Although it’s January, it is time to begin preparing for severe weather. As we’ve seen this weekend, tornadoes can develop anytime of the year when conditions are right. The South is particularly susceptible to tornadoes due to warm air and moisture from coming up from the south and mixing with cold air from the north.

Here are some things you can do to be better prepared. Some you’ve heard before, and maybe a couple of them are new.

  1. Get a weather alert radio. Get one that will put out an alert tone loud enough to wake you up. It should be able to plug into the wall as well as use AA batteries. They can be found for less than $20.
  2. Know how to understand the radar maps provided by the National Weather Service. By observing the Map in Motion, you can track where the storms are and where they are heading.
  3. If a storm is heading your direction, you can look at a map at the National Storm Prediction Center. On the main page you can look at the Convective Outlook to see what the risk is for severe weather. My favorite page is the Storm Report page as shown below.

 This page will show you where tornadoes, hail, and strong winds have been reported. If the storm is headed your way, you can know ahead of time what is coming with it.

  1. Attend Storm Spotter training (SKYWARN) as provided by the National Weather Service. It is offered only once or twice per year in each county. See the box below for training session in Hamilton County in February.
  2. Listen in on the SKYWARN Storm Spotter radio frequency on your Baofeng UV-5r Ham radio. Do not talk on there unless you are licensed operator and are a trained spotter.  If you bought your radio from P5 Preparedness, it is pre-programmed into your radio on Channel 93.

We’ll post more in February during Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Be Prepared and Stay Safe!

Many people are getting very concerned about the situation with North Korea and you may be one of them.  The thought of getting into a nuclear conflict with an out of control leader is very scary.  Nukes could be launched at the United States.  You may be feeling a lot of uncertainty. You don’t know what to do. Or you don’t have any control of this situation.  But you have probably felt this way before and just don’t remember it.

Think back to your school days when you had a major test or final exam coming up. You may have been in a situation where this last test may be what decided whether or not you passed or failed.  You had a lot of anxiety in the weeks leading up to it. So how did you handle the situation? Did you spend a little time each day getting ready for the test or did you wait until the last minute and cram, doing all the studying at once? Or maybe you just decided it was too late and you’d just take your chances? If you did the right thing and studied, you probably survived the exam.  The key is that you prepared for what was coming.

The key to surviving any situation is how you prepare for it.  During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s many people installed bomb shelters in preparing for a nuclear war. Everyone stocked at least 30 days of food and water for an event that could change their lives dramatically. Back then the government was telling people to get prepared.  We are in a very similar situation with the fear of nuclear war with not only North Korea, but also with China, Russia and Iran. But for some reason our government and the media are not warning us to get prepared.

Many people are saying it. We are saying it. Get Prepared!  Here is what you need to do to get prepared to survive a nuclear attack.

  1. Buy a water filter. You need clean water to survive every single day. There will be plenty of water around you but you must clean it to survive. Get the Sawyer Mini Water Filter. It is guaranteed to filter 100,000 gallons of water. And it is only $24.99.
  2. Get a 30-day food supply. We suggest buying 30 Mountain House pouches for each member of your family. They average about $10.00 each and have at least 2 servings per pouch. You just add two cups of boiling water to the pouch and let it sit for ten minutes.
  3. Buy the book, How to Survive the End of the World as we Know It by James Wesley, Rawles. It is a great How-To book that takes you through the many steps of survival.
  4. Have a powerful two-way radio so you can listen for critical information and also call out to others for help. We suggest the Baofeng UV-5r. It is a 5-watt radio that can reach about 5 miles. It is also a ham radio so you should get your amateur radio Technician license. You can get that through P5 Preparedness as well.
  5. If there is a nuclear incident, you need to protect yourself from fallout. The first item you will need is Potassium Iodate to protect your thyroid glands from absorbing the radiation. If you will be outside you’ll need to protect your skin and lungs. Get Tyvek suits and military grade gas masks.

Once you have your basic preparations covered, it will relieve some of the anxiety you have and give you piece of mind that you can take care of your family.  Develop a plan on how you can become prepared for any emergency by improving your skills such as first aid, communications or outdoor survival. Get the gear you need and practice using it. If you need help with your plans, call or come by P5 Preparedness.


Here at P5 Preparedness, we’re firm believers in storing freeze dried foods, MRE’s, and nice big buckets of rice, beans, pasta and other staples. Being prepared includes buying bulk and putting food up for long term storage. However, we also realize that food will eventually be eaten or hit its expiration date, and when it’s gone there will be no stores to buy more. Simply put, storing food is critical, but not sustainable. You need a means of producing food during a long term event, and that means growing a majority of the meals. This is why P5 Preparedness has partnered with HATponics, installed an aquaponics system at the store, and sell both completed systems as well as DIY parts kits. We also hold Introduction to Aquaponics classes with the founder and CEO of HATponics.

IMG 0401 300x225Dr. Ryan Cox (he prefers to be called Ryan), begins the class by explaining that everything involving aquaponics revolves around the K.I.S.S. principle – “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. He warns not to complicate things, but always look for the simplest answer. After all, aquaponics is just fish, plants, rocks and water with a little plumbing – right? He then goes on to explain that fish secrete  an Ammonium Nitrite – NH3, but plants need Nitrate – NO3, so we need to create a bacteriological zone to “wash” the water so plants could utilize it properly. Now, it’s been a few minutes since I last took chemistry, so during the first class I was beginning to wonder if this Marine was a touch out of his element – water or not.

IMG 0298 225x300Over the course of the next two and half hours, Ryan breaks down the chemistry, physics, agriculture, Ichthyology, and even a touch of the animal husbandry behind aquaponics. And all that is before he delves into the Socio-Geo Political ramifications of feeding people. Suffice it to say the man is smart. But despite the complexities behind the system, HATponics insists their systems be able to be set up and maintained by anyone with as little as a fourth grade education. After all, their goal is to feed 20 million people by 2020, and many of the countries they work in lack a proper education system. And let’s not discuss the state of education here at home in the States.

While the science can seem daunting on the front end, once we get you up and running these systems will continuously feed a family of four with little upkeep. Everyone leaves the class with their questions answered, excited about taking the next class – AND the next steps in starting their own aquaponics system! Like everything else in prepping, talk is cheap, but getting your feet wet is the most important step – sometimes literally!

Come by P5 Preparedness at 1309 Panorama Drive. Suite 115 – just off East Brainerd Rd. near I-75 –  take a look at our system, and find out how you can begin providing your family with sustainable food through aquaponics!


When it comes to prepping, there is one tool that trumps all others. This tool is, without a doubt, the most critical to your survival – the survival mindset. Your thought process and commitment to survival are essential to getting through a bad day. The need to hone your mindset to a razor sharp edge cannot be overstated. But what does a mindset consist of? Let’s take a quick look at a few concepts that make up your survival mindset.

The very first key to prepping is the awareness and understanding that things aren’t stable, bad stuff happens, and you can’t rely on someone to come rescue you – you have to be ready to take care of yourself. To be prepared, your eyes have to be open and you have to be able to make a sober assessment of your situation and inherent dangers. Your survival mindset, in part, depends on what you’re preparing to face, how you view the situations you’ll face, and how you chose to prepare for – and ultimately deal with – the disasters that haunt you.
But perspective still isn’t enough. I know plenty of people who know something could go wrong, but they choose – willingly decide – to bury their heads in the sand and close their eyes to it. They tell me that “if something happens, I just want to die. I don’t want to be around for it.” Unfortunately that becomes a self-fulfilling destiny. If you aren’t mentally tough and determined to survive – you won’t.
Clearly, perceiving a threat may be a good start, it is not sufficient.

Once you come to understand that something could happen, you need to come up with a plan to mitigate the effects of that event and prepare to prosper. (Man, does prepping have a lot of ‘p’s associated with it! We could have been named P15!)
A well prepared threat assessment is the ‘why’ that influence ‘what, when, and how’ we prepare. How we answer these questions defines – or at least outlines – our plan. And solid planning starts with a list of all the possible bogeymen under the bed. Write down every potential scenario you can come up with. Take and rank them all on a scale of ‘Easier to Deal With’ to ‘Very Bad Day’. Then rewrite the list by ‘Most likely’ to ‘Least likely’. Take note of the trends you see. Are some threats both very likely and easier to deal with, such as a severe storm? Do others seem less likely, but make for a much tougher road, like a nuclear war? Now you should be able to see the threat in both width and depth. You have just set the parameters of your potential nightmare.
The next step is to take that threat “box” you just created and fill it with stuff. Look at each threat, ranked by likelihood and decide what you would need to get through that event. What do you need to handle a tornado that would be different from an EMP? Which supplies become critical in which scenario?
You should find that things like short term natural disasters – which are more likely – are also more manageable and require less preps. However something less likely – say an apocalyptic attack of zombie squirrels – are conversely more challenging and need a lot more stuff – which is the next key to prepping.

Purchase Provisions
Go buy the things you need. Make it a priority. Have it on hand when you need it, and replace it as soon as possible if you dip into your stash. If you can drop a chunk of change and buy a ton of gear at once – great! If not, start with first things first and do something to begin your plan. Either way, be consistent. You can never have everything you need – there will ALWAYS be you ‘need’ – but you can be ahead of the curve. Anything you do to improve your odds of successfully dealing with a bad day puts you ahead of most people.
Due diligence is important here. Research your purchases. Decide where you can ‘go cheap’ and where you need to invest for good gear. Which items do you need redundancy on (hint: all of them!), and what can you get by with only one (two is one and one is none…). Read the reviews and talk to people who know and use the gear before you buy it. Just so happens I know a couple guys….

Shameless plug aside, having what you need when you need it is a significant part of prepping. However, while having stuff is critical it is still only part of the equation. I’ve written about this before, but if you don’t know how to use it, and if you aren’t proficient, you may as well not have it at all. I used to have terrible nightmares about perps closing fast, and suddenly I’ve got a 100lb trigger pull and sights that were so far off I had to Kentucky windage a half a football field to hit my target. My subconscious was screaming that I needed more trigger time to stay sharp. I spent some time at the range, and the dreams stopped.
Do you have medical gear you aren’t familiar with? Get training! Take a class, read a book, watch a video – learn how to use what you have, and then practice, practice, practice. A word of warning though: practice does NOT make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect. If you practice it incorrectly, you have only learned the wrong way to do it, nothing more. Get good training so you have confidence in your gear and your skills.
When was the last time you lit a fire with one match – and no accelerant? How about built a shelter, set a snare, skinned a rabbit, cooked over an open fire, grew a garden, programmed your radio, or…..the list goes on. And despite years of training, even the most devoted prepper would be hard pressed to handle everything themselves. Which is the last key – for this article anyway:

Once you have acquired the foundations of your preps, find people you can trust and get to work executing your plan. Don’t bother trying to build a group or start a community unless you have your own house in order. People who start groups without having supplies tend to be moochers who want others to provide for them while they provide the “leadership”. And along with that, don’t go recruiting your favorite people because they’re fun to sit around the campfire with. They need to have their preps squared away so they can pull their own weight. While some may disagree, a great skill set is NOT an adequate tradeoff for having their own food, medical supplies, clothing, and firearms.
To balance that thought, there’s more to quality of life than the stuff you have. Your team needs to develop a foundation to build from. Figure out why you’re prepping (see key #1 above) and build your group with likeminded people. This is another topic I’ve covered before, but it can’t be stressed enough: you can’t do it all yourself, and the people you surround yourself with must share certain perspectives to effectively work together. Figure out what matters most to you, then search long and hard to pull together the right friends and family to realize your collective vision.

This prepping thing has many challenging aspects to it, and can be overwhelming at times. Hopefully these 5 keys will help you organize your journey, whether you’re just starting or are miles down the road already. As always, P5 preparedness is here to help in any way we can!