Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

The Survival Pyramid: Helping Families Prepare

December 26, 2011 by  

The Survival Pyramid: Helping Families Prepare

This Survival Pyramid was created by a friend of mine who sells food storage and survival products. Her name is Brenda Nicholson. In November, I flew to Florida to help her sell survival foods at the Tea Party convention. She published this Survival Pyramid and gave me permission to use it in this article.

Prepare For The Worst And Hope For The Best

There is no way we can know exactly what emergency situations might occur. If you break down the short-term and long-term emergencies and prepare for them in sequence, it will be easier and less overwhelming to put together emergency survival foods and other supplies just in case you encounter a power outage, tornado, hurricane, flooding, civil unrest or any other type of local disaster.

To stay healthy and survive any emergency situation, we must have adequate food and water. Prepare as if you are going on an extended camping trip. Think through the most likely scenarios that you could encounter where you live and prepare for them. My book, Emergency Food Storage And Survival Handbook, goes into great detail on this subject. Go to to get the book.

Survival PyramidThe following is a list of things needed for short-term or long-term situations:

  • Bulk long-term dehydrated food or quick and easy-to-fix meals.
  • An alternative way to cook without power and cooking supplies.
  • Paper and plastic goods, such as: paper plates, plastic cups, garbage bags and silverware.
  • Alternative communication, such as a battery-powered radio.
  • Shelter for protection from the weather such as tents, tarps, Mylar® blankets and other camping equipment.
  • Sleeping bags, blankets and warm clothing.
  • Alternative heating.
  • Emergency lighting.
  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies, including toilet paper.
  • Medical supplies.
  • Fuel or wood for cooking outdoors.
  • Fishing and hunting supplies.
  • Cash in small denominations.

Step No. 1

Prepare for immediate disasters from one to three days. That is why the bug-out kit is also called a 72-hour kit. The water should be in a separate container with a handle for easy carrying. Smaller containers for each person would be helpful. It is recommended that everyone in the family have 3 gallons of water per person. (1 gallon per day).

The 72-hour bug-out kit can be put into a backpack. It should be lightweight and be easy to grab and go. It should include the following:

  • Three days’ worth of pantry or easy-to-open-and-eat meals.
  • High-calorie energy bars.
  • All other lightweight supplies for survival.

Step No. 2:

Prepare for short-term disasters for up to three weeks: things such as severe natural disasters, local and regional power outages, and food and water shortages. It should include the following:

  • Clean potable water (21 gallons minimum per person).
  • Bulk supplies of regular pantry food (63 meals). They should be easy to prepare. Freeze-dried and dehydrated meals are recommended.
  • All other survival items listed above.

Step No. 3:

Prepare for intermediate disasters of one to three months. This could include Food shortages, riots, strikes, natural disasters and other emergencies on a massive regional scale. Store the following:

  • 100 gallons of water (minimum) per person.
  • Bulk long-term dehydrated food or (90-180) emergency quick, easy-fix meals.
  • All other survival items listed above.

Step No. 4:

Prepare for long-term emergencies of up to four months, which could include massive natural disasters: financial or economic collapse; and no electrical power, lights, heat, plumbing or food supplies.

You will need the following:

  • Four months to one year supply of food.
  • An alternative long-term water supply or filtration system.
  • Alternative communication, such as Ham radios, scanners and battery-powered radios.
  • Off-the-grid power source, generator or solar power.
  • Alternative cooking and heating with propane or solar.
  • Wood for cooking outdoors.
  • Lanterns with fuel, flashlights, candles and alternative lighting.
  • Sleeping bags, wool blankets, warm winter clothing, wool socks and warm boots.
  • Tents, fishing, hunting and camping equipment.
  • Non-hybrid garden seeds and tools to grow a garden.
  • Extensive medical supplies and emergency medications.
  • Sanitation, medical supplies, non-food items and feminine hygiene supplies.
  • Paper goods, such as: paper plates, plastic cups, garbage bags and plastic silverware.
  • Antibacterial soap and wipes, hand sanitizer and cleaners.
  • Stash of cash.

As we approach the new year, it would be good to have a master preparedness plan. Anything you can do on this list would be helpful. It takes dedication and focus to be a Prepper. My husband and I have been working on it for 25 years. We set new goals every year. We are always planning and working toward the next preparedness project. Just take the first step then move to the next. You will feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you are making progress toward having your family prepared.

Emergency Food Storage nand Survival HandbookFood Storage And Self-Sufficiency Products Available

If you are interested in any of the seven books I have written (such as Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook or Cookin’ with Home Storage), the American Harvest food dehydrator, water storage tanks, ION water treatment (which provides safe water for five years), dehydrated or freeze-dried food storage sealed in gallon-sized cans with a shelf life of 15 years, wheat grinders, Bio-Clean sewage treatment, 72-hour packs or emergency medical supplies, click here.

Food Storage Meals in Mylar Pouches

These products are meals ready to cook, just-add-water type of food. The food can be stored long-term. These foods are quick fix meals. Everything is in the pouch. You just add water, cook for 20 minutes and it is done. The food comes in Mylar® pouches and has four servings per pouch. They are sealed with oxygen absorbers in the pouch, which makes this a long-term food product that will last on the shelf for 15 years. To get three sample meals, sealed in Mylar® pouches, that serve 12 people, click here You pay only the shipping of $9.95.

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “The Survival Pyramid: Helping Families Prepare”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at

  • Brasso

    I need to get a generator

    • Old Henry

      A generator is good Brasso, but remember that it will make noise and alert others to the fact that you have it. Also, keep in mind that in a protracted emergency you will not be able to get more fuel as the pumps at the gas station are run by electricity.

      Gasoline also has a short shelf life of no more than 3 months – at best. I put my pick-up into long-term storage back in 1997 and used Stabil. I used at least twice the recommended amount in each tank and then filled them both to the max. The truck was in a storage unit for 45 months. When we got it out it ran perfectly on the gas. We used both tanks. We ran the back one empty, switched to the front tank, re-filled the back tank and ran the front one empty. The truck has fuel injection and we never had a problem – with the fuel system.

      I have since switched to using a product called Sea Foam and it is a wonderful product, but the price continues to escalate.

      So, if you get a generator I would recommend securng some sort of large storage capacity and treating the fuel with either Stabil or Sea Foam. (I have not tested the Sea Foam for the protracted period that I did with the Stabil)

      And Brasso, do not forget to have extra oil on hand for the generator. You may need to add oil, or even change the oil if you have to run it for a long period.

      • JeffHTX

        The noise of a generator can be reduced by 80%,if you construct a four sided barrier around it, consisting of sandbags or bags filled with dirt. The top layer of sandbags must be at least 1 foot above the generator. The higher the better. The position would be better if a square depression was dug, placing the generator below ground. Leave enough space around the generator to be able to refuel or service. Position the exhaust outlet of the generator and the enclousre entrance in the direction that is least likely to be heard or those hearing it are friendly neighbors. Do not store fuel with the generator. Have a proper fire extinguisher nearby.

        • Old Henry

          Good ideas Jeff. Thank you.

          I suppose it would be a good idea to cover the floor of the “hole” with gravel, or river rock to keep the generator off damp ground.

    • Erik

      To start off with I need a sawed off with plenty of ammo! Then I’ll take it from there! Have a nice day!

      • Mary

        I’m with you. So many lazy people just thinking to take from others. We have to be ready.

  • Wayne Nyre

    Fantastic report. I am teaching an emergency leave your house in 2 minutes class on ( food and medical for 3 days ) this week end to the men at church. A couple of your thoughts reinforced mine. Thanks, Wayne

  • Alan

    Other than the ‘big box’ stores, where can or should one go to get a high efficiency generator. I’m looking for one that is not only economical to run but doesn’t break the bank to buy.

    • independant thinker

      Try farm suply stores and local hardware stores.

    • independant thinker

      Could also try your Honda and other motorcycle dealers local tractor dealers such as John Deer and hjere are two mail order or online sources Northern Tool” and “Chicago Tool and Die”.

    • Paul Smith

      Just remember that when things go bad the noise of a generator or lights from a home are to thugs as syrup is to flies.

  • Steve


    A Honda 4-stroke EU/2000i 1600 watt gas generator(2000 watt surge). (Wise Equipment and Rental is where i got mine for $899.) It will power most survival electrical needs. It’s very quiet as compared to a 2-stroke engine and you don’t have to mix the gas and oil; they’re separate.

    You can pick one up online for under $1000 and avoid the sales tax at most online sites. This generator can also be coupled with a Honda companion one, increasing your power to 4000 watts output. Honda also makes larger watt ones but at a higher price. The price is slightly higher for a Honda, but once you get it you’ll be happy you spent the extra bucks.

    I researched this pretty good about a year ago when I bought mine. The price may have gone up a little or you may be able to find a better one made by a different company.

    Either way; store it with Stabil gas stabilizer and start it up once a month and run it for 10 min. or so. A couple of extra spark plugs with a good spark plug socket wrench is also a good idea.

    Good Luck and keep your head down and your powder dry,


  • James D. A. Terry

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Excellent article. I would very much like to publish it on my website if you would kindly consent.
    I have been extoling the virtues of preparedness for some time and find it is difficult to even convince family members.

    • Old Henry

      Boy James, ya got that right!

      The Normalcy Bias is soooo entrenched in our fellow countrymen.

    • Vaughn Blaylock

      James, would you be kind enough to look me up on Facebook and send me your course literature? I would really like to have a look at that. Thanks much!

  • popgun

    for alternative lighting solar powered driveway lights can be brought into house at night and put back out during day to recharge.

  • MJ

    I do not understand why you would leave your home, short of living in some unsustainable place, like too near the ocean. If your location is in a sustainable location, we’d suggest a whole different approach to this sort of planning.

    Nearly everything you’d want or need is (or should be) livable on a daily basis. From sanitation that does supply your needs even if you were off the sewage grid. We do thermophilic composting with our biobucket-hassocks (Walmart under $30) and a trio-or-pair of bins and it works excellently well, is simple to set up and easy to maintain, just more or less like Joe Jenkins book (Humanure).

    For the water supplies (though if you live in the country with people working the grid whose families also need that grid, we feel the trouble would be less likely to materialize) we have converted our ‘sewage’ system to a constructed wetlands (just greywater so the size is only about 3′ x’ 40′ x 3′ filled with river gravel, and deeper, larger rock) with a collection well at the finish-end. EPA testing has shown that the output water is ‘bathing quality’ so our Berkfeld water filter could easily handle that output to get potable.

    The home (upper midwest) is hurricane anchored, aligned to minimize wind resistance and is in the process of being bermed (designing is still in progress). It holds, even now, its warmth for long periods in the winter (due to the radiant floor’s heat storage and the extra thick walls/roof).

    Why on earth would you feel safer elsewhere. Standard dry food & meds storage, 2 fridges, fermented foods for fresh needs, and a wind turbine and battery banks in progress. Personal heating pads and crockpot warming are low wattage needs that may work with our micro-climate wind, now at the measuring stage. Warm quilts and oversize snowsuits. Just found a generator that can be mounted on our bobcat and use its hydraulics to get a stronger watts (to be used for a couple hours a wee after about a 1st week). Even with the needs still in progress, we’d sure be better off at home than loose on the hostile, unpredictable highway with unknowable criminal governmental TSA and other FEMA types.

    The home was what the Bankers’ Manifesto did want to deprive the populace from building their independence on. It just seems obvious that there are huge differences from this scheme above that would work and be better for all concerned.

    • Old Henry


      Very well stated. However, those living in urban areas – big cites / suburbs – would be contending with the parasites and gang-bangers who are out of control under normal curcumstances.

      What would yo do if you lived i, say NYC, Atlanta, Chi Ka Go, Detroit, LA, you name the place, and all of a sudden the parsites / gang-bangers were not getting their “free stuff” and went hunting? You can only shoot so many of them. It may be better to get outta Dodge.

      We who live in rual / semi-rual areas have trouble understanding “live in the city”.

  • Steve Caylor

    Well said and expressed. Thank you for your insightful article. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Steve C.

  • Haggard

    I second James request to republish in its entirety on my website. Great article.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  • Lori

    This article is an excellent breakdown of requirements. Within the past year, the major cable channels have been showing programs on “what could happen”, how to survive, prophecies, etc., repeated frequently. Seeing all the warnings on youtube re nationwide FEMA prison camps, millions of pre-made coffins, and martial law enacted by our President against Americans.

    Conspiracy wackos? No! There are plenty of information and documentations to prove the elitists want to depopulate this world by 1/2:

    Billionaires For Eugenics

    Geneticaly Modified Seeds:

  • JK

    Can’t find biobucket-hassocks at Walmart of anywhere else….can you post a link, please? Thank you!

  • chvietvet

    If you have served in the armed forces, especially during a war, your whole life in the USA is an emergency. After serving two years plus in combat as an Air Force pilot and receiving an honorable discharge in 1968, I left the United States and worked continuously at good jobs in Southeast Asia, Europe, and South America without problems until 1998. Then, I was then offered a job with the U.S. Forest Service after reporting an offer of $20,000 in exchange for my withdrawing from a federal civil service selection under threat that the selection would be cancelled if I refused the offer. As a veteran, I was blocking the list for a much less qualified non-veteran. This made me a whistleblower. Both whistleblowers and veterans can expect no employment opportunity in the USA, as I found out when the Forest Service hired someone especially to make a case for firing me and then blacklisting me with every other potential employer. Vietnam Era draft dodgers run everything, and they supported the Communist side in Vietnam. The take reprisal against veterans, including those just returning from the most recent wars. Without substantial assistance from relatives, my wife and I would not have survived. I have developed considerable survival skills during the past 12 years, while the federal government has spent over a million dollars on legal costs just to see to it that I will never be permitted to work at a job in the USA. I conclude that the government is so corrupt that the country will rapidly descend into the Third World, and in order to continue providing themselves with the luxuries formerly reserved for kings and emperors, our politicians and civil servants will steal every last dime in the country. You cannot vote them out of office because they cheat when counting the votes, so you better get used to living off the land. If you store too much food, fuel, or anything else, they will send someone around to steal it from you.

  • Yat

    If you have a well and water is lifted by an electric pump, it is going to take more than a couple of Honda EUs to get your pump running. Watch rental fleet sales for small Kubota and Isuz power gensets. They are relatively quiet and low fuel consumption.

  • bob cain

    long term renewable solar cells as a alternate source of power also is not a bad idea either

  • bob cain

    as far as firearms go when ammunition becomes scarse black powder cap and ball is pretty handy to have as well all you basically need is wood ashes,dried urine for the oxidizer and charcoal for the second part my suggestion it to get a gunpower recipe book availible at any amazon or other bookstore in your area your metal can be salvaged copper,bronze,lead for bullet castings to each his own also availible at most gun stores on line at for your molds a cap and ball revolvers come in calibers like 38,36,44,ect they are availble to the public with no federal paperwork necesary to fill out on this and availble at all gunstors or cabellas near you i hope you found my information helpful bob

  • bob cain

    and the revolvers even have six shots of 44 cal every time its cocked and fired very useful against multiple assailants and in order to get off an extra shot at a running dear as well

  • FreedomFighter

    Longest storing vitamins:

    NASA created, forget the name exactly, to lazy to look in storage area, FULL Spectrum, I think. Google NASA vitamins or longes storage vitamins.

    These are a must I feel, lose your health, thats the end.

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.