Ask the Survival Mom: Answers to some of your questions

image by Ed Yourdon

I didn’t realize that I had a backlog of, “Contact Lisa,” questions until tonight. They covered such a wide range of topics that I thought I would share them here on the blog as well as responding to the individual emails. Here are just a few.


Hi Lisa,
I was wondering if you had any specific tips for a young prepper who’s only recently started preparing. I’m keeping my prepping a secret from my family, as we are a low income family and I know my mum wouldn’t allow it if she found out, so I’m not too sure how to biuld up large store of food and water without her knowing.

Also I am just under the legal age to drive in my county (Essex, UK) do you believe this will cause any problems for me should I need to ‘bug out’? They’re are also much greater restrictions in the UK on things such as firearms, so I may find defending myself and my preps a problem.  Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Yours sincerely, L in UK

SURVIVAL MOM: It really is difficult to prepare when family members aren’t also on board, but continue doing what you’re doing. Fill empty bottles with water, make sure to cap them TIGHTLY! If you’re able to buy extra food, stock up on beans (for the protein), rice (super long shelf life), seasonings, salt, and tins of vegetables and fruit. That would be a good place to start.

I also highly recommend that you suddenly become interested in, “old fashioned,” skills, such as knitting, gardening, canning, drying herbs, sewing/tailoring. All those skills will come in handy during hard times. Think about how people earned a living during the Great Depression and begin learning those same skills and knowledge.

For now, don’t worry about bugging out. Just do what you can to, “bug in”. Whenever you have extra money, go to garage sales (do they have those in England?) or flea markets. Buy old blankets, medical supplies. Think of how you’ll stay warm in the winter — blankets can be nailed up over windows and doorways. Even bubble wrap can be placed on windows to help insulate them (most of the cold that enters your home comes through the windows).

Finally, think about the most likely event you should prepare for and focus on that first. Are riots in your neighborhood a possibility? A blizzard that takes down electrical lines? Do your best to prepare for the most likely event and prepare, prepare, prepare until you’re fairly certain you and your family could weather the storm, and then begin preparing for the second most likely scenario. You’ll find that your first preps will overlap in many places, making preparation for the second event easier. I wish you the very best.


From J in UK: This website is really rather good, but I need some advice. I can see all the risks of potentially life threatening situations in the future but I cannot prepare for them as I only get £5 a week and I am not allowed guns or knifes what can I do?

SURVIVAL MOM: J, if your primary concern is personal safety, you will have to find ways of putting several different layers in place. Even here in the U.S. where guns are plentiful, they aren’t the answer to every dangerous encounter.

First, learn about situational awareness and make it a practice to be alert and at Level Yellow as much as possible. Here’s a good article to read:

You probably already know the neighborhoods to avoid and possibly even specific people or groups of people to avoid. An awful lot of problems can be avoided simply by not being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Next, make sure you are dressed appropriately when you go out. Wear shoes and clothing that would make it easier if you had to run or defend yourself. Try to blend in with the crowd and forgo fashionable, expensive clothes, jewelry, accessories, or electronics.

I know that learning martial arts takes money, but perhaps there’s a school that would allow you to participate in some way or another or there may be a public education program that might provide this training.

If you were my son, I would give you this final piece of advice. Do not drink alcohol when out in public. I know that alcohol is the centerpiece of many/most social events, and I’m not a teetotaler, but if you have reason to be concerned about your physical safety, then you can’t afford for your perceptions, judgement, and reactions to be impaired by alcohol. Your life is too important for that. Drunk people do stupid things. Period.

I sincerely hope this is helpful to you, J.


D asks: Could you recommend a dehydrator?

SURVIVAL MOM: The Excalibur is considered to be the best on the market. It runs around $200 or so, depending on how many trays it includes. If this fits your budget, this is what I recommend. I bought my dehydrator on Craigslist for $35! It’s an American Harvest and works just fine. Technically the design of the Excalibur is superior, but sometimes cheaper trumps, “the best”.

If you want more information about food dehydration, here’s the link to a recent webinar on the topic, “Simple Steps to Food Dehydration.


From J in Arizona: We are at a change point in our lives and able to move if we desire. My husband is in a career which can take us nearly anywhere. I want to find some land to settle in. We’ve been in Phoenix for over five years and we both are from Kansas. Kansas is good in many ways for resources, but there is not so many people that are in a preparedness mode there. Phoenix is more preparedness focused, but seems like there are fewer resources in a true self-sufficient or survival situation.

We’ve been looking in Payson or in the White Mountains, even Texas and are open to other areas. I know no one can truly tell us what is best for our situation, but with the mindset of self-sufficiency and survivalism, is there a better area to look or be open to moving to than other areas?

SURVIVAL MOM: You are fortunate that you have the ability and the means to move to a location that is optimal in terms of survival. I live in the Phoenix area, too, and it’s disconcerting, to say the least, that the city has less than 2 days worth of water on hand at any given time! We have a great growing season but in a true worst case scenario, the heat and lack of water would be deadly to nearly everyone.

There are a few factors that should be high on your list of priorities when assessing a new location. First, is there water available on the property? Even in Phoenix, if you have property with a well or two, you’re way ahead of everyone else in town! If a source of water also runs through the property, that’s even better because it will be a back-up source.

Next, think critically about which areas offer the best possible growing season. I would love to live in a forest setting, but growing enough food there would be extremely difficult. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend the White Mountains in Arizona. Payson might be a little different with a more temperate climate than Phoenix but, still, a better climate for growing food than further north.

Any area that includes a large number of self-reliant minded people will be a huge asset. My friend Patrice Lewis talked about the importance of being around like-minded people in this excellent article.

There are many other factors, and you’ll find helpful information in the book Strategic Relocation by Joel Skousen. But one factor that no book can take into consideration is connections you have with people. Unless you move to an area where you are known, it will take time to develop mutual trust with others. Some self-reliant communities are skeptical of newcomers. If you have to make your, “last stand,” would you rather do that among strangers or friends and family?

I wish you and your husband the very best!

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  1. irontomflint says

    Hello! I am writing in regards to our fellow preppers on the other side of the “pond”…
    True, GB is VERY draconian on firearms and knives, there are other ways to gain protection. Using cricket bats, baseball bats, jai alai sticks or even good old hammers, crow bars and kitchen knives will cover your personal protection.
    Remember, it is your mind that is your most important tool. When you look at the multiple uses of everyday items you can become adept at using things in ways they were not originally intended.

  2. Jamie in TN says

    Are folks in UK allowed to own pepper spray or tazers? Just a suggestion, I have no idea. My real suggestion would be to move!

  3. says

    I lived in the UK but was not of the self-defense mindset then so can’t really help with that, and my English dh isn’t interested so I can’t ask him. They don’t have garage sales, unfortunately, though. But they do have “carboot sales” or just “boot sales” which are like flea markets, sometimes with a theme, sometimes just everyone’s excess stuff.. And classifieds are big, or were when I was there. I missed my garage sales!

    I also got my dehydrator second-hand, only it was an Excalibur for $15 at a thrift store. My heart was pounding when I realized it. 😀 I love it.

    (free prepping e-books at my blog for anyone interested…)

  4. PerpetualLearner in SC says

    What is the best way to find like minded people be they Individuals, families or groups. Obviously riding around with a sign on the car wont work. 😎 While my sister and I are single that’s not something we are looking for, just mutual support. We are fortunate to have a Dr. and a couple of nurses in the family, here but they aren’t preppers.Thank you

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