Eight Pillars of Preparedness


Preparedness is a multi faceted experience.  If you think having a garage full of food and government health care is all the preparation you need, you are leaving yourself and your family in jeopardy.  Anyone who has a desire to move forward toward a preparedness centered life must understand some very basic things about “being prepared”.  Helping people gain this understanding is the central purpose of 72 Hour Plan.  I refer to these basic ideas, areas, or tenets of preparedness as the Eight Pillars of Preparedness.  These eight areas are the areas or functional groups into which we categorize our preparations.  You will find throughout this website and in all the evaluations we do, the articles we write, the training we provide, and the lectures we deliver that these eight areas are addressed repeatedly; this is by design.  When we sat down to determine the big idea behind preparedness we actually came up with two areas, Physical and Mental, but after some consideration we realized these two categories would be so broad that readers, students, and those participating in preparedness efforts would become bogged down with the enormity of the idea.  We then decided to break these two areas into something easier for us, and for you, to wrap our minds around.  So what are the Eight Pillars of Preparedness?  We offer a brief description in this article, with the understanding that it will take varying levels of time and effort (depending on your starting point) to fully embrace the preparedness centered lifestyle.

brain pic

Human Brain

Mental – We couldn’t find a logical way to break ‘mental’ into any sub-categories.  The fact is that the mental category covers every other category.  Mental preparedness encompasses knowledge, understanding, belief, emotion, feeling, etc.  This is the essence of who we are, why we are preparing, and how we obtain the right level of understanding to take our preparedness from the learning phase to the taking action phase.  If you know how to do something, you are more effective in doing it.  How effective will a package of seeds be to you if you don’t learn about gardening?  Could you provide the right soil, sunlight, water, cultivation or harvest without learning about it?  Not likely.  Mental preparedness is the core of our gear reviews and our how-to series.  We want to provide you with the information so you can move forward with that information in your mental arsenal. Energy – This is the science of keeping you warm.  There are a number of ways you might lose the ability to generate heat and addressing your energy needs helps mitigate some or all of these losses.  The primary focus of the energy area is heat production.  There are secondary functions, but they are generally comfort giving in nature. Financial – Money is a necessary evil for most people; even the truly self reliant find some burdens eased with a good financial plan.  Financial discussions look at how to get the most from what you have, as well as how to maximize your potential if you need more. Food – Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates.  Food is usually the first thing people relate to when you ask about ‘preparedness’.  This is a necessary facet of the preparedness centered life, but it’s certainly not the only thing you need to ‘be prepared’. Medical – Taking care of yourself and your family in the event of medical emergencies or long term care without the commercial medical industry.  First aid is the first area of the medical focus, but disease prevention, pandemic outbreaks, and other medical concerns are also addressed. Physical – This was one of our primary categories along with mental.  You will notice the other areas we have defined are in fact sub-categories which would fall under physical.  We kept this as a main category to capture all the areas not represented by the other categories.  Here you find physical fitness, self and home defense, diet, nutrition, sanitation, family activities, community groups, etc. Shelter – Covers (pun intended) anything that covers you.  Clothing, housing, tents, caves, etc.  Shelter is a primary concern in any threat situation. Exposure to the elements reduces your mental and physical faculties.  Keeping our bodies and by extension our families safely sheltered prolongs our survival. Water – Water keeps you alive, helps cook and prepare food, aids in hygiene and sanitation.  The need for clean, usable water is often misunderstood and routinely overlooked.  This is not a huge category, but it is a very important one.

Madurai Meenakshi temple pillars

Madurai Meenakshi temple pillars – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Inevitably our readers ask “which is the most important pillar of preparedness?” You may have noticed that following the Mental pillar, the list is alphabetical.  That’s your hint.  Mental preparedness is the most important; without knowledge and understanding, you won’t have anything to create a preparedness centered life.  Without a desire to be prepared, the knowledge you have will go unused.  Without a strategy and awareness you will be ineffective.  Mental preparedness is the linchpin that holds everything together. The other pillars are considered equally important because when you need them or use them depends on what hazard or event you are dealing with at the time.  In the dead of winter when the power goes out, you are dealing with keeping warm and energy along with shelter are your primary concerns.  In a car accident your medical preps jump to the front of the line.  Terrorist attacks that render the public water supply contaminated show you quickly the importance of water.  Do you think you are secure in your job?  When you get laid off, downsized, or you fall down the stairs and you are out of work for six months, your time spent building the financial pillar is priceless.  So you see the idea that one pillar or category on this list is more important than the others becomes entirely dependent on the current situation. Building a preparedness centered life founded on the Eight Pillars of Preparedness will allow you to have a well rounded approach to prepping.  Balance in each area combined with the mental preparation to make that pillar usable and effective will allow you to reap multiple benefits in the years to come. Most, if not all, articles you find here at 72HourPlan.com will deal with at least one pillar of preparedness, often more.  You can use the tags featured at the bottom of every article or use the search function to find the articles pertaining to any particular pillar. Best of prepping and keep pressing forward.  Plan, Prepare, Prevail!


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