I saw a question about this on Quora and it got me thinking, because there’s so much information out there and it can be overwhelming. Where to start? What’s the first step? Especially for someone starting cold.

Here’s what I’ve come up:

The first thing everyone should do is make sure they have the four basics we all need, regardless of where we live. You can get them for under $60 total:

2 cases of water per person

Basic first aid kit

Emergency Radio

Survival Manual

Then download free survival apps for your phone such as American Red Cross First Aid, CPR and Choking and others as applicable.

Then conduct an Area Study. This is looking at yourself, those around you and your locale for assets and possible threats. This will determine how you prepare further, for your specific situation as we are all different. Here is a brief summary how to do this:

Once you have the Area Study done, you can prepare your home, your work/school, your car, etcetera. You can coordinate with family members and friends about what to do in disasters, such as a initial rally point and emergency rally point.

You can also then prepare your grab-n-go bag. You can also simply get a pre-packaged grab-n-go bag. It contains basics, including the first aid and emergency radio needed. I bought one for my son to put in the trunk of his car.

I think this is a good start. I go into more details in The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. The first half is all of the above explained, with links, and then the second half is a manual for survival and beyond, including scavenging.

Another good book I recommend to complement it is the SAS Survival Handbook. It’s more detailed in terms of long-term survival as far as plants, animals, etc.

Let me know if you find this useful or have suggestions.