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The One Simple Secret To Surviving Any Crisis

The One Simple Secret To Surviving Any Crisis

This article was written by Daisy Luther and originally published at The Organic Prepper

When disaster strikes, will you be ready? Will you be organized, calm, and ready to adapt to whatever the situation brings? Sometimes we have some warning, and sometimes things happen out of the blue. There is one simple secret that will allow you to sail through nearly any crisis. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, or take up an entire roomful of storage space.

It’s your ability to accept the scenario.

The more time you spend denying that this could ever happen to you, happen in your home town, or occur at all, the less time you have to take definitive action. In fact, your willingness to accept that disaster could strike before it ever does puts you even further ahead, because you’ll be ready for immediate action without wasting valuable time wrapping your brain around it.

We recently hovered on the edge of evacuation for 12 days due to the King Fire , a forest fire that nearly reached 100,000 acres. We got up on a sunny Saturday morning, never realizing that would be the day an angry man would punctuate a domestic dispute by setting fire to a tree in the other person’s yard. Certainly, no one expected that one act of anger to set off a fire that would exceed the size of the city of Atlanta.

However, he did set that fire, and it came as close as 2 miles to our home over the almost-two-weeks that we watched with bated breath.
During the fire, I joined a number of local groups online so that I could get the most up-to-the-minute information, and during this time, I took lots of notes of my observations. The thing that was very clear is that those who were at least somewhat prepared handled the situation far better than those who simply couldn’t accept that this threat was actually happening to them.

As someone who has studied preparedness for many years, I witnessed firsthand the classic exemplar of human behavior during a disaster. Tess Pennington, the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint , wrote an article last year called The Anatomy of a Breakdown. In the article, she pointed out that in the event of disaster, society devolves in a predictable pattern with four distinct phases. Her observations were accurate during our experience. As we watched the events unfold, some people changed dramatically.

The difference between the people who crumbled, becoming easily offended, snarling, and hysterical, and the people who were generous, calm, and effective? Their levels of preparedness, both mental and physical.

Think about any stressful situation that has ever happened to you. Once you accepted the fact that it had happened you were able to set a course of action. Once you had definitive steps to take, you probably felt much calmer. You took control of the things you could, and you executed your plan. Only by taking that first step – accepting that this mishap had indeed occurred – could you take the next two.

No matter what situation you find yourself in, these steps will nearly always see you through.

Here’s what we saw.

During our own experience, here are the things I witnessed. They could apply to any type of disaster, natural or otherwise:

Bug out bags are absolutely the first prep you should make. If you’re just getting started, do this one thing. You can do it without spending a penny, by just gathering up things that you already own. You may not have a top-of-the-line, ready-for-the-apocalypse bag like THIS ONE but you’ll still be far ahead of most people. When we first learned of the fire and realized that evacuating might become necessary, I had only two things to do. I had to get documents from the safe (the documents, by the way, were already housed in a plastic folder, so I only had to grab that one thing) and pull the pet carriers out of the shed. In less than 5 minutes, we were ready to roll. Had it been necessary, we could have left with only the photocopies of the documents, because those always remain in our bug-out bags. Having your bug-out bag ready means that you have accepted in advance that disaster could strike.

Any time one disaster strikes, several more are sure to follow. This is highly probable.  Some people in the fire zone not only stayed on the edge of evacuation for nearly two weeks, but they also lost power due to the fire. This greatly reduced their ability to get news and information, which is vital in a disaster situation. It leads to even more worry and stress, and while you’re dealing with the potential of your home burning down, you’re also living through a power outage lasting several days. Getting prepared for a two-week power outage is absolutely vital and can see you through most regional disasters. Also, when it finally began to rain, although it helped to quench the flames, firefighters were suddenly threatened by flash floods. These were made worse because the areas no longer had the same natural obstructions to deter the flow of water.

Unprepared people panic. Some people panicked initially. When we got the first evacuation alert (a notice that evacuation was highly likely within the next 24 hours), a woman who lived down the street was wailing and sobbing as her husband tried to pack up their vehicle. She was rendered absolutely useless by fear. Meanwhile, my 13 year old was fulfilling her list while I fulfilled mine and we quickly made an orderly stack of important belongings, then turned on a movie to beat the stress. Had our area actually been forced to evacuate, those who panicked would have either been the last to leave, or they would have forgotten important things as they left in a disorganized rush. It’s important to decide ahead of time who packs what, and for each person to have a list. Sit down well before disaster strikes and make an evacuation plan with your family.

Get organized. All the lists in the world won’t help you pack quickly if you don’t know where things are. One change we’re making is that all of the items we deemed precious enough to pack and take with us will now be stored in one area so that we won’t have to look for them when seconds count.  Another friend ran into the issue of dirty clothes: he actually had to evacuate with hampers of unwashed laundry. Having your home tidy and organized (and your laundry washed and put way) will help your packing go smoothly in the event of a sudden evacuation.

You can’t be prepared for everything. Disaster situations are always fluid and they don’t go by a script. It’s vital to be adaptable to the changing situation .

Keep your vehicle full of fuel. If you have to evacuate, lots of other people will be hitting the road too. When you’re stuck in traffic, you don’t want to be worried about your fuel gauge dropping to the empty mark, leaving you stranded in a dangerous situation.

The criminals come out, like cockroaches . Within 24 hours of the first evacuations, we learned that the local scumbags had looted some of the homes that had been left unattended. Within 48 hours, we learned that the scourge had reached the outlying areas, with these people breaking into cars that had been loaded up with the things that families had determined to be most important to them.  Of course, if you’ve evacuated, there’s nothing you can do about what’s happening to your home. But before evacuation, or in the event of civil unrest, it’s vital to be prepared to defend your family and belongings. In these situations, the first responders are busy, and that’s what criminals rely on. You should consider yourself to be completely on your own, and be ready for trouble. Keep in mind that during the civil unrest in Ferguson recently, the only businesses that didn’t get looted were the ones at which the owners stood armed and ready to defend their property .

The longer the stress lasts, the worse some people behave. As continued stress is applied, the true nature of a person becomes evident. People who formerly seemed like perfectly nice individuals were on the local message forums saying terrible things to one another. They were verbally attacking others for imagined slights and taking offense at things that would normally never ruffle feathers. Some folks were launching tirades against the very people who were performing the greatest service: the admins of the webpages who worked round the clock to keep us informed. If it was this bad in a potential emergency, can you imagine how bad things will get in a truly devastating long-term scenario?

But then…some people are wonderful. Alternatively, sometimes you see the very best of human nature. The generosity of many of my neighbors cannot be overstated. They housed livestock, pets, and families full of strangers during the evacuation. People showed up at the shelter with food and comfort items for those who had been evacuated. Firemen who came from near and far to fight the blaze were constantly being treated to meals at local restaurants, as other diners surreptitiously paid their tabs. Watching the kindness and gratitude helped to restore some of my faith in human nature, after seeing the squabbling and crime. It was interesting to me that the people who gave the most generously were the ones who were the most prepared. These folks were calm and could focus on other things besides “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to do!” We definitely learned who the people were that we wanted to surround ourselves with when the S really HTF.

Take steps now to be one of those calm people later.

Today, I want you to think about disasters. It’s certainly not a pleasant thought, but considering these things now – when there’s no fire bearing down on you, no hurricane heading your way, no chemical spill poisoning your water, no pandemic in the next town over – allows you to think more clearly and make a definitive plan of action.


Check your bug out bags.

Organize your most precious belongings.

Discuss the plan with your family so that everyone knows what to expect.

Make these decisions now so that when – and it’s always “when” not “if” – disaster knocks at your door, you’re prepared to respond immediately. Learn about what to expect from others in order to keep your family safe and on-plan. Human nature isn’t as much of a variable when you can predict their behavior.

What to pack:

Here are the things we packed for our potential evacuation:

  • Bug out bags

  • Cell phone

  • Address book with important contacts

  • Money, credit cards

  • Pet carriers – I prefer the hard-sided ones so that our pets are sheltered better in a crowded vehicle

  • Pet food

  • 2 weeks of clothing

  • Extra shoes

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Documents (identification, insurance, passports, etc.)

  • A utility bill or other proof of residence

  • Family photos

  • Items of sentimental value

  • Reading material

  • Laptops

  • Water

  • Extra fuel in a safe container

  • Phone and laptop chargers

  • On the recommendation of a friend, I threw our swimming goggles in, to offer eye protection in the event we had to drive through thick smoke

  • Security items for children

  • Items to entertain children

  • Prescription medication

  • Allergy medication

  • Religious items for comfort

  • Food (If you go to an evacuation shelter, you may end up having to purchase meals out or make due with very small rations)

  • Bedding Make a written checklist that you can easily access. You might include the location of items that are packed away. Decide on these things now, when you have the time to calmly think about what items are the most important.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of those sentimental items. We feared that if we had to leave our home, we might never be coming back. Identify the things that are dear to your heart and put them in a place where you can grab those treasures quickly. Insurance can’t replace photos of those who have passed on, special gifts, and items that bring you memories of loved ones.

Have you ever evacuated?

If so, what items did you take with you? Are there any items you forgot?





  1. From my experience people REFUSE to accept Reality.
    They will procrastinate until nearly too late. “Their head buried in the sand.”
    These same people you try to help, will turn Against YOU for attempting to save them from their folly.
    These same people get pissed and offended when you state the Obvious Seriousness of the emergency at hand.
    These people will call you “paranoid”. Family, Wife, Friends, co-workers, will ALL turn on you.
    “People do not like bad news.”
    So just expect it. Then Just Do What You Need To Do. Develop a thick outer skin with a smile.

    I’ve seen very Bad things.
    But a calmness and willingness to remain calm, Focused, to take positive CONSTRUCTIVE action.
    To see things developing and be willing to take preemptive precautions and preemptive ACTIONS.
    A belief in a God/Creator that provides what is needed. Some call this Faith?
    And maybe luck? Guardian Angel? Whatever it takes.
    I’m here and doing fine. Thankful and Grateful.

    I’m Not all that special. You will be fine too people. If I can, then you can probably do much better.
    Say your prayers. Think ahead of a problem. Remain Calm, Focused, Proactive, when faced with difficulty.
    You will do well friends. No matter what comes. You will do fine.

    I have observed that remaining FOCUSED among chaos is at times tough. Calmness and Focus are necessary to Live.
    Be positive. Be an optimistic pessimist.
    Hope for sunshine and clear skies.
    But take a rain Parka just in case.
    Why Parka and Not umbrella? Ever tried to hold and umbrella and shoot when being over run?
    It is difficult! Besides,,, a big yellow umbrella gives away your position,

  2. Great ideas! A situation of this nature would be absolutely no problem at our household. We are Rv’ers and campers. A print out of a quick reference sheet puts everyone on track before packing and each person knows what to get and where it goes. For those looking to make a practice run, take a camping trip and you will quickly realize what you need and want. Don’t forget to take a pen and paper, you’ll need to add to your list for sure! Happy camping!

  3. I’ve been on the “bug-out” now for 7 years in my RV, living off the grid (most of any year) and tried to convince those I know, how important it is to begin thinking about it. Not everyone can afford an RV, plus many are not retired and stuck to a job….very understandable. The bug-out plan is extremely important, and for the last 7 years, I have gone various directions and checked-out areas that are doable, in the event thereof. My friends (also) call me paranoid, and that’s because most of them do NOT want to begin doing anything until “Mainstream Media” tells them ! What a hoot !!

    Only one person (I know) actually did something I did not expect…he sold his home in Florida, bought a huge 5th wheel trailer (with all the bells and whistles), went off the grid and lasted about 3 weeks. That was it for him…

    I told him it took me about 3 years of living off the grid in an RV to iron out all the little problems that one does not consider. It wasn’t easy, but after 7 years, I only know this life style and dislike having to hook-up with electric and neighbors within 15 feet on either side of me.

    I have Dish, regular TV, long range WiFi, scanners, CB, FRS, and everything else that I need.

    My main focus is knowing where to go, if I am in danger at any location I am at. And having a selection (for me) is important, since the SHTF in certain areas and the strategy of staying one step ahead of the crisis and everyone else will be crucial. And the best strategy is knowing well in advance of everyone else. That’s why it is important to (everyday) evaluate the news while listening to all communications around you and in your state.

    And…don’t get suckered into dragging the less prepared types with you when you leave….just leave.

  4. Any suggestions as to how to get a preoccupied spouse to tune in to the importance of being prepared? He knows the state of the economy and the state of the country, but I feel he is living in denial that it has the potential to become catastrophic. I have been aware of the dangers since 2006 after seeing a video and realizing that this country was heading for serious trouble. I then subscribed to newsletters that report the real news and have tried to keep up with the latest developments. So I feel that I am fairly well prepared….mainly because I do not put my faith in government or local and federal agencies. I know that it’s up to each individual to prepare themselves, but I can’t seem to get through to my adult children or my husband as far as making sure we have things together in case of emergency evacuation etc. I am in my late seventies and though I’m in good health, I’m not strong enough to tackle certain tasks on my own. I can deal with the mental uncertainties because I lived through WWII as a child in England, but I am also a realist and know my own limitations. If I could just get all my family on board with this preparedness issue, I would feel much more relaxed. At least I do have my faith in God so I don’t sit around wringing my hands in fear. I pray for God’s divine protection and guidance. I have learned so much though from this article about ‘Surviving any Crisis’…now if I could just get my husband to be more pro-active it would really help matters.
    Thanks and God bless.

  5. Great advice: Remain calm.

    But when things really get going will your anchor hold.

    54,000,000 infanticides in their mother’s wombs = Judgment time for America.

  6. Mare: I would suggest you have your husband watch a full length youtube version of Alex Jone’s “End Game.” Also…the “Obama Deception.” If he refuses…then don’t cook for a while.

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