What is Your E-Prep End Game? 3 Steps You Should Take to Find Out.

What is your E-Prep “End Game?”  Seriously! Do you know? When you go on a trip, you typically have a destination. You are driving to a national park or Disney Land or flying to visit your sister, right? If you didn’t know where you were going, you’d have a hard time getting there!

Emergency preparedness is similar. You need an end game. You need a goal.

what are you preparing for

What Are You Preparing For?

Are you trying to prepare for everything and anything? That sounds stressful! Please don’t do that to yourself!

The truth is, it is very, very unlikely that you will face every single possible disaster in your lifetime. Trying to prepare for them all at once is a waste of time and energy. Instead, give some serious thought to what you and your family should prepared for.

This is step #1 in creating your family’s personal preparedness plan.

I’m going to give you three simple, helpful steps you can take today that will bake all your “prepping” efforts a bit more effective and focused.


A warning…

Before I start, I want to offer a word of caution. This blog has never been, and never will be fear focused!

What I am about to suggest may cause you some anxiety as you think of all the possible scenarios you could ever face. Please don’t let it. While it is a certainty that not everything will go perfectly right in your life and you will have to deal with some hiccups, it is also a certainty that not everything will go terribly wrong. You will not have to deal with / face every possible disaster! Please let this exercise decrease your anxiety by knowing that you are preparing for the most important things first!

Alright, let’s get going!


Step #1: Make A List

Sounds simple enough, right? It is. It should only take a few minutes!

You can do this alone, or have a family brainstorming session with a spouse and / or older kids.

Simply make a list of everything that could go wrong in your life. (this is the part that may make you anxious….don’t let it! I can guarantee that not ALL of these things will happen to you).

List anything and everything from small everyday emergencies to large scale disasters.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Forgetting to thaw out the meat for dinner (-:
  • Car Accident
  • Car breakdown (possibly out of cell range or nearby towns)
  • Economic Depression
  • Physically Disabling Accident
  • Flat Tire
  • Job Loss
  • A neighbor / friend’s job loss / surgery / tragedy
  • Water Shortage
  • Water Contamination
  • Civil Unrest / Riots
  • First Aid Emergency (broken bone, choking etc)
  • Burglary (car or home)
  • House Fire
  • Nuclear / radiological incidents
  • Snowed In
  • Dam / Levee Failure
  • Power Outage
  • Mudslide
  • Viral Outbreak (Pandemic)
  • Wild Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado
  • Tsunami
  • Hurricane
  • Flooding
  • Volcano Eruption

You can likely think of more….large and small. Write them all down and don’t forget to breathe calmly and not freak out. There is NO WAY all of these things will happen to you!


Step #2: Rate Each Disaster

Now, take a few minutes and rate each disaster on a scale of 1-4 in the following three areas:

Now, take a few minutes and rate each disaster on a scale of 1-4 in the following three areas:

Likelihood: How likely is this to happen to you?

  • 1 = This will likely never happen to me / in my area
  • 2 = This may happen to me / in my area
  • 3 = This will likely happen to me / in my area
  • 4 =This is very likely…almost guaranteed to happen to me / in my area

Frequency: How often could this happen to you?

  • 1 = If this did happen, it would likely only happen once
  • 2 = This could occur a few times in my lifetime
  • 3 = This could occur as often as yearly
  • 4 = This could occur regularly

Effect: How seriously would this change your life if it did happen?

  • 1 = This would bother me if it happened, but have little lasting impact
  • 2 = This would create a serious inconvenience for me
  • 3 = This would significantly change my life for a limited period of time
  • 4 = This would change my life for the unforeseeable future

As you do this, ask yourself questions…give some thought to each one. Here are a few resources that may help:

  • Use this website to see if you live near nuclear plants, evacuation zones, faults, tectonic boundaries etc (click on layers at the top right of the map to choose your disaster).
  • Find a list of dams in the US here.


Step #3: Total and Review

Add the three numbers you gave to each item on your list. You should come up with a number between 3-12 for each item. Now, write your list down in order of the highest total number to the smallest. Those at the top are those you should work towards preparing for / planning for first. Those at the bottom are things you shouldn’t spend time / effort worrying about!


A Helpful Printable:

If it is helpful, I’ve created a to help you with this. It has all the disasters I’ve listed above, plus space for you to add your own ideas. Simply click HERE or on the image below to download it.


As you move on this month with creating a preparedness plan for your family, you now have a concrete place of where to start.

For example, my highest rated “disasters” were:

  • Earthquake
  • First Aid Emergency
  • Forgetting to prepare for dinner
  • Significant Winter Storm / Being snowed in
  • Power outage

That list is a LOT shorter than the one above, right? That should reduce your anxiety! Now, I will make sure I am prepared for those five things before worrying about or moving on to anything else on the list. If you are interested, the next group of items on my list with medium high scores was:

  • Job Loss
  • Water shortage / contamination
  • House Fire
  • Pandemic

I will work on these, but not until those top 5 are covered. And it is likely that by preparing for those top five, I will be more prepared for everything on the list.


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What are you preparing for


56 thoughts on “What is Your E-Prep End Game? 3 Steps You Should Take to Find Out.”

  1. My husband has always been a “preparedness” person. So now that we have retired, sold our home and moved into our RV we have all these cases of food to prepare and consume. We have been just dabbling with them and found some we really love and are easy to use and others we purchased and have no idea of what to do with it. With very little income this year pulling out and utilizing this storage is so far helping us. I found your site today while looking into what to do with the grapes. I am going to try the chicken quesadillas for lunch. So far I have learned something about the chicken. I believe I have been over cooking it along with the other meats. Thanks for the insight! I look forward to visiting your sight often.


  2. I didn’t think of many of these scenarios! Thank you!
    Most likely in the northeast
    1. snowed in. civil unrest,
    2.water contamination or outage
    3. power outage
    4. economic collapse followed by civil unrest…

  3. Thanks! Do we just get 1 homework assignment each week or can we speed up if we want to move forward? LOL. Thanks in advance…..

    • Right now it is just one per week Heather, but I’m moving all the info into an actual online learning environment where you can access everything at once. It will be a few months though….

  4. Thank God I found you, Misty Marsh!!! I started studying mini-farming a few weeks ago with the hopes of starting a small garden full of heirloom veggies. Several mornings I woke up with so much fear of not being prepared for a disaster and didn’t know how I was going to get prepared since I have no real life skills when it comes to living off the land and such. I logged on to Pinterest with the hopes of finding some ideas on mini-gardens and your blog was listed in “just for you suggestions”. Happy to find you!!

  5. Was a great eye opener to things I hadn’t thought about … mainly the disasters (many of which won’t affect me or the area I’m in, but some that could). Thanks so much!

  6. I found this an interesting exercise to get me thinking about priorities, although I didn’t necessarily agree with the ranking system. For example, forgetting to prepare for dinner ranked high on my list due to receiving a 4 on both how likely… and how often…, even though it has no lasting impact on my life. Trust me. 🙂

    I worked up my own primary and secondary list.

    Primary – Societal Breakdown which might include:
    Long Term Water Shortage
    Long Term Food Shortage
    First Aid Emergency
    Economic Depression
    Civil Unrest

    Disabling Accident
    Job Loss
    House Fire

    Although the secondary list ranks higher on likelihood of occurring, they would be easier to recover from assuming medical care is available and replacement items are able to be purchased and employment opportunities are available. I am more worried about preparing for long term shortages, where going to the store to purchase needed items might not be an option.

    If you have any ideas on how to prep for a tornado, I would be interested. Short of buying a storm celler, which isn’t in the budget right now, I have no ideas.

    This is probably more than you wanted in the comments. 🙂 I appreciate this course and this exercise. It definitely has me thinking. I look forward to the next exercise.

    • I LOVE comments like this Julie! I love when people actually work on things and find something that works for them. It sounds like “impact on your life” is the most important to YOU and you worked up a list that works for you and your needs. For me, preparing is about improving my life NOW just as much as for all the “what ifs” I love my freeze dried food b/c it makes forgetting to prepare for dinner almost impossible and therefore has a direct impact on my life every day. We spend less and eat healthier and I love that. As for tornadoes, you can find a bunch of posts on it on my tornado pinterest board here.

  7. One thing to add to the list is having to provide in-home care for an elderly relative. I understand that this can be very time-consuming and physically and emotionally draining, especially if the relative has developed some type of dementia.

  8. A health crisis can precipitate a personal economic crisis which then creates other crises such as the inability to buy food, pay for one’s home, car, insurance, etc., due to the sudden income loss. When the one who pays the bills is the one with the health crisis, someone else needs the right information to take over. That happened to us last year when one had a heart attack, a triple bypass, then brain surgery three months later and wasn’t able to work for 6 months! It is devastating.

    • I”m so sorry you had to experience that Barbara! That would be an extremely devastating situation. If you could go back 5 years, what would have done differently to prepare for it?

      • I was unaware that even though we have a joint account, I could not see any of the online banking he had done or what was due when, because I would have to have signed in as him. We have separate computers and I didn’t have his login or PIN. Now we have added our son who can pay bills for us. We should have done that sooner. Over 2.5 years ago I bought a dehydrator and have put away a lot of food which has been a literal lifesaver. It is hard to put enough together to buy the freeze dried foods on Social Security income that shrinks every year due to inflation and we don’t get adequate cost of living increases. Most of the last last 6 years there were no increases at all, although gas and groceries went way, way up in cost. It is hard when you’re old and can’t get a job.

  9. This was interesting, I figured #1 would be civil unrest, but some of the others really surprised me. One that had never even crossed my mind until now. It’s quite eye opening. I’ve looked at websites and on line “learning” before but it was always the same ole thing “buy this, store, etc…).
    This is the first time I’ve actually thought about things. I look forward to continuing the course.


  10. My top ones, in no particular order, are Economic depression, short term power outage, long term power outage, hurricane. I added health crisis and food shortage.

  11. I finally found chapter 1 and am trying to catch up. (This is week 8) My computer has been naughty and will be dealt with appropriately. Misty, I like what I am reading and feel that I have been moving in the same direction you describe, but maybe not as well thought out as your plan. Me end plan is known, but from here to there is a bit gray. Thank you and I must get back to catching up. kelly

  12. This was so simple but extremely useful. I’m in Scotland UK and every blog/site I visited made me want to prep for wildfires, earthquakes & tornado, but not exactly relevant for where I stay. Now I know what to prep for. My top 5 are Long Term Power Loss, Economic Depression, Flooding, Water Contamination, Snowed In. then followed by Job Loss, House Fire, Nuclear Incident, Water shortage, Pandemic.
    Really looking forward to the rest of the course

  13. Misty, I want to thank you for your no-fear approach to this whole thing. Reading hard-core prepper sites was filling my my head with the most nightmarish situations imaginable. LOL – I feel kind of silly now, but this one exercise has helped me to seriously calm down.

    Even living in an area where we get weird weather extremes in both summer and winter (plus a newly developed (last 5 years) regular bought of autumn rain-induced regional flooding), I only have FOUR (4!) priority planning scenarios. FOUR. I literally went from every situation imaginable (in my brain, anyway) to four.

    Yes, there are secondary priorities, but I also noticed that many of the secondary ones fit within parameters of the first priorities – that is, by simply adding to the already-established plans, I will have covered my bases for lesser-but-still-important emergencies.

    I hope I have communicated how exceptionally helpful this exercise was. The way you have broken up the course is also really helpful, because I don’t feel like I have to do everything at once and it lets my brain fully focus on what I’m doing today. I’m really looking forward to following this little planning journey you’ve started me on. You’re a great teacher!

    • Thank you so much Jo! I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with this course and wondering if it is truly helpful. Your comment was my answer! THANK YOU! I’m so glad you found this exercise helpful. Thank you for taking the time to let me know!

  14. I would like to organize my important documents. I am in my seventies and over the past few years have seen how upsetting and difficult it is for families to sort out the paperwork when someone dies. I have read that millions of dollars are unclaimed as the family members have no idea the investments or shares even exist. Having all in one well marked file will make things a lot simpler for the executor.

  15. I am totally new to this. I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing or what I’m looking for. I want to be prepared for the end of the world as I know it. With isis on the rise & earthquakes are coming to my area anytime. Where do we go when this things start happening. How are we supposed to get water & food? Shelter & stay warm. It was a bombshell at my church. What can a person do with little income?how am I too prepare? I don’t know what to do. Help if you can.

  16. Hi
    I’m new to your site. Is there a print friendly version. I like to print out all the info and put it into a binder. Then I can read and digest it at my convenience.


    • Hi Harlow! Welcome to the site. I’m glad to have you here.

      I dont’ have a print friendly version of the entire course, though there are printables included in many of the Prep-101 chapters. You can also copy each post and then paste it into a word document and print it that way.

  17. Just signed up for Prep-101, had a family emergency and need a bit of help getting back on track. Been prepping on and off since Hurricane Sandy. Thanks for posting the link to the nuclear power plants, never realized one was 48 miles from my home. Thought it was further away.

    Looking forward to learning and getting back on track.


  18. We were without electricity following Hurricane Ike for more than 4 weeks. We had it come back on briefly for about 3 hours after 10 days but then the small transformer blew and put us back out. My work kept us supplied with ice, we have natural gas and had plenty of water stored until it came back on.

    We are in a shelter in place area but have enough for 5 days if we have to leave the house. I had a conference out of state and a brief visit with my parents first so I took my dirty clothes to Florida.

    After Katrina, I had begun stockpiling non-perishable food and other supplies. I have found a couple of things on your lists already that will help even more. for next time. Living in Houston, I know there will be a next time. Eventually will will install a large sized generator to power most of the house using natural gas. In the 60 years our house has stood, no one in the neighborhood has lost that!

  19. In “93” we had a tornado in February and a snowstorm in March. We were without power for a week each time, plus we suffered some damage to our home from the tornado.

    In “09” I was laid off and my husband became disabled. Our home burned down in “10”. We had rental property that is now our home, we got moved into it in June 2011.

    In the fall of 2011 we started making plans to become as self sufficient as possible. I read an article about growing enough food for a family on one acre of land. We gave ourselves 5 yrs to make that happen. This is the beginning of our 4th yr, and while we are pleased with our progress we still have a lot more to do.

    I only have a seasonal job (Jan to Apr) and hubby is on disability so we have very limited resources.

  20. This past summer we had two major thunderstorms that caused power outage for 3 days each and a wildfire that threatened our home and caused us to pack for an evacuation. We had never faced this before and were not prepared. Thank you for the course, excited to follow it.

    • Oh my! Scary. I’m assuming your home is okay? You will likely have some “real life” insight to share next week when we talk about evacuations.

  21. I wish that I would have started my preps long ago, as a serious illness made it so I am unable to work. I was the one that had the better paying job and the health insurance. Nnow, my husband’s job is seasonal with NO BENEFITS. No insurance, no sick days, no work when it rains no work no pay, no holiday or vacation pay. He gets laid off around Thanksgiving and goes back to work in April or May. He has no formal education and isn’t qualified to do much else. Plus he is over 50 and nobody will hire him. He has tried to get a job that is year round with benefits, but has had no luck. There are so many other things to be prepared for(weather, illness, job loss, death, car breaking down, economic collapse, civil unrest, martial law and the list goes on)

  22. Very good article! Really helps to direct and keep on track! I am going to do this so I can tweak things accordingly…

    PS–Can you e-mail me? I have some Thrive questions…


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