Module 8

Set Up Your Survival Retreat

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Weekly Challenge

Bloom Where You Are Planted

No matter where you live, from a condo to a mobile home to a rural homestead, every survival retreat must include certain elements. For this challenge, give careful consideration to each of these listed below and ask yourself:

  1. Is this already in place?
  2. What is my back-up plan and do I have the supplies, if necessary?
  3. Does my backup plan require written instructions? You’ll want to have these printed and stored in a file or binder.

Use this challenge as an assessment and an additional To Do list to take your preps to a higher level and truly create a survival retreat right where you are.


Without question, this is the most important component of your survival retreat. If your current water supply becomes tainted, what is your backup plan?

  • Do you have a secondary source?
  • Where is the closest place to get water and do you have a way to transport it?
  • Can you set up a water catchment system? If so, you’ll need the supplies and perhaps, printed instructions.
  • How much water does your water heater hold? Do you know how to access it?
  • If you have a swimming pool, pond, or some other body of water on your property, do you have a way to transport it and purify it? How can you insure it’s safe to drink?
  • Do you share a well, stream, or some other water source with others? How will you access the water and what agreement do you have with these other families?
  • A water testing kit is inexpensive and can help you determine the safety of water for drinking. Be sure to have at least one on hand.


Have you ever considered that one day your stored food will be used up, and there might not be a grocery store handy for replenishment? Having at least 3 months’ worth of stored food is a basic goal, but a backup is necessary.

  • What food are you currently growing, and what other foods could you add to your garden plans?
  • In a water shortage or drought, how would you water your garden?
  • Do you have stored seeds to cover the possibility of failed crops and/or expanding your garden?
  • If you have extra food, do you know how to preserve it? Learn how to can (both water bath and pressure canning) and dehydrate food.


  • What have you done so far to add security to your home?
  • What other inexpensive measures could you take to add another layer of security?
  • How is the perimeter of your property protected? The perimeter could be the border of your property, the hallway of your apartment building, or your front/back yards.
  • From which windows of your home do you have the best view of the surrounding areas?
  • What can you do to make your property less desirable to vandals and other criminals?
  • What natural disasters should you take into consideration where your home’s and family’s security is concerned? What plans can you put into place for your safety? Example: How close do you live to a body of water that could possibly flood your home?


It’s possible to become increasingly more self-reliant, even if you live in a city. A survival retreat should be self-reliant in as many ways as possible.

  • Without water or power, what is your plan to get laundry done? Do you have the supplies necessary? Can you dry clothes during the winter and what is your plan for that?
  • Without running water, toilets will stop functioning. What emergency toilet plans and supplies do you have? How will you dispose of the waste?
  • What appliances, both large and small, can you live without? Have you tried to do that for at least 24 hours?
  • What do you have for cooking food without electricity? How often have you used those methods and do you have extra fuel stored? For how long will it last?
  • Solar is a viable alternative for most people. What solar applications do you have and in what other ways could you utilize solar power?
  • Have a plan for bathing without running water or electricity for heating.
  • Gray water can become useful in a drought or other water emergency. Do you have a way to recycle that water and do you know what water is safe to re-use?
  • In a power outage, you will need to have a plan to stay warm enough on cold days and nights. What is your plan and do you have all the supplies and gear you need?
  • Hot days and nights present a different challenge. What is your plan to stay cool enough and do you have the supplies you’ll need?
  • Your survival retreat will need light sources: security lights outside, ambient lighting inside, and directional lighting for various tasks. What do you currently have for these and what do you still need to buy? (Don’t forget batteries and light bulbs.)

Weekly To Do List


  1. Set up a permanent water catchment system at your home and/or retreat. Methods will vary based on your structure and your environment.
  2. The World Health Organization offers free Fact Sheets on many different sanitation related issues. You can find links to them here.  These can be useful additions to your binder.
  3. Head to the discount store and stock up on dental hygiene items: toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and floss sticks. Buy in bulk if you can.


  1. Prep for pets. This week, if you have animals, stock up on  some supplies for them. Invest in some dry food, but don’t go overboard – high fat content can make it go rancid quickly. Also purchase some canned food, flea and tick supplies, and any other regularly purchased items that you get for your furry or feathered friends.
  2. Stock up on shelf-stable milk.  Powdered milk and canned evaporated milk are two solutions. This is particularly important if you have (or expect) children – or if you like some dairy in your coffee.
  3. If you don’t already own a food dehydrator, get one. Look for one on Craigslist or eBay (for cheapest prices). When you have the funds, add one to your prepping supplies. If you are purchasing new, the Excalibur is an excellent high-end product, and the Nesco American Harvest is a less expensive product.


  1. Put together some special supplies for family members who are under the weather. Colds, flus, and stomach ailments do not wait for convenient times to occur.  Include comforting supplies like canned soup, ginger ale, herbal tea, saltines, peppermint candies, and soft tissues. Also put back OTC decongestants, pain relievers, anti-nausea medication, and anti-diarrheal medication.
  2. This week, make an investment in sustainability. Purchase seeds and store them away properly.
  3. Learn to DIY. If you don’t already know how to use a set of jumper cables, learn that skill this week! Write down the instructions and keep them in your vehicle emergency kit.


  1. Choose one room in the house to prepare for a worst-case scenario. The room you choose should be easy to heat, so if you have a woodstove or fireplace, that would be the best choice. Make a plan to separate this room from the rest of the house to keep it warm and secure. (Curtains or blankets in the doorways, French doors, etc.)  Figure out what kind of sleeping arrangements you’ll make – will you drag in some mattresses from the bedrooms, use sleeping bags, or get air mattresses
  2. Get a tent. A tent can come in handy in many different scenarios, including a warm space when the power goes out during the winter. If you don’t have a tent, begin looking for one online and in stores, such as Walmart and sporting goods stores. They often go on sale at the end of the summer. Learn how to set up that tent BY YOURSELF!
  3. Get a sleeping bag. Do you have extreme-weather sleeping bags for each member of the family? Look for a good sale or begin picking them up as you can afford them.


  1. Install decorative gridwork over the ground-level windows to make them more difficult to breach.
  2. Invest in some thorny plants and nurture them around the perimeter of your house and yard.
  3. Create a safe room to which vulnerable family members can retreat. (You can do this, even in an apartment or rental home.)


  1. Make countdowns more fun. Advent calendars can be a fun way to count down the days of the power outage. (After all, what isn’t better when you have a little bit of chocolate?)  Purchase these after Christmas when they go on sale and make the crisis seem more fun to kids.
  2. Pick up some glowsticks. If you have children, glowing bracelets serve two purposes. They keep darkness at bay and they make children easier to spot if they wander off in the dark. Right now, you should be able to find them inexpensively at the dollar or discount stores. As well, Amazon sells them in packs of 100.
  3. Select 15-20 of your very, very favorite photos and have prints made — photos should all be the same size. This week, label the back sides of each photo with names, dates, and locations, and then laminate each one. Punch a hole in the upper corner of each photo and store on a book ring. Keep this in a bug out bag. It will be a great comfort should you ever have to leave everything else behind in an emergency. You can also make these for your children with photos of their loved ones and pets.


Jim Cobb is a prolific writer and prepper, and this week’s prize is three of his books:

Between urban survival know-how, tips for defending your survival retreat, and the ability to communicate with loved ones, this set of books will get you prepped!

The lucky winner of all three books will be announced at this coming Sunday Night Check-In!

Shopping List

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