Seminar: Overview

This general overview seminar covers the basics of emergency preparedness. The presentation is tailored to the audience and participation is highly encouraged. This seminar begins with the standard seminar introduction.


One key to being prepared is having the correct mindset. Some will say that you are a pessimist and paranoid for being prepared. Being prepared is not about having a mindset of fear but a mindset of confidence. You have jumper cables in your car, a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors in your house, and you have insurance for home/vehicle/health. Preparedness is not about fearing the future but recognizing that bad things can happen and you can take steps to prepare for those things if they do happen. Having supplies and kits ready will give you added confidence and peace of mind.

Getting Started

Most people WANT to have emergency supplies ready, but few people do. The key is start today, make the mental commitment to continue, and expand your supplies over time. Getting started does NOT have to be expensive or elaborate.

  • Do NOT just talk about preparedness — get started today!
  • You can start with simple, inexpensive basics and add more over time
  • Starting does NOT have to be expensive
  • Use sturdy containers to organize your supplies
  • Use small poly zip bags for storing and organizing
  • Use versatile (multiple use) items such as tarps, paracord, tape, batteries, etc.
  • Create a house emergency book and keep it updated

You probably have many preparedness items already. Organize what you already have and then build from there. For example, you probably have canned and packaged foods, sleeping bags, camp stove, first aid kits, and flashlights. Take inventory of what you have and have those items easy to access. You could repurpose items such as old backpacks and containers. The key is to get started NOW!

Types of Emergencies

There are different types of emergencies and disasters and different ways of dealing with them. You should have a plan formulated for dealing with different emergency scenarios. One of the first decisions is whether you should stay at your current location or go elsewhere. Roads could be clogged or they might be impassable. If you must go do you have a destination and can you survive at that destination. Is your vehicle able to traverse the landscape if roads are damaged or gone?

Home Basics

Your home kit should include tools for shutting off water and gas. Have at least one high-grade fire extinguisher. Make sure your smoke detectors work and have good batteries. Keep an updated home manual with details about your circuits, breaker box, HVAC, appliances, etc.

First Aid

You always need basic first aid supplies in your home, vehicle, and hiking kit. Start with the basics and expand the kits over time. Basic first aid supplies such as bandaids, sunscreen, and insect repellent are useful in non-emergency situations also. Have duplicate supplies in your various kits and be sure to periodically check items and expiration dates.

  • Start with a good first aid kit and add items as needed
  • Hiking kit should be small and lightweight
  • Vehicle kit should be more complete
  • Home kit should be the most complete
  • Consider a modular kit that can be easily moved from one kit to another

First aid kits are useful for everyday life. There are many times when you need a bandaid, pain reliever, treatment for an insect bite, etc. Having a kit at home, in your vehicle, and in your hiking kit is essential. I started with a modular kit that I moved between my Bugout Bag and Hiking kit. I have since duplicated my first aid kit so that I have one in both the hiking kit and Bugout Bag. My first aid kits are easy to access. I may need to provide first aid to someone else or I may be injured and I may need someone to give me first aid.

My vehicle first aid kit started as a box with all the items packed into that box. The items were there but they were hard to find. I took the contents of that first aid kit and repacked them into a double-sided parts box with a see-through covers. I purchased the parts box at Home Depot for around $10. How I can easily find the items in the first aid supplies.


Shelter is a critical component to preparedness and survival. if you cannot survive the night then all the other preparedness items are irrelevant. You need protection from the elements which can include scorching sun, cold, wind, and rain. You need a way to retain your body heat in the cold and protect yourself from scorching heat.

  • Protecting yourself from the elements: sun, cold, wind, rain
  • Shelter types: house, car, tent, bivy, space blanket, tarp, etc.
  • Warmth: home, blankets, sleeping bag, bivy
  • Other useful items: knife, zip ties, electrical tape, paracord

Light, Visibility, & Batteries

Being about to see is critical especially if you find yourself on a dark trail or road. Be sure to have good lights and spare batteries in home, vehicle, and hiking kits. Lights can be used as a signal, for protection, and to illuminate your path.


Having clean, drinkable water is critical to preparedness. You should have some stored water in your house, vehicle, and hiking kits. You should also have water filters in your kits. Water filters are effective and affordable. Always have a water filter in your hiking kit and vehicle. You can last about three weeks without food but only about three days without water.


Your body needs fuel and food is that fuel. Have emergency food in home, vehicle, and hiking kits.

  • Can you supply the needed nutrition to keep your body functioning?
  • Short-term food: No preparation, pre-packaged or ready to eat
  • Medium-term food: Easy preparation such as boiling water
  • Long-term food: Packaged for long-term storage and protection
  • Freeze-drying: no preservative, retains flavor and nutrients, convenient, cost-effective


Longer term food requires some form of preparation. You will need some type of cooking device for preparing food and boiling water. There are a number of good stove options including propane, biomass, and ISO butane.

  • Medium- and long-term food often requires a stove or means to boil water for pre-packed meals.
  • Home cooking: BBQ, camp stove
  • Camp stove for vehicle use
  • A cast iron Dutch Oven can be used directly in campfires or with briquettes or embers
  • Flash boil stoves
  • Backpacking stoves
  • Fuel options: propane, white gas, butane, other (white gas versus propane)

Data & Digital Assets

This may sound out-of-place in a preparedness seminar but consider the value and importance of your data. If you are self-employed do you have your company and financial records secured? Do you have all of your photos backed-up in the event of a catastrophic house fire? If all of your records were destroyed could your business survive or could you pass an IRS audit? Your information is extremely valuable and it may be irreplaceable if destroyed. To safeguard your valuable data take these steps:

  • Digitize all records, photos, and documents
  • Store digitized documents in two places
  • Store multiple backups on each medium
  • Store one backup on-site
  • Store a duplicate backup off-site
  • Do NOT store important records on your local computer which can be stolen

Digitizing documents also significantly reduces clutter and makes the information much easier to find. I was able to reduce an entire file cabinet draw of papers to a single CD memory card. Most of the papers were then shredded.