When you think of prepping, are you thinking of surviving the aftermath of a hurricane or earthquake? As bad as those can be, are you looking ahead to a time when we won’t have running water, electricity, gasoline for vehicles or other modern conveniences for weeks, months, or even years?
To take the long view of survival, long term emergency preparedness calls for Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide, by Jim Cobb. It will help you think through and plan how you’ll survive long after a catastrophic disaster strikes.
Only God knows whether we’ll experience a sudden collapse of life as we know it or a slow burn descent. Maybe it will be started by an event like a terrorist attack or a pandemic that snowballs. Or maybe it’s a combination of these. In any event, we must consider the possibilities and figure out how we’ll survive.
Jim Cobb was my guest on DestinySurvival Radio. He’s been on before to talk about his previous book. Below I’ll share a few observations from my reading of this book and our conversation about it.
An Experienced Prepper
If you’re not familiar with Jim Cobb, or if you don’t remember who he is, here’s a brief bio.
“Jim Cobb is the owner of Disaster Prep Consultants ( www.DisasterPrepConsultants.com ) as well as the author of Prepper’s Home Defense and The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness. He has been involved with emergency preparedness for about thirty years. Jim’s primary home online is found at www.SurvivalWeekly.com. He lives and works in the Upper Midwest, sequestered in a fortified bunker with his lovely wife, their three adolescent weapons of mass destruction, two killer canines, and one cat who greatly overestimates his importance to life as we know it.”
As you can see, he has a sense of humor. But I appreciate him most for his common sense approach to prepping and survival. His books are written in down-to-earth style, making them easy to read and absorb. While he deals with vitally serious matters, he’s not going to scare you out of your wits.
A Glance Into This Insightful Resource
Why this book? Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide is the book Jim has wanted to write because there’s a need to address extreme, long term survival situations.
Plenty of advice coming from books, Web sites, podcasts, etc., is about being ready for relatively short term disasters. Government info places a lot of emphasis on that aspect of preparedness. That’s OK as far as it goes because, believe me, anything you do to be prepared is better than nothing.
In fact, Jim’s previous book, The Prepper’s Complete Book of Disaster Readiness, is where you should start if you’re new to prepping. Jim says that book is like Prepping 101, whereas Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide is like Prepping 401.
How should you use this book? I agree with Jim’s recommendation that you should read it through once to start with. Get familiar with what’s in it. Then go back and make a decision, based on your individual circumstances ,as to where you feel you need to put your efforts first. Is your weakest point food? Security? Work up from there.
What’s inside? Each chapter could be the subject of a book all its own. For example, the chapter on security is fleshed out in his first book, Prepper’s Home Defense. Several chapters contain helpful lists, and an appendix shares checklists to follow so you’ll have practical survival supplies.
There’s a little overlap in the contents of this book and that of Jim’s other books because some elements of prepping are necessary. For example, water, food and shelter are among the basics at any level. Any good prepping resource will cover those. But as noted already, Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide takes a long view of survival. It also assumes you’ll be sheltering in place for the duration.
Chapters cover topics you’d expect, and more, including.
- Long-Term Events
- Staying Warm and Keeping Cool
- Surviving Boredom
- Barter and Trade
- Community Survival Planning
- …And more, including checklists and recommended reading
Each chapter starts with a brief fictional journal entry from someone who has survived an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). The entries tie in with the contents of each chapter.
Chapter one lays out possible causes for a long term collapse situation, including EMP, earthquakes and economic turmoil. Chapter two deals with water and its storage, collection, filtration, purification and disinfecting. Not all water has to be drinkable, but we certainly do need it to survive.
When it comes to food, have a diverse assortment in your survival pantry. Among other things, Jim points out that you’ll need clean water to rehydrate freeze dried and dehydrated storage food. That’s stating the obvious perhaps, but you’ll need to plan accordingly if you’re relying heavily on prepackaged storage food. Also, you’ll need fuel to heat water if you’re going to have hot meals from ready-made food.
The chapter on medical matters gives practical info on the things you’ll need for your first aid kit. For example, have plenty of bandages. What will you do when there are no more? Ever thought of cutting up old T-shirts to use as wound dressing?
As much as we don’t like to think about disposal of human waste as well as our daily garbage, we need to plan for both. Jim’s chapter on hygiene and sanitation passes along several common sense suggestions. Perhaps a positive note is that we’ll have less garbage in a time when paper and plastic isn’t readily available.
When it comes to clothing, durability and comfort are a must. Don’t overlook the importance of basics like good footwear and underwear.
If you’re not properly prepared to heat your home when it’s cold, you could unintentionally put yourself and your family at greater risk of fire danger.
The chapter on security starts with tips on being the grey man. In other words, don’t draw unwelcome attention to yourself by standing out in the crowd. Jim goes on to give guidance about what firearms to have and when or when not to use them. How about a good knife? He covers that, too.
Tools should be part of your survival supplies, too; but make sure they’re of good quality. Maintaining your tools shouldn’t be overlooked either. Of course, have protective gear to minimize accidents and injuries. Lighting and communications are also covered in this chapter.
Jim doesn’t overlook entertainment either because it’s essential for our sanity in a long term survival situation. What will we do when we’re without our modern electronic gizmos? We might actually have to talk to one another. (Is that still possible?) And we’ll need to make sure our children and grandchildren are educated. Home schoolers know how to do this already.
Naturally, we’ll need something to occupy our minds and hands during down time. How about games? Playing music? Writing journals and letters? Working on craft items for practical use or to be artful?
Community is discussed near the end of the book, and Jim is particularly proud of that section. This is an essential topic more prepper writers and experts are addressing these days. None of us will make it on our own.
A Few Key Points We Talked About
I include these tidbits to encourage you to listen to our entire conversation. These are bare bones highlights.
- In a worst case scenario, Jim says cities aren’t where you want to be because of the competition for limited resources.
- Will people flee the cities en masse? Perhaps not at first. We like to stay where we are. It’s what we’re familiar with.
- Jim recommends sheltering in place, unless you’re unable to do so safely.
- When it comes to foraging from nature, above all else, know what you’re doing.
- It’s possible–but not likely–you and your family can survive on what you find in the wild. Of course, that’s provided there’s not so much competition for resources that you can’t find enough to sustain you. Therefore, practice a combination of homesteading and foraging.
- When it comes to bartering ammunition, don’t trade with anyone who might return it to you at high velocity.
- If you can repair things, you’ll have a valuable service to offer for barter.
- Be sure you dress for everyday weather as well as weather extremes.
- Poor sanitation leads to disease and will be one of the greatest threats we’ll face. Figure out early on how to dispose of human waste.
- We as humans are social creatures who don’t like to be alone. Jim says there’s a good chance people will gravitate to people they trust and form communities of some kind. He believes strongly that the key to success will be community survival.
A Way to Dig Deeper
I could have asked Jim several other questions and perhaps have even done a second show, as I’ve done with his previous books; but I highly recommend you get Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide and see for yourself all he covers. You can get your copy by clicking on the book’s title wherever you see it linked in this post and ordering from the page where it’s featured.
And, of course, I strongly encourage you to hear my conversation with Jim Cobb when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for April 24, 2014. (Right click to download.) Web sites for contacting him directly are linked in the bio info above.
How ready do you believe you are for a long term survival scenario?