Step-by-Step with The Survival Mom: Lesson 2, Define your disaster & Set priorities

Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Click HERE to download the complete lesson and study sheet.

The_Survival_Mom_1As a mom, it’s sometimes hard to set priorities. Is it more important to get dinner ready, put the laundry in the dryer before it molds, stop the kids from fighting, or listen to my husband telling me about his day?

Not even Calgon can take me away from days like this!

I get the same feeling at times when I start thinking about preparedness. There are emergency kits to pack and maintain, food to store (and make sure it’s in a cool, dark, dry place), security issues to worry about, and so much more.

It’s a good thing that Survival Moms are more than capable and can leap over screaming toddlers in a single bound.

Today’s lesson is all about defining what we should be prepared for and then setting priorities. These 2 steps, along with taking action, will ease any panic and make Calgon baths a luxury, not a necessity!

Define your disaster

When we first begin thinking of planning for a disaster, we may feel reassured since these aren’t events that happen every day. Depending on where you live, you might even feel insulated against hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes. Those things happen to other people, right?

Well, in today’s world, there are other concerns to prepare for, events that touch us all, no matter where we live. In the words of our own government, there are “man-made disasters” that include terrorist attacks, power grid failures, environmental disasters, wildfires, nuclear events, wars, riots…

Still feeling insulated?

Add to that pretty impressive list of man-made disasters are a variety of personal crises, everything from a cancer scare to divorce, and it becomes even more necessary to define exactly what to prepare for.

In fact, random preparedness, going in all directions at once, can actually do more harm than good because it may provide a sense of security without any actual, real security!

To get started defining the first disasters you should prepare for, read pp. 6-13 in your textbook (Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios).

You’ll be listing the disasters that are most likely to affect you on the chart in the downloadable study sheet. This activity will provide a visual of your own reality and might even be a comfort to you when you realize how many things you don’t have to worry about!

Before completing this lesson’s study sheet, be thinking about:

  • The top natural disasters that might affect you, depending on where you live and spend most of your time.
  • The top man-made disasters that are most likely to occur in your area
  • The top extreme weather events to prepare for
  • The most likely personal disasters/crises that would affect you and your loved ones

Peace of mind

Years ago when I ran a home-based business, it seemed as though I always had a dark cloud hanging over me with all the many things I had to do or had forgotten to do. The cloud contained my guilt, my failures, worries about all kinds of things and I never felt free to enjoy life.

I hated that cloud.

If you’ve felt like a black cloud has been hovering over your head filled with fears for the future, scary headlines from the news, and all of the prepper things you’ve been meaning to do, the step of simply defining what you need to really prepare for will make that cloud a little smaller and give you more peace.

As part of this lesson’s assignments, you’ll be identifying only the top 4 disasters that are most likely and imminent in your particular circumstances.

Four big, scary events may still seem daunting, but what if you reviewed the list and selected just one for your primary focus? You may not have the time or resources to prepare for a job loss, tornado, EMP, and a winter blizzard all at once, but certainly you can prepare for one of these!

Remember, this curriculum is called “Step-by-Step…” not “Your family is going to DIE because you didn’t prepare!!”

Of the 4 events you have identified, only one will be your Top Priority Emergency. This will be your first, primary focus.

Dark storm cloud, gone. Poof!

Setting priorities

Once you’ve determined your Top Priority Emergency, you’ll need to tackle it in a smart way.

All too many new preppers immediately rush to buy an expensive water purifier or a truckload of “survival” food. Before you go crazy with that Visa card, let’s establish the most important areas, regardless of the event:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Security
  • Special needs unique to your family

(Shelter, security, and special needs will be included in Lesson 3.)


Water storage sounded so silly to me at first until I heard about an outbreak of meningitis in a town not far from me. Two young children died from the bacteria in their drinking water. I was so grateful for the 50 large water bottles I had stored under various beds throughout the house!

For details on how to store water and different ways to purify it, read pp. 21-28 and complete the Family Preparedness Plan worksheet on p. 34, if you haven’t already done so.

By the way, if a job loss or reduction in hours is a major concern, you may want to pay a bit extra on your water bill each month, just in case. The City will come out to turn off your water if a bill remains unpaid, but a nice credit on your account can help avoid that.


I spent 2 chapters and almost 70 pages in my book devoted just to food storage. If you want to get the full dose of this information, read Chapters 4 and 5.

Otherwise, I want you to start your emergency food storage by focusing on foods that are shelf stable, meaning they can be stored at room temperature, and can be prepared and eaten without any cooking, if necessary.

No one ever died from eating cold ravioli. That I know of.

A list of these Handy, No-Cook Foods can be found on p. 71 or at this link.

Organize your emergency food by meals (breakfast foods all together in one bin, lunch foods all together, and so on) or in containers with enough food for each day. Example: a small bin contains all the food for one day, breakfast (oatmeal energy bars, fruit cups), lunch (cans of juice, cracker/cheese packets, jerky, and cookies), and dinner (canned beef stew, pilot bread, pudding cups, and vodka).

This lesson’s assignment is to collect at least 2 weeks worth of these foods. Write out a daily menu for 14 days using the foods you have stored and still need to buy. You’ll find a form for your daily menu in this lesson’s study sheet.

Store this emergency food in a location that is easily accessed but won’t be so available that the kids will be sneaking into it whenever they’re hungry for a snack! The food should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. Yes, storage conditions are important and can greatly increase, or decrease, the shelf life of your food.

Read pp. 100-108 for more details about proper storage conditions.

A word about organizing supplies

I don’t know about you, but in a severe crisis, the first thing to go is my brain. When the adrenaline is pumping through our veins and we’re faced with something sudden and scary, we very often find it hard to make rational decisions and might easily forget where certain things or stored or even our home address.

Even if you are organizationally challenged, take some extra time to categorize and label emergency supplies.

For your containers of stored food include a list of what they contain and a menu. Don’t assume that you’ll be thinking clearly when the tornado siren sounds.

Organizing now means even more peace of mind later.

Moving forward

After you’ve completed this lesson and its activities, you will have identified your Top Emergency Priority, along with 3 other likely emergencies, and will have stored enough water and food to last you and your family for at least 2 weeks.

In Lesson 3, we’ll focus on making your home disaster-proof, security steps you can put into place, and any special needs considerations.

Click HERE to download the Lesson 2 Study Guide and worksheet.


4 thoughts on “Step-by-Step with The Survival Mom: Lesson 2, Define your disaster & Set priorities”

  1. Ok, so I am not a mom and was a little hesitant about buy a book called survivor mom, but after looking into you site, I believe I will buy it and if anyone sees it I will tell them it is my wifes and secretly read it (JK) a good book is a good book. Thank you for your tips

  2. Hey Lisa are you going to finish this series? I loved the worksheets and working through the book that way!

    1. The Survival Mom

      No, I haven’t! My family went through a cross country move not long after I started that series, and I haven’t gotten back into the mode of writing lessons! It’s on my To Do list, though. Thanks for noticing. :o)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *