How To Survive TEOTWAWKI In 14 Easy Steps

1) Keep it as simple a possible. If something can be done in two steps instead of three why bother with the third step? If there is an easier and simpler way to the same result, why make things difficult. Remember The KISS principle: “Keep it simple, stupid”.

2) Take your time and create a plan. With a paper and pen write out a detailed survival plan. What, when and how – while considering your personal needs and those of your family. Do this every six months – circumstances change, keep you plans flexible.

3) Have realistic expectations. I’m sure many of you would like to have a retreat on one-hundred acres nestled in the remote Idaho wilderness. A room full of high-tech weapons and gear. A customized humvee in the drive. A bunker stacked from floor to ceiling with MRE’s and the latest freeze-dried foods. But in reality most of us will never have this stuff. Set your preparedness goals at an obtainable level work relentlessly to meet them.

4) Educate your team, work together. Divide your family or survival group by skills. For instance; one member might specialize in medical procedures, another in chemistry and another weapons repair and reloading etc. Figure out what skills and resources you have as a group. Fill the gaps with training, classes and study.

5) Get a solid understanding of the basics. Everyone should at least know the basics, CPR / first aid, how to shoot, weapons maintenance and using available resources. Cover the basics first before moving to more advanced concepts. Refer to #1 above.

6) Know when to change strategies. Don’t become fixated with plans or beliefs. If something works, great; if not you need to find out what the problem is and how to fix it – even if it means a complete overhaul of your original plan.

7) Do a threat analysis. Stop, think, look around – if you were being attacked what would be the most likely approach? What are the weak points in your defenses? Who are probable attackers? When are they likely to attack. When are you most vulnerable? Find weak spots in your defenses and harden those points.

8) Experiment. Never assume something works without first trying it yourself. We have to many armchair survival “experts” giving advice on things they have never done. Never take anything at face value – try everything yourself to see if and how it works, leave nothing to chance.

9) Build a good library. You need books on gardening, homesteading, food storage and cooking, trapping, tracking, repair, raising livestock, alternative energy, medical, herbs and edible plants, outdoor survival etc. Make a list of the books you need. It’s best not to get many titles covering the same subject – they tend to overlap and cover the same techniques and advice. See number 8.

10) Don’t get discouraged. It’s easy to become discouraged or give up altogether. Stay focused, set obtainable goals and remember everyone started from the beginning. Stop worrying about what some survival guru said you need in his latest fiction novel. You know your situation and needs better than anyone – plan accordingly.

11) Analyze your skills. Take a close look at yourself and your skills. Write down the things you are good at – find your strong points. Do the same for your weak points. What do you know little about? Find the area that needs improvement and get to work building your skill level in that area.

12) Take inventory.Take a good look at your food storage and other survival supplies. Write down what you have, look for gaps in your inventory. I did this a couple of weeks ago and found I needed to expand my medical kit.

13) Get a check up. If you still have a job with medical insurance great. Get a complete physical and check-up – same with dental. Correct any problems found.

14) Find your own way. No one knows your situation or location better than you and no one can formulate a survival plan based on your personal needs better than you. You know who you are and what you are capable of – plan accordingly.

Did I miss anything? Please feel free to add to the list in the comments below… 😀

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. JP in MT says:

    #9. I’ve been working on mine, both physical books and e-books/PDFs for years; since I first started prepping. I can say that I have 3 book cases full, 1,000+ e-books, and multiple flash drives of PDF’s. I need to get a couple more toner cartridges for my laser printer and start printing (but since we are planning on moving, this has been postponed). I pick up a lot of binders and pre-punched paper during back-to-scholl sales. I also stock up on “composition” lined book for logs, etc. Pencils don’t go bad (erasers are something else). And don’t forget the sharpeners.

    • Hannibal says:

      Would you care to share your top 10 (or more) must have ebooks? I’d like to obtain and put them on my ipad and print them off as well.

  2. JP in MT says:

    #12. I have found that my inventory is essential. I keeps me focused on what I’m buying.

    I have 2 basic inventories. The 2 main ones are for food, and one for non-food supplies. I also have one for books, another for ammo. I used to have them on my smart phone, but decided that it was a bad idea if it got lost. Now they are on flash-drives and these can be used on my tablet. Hard copies are printed monthly, in a binder, and the old copies shreaded.

    • axelsteve says:

      Jp in MT Can`t smartphones be hacked somehow anyway ? Not by me since I am tech challenged but from nerds and nerd govt groups.When I do some things I use an alias so they will have to work harder to find paper trials of what I do.Maybe a prepaid cellphone will keep you from being moniterd? I like to keep myself kinda grey.

      • JP in MT says:

        As far as I know the answer is yes. Isn’t that how those celebrities get their nude photos out there (at least that’s what they said).

      • axelsteve,
        Any computer can be hacked if connected to a network, and that include Smart Phones. They key is to either never keep personal information (SSN; Bank, CC, and Brokerage Account numbers, or critical passwords), OR store them in an encrypted format, for which there are apps.

  3. Spindrifter says:

    Most of the ‘prep’ articles seem aimed at people who live either in the outskirts of town or are already somewhat isolated. In my case, being the ripe old age of 74, I live in a suburb. I have no immediate family close by. I have set aside enough emergency food and water to last a month in case of some emergency or disaster. Other than that, I don’t see the point in accumulating a lot of stuff. I used to hunt and fish but am no longer physically able to do that. If an emergency lasts longer than a month, I’ll become a ‘late’ resident. That being said, i enjoy reading the articles. I love my country but am disgusted with my government.

    • Spindrifter, with a month worth of food and water you are better prepared than at least 99% of Americans. My wife and I live in the suburbs as well, and that suburb is on a little island in the middle of a big ocean. If we have to bug out, we have to find available seats on an airplane out of Oahu.

      We can’t realistically relocate until my wife retires, so we do what we can, where we are. It sounds to me like you are doing the same, and that puts us all way ahead of most.

      • Sw't Tater says:

        Think about these questions and explore them..
        .When y’all are retired, will you relocate?
        Do you already know where you would go?
        Do you have a family member that you can go to in SHTF..? Are they preparing? Do they have sufficient storage space/living space ?
        Will they buy to prepare for your arrival, or can you order items to be shipped to their home?..
        . Maybe order dehydrated 20 year variety foods to make soup…. or buy extra to add to shipments they already receive? 100-150$ a month can add up pretty fast, if it is consistent.. .and every pack of food you have will be one you don’t have to scrap for later. Just explore for options. think OUT side the box.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Plant lettuce, radishes..and what ever else you like and will eat in pots..or plantars. dehydrate leftovers…buy an extra jar or two of peanut butter and Jelly. You will be surprised at how fast these small things add up, to another month’s worth of food. Maybe you could share some life skills you do have with a neighbor…a benefit to both of you. I live in a rural area, much of “survival” guides are geared for suburb, city , and bugging out. I learn from them, about many dangers, because those hungry people will not stay “on the rooftops” if they can get off. We have the best government that fiat money can buy.

    • Spindrifter,

      Everyone in my “tribe” is related by blood or marriage, but the oldest is only about 55. I would be happy to have an trusted elder statesman in the tribe, he/she could bring all kinds of knowledge and experience that we may be lacking. At the worst, he/she would be another adult who could be babysitting or on guard duty and at home most of the time when the working age people still had to work. I’d recommend you branch out, go to some gun shows, go to the range, get to know other people in your neighborhood and find a tribe you can join, they may need someone like you.

      • Encourager says:

        Jumbo, great advice for Spindrifter.I am sure he has knowledge tucked away that he doesn’t even realize.

        Reach out Spindrifter! Start at your church.

  4. Son of Liberty says:

    I am very much a list person, and find them invaluable. I find the discussion of prepping, survival, and readiness for end time events (including the anti-Christ, and the mark of the beast) in the book “Discovery to Catastrophe” extremely helpful. I have heard numerous comments from those who have read it, that “Discovery to Catastrophe” is one of the most helpful books in the apocalyptic genre of literature.

    I would strongly encourage everyone to read it. While the story deals with one mans struggle with the idea of a pre-trib vs. a post-tribulation rapture, it also deals with SO MUCH more, getting into the preparations necessary to live through the most difficult an horrific time on earth.

    A great read, and super informative.

    • Desert Fox says:

      Speaking of reading…just finished William Forstchen’s “One Second After”…Wow! it is eye opening and depressing. Although he deals with the “community” rather than individual survival, this book definitely makes you want to move away from everyone! As opposed to the book “Alas Babylon” by Pat Frank, where nukes destroy the population, “One Second After” destroys commodities with an EMP and the masses of people survive. What a different scenario in the latter…and unfortunately, because we live in the times of the population numbers as they are…It does not make a difference if we are “urban” or “suburban,” etal. We need to be strong, smart and sensible.

    • Encourager says:

      Who is the author to Discovery to Catastrophe? I couldn’t find it in any Michigan library. Thanks.

  5. I would add: train, train, train. Nothing destroys a well thought out plan quite as thoughly as putting it to a realistic test. All that fancy gear has great advertising and those books on survival techniques give advice that sounds great to the armchair adventurer — but actually building a debris hut in a driving rainstorm and starting a fire where everything combustible is dripping wet is something else entirely. So is stabilizing a sprained ankle or setting a broken arm miles from the nearest road when your cell phone is dead and all you have are the clothes on your back, a dull pocket knife and the grim knowledge that it’s up to you to walk or crawl to the nearest source of help. If you really want to know the flaws in your survival plans, one simple method is just turn off all the circuit breakers in your home’s electrical panel, shut the valve that controls water flow to your home and then just hunker down and cope with it for the next 48 hrs. This experience will be a real eye-opener and should help you realistically modify your plans and preps.

    • axelsteve says:

      Linda You just made me think of something about equipment and the older gentleman. Personally I would feel well armed and equiped with some stuff that is army surplus.I mean if I had a m1 garand a m1 carbine and a 45 auto,I would add a shotgun and call my arsenal good. Maybe extras of the same for family members and friends.I would draw the line with c or k rations and the ww2 backpack but you get the idea.

    • Linda,
      Amen, Amen, Amen.
      In the training area we have a saying, “When under stress, one does not rise to the occasion; but sinks to his highest level of training”.
      BTW, anyone who is miles from the nearest road with a dead cell phone battery, only the clothes on their back, and a dull pocket knife, have already made more mistakes than I can count. My EDC alone contains more than that, and even a short trip into the woods brings with it a small ruck or fanny pack with additional materials. That’s part of the training. The extra few pounds you’re carrying is not a PIA, but well thought out insurance.

  6. Survivor says:

    #13..I would add that you need to get your BO vehicle checked out and repair any important issues. Especially tires!! You don’t want to have to deal with a flat while in a BO situation. Practice changing tires, especially if you have a new vehicle. If you’re close enough to your BOL to make it in a couple of hours, never let your gas tank get below the point that you can’t get to your destination. If further away, have enough gas jerry cans, as required. Use a stabilizer as well as rotate the stock to keep fresh gas available when you’ll need it the most.

    • axelsteve says:

      Also carry a good plug kit in the vehicle and a few cans of tire sealer.With the tire sealer you can get around from having a air pump in your vehicle unless you want to run it off your engine or electrical system.Also get a good jack.Not the pansy stock ones but a hi lift jack or a short floor jack or a stout sciscor jack. One that could lift the tire on a loaded vehicle.The hi lift jack is like the multi tool of the jack world.

      • Survivor says:

        Good point about the jacks. The ones supplied with the vehicle are crap. I carry a floor jack that can have my vehicle tire off the ground in just a few seconds. I carry fix-a-flat, sealer plugs and an air pump that runs off my truck battery.

  7. I’m new to prepping, and I’m trying to be realistic with my preps for keeping 8 people, 2 dogs and 3 cats in our house with food and water. I will have my FOID card soon, and will be purchasing at least a shot gun and a pistol and the ammo for both. I know I don’t have enough water for all of the beings in the house, but I’m working on it!
    We don’t have a BOL, and from what others have been saying, I think we will hold up right where we are! I would love to live in the country, but since most city people will be evacuating the cities, I think our safest bet would be just stay right where we are and defending our position right where we are.
    I will be taking a few classes on how to fire and clean the weapons I purchase so that I know that the weapon and I will be prepared for when the SHTF! There are several other things that I am going to learn how to do.
    Our small yard, no matter how inventive and creative we get, will not feed all of us for even 6 months when harvest season is over and everything is canned. And I think that the city would have an issue with us cutting down the trees next to the street to get more sunlight to the crops. I think they may even have an issue with the garden being in the front yard since we are in a 118 year old “historical” house and there are “rules and regulations” to what we can and cannot do to our property. Can’t even take the house off the grid because of their stinkin’ rules and regs! Yes, I want to be VERY self-sufficient here, but circumventing the rules and regs to the house would be very costly in fines and court costs. I would love to tell them where they can go with their rules and regs and do it anyway! But I digress.
    Prepping is not an obsession, but keeping my family of 8 alive during whatever disaster comes along IS my obsession. Old grandma bear is alive and well and still in operation!
    Anyone have any ideas as to get more crops out of a very small yard? Hanging gardens are an option for some food, but other crops may be a little harder to invent space for and not get into trouble with the powers that be. And sunlight is a definite problem because of the trees in the street, and our house and the house to the west of us blocking the sun. Any ideas for that problem?
    Of course, if the SHTF and it’s TEOTWAWKI, I don’t think there will be anyone who will give a horse’s tail what we do…or don’t do! But until then, any ideas will be very welcomed!

    • Desert Fox says:

      Let me turn you on to “Earth Boxes” . I’ve grown corn, eggplant, zuccini, tomatoes, peppers and other veggies successfully in my back yard without disturbing the ground. They are movable (to get more sun) and you can also take them with you if you move. Great investment.

      • Spindrifter says:

        While I have 6 ‘earthbox’ type containers (some are the real ‘Earthbox’), I also grow things in a couple of dozen 5-gallon buckets. These are commonly called ‘self watering containers’ which is not technically accurate. Picture the 5-gal pail with a false bottom about 5 or 6 inches up. In the center of the false bottom is an opening in which you attach a small peanut butter jar with holes in it. There is also a length of pipe or hose that sticks up over the top of the bucket. Not to mention an overflow hole just below the false bottom. Fill the bucket with potting mix including the pot sticking in the bottom. When the bucket is filled via the pipe or hose until water comes out the overflow, it is full. Water will ‘wick’ up into the rest of the mix. Thus the plants draw water as they need it. I grow regular tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green peppers and the like… one to a bucket. They produce very well. Every over year I remix the potting mix with a fresh supply of compost and ‘trace minerals’. I also grow potatoes in them. Lots of opportunity this way. If the buckets are in the way, just pick them up by the handle and relocate.
        I’m in West Michigan.

    • Trish,
      Assuming you have any kind of advanced notice of whatever is coming, look into keeping a Water BOB on hand. They are about $20 and fit into a standard bathtub, fills from the faucet, and has a built in hand pump siphon. It holds 100 gallons. We also regularly keep at least 6 5 gallon buckets with lids, filled with water for short term power outages to be used for anything, but primarily for flushing toilets without having to fig out and fire up the genset.
      As for producing vegetables in a small area, I would also recommend container gardening, which seems to have been already well covered by Desert & Spindrifter.
      Good Luck.

  8. I think what Bug out plan you have should depend on what caused the crisis to leave. Hurricane? Earthquake? Tornado? Flood?EMP? Economic unrest, complete Chaos, and now Drone attacks?

    I used to have two plans, now I write down plans for a lot more!

    • HUGE Thank You Desert Fox for the info on the earth boxes! I just checked them out….need to look further into the website, and they look like an option. I’ve also looked at gardening in hay/straw bales today. Getting a lot of options/ideas is a good thing! Mix and match. 🙂 I’ll get something figured out for everything. I’ve thought about window boxes, too. Herbs in window boxes hung from the windows, porch railings and the fences, taller veggies in the bales in the sun, and earth boxes for the other goodies so that I can roll them out from the shady parts of the yard during the day. We will get something figured out.
      HUGE Thank You Again Desert Fox!

  9. If you havent experienced a situation in life such as doing w/o power for ten days etc.then PLEASE create a mock situation and practice so you know how it really feels. This will help you prepare to see how each person copes and where you need improvement.(how long your supplies last etc.)
    I would appreciate advice on securing a rural home and land.
    Thanks MD and the pack- Arlene

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