Why Most Disaster Preparedness Experts Have No Clue what the Hell They’re Talking About!

Emergency Preparedness Planners Are not Planning on Saving you during a Disaster!

Emergency Planning Experts

I’ve talked to a number of these people over the years, and two things always become glaringly obvious. First, these people usually despise anyone outside their Ivy League discussion groups – especially anyone who calls themselves a prepper.  Second, they have no idea how to help people become better prepared, and many of them have no idea how to respond to an actual emergency.

Let’s briefly deal with the first point, because I believe their behavior is a huge problem – one that is likely to cost many lives.

Do Preppers deserve a bad rap, or do Preparedness Planners need to start listening?

It really depends on how you look at the situation. While I’ve been very critical of shows like Doomsday Preppers, I have met some of these people, and a lot of them are actually incredibly knowledgeable. Yes, some are only on these shows to exploit their 15 minutes of fame, but there are a great number of people who call themselves preppers that could be incredibly useful to the general public.

The problem comes in how the media, and shows like Doomsday Preppers, have chosen to portray these people. Instead of highlighting them in a way that can help better prepare the public, we often only hear the word prepper when it’s tied to some psychopath who just killed a bunch of people.

Sadly, and something that leads me into my second point, is the fact that these “preppers” often have more practical knowledge than the emergency preparedness experts our government pays to do this for a living.

Emergency Preparedness; or just more useless Government Bureaucracy?

FEMA Closed SignI’ve been to a number of emergency preparedness conferences and expos, and the one thing that bothers me the most is how clueless most of these people are. While most of our first responders have a pretty good idea of what they’re doing, the bureaucrats – and the idiots who run agencies like FEMA – seem to have more interest in how they look than they do in saving the public from disasters.

Case and Point: Last year I attended an emergency preparedness summit that surprised the hell out of me. I went hoping to get a better idea of how emergency preparedness people plan for disasters, something I could share with the readers, what I came away with was anything but helpful.

Conference after conference was devoted to things like social media, how to respond to the media, and how to basically cover their asses once they screwed something up. Hour after hour was devoted to discussions on how to respond to the media when things “don’t go as planned.”

These people were literally reviewing case studies of all the times they screwed things up, and then talking about how they could have better handled the media backlash. I couldn’t believe it; instead of reviewing the screw ups, and then figuring out how to prevent them in the future, they choose to instead figure out how they could better respond to media criticism. Government at its finest!

You are the only First Responder you can really count on!

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my experience of watching someone get sucked under the water while attempting to swim across a cove I was fishing near. This experience, along with my experience at a number of emergency preparedness expos, has solidified my belief that you need to be your own first responder.

Whether it’s being prepared for future disasters, or being prepared to defend your home from intruders, the only person you can really count on is yourself. In most disasters timing is everything, you simply cannot rely solely on emergency responders to keep you safe. You must be prepared to deal with emergency situations yourself; even if that’s just keeping things stable until emergency responders can respond.

You are the First Responder during an Emergency, and you need to keep that in mind going forward. It’s your responsibility to do everything you can to learn the skills, and the techniques you need to survive in an emergency situation.

Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. I’m definitely not a hardcore “prepper” (I’m not really fond of that word), but I do have plans in place for most emergencies I can think of, carry a 72-hour bag in my Jeep (basically my ruck from the military with a few modifications), have a small garden, close to a years worth of freeze dried food, have a well with a backup mechanical pump and two fireplaces, one with a cook top. Most of my preparedness, though, comes from my military training, realizing what is essential in the field and what is just window dressing. Most people feel like they need all the latest gadgets and toys to survive, without realizing that in an emergency, most of that stuff fails. Keep it simple, keep it basic. And in my opinion, the most dangerous site is still Ready.gov.

    • I concur. I checked out that site, Ready.gov, and it is so focused on short term. People have no idea what it might be like after more than three days. They also advocate mostly on the grid preparedness (radios and gadgets and stuff like that).

  2. I am split on your post here. You are correct that most Emergency Planners will not survive a catastrophe, but they are not planning for that. THey can’t. Only individuals can prepare for those and hope to survive.

    As an Emergency Manager myself, I am close to, but not quite, a prepper. I stock what I can, but then my grandkids come over and eat it. I have a generator that quit working this spring. So on and so forth. Most of my colleagues couldn’t till a survival plot and never expect to.

    Most in this field are actually the interface between the levels of government. That is it. They are experts on the legal and bureaucratic bull puckey that comes after a disaster. The few of us who do want more are well out numbered by the others.

    But please do not lump us all together as one mass. That is like lumping all preppers into one mass, not quite right. Some EMs are excellent, others suck. SOme are in it for the job and to help people, others because the number of incidents are few and so they won’t have much to do for yours at a time. It takes all kinds.

    I am glad you said Most have no clue, but they are just working through a different lens than you are. They are looking at disasters, not full catastrophes. There is a difference in what needs to be prepared for at the different levels.

    This site is excellent because it is for the people who leave the cities. Most people are in the cities and are scared of the real outdoors. Same with the planners who grew up there and spend their entire lives urbanized. Pity them. Talk to them about the difference between an emergency, disaster, and catastrophe. They forget as they get bogged down in paperwork. They need the reminder!

    See you the IAEM in Oct?

  3. My family and a few friends have a plan for several different what ifs. We are allways tweeking our plan for what to grab, where to meet and so on, from a home fire to the end of the world as we know it I have tried to cover as much material as I can and pass on to may group, the hardest thing to control is when will it happen, so we practice,,,calling at two in the morning and telling Bob its time is not fun but needed. Checking and rotating each others prep items with the grandkids is fun, because I am spending quality time with them, and you get to see them learn and know they are ready and willing to do their part. If you want to test yourself, surprise your kids and grandkids with a camping trip and only give them an hour to get ready, then you know what to work on.

    • Jeff there are so many publications out there I would tell you to get as much free online stuff as possible,then buy the tech manuals you think you can use, finding water and food, solar cooking and heating, think NO power what can I do. one that I have a will suggest is Where there is no doctor,,one site that I read often is Preparded Christian, go to the general preep pulldown and of coarse dan is correct, the BIBLE is the one book you will most need.

  4. We believe in prepping so live aboard a boat in the food producing area of Panama where a lot of work is still done by hand. But even so, there’s no way to cover all the bases. Our catamaran is solar powered, we have a watermaker, we know how to fish and we don’t need fuel to move the boat or the dinghy. So we think we’re good for a financial crisis, war or EMP in the northern hemisphere, famine, Fukushima or similar, fuel shortage, earthquakes and biological crisis because we can stay anchored in remote coves for a very very long time. But it’s never 100%. We could be wiped out by tidal wave, severely damaged by a CME, or taken over by a superior force. Our greatest resource is the internet that provides us with the alternative news and info that may allow us to anticipate what’s coming in time. May that stay on as long as possible.

  5. I am viewed by some friends as a paranoid nut case. How ever IF something does go down I will be better that them. I suppose that nothing will but if it does they will be left out not my family. The ones that think I’m crazy happen to have never had alife changing event and think their status in society means nothing bad will happen . It will be great if nothing happens but if so, I’m ready. I personally don’t trust our fearless leaders to be able to help in the event of an event. There are too many opportunity s for things to go wrong that they have no control over. They think because I can’t control my current (read make more coins) status that it is some form of redneck paranoid security thing to establish some form of control in my life.. That’s ok, I’ll just keep on keeping on! Does this mean I just popped up on the NSA ( note: the lap top just capitalized it!) watch list? Damn just want to be secure and not hungery!

  6. @Rastus McGee: it is good that you are viewed as a “paranoid nut case”. It ain’t broke – don’t fix it! If the folks who know you now believe you are nuts, you probably won’t be high on their hit list when IHTF and they turn zombie.

    Love that bumper sticker: FINALLY, GOVERNMENT THAT LISTENS. THE NSA!

  7. Having spent 20 years (m/l) working FOR FREE for the world’s largest disaster relief organization, I had the privilege of working with many “gooberment” folks. They were good people, for the most part. But, like any branch of gooberment, they had their orders. They often did not agree, but they had to do their jobs, just as anyone else has to keep their employer happy if they want to keep their jobs. But, no, you can not rely on the goob or anyone else to “save” you. The Calvary only rides to the rescue in the movies, folks.

    BTW, if everyone knew what that organization is really like, how they operate, how they handle the donated funds, in particular, and sometimes how the hard-working people get treated, then, you’d all understand why I do not support them in any way, shape or form – and will not, again.

    If you want to support a financially wise disaster relief organization, one that treats its people well, support The Salvation Army.

    • Elizabeth, Yeah, had probs with those same “crossed up” folks several times. My brother had a child die while at Aviano Italy in 80. Baby was at Dover AFB and those clowns (military) couldn’t get them home for 6 weeks and the other clowns you worked with couldn’t find them (him and his wife) to help them get home. Called my senator who happened to be chairman of the Joint Armed Services Committee and had them home in less than two days. My son, a Ranger, had been shot in Iraq and I was trying to get info on his status at Ramstein where he was evac’ed and got nothing but $#!+ from your folks and wound up in a shouting match with them and they hung up on me. Called the Pentagon and had 5 calls within the next two hours. Don’t know what good they are as I have had to solve my own probs and prolly did it faster than they would have. I have NEVER GIVEN THEM A PENNY since 1980. Found out fro a friend of mine that they charged GIs for the donuts they ate at “their aid stations” in Vietnam. They are worthless. I too give my money to the Salvation Army. Even if you aren’t religious they do generic good works out in the community and usually without charge. At least you have the knowledge that YOU were doing the best good that you could do at the time. Be well.

  8. I have been “prepping” for some time now. I mentioned it to my daughter and son-in-law one day and got the – “you don’t trust the Lord” response. Even the Bible tells us to store up in good times for the lean times. Well, this is going to: I don’t mention to anyone now what I am storing, where I am storing it. It is my business and if I am able to get to where my daughter and her family lives, I will take what I have and share. That being said, I still do not tell her or anyone else what I am up to.

    When I “want” to give to an organization – research is the key. I want to know how they spend the donations before I give them my hard earned cash. I would rather keep it in my pocket and disperse it as I see fit in times of trouble.

    • I agree with Leal. “Trusting the Lord” does not mean sitting around praying without taking action to prepare. We need to be “wise” in the way we live our lives and in the things that we support.

  9. I believe that the only way to thrive during the coming crisis that The USA will soon experience, with any normalcy, will be to prepare properly and have a diverse group of partners, skills, knowledge, assets and resources together with a well prepared safe place to go. Otherwise you’ll will be hiding, fighting, scrounging and attempting to simply survive. Normalcy requires we are bigger than the problems we face, in a chaos situation those problems will be huge…. meaning you’ll need to be prepared – no timid preparations will suffice, you’ll need to be an expert and today is a good day to start!

  10. Well you can forget any normal portrayals of people who prepare for disasters. My firm belief is that the media wants unprepared victims in the time of crisis. They want people who buy their advertiser’s junk video games and beauty enhancers rather than things that really serve a purpose.

    Plus the media and government are basically partners in the mind control game. Preparation means also independence from neediness.

    Great article and great blog.

    Bo Forrester

  11. I appreciate your perspective and that of those who’ve responded. It’s worth noting that the thinking of FEMA and their National Preparedness Month seems to be to raise awareness of the fact that they won’t be there right away, whether it’s a short term disaster or otherwise. I find that to be a telling admission.
    Look out when they are there though. I heard a couple of guys on the radio the other day talking about how it wasn’t possible for neighbors in Colorado to deliver fuel to neighbors who needed it for their generators. Too many roadblocks. Apparently the authorities in control are happy to take money donations though.

  12. PREPPER?
    I’m kind a, sort a, pretty much just about fed up or perhaps better said, tired of hearing this term used to define a person or persons with the mindset of storing away goods, provisions, food, supplies, whatever, to be used whenever. My grandparents, GOD rest their souls, they were the best preppers ever! And had no idea. They lived through the GREAT DEPRESSION, what was so great about it? LOL… But they lived through that financial collapse as well as WWII and witnessed rationing, shortages, cash devalued, so many of the things we take for granted simply unavailable. So my Grandfather kept a great, productive garden and my Granndmother canned everything they didn’t eat. They had 2 fig trees in the backyard along with a peach tree. Tomatoes, eggplant, squash, beans, and a myriad of other vegetables grew like crazy!!! After all he was a farmer back in Italy and he KNEW how to make a garden grow. He had in-ground glass frame boxes to extent the growing season and composted everything into rich soil.
    Now this is saying a lot when you consider that he did this in a small backyard in Brooklyn Heights New York! A small, extremely small piece of land in the footprint of their 4 story Brownstone. If you are familiar with Brownstones, you know what I’m talking about.
    The point here is that they along with most of their friends and neighbors were true preppers and never heard the expression used to define them.
    So I’m thinking that preppers, if attributed some kind of fringe definition, isn’t being used correctly and IS being used far tooooooo freely. I personally do not consider myself to be a prepper because I don’t like being lump summed into any class or group of people since I’m a little liberal, and a little conservative. I’m frugal at times but a foolish spender and poor saver at other times. I’m prepared for whatever may take place but that’s just acting wisely using the example set by my Grandparents. If something is on sale at the market, I buy as much as I can afford and stash some away in a closet, just like my Grandparents did. My weak-spot is my debt. Ah ha! Debt is the evil state I find myself caught in and am working feverishly to do away with debt to become debt free. Sure wish I had stashed away cash, perhaps if I were more financially savvy I might not be in debt up to my ears!!!

    So get out of debt.
    Put away something for tomorrow and that should cover food, water and or filters, and cash If they call you a prepper perhaps you’re talking tooooo much about your stored provisions. Do it and keep it quiet, not out of shame but for security’s sake.

  13. what is the difference between prepping and being ready for an emergency…..i am currently on active duty (24 years) and have been prepping/ready for an emergency since the early 90’s….all my military buds go back and forth on this topic….so again i ask, what is the difference between prepping and being ready?

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