applies nutrients etc. as an energy/frequency as opposed to the physical state. the plants respond right away (it gives the plants exactly what they need in the form they can immediately use instead of letting the plant convert the nutrients in the soil (which may be locked up due to imbalances in the soil) to energy. Also, you would need to apply it (broadcast it) more, as the immediately usable form is quickly used up. As opposed to gradual release in the soil. Just curious.

  • Country Codger

    @Health Warrior

    I’ve tried planting by the moon but I would run into things because the headlights on my tractor don’t work, so I wait till daytime.

    Obviously, I am joking. My maternal grandmother planted by the moon as did my brother-in-law. One thing I noticed wa that I had crops because I plant by the weather and when the moon is right a lot of times the weather was wrong so they didn’t plant. I plant when the weather is right, not the moon.

    The whole idea about using bio-dynamic agriculture is that life begets life. You can purchase diodynamic starter if it is too much trouble to make your own, which it is for me.

    ALthough I guess you can call it quantum agriculture to me it is still biodynamic. Yes, I do use “quantum” methods. Go to and also

    Azomite is very important because all soils have depleted mineral content. This was discovered in the 1930’s, 38 or 39. Minerals are more the key to good plant health than nitrogen.

    Also, go to a used book store and look for a copy of Secrets of the Soil by Bird and Tompkins. Read Philip Callahan’s discoveries in the book. Callahan is a genius. He is getting pretty old but was still alive a few years ago. The last time I talked to him he lived in Wichita, Kansas. Hopefully he will live to be a 100. He is brilliant.

    Good Luck.

  • Snowleopard

    I am thinking that anyone who can, should move to their safe place ASAP.

    It can take years to develop homestead food production to where it can be sustained enough to live on with only local inputs. We will be lucky if we have those years.

    Community support is important, and, such support is difficult to cultivate rapidly unless you are gifted with extraordinary social skills.

    It is likely we will see more slow decline until sudden collapse ensues when it cannot be delayed any longer. At that point anything is (im)possible! Martial law, civil unrest, another war, economic restrictions and travel restrictions could all happen in the same week. Any place an interstate highway exits to a state highway could have checkpoints on both roads, with permits required to proceed. In some areas permanent infrastructure for the checkpoints is allready in place. ‘Well sir, since it is your first offence, we will just confiscate your (weapons, gold, silver, food, cash, etc.) and let you proceed or turn you back with a warning. Next time it’s off to the camps!”

  • Country Codger

    Hi Snowleopard,

    I am not disagreeing with you by any means. I just feel that we have somewhere between 4 days and 24 months left to prepare. I honestly belief tht the inflation and panic buying in 2012 will be so bad that if you don’t have it by Spring 2012 you won’t be able to get it.

    RangerRIck and I were just discussing why the government is buying hundreds of millions of MRE’s if they are not planning for “Something”.

    One of the main reasons I put out Goodbye America is so everyone will see how far down we have fallen as a nation in my lifetime. I carried my favorite rifle and shotgun in a rack in the back glass of my pick-up until the late 80’s. After that the crime was so bad I had to take them out.

    I agree with everything you said. I think time is too short.

    Keep stacking and don’t forget brass and lead are also precious metals.


  • walster

    really good cc! another major point, energy. where is the heat and cooling coming from. the energy to run stuff. got lots of gas wells close by. woundn’t be that hard to “get” a few ounces of pressure:-). could be a bigger deal here in northern canada, i guess.

  • Snowleopard

    Hi CC

    Yes we all need to prepare as soon and as best we can.

    I am sure the government is planning for many things, as usual. I did hear, reliably, that FEMA was stocking millions of MRE’s (and bodybags, and plastic burial vaults) to prepare for major quake(s) in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). I’m sure they are stocking stuff i don’t know about too.

    NMSZ and surrounding area is showing major geological stress lately. Multi-agency/university hazard impact assessment reports (and much more)can be found at below links:

    The above page gives a quick idea of what is involved for those unfamiliar. Much more info, (some a bit dated) is available from the other pages and their links.

    I have not read it all yet, but the threat can be extrapolated well beyond the direct effects discussed and those indirect effects mentioned in conclusion. For one thing supplies of almost everything would rapidly become unavailable or very expensive east of the Mississippi, maybe for months to years. For another, there are 15 nuclear power plants in the hazard zone.

    IMHO this is a near to medium term (3mo-8yr) high probability threat. It could fizzle out with small quakes to return years from now but that is unlikely. If a financial crisis has not hit allready a major NMSWZ quake will trigger one.

  • Country Codger


    Depending on where you are in Canada you could use woodsmoke/biomass for energy. Canada has a ton of forest and wood byproducts my be readily available up there. I do not know. There was a very brilliant young man, I believe in Saskatchewan, who put together small community power systems with diesel generators to power small villages. I would definitely look into wood products that you can get for free or at low cost and use a gasoline generator and convert it to woodsmoke. I may do an article on how to build a wood/coal gasifier.

  • Tess of Kansas

    I like the rythem of this article. I need to count out the ammo. I know that I only have a few cartiages of 12 gauge. Can’t find the 12 ga. these days either. I think the bum down the road might have walked off it, but can’t prove it. But that is a off topic.

    There is so much to consider. At times, I have just taken my windfall of funds and bougth into a missing category of preppering. For example, instead of paying down the credit card more, I picked up a camping shower, propane stove/Coleman with extra fuel, candles, wicks for the lanterns, an extra globe (all on end of season clearance). I also picked up some tarps and nylon rope. You get the idea. After the food, water, and metals, I was still very deficient with backup cooking and lighting options.

    Security is the next area I wish to get organized with. My paperwork backup needs attention too. The medication concerns are finally being addressed. I have antibiotics on order now. The extra meds, bloodpressure, etc are coming along very slowly. I make some progress, and then come up short with money to buy refills, then end up using my storage meds in the freezer.

    Our small pasture is open once again. It is about 12 acres or so, with no water. I feel I should use it in some way for prepping (goats). But not sure if I am up to it. Transferring water in the snow and ice can be tricky – so I hear.

    Sorry for so many personal examples of prepping. I like Country Codgers articles a lot. I just discovered this one. BTW, I am not rich. I am disabled. Had the good fortune to have some income from several sources at one time. In 1994 I began my move from Southern California (horse country/Norco) before my funds were all gone. This made it possible to down size and be in a safer better community suited to my personality. My first home was 3,000. I paid cash and had few utilities – very unreliable ones. It is better now, but not perfect. I keep one to two rooms heated and a bath so the pipes don’t freeze.

    Enough from me. Time to oil those guns. Its that time year here. Thanks for the article CC.

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