Know Your Surroundings

As we play out in our minds possible scenarios of how and when we may need to fall back on our preps, it’s often the case that we take for granted the “where”.  I think most of us assume we will be at our current residence with familiar surroundings.  That may or may not be the case.

Not really knowing and understanding the lay of the land where we currently live can create real problems at a time when the last thing you need is more problems.  This became evident to me just the other day when a road construction detour forced me to take a road I’d never been on.  Keep in mind, I’ve lived in my small town for almost 30 years and thought I was pretty familiar with the surrounding neighborhoods.  Not the case – I ended up driving through a neighborhood I had no idea even existed.

I think all of us are so used to our daily routine of where we go and drive the same routes that we end up not really knowing the details of where we live.  This could be especially important in the event of a necessary evacuation.  Take the time now to drive the roads you’ve never been on and take note of  the details that may or may not be helpful in time of need.  If you know your region before the event occurs, you’ll have a far better chance of surviving it.

After you establish your prepping priorities, the next step would be to predict the best course of action for you and your family, before disaster strikes. For example, would bugging-in be an option for your family? Will you be forced to move to a safer location? If so, which route will be the safest and do you have all the supplies to make the journey, even if there are delays?

All these questions can be answered if you know your region and it will help you reduce the “unknown” factor. If you are forced to find refuge in your local wilderness, it is important that you know what resources are available and how to find them. Even more important, you should know how to avoid the dangers within your region.

Here is what you should know about your region before disaster strikes:


Many plants have the ability to save your life in an emergency situation. However, they can also put you in an early grave if not researched carefully. Without taking the time to practice plant identification, you will easily confuse the plants that can save your life with the ones that can have an adverse effect. You should start by learning which plants from your region will be of help during a survival scenario and which one you should avoid.

Edible plants

Some of the plants from your region can provide you with the vitamins and nourishment you need to survive when food is scarce. You should discover which edible roots, flowers, berries or grasses grow in your part of the country and how to safely prepare and eat them.

Medicinal plants

A doctor may not always be around and proper healthcare will be difficult to find during a crisis event. Fortunately, you have a bio pharmacy in your region and nature can provide you with all sorts of cures. From headaches, to sore throats and even blood clotting, nature has a solution for everything. There are all sorts of plants that can heal minor ailments and injuries. You just need to know how to identify and use them.

Poisonous plants

Touching the wrong plant or ingesting the wrong berries can easily seal your fate. While some will make you ill and incapacitate you for a long period of time, others will leave you cold for good. Before you go out foraging for edible and medicinal plants, you should learn about the plants you have to avoid. Making a positive identification before usage is the number one skill of every forager. If you are in doubt, leave it be!

Natural water sources

While water might not seem a primary concern when disaster strikes, it can become a major hassle if the event is not a short-term one. Many survivalists and preppers, have a good supply of water and various means to purify the water they find, if they are able to find it. You should know all the available water sources from your region. It will help you restock your water supplies and it will provide you with an understanding of the disaster’s gravity.

If there is only one major water source, there will be a lot of competition for it. You need to make sure you are able to deal with “competition”. If there are multiple water sources, you should try the smaller ones in order to stay out of sight. Weather conditions play an important role in your region and they will increase or decrease your chances of finding water.


When hunger is becoming your mortal enemy, finding an animal in the wilderness is a true blessing. Each hunter knows that it is important to learn about the animals from the region. This helps you figure out which can be eaten and which will eat you. Every region has an ideal prey that is good for consumption.  The trick is to learn which ones in your area are the easiest to find.

You might not have a rifle available or you will have to avoid using it due to various circumstances. It is crucial to know various hunting techniques. You also need to learn about the right way to cook them because prey might be different from what you buy at the grocery store.

Your food list will include mammals, reptiles, insects and everything in between when your food supplies run out. Predators can be found in your region as well. You need to know what deadly beasts might be on your trail.

Every region has its dangerous animals and an encounter with a bear or a mountain lion is not a pleasant experience. Not to mention that there are also the sneaky, stealthier ones like spider and snakes. You should educate yourself about how to handle the dangerous animals that can be found in your region.

Building materials

If your bug out location was not designed for long-term living, you might need to build something that provides you with comfort and protection. To do that, you will need to rely on using the natural materials from your region.

Building a shelter is not easy without the proper tools and materials. Time might not be on your side and you need to know beforehand which materials are available. You have to practice how to use them properly and what tools you need to get the job done. The resources from your area will have to be exploited to create shelters, tools and weapons if the crisis event extends over a few weeks/months.

Escape routes on foot

If you need to bug out from your region you will need to learn about the escape routes you have and how to use them. You will use a vehicle for the most part of the road, but eventually, you will have to continue on foot. Regardless if you are in the city or in a rural environment, you will have to flee on foot at some point in time.

Do you know enough about your area in order to make sure you make it to your safe heaven by foot? If you have a long journey ahead, you will need to plan a bug out timeline and stick to it. Think about if you need to cache some supplies along the way. You will need a meeting spot for your family member and other local friendlies.

We prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but that’s not enough. Emergency preparedness requires planning and prioritization, and it is not just a shopping spree as many tend to believe. Studying the details of your home region will give you a better chance of surviving a crisis event. It will keep your loved ones safe during an emergency situation.

More than 35 years experience in the Preparedness Industry