Surviving a Fire in a Burning Building

How often do you factor in fire when preparing for trouble? It’s worth consideration.

Buildings can be set on fire by rioters, lightning strikes, electrical shortages, or accidents. Situational awareness on your part could be the key which saves your life in a building that’s on fire.

Joe Alton, MD of has produced a video discussing some tragic building fires, especially in public venues. He examines what happens in a fire, how fire behaves, and what you can do to increase your chances of surviving the conflagration.

You won’t be dazzled by fancy graphics in this video, but in about 8 minutes, you’ll know what you need to know to stay alive when a fire breaks out.



Find out more about house fires, wildfires, burns, and much more in Joe and Amy Alton’s Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.


To Bug Out or Not to Bug Out in Long Term Situations

Much has been said about whether to bug out when the chips are down or shelter in place. A number of factors need to be considered when you decide whether to bug out or not to bug out.

Is it a short term or long term situation? If long term, how well are you equipped to deal with the following areas of concern?

  • Location and shelter
  • Water
  • Washing clothes and bathing
  • Storing up food
  • Gardening
  • Livestock and pet food
  • Firewood and fuels
  • Lighting
  • Guns and ammunition
  • Entertainment

Jackie Clay-Atkinson looks at bugging out in place in “Backwoods Home Magazine” for January/February, 2017, issue #163. An excerpt follows. Read the whole article by clicking on the link below.

Then draw your own conclusions and think ahead now about what you should do when there’s trouble.

Bugging out in place

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

Some emergency situations require quick evacuation. You barely have time to grab your bug-out bag, gather the family, and run out the door. Most of us are ready for that situation, with a fully-stocked backpack equipped with such things as lightweight food, shelter, survival gear, clothes, and possibly a weapon and ammunition for both self-defense and food procurement.

But some other bad situations (economic collapse, EMP, widespread terrorist attack, etc.) will last longer than a few days or weeks. For these situations, you might find yourself traveling to a survival retreat in a very rural area or bugging out in place on your own homestead.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.

Jackie Clay-Atkinson has looked at both sides of the bugging out issue. View my post on what she said about taking it on the road here.


How Prepared Are You for Winter?

Fall is a good time to prepare for winter. Whether you live in town or on a homestead, you don’t want to wait until the last minute.

Jackie Clay-Atkinson shares expert guidance on preparing for winter in the September/October, 2016, “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #161). Check out the exerpt below and click on the link to read the whole article.

Preparing for winter

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

In some climates, winter’s no big deal — just a little rain and cooler weather. But for the rest of us, winter is something to be prepared for. I’ve lived in Michigan, New Mexico, Montana, and Minnesota, all of which have significant winters.

In Michigan, I remember just barely beating a blizzard home from a horse sale, fording snow so deep that it covered the headlights of our Blazer. Up on the high plains in New Mexico, we didn’t have so much snow but we did have wind and cold temperatures. We would fall asleep at night wondering if the water lines to the bathroom and kitchen would freeze.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.


Should a Zero Waste Home be Part of Your Prepping Strategy?

I read Zero Waste Home, by Bea Johnson, thinking it might have applications for those of us who are preparing to survive come what may. My impressions are mixed. This isn’t a book tailored to preppers, but it could have its uses for you.

This isn’t a new book, and you may have heard of it before. It’s copyright date is 2013.

The concept isn’t particularly new either. It’s all about living in an environmentally friendly, responsible lifestyle and cutting exposure to toxins as much as possible. There’s more to the recommended lifestyle than cutting back on consumerism and limiting trash output.

While a simpler lifestyle is the goal, what Johnson exemplifies seems extreme to me and may not be realistic for many of us. But she does show us it’s possible.

She points out that living a zero waste lifestyle needs to be cultivated and grown into. It’s not something you or I can do all at once.

Zero Waste Home isn’t about total minimalist living or living off the grid, but if that’s the path you choose for your prepping strategy, this book may be a place to start. Besides, if everything goes South, we may need to adopt a number of Johnson’s tricks and tips.

Not many of us have lived through the Great Depression of the 1930’s, but we may have picked up habits from those who have. Wearing second hand clothes is nothing new to us. Neither is finding a new use for items that have outlived their original purpose.

We’re familiar with frugality dictated by necessity. People in today’s society are not.

Such was the case with Bea Johnson. She had to come down from a life of affluence I’ve never experienced. Thus, she comes across to me as elitist and patronizing. Your impression may be different, should you choose to read her book.

Johnson claims a number of benefits to the zero waste lifestyle, ranging from saving money and time to better health.

Chapters cover…

  • Kitchen and grocery shopping
  • Bathroom, toiletries and wellness and health
  • Bedroom and wardrobe
  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Work space and junk mail
  • Kids and school
  • Holidays and gifts
  • …and more

Throughout the book we find five steps incorporated into the discussion of the topics shown above.

  1. Refuse what we do not need.
  2. Reduce what we do need and cannot refuse.
  3. Reuse what we consume and cannot refuse. (Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.)
  4. Recycle what we cannot refuse, reduce or reuse.
  5. Rot–Compost the rest.

Step 3 is one that’s probably most familiar to us. And gardeners everywhere will be glad for the mention of step 5.

Believe it or not, Johnson isn’t a fan of recycling. The less there is to recycle, the better. She urges us to get rid of all the plastic we possibly can. Don’t let it come into the house, and it won’t have to go back out.

Here are a few questions to ponder.

Could you get along without having a trash can in the kitchen? Could you bring all your groceries home in cloth bags and jars? Do you know what to buy in bulk and what not to buy that way?

Ever thought of making your own toothbrush as well as toothpaste? Would you use an alternative to toilet paper? Ladies, would you make your own cosmetics?

How familiar are you with the many uses for vinegar around the house and in the garden?

Would you “make” your own paper from the papers you have around the house?

Would you get rid of your stapler and staples in your home office? This is one of those nit picky items that goes to the extreme for me. The last package of staples I bought will likely last for years. Staples are too small to worry about the space they take in a landfill.

Could you cut down on the number of Christmas presents and cards you give and receive? What about homemade gifts and craft projects?

Do you know how to minimalize waste products when camping with your family?

Would you talk to managers at grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses about eliminating disposable packaging?

These are just a few of the areas Johnson covers.

You’ll be grateful for the number of recipes which appear throughout the book on such things as mustard, glue, cosmetics, cleaning products and more. There’s a helpful resource list in the back of the book, too. But looking on the dark side, it won’t be much use if the Internet goes down.

As you might guess, Johnson encourages you and me to adopt as much of the zero waste lifestyle as possible and then be ambassadors for it. However, her projections of what the future could look like are idealistic, in spite of her claims to the contrary.

I don’t see this way of living becoming widely accepted. But, as noted above, circumstances may change, forcing us into creatively doing with much less.

You’re welcome to buy Zero Waste Home by clicking on its title wherever you see it in this post. Johnson invites you to pass it along to someone else or donate it to your library. For that matter, borrow it first, then see if you want a copy for yourself.

Either way, have a look and draw your own conclusions as to whether a zero waste home should be part of your prepping strategy.

You may also want to view my post about how to right size your life for survival.

Get Expert Advice on Bugging Out

Bugging out is a popular subject among preppers. You’ve probably got questions of your own. Namely, should you, or shouldn’t you? If so, when? Where to? And how?

Previously I’ve featured a number of books and DestinySurvival Radio conversations which touch on this all important subject. But today I want to tell you about a DVD devoted specifically to it.

Get expert advice on bugging out from the people who’ve brought you DVDs on wilderness survival skills, survival communication, and escape and evasion.

Here’s an overview.

Jump into the mind of best selling author, and SERE Instructor, Jonathan Hollerman, and learn how to get the heck out of dodge, and increase your likelihood of survival! Disaster can strike anytime.

  • Financial Collapse
  • Pandemic
  • EMP, Solar Flare or Loss Of The Electric Grid Due to Terrorism or Outdated Infrastructure
  • Presidential Election Fraud
  • Food Stamps Malfunctioning For an Hour

…And much more, could cause a social unrest or complete societal collapse!


  • Secrets of the bug out bag (The tips that some experts keep to themselves, or even overlook!)
  • What gear to pack and what to leave (Regardless of your location)
  • How to minimize your visibility on the way (So you and your family don’t appear to be one of those “Cr@zY PreppeRs” that has everything someone else needs!)

When you’re ready to get the expert advice mentioned above, click on the ad banner below.


Survival Guide to Bugging Out DVD


Revisiting Earthquake Preparedness

As I write this, major earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador have occurred in the past few days. Both countries, as well as the western U.S., are part of the notorious Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean. That’s a large area prone to earthquakes and volcanoes.

It’s rare that we hear about numerous major quakes within the span of only a few days. With that in mind, it seemed like a good time for revisiting earthquake preparedness.

Check out the page with Resources for Earthquake Preparedness. And have a look at posts featured previously here, where you’ll find still more resource links. Post links below open in a new window, so you can come back to this page when you’ve gotten what you want from each post.

Getting Your Church Prepared

Should designated members of your church carry concealed firearms during church? This week’s DestinySurvival Radio guest thinks so. But that’s only one facet of getting your church prepared.

On this week’s DestinySurvival Radio I visit with Pastor Carl Gallups, author of Be Thou Prepared. I’m excited about sharing our thought provoking conversation with you.

Though this podcast will be of greatest interest to Christians, I encourage everyone to listen in.

What follows is a review of the book combined with a few notes from our visit.


Meet the Messenger

Carl Gallups is pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church, Milton, FL. Perhaps you’ve heard him speak or you’ve read his writings because he has been featured on a number of well known media outlets.

DestinySurvival Radio is small potatoes compared to those other venues. That makes me all the more grateful I had the chance to visit with Pastor Gallups, and I’m delighted to share the outcome with you.

Here are highlights of the pastor’s lengthier bio, which appears in Be Thou Prepared.

  • Bestselling Author – Amazon Top 60
  • Senior Pastor (since 1987)
  • Member – Board of Regents, University of Mobile – Mobile, Al
  • Veteran Talk Radio Host (Since 2002)
  • Graduate – F.S.U., Fl Police Academy, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.)
  • Writer/Columnist – Newspaper, Syndicated Blog, PNN,
  • Popular TV and Radio Guest Commentator (Religion, Prophecy, Politics, Current Events)
  • Founder of the PNN News and Ministry Network (online) (2008)
  • Former FL Lawman – two different Sheriff’s offices and the Fl Dept. of Corrections
You’ll observe from our conversation that Pastor Gallups is knowledgeable and passionate about what he believes and teaches. He was an excellent guest.

He has a pastor’s heart combined with a policeman’s perspective. You’ll want to get his book when you’ve heard what he has to say.


Sample the Message


Be Thou Prepared


Origin of the Book

If you’ve listened to DestinySurvival Radio with any regularity, you know I ask authors what brought about the book we’re discussing. I was especially curious to know how this book came into being.

Key motivators included 40 years of Carl Gallups’s experiences as a cop and pastor combined with the multitude of inquiries from people worried about our rapidly changing world. He decided the time had come to write a book with Biblical, historical, logistical, practical, understandable answers to the questions he was bombarded with.


Opening Observations

Be Thou Prepared, isn’t your typical book on preparedness. I haven’t read anything else quite like it.

I scrutinize books by Christian authors more closely than other books, and I’m glad to say this one didn’t disappoint. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting the book’s focus to be solely on the kind of material most of us are familiar with regarding preparedness, except that the emphasis would be aimed at a specifically Christian audience.

The book does indeed do that, but it has a focus on two other major areas. One is the history of Christian persecution and why Christians should be motivated by the probability of persecution today. The other focus is on how churches can provide safety and security for their congregations.

As you read what Pastor Gallups has written, you’ll see Scripture passages about the early church in a new light because they dealt with the same kind of problems we’re faced with today. But this is no “Bible thumping” diatribe.

Though many Scripture passages are quoted as they relate to the topics discussed, a great deal of the material is drawn from history and current events to strengthen the points made.

As a helpful resource for Christians and nonChristians alike, pastors and their churches will find this book to be most useful. While several chapters are aimed at individuals, much of the book is for church leaders by a church leader. It’s meant to meet the real needs of real people.

After you’ve read it, I recommend you share it with your pastor or elders and deacons.


Optimizing Church Effectiveness

We live in a different world compared to what it was just three or four years ago. There’s no shortage of motivating factors for getting prepared.

A number of thought provoking questions are raised up front in the book’s introduction. What role should churches have in society? How should they help those both inside and outside their congregations be prepared?

The big question isn’t whether we should prepare, but how we should prepare. While no church can be prepared for everything, it’s Biblical to practice common sense preparedness and face whatever happens as it comes.

Planning and preparation do not signify faithlessness. Christians should put faith into action as they practice good stewardship.

A similar principle applies to benevolence. The issue isn’t whether to exercise benevolence, but how to do so.

Churches aren’t social welfare agencies, but from its early history, churches practiced meeting the needs of their people. Pastor Gallups believes this should be part of a church’s gospel work today.

Surveys cited in the book show churches aren’t well prepared for disasters or a major collapse. However, Pastor Gallups told me things are changing for the better as awareness grows.

That said, he advises churches to be discerning, since con artists see churches as easy marks. At the back of the book is a form template to screen strangers who come to a church seeking help.


Opposition and Persecution

Since a considerable amount of the book centers on persecution, I asked Pastor Gallups to define what it is and what it isn’t. Harrassment and discrimination are mild forms of persecution compared to what we see throughout history and in certain parts of the world today.

While we can acknowledge there are degrees of persecution, the real deal is happening in the Middle East where Christians are being wiped out and exterminated. Pastor Gallups chose his words deliberately and carefully during our conversation.

Be Thou Prepared is meant to warn Americans that persecution is coming, and he wants us to put things in perspective.

If we do experience the worst kind of persecution in America, Christians shouldn’t be afraid to get involved in one another’s lives. We should make disciples and be there for one another in a meaningful way.

In his book, Pastor Gallups takes pastors and churches to task for not being involved in civic and political affairs as a means of being salt and light. The least Christians can do is exercise our right to vote in elections.

But it’s important to practice involvement wisely. For example, he cautions Christians to avoid protests or rallies with large crowds, since they can become unruly and unsafe.

During our chat we discussed two sides of the attitude Christians ought to have regarding persecution. It’s important to get this matter settled in our hearts and minds now so we’re prepared when trouble comes.

Don’t let yourself and your family be killed if possible. But also remember there is joy in suffering for Christ. You’ll understand better when you’ve heard our chat.

Ah, but then there’s the matter of “turning the other cheek.” This must be understood in its proper context, and we must have a balanced perspective.


Optimizing Safety and Security

Pastor Gallups is a firm believer in self defense and the Second Amendment. I’m glad he doesn’t shy away from these issues.

Among the book’s various examples pertaining to self defense is the mention of the Old Testament account of Nehemiah. While Jews were rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem after returning from Babylonian captivity, workers were prepared to defend themselves against physical opposition.

Similarly, today Christians don’t have to volunteer to be martyrs. That’s where self defense comes into play. Martyrdom should happen only when there’s no other choice.

While having a security team with concealed carry firearms may sound shocking and radical to some, the world we live in these days comes to us complete with a growing number of church shootings. That should give church leaders everywhere cause to ponder the implementation of security measures.

Carl Gallups says his church has taken steps to protect its people. Yet, if you were to worship there on a Sunday morning, you probably wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

Those who worship at our churches have the right to expect safety and security, regardless of the size of the church or whether it is in the city or country. Congregants shouldn’t be sitting ducks.

Consider this. The Supreme Court has said law enforcement officers aren’t obligated under the Constitution to attend to the needs of any particular individual. That doesn’t mean cops won’t be there to protect you, but it’s wise to implement some kind of self defense for yourself and your church.

This isn’t a matter to be taken lightly or dismissed out of hand. A church’s security plan must be put together with thoughtfulness, prayer, and proper training for security team members.

Here are a few questions for your church to ponder.

  • Does the church have first aid and medical supplies on hand? Are there church members with medical skills?
  • Are there adequate fire alarms? What other alarms could be put into place for members to signal for help in an emergency?
  • Have background checks been done on those working with children and youth?
Churches must think strategically about safety and security, rather than act out of fear. To help your church take those first steps toward better security, Be Thou Prepared includes form templates to provide guidance for choosing those qualified security team members.


Observations on General Preparedness

It isn’t until later in the book that Pastor Gallups deals with the kinds of things we normally associate with preparedness, such as food, water, emergency shelter, etc. Again, while this will be useful for individuals, it’s for churches, too.
  • Would your church be prepared if it was needed as an emergency shelter?
  • What would your church do to help those who lost their homes in a disaster?
  • If your church can’t operate a ministry to provide food, clothing or other needs for others, could it support ministries that do have that kind of outreach?
  • Are church members equipped to practice neighborhood readiness?
Templates for forms in the back of the book should help guide churches in finding qualified members who can help in times of disaster.

A helpful resource list in the back will provide churches with guidance related to topics covered throughout the book.


Opting Out

Getting out of the system is a topic that comes up from time to time among fellow preppers, so I asked the pastor about it. How far should churches and individual Christians go to separate themselves from our world system, including government control?

The answer he gives is well reasoned, but I suspect some will find it disappointing. Listen to what he has to say, and draw your own conclusions.


Other Questions

We touched briefly on a couple of big questions in our last few minutes together. Knowing the times are getting worse, is it better to belong to a church of fellow believers or a community of preppers? How should belief in the Rapture affect a Christian’s preparedness?


Hear Our Musings

It was a treat for me to visit with Carl Gallups about a Biblical perspective on preparedness. If this subject interests you even a little bit, I strongly encourage you to hear our conversation by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for March 31, 2016. (Right click to download.)

Get Be Thou Prepared by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. Get connected to more information at

Isn’t it time you helped your church take the challenge to get better prepared?