Tag: wilderness survival

Survival Entertainment – for your Vacation!

Log fire from Popular
Popular Mechanics “Swedish fire” built into one log

When you are lucky enough to enjoy a few days of vacation, or if you’re in the mood to CHANGE your mood, consider spending some time with some survival entertainment!

Read for escape and pleasure!

If you are a hard-core reader like I am, you’ll demand a certain level of quality in your survival books.  Or magazines, as the case may be. I found the article from Popular Mechanics, shown above, to be a treat!   (Have you heard of the Swedish fire? You break apart one block of wood, wrap it loosely with wire to keep it all held together and upright, build your fire on top of the center splits so the fire falls down into the cracks. Burns for several hours! Love it!)

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I managed to discover and read something totally different – a survival novel that takes place in a nearly ruined America of the not-so-distant future.

I have reviewed that book — Lighthouse Island — and a half-dozen other outstanding survival books and magazines at our companion website, Emergency Preparedness Books.

If you’re looking for some different survival themes, different levels of intensity and even survival excitement, please head over there and take a look. Several of the books are “How to” on survival; a couple are novels with plenty of accurate survival imagery, and a couple are written for young people – and young at heart like me! I’ll be adding more.

Books chosen for quality survival entertainment
You’ll see some of our Emergency Plan Guide books at the site, too!

Of course, in addition to books there are . . .

Movies for thrills and excitement!

It’s the day after Christmas as I write this Advisory. Yesterday we watched the obligatory re-run of Die Hard. Not a classic wilderness survival movie – but certainly an epic survival story! (Hans Gruber, so very smooth and sinisterly multi-lingual!)

Which brings me to some more of the “Best Survival Movies Ever Made.”  Here’s a short list. Which of these have you seen?  Would you watch them again?

  • Most recent disaster film, which you’ve surely heard of if you haven’t seen it: San Andreas! Sure, it’s not the most scientifically accurate disaster movie. (Savvy preppers here in California find it pretty easy to pick out the faults – a pun!) But what special effects! And Dwayne Johnson!
  • The Martian – science fiction full of well — science mixed with humor!  I read the book a few years ago, and I loved it. (Made me laugh out loud even though the hero was stranded on Mars and had to survive on practically nothing but his brains until he could be rescued! The thinking man’s survival skills on display . . .!) Of course any movie with Matt Damon deserves a Golden Globe nearly sight unseen.
  • Just the next year a traditional survival film actually won an Oscar – in fact, many, many other awards, for that matter. It is The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The scene: western frontier wilderness in the early 1800s. The challenge: winter weather, grizzly bear and other wildlife, plus some treacherous travel companions. Hollywood loved this film, and movie-goers turned it into a blockbuster.

Now, there have been survival movies for years, well before the three described above which you’ve probably at least seen ads for.

How about some survival movie classics?

  • Into the Wild came out in 2007, directed by Sean Penn. It’s an absorbing story of a young man who leaves his comfortable life to test his survival skills in Alaska. I saw this film myself several years ago – every spectacularly beautiful and excruciating minute of it. This is more drama than adventure. And it’s good!
  • Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones (another must-see actor) as an emergency manager. It came out in 1997 and is available on Netflix. Set in L.A., this one line describes it all – “Hot on entertainment!”
  • Twister was the second highest grossing film of 1996! It followed storm-chasers across Oklahoma. A Rotten Tomatoes review cites the film’s “visceral thrills” and again, special effects.

Learn some good stuff via documentaries and semi-documentaries.

In no particular order, here are some films that captured the interest of professional members of the Emergency Management group on LinkedIn. I’ll be checking these films off my own holiday viewing list. (One or the other might be appropriate for showing at a neighborhood meeting.)

  • Fire in Paradise, which aired on Frontline, covers the 2018 wildfire that basically destroyed the town of Paradise in California. It’s a 39 minute documentary with interviews of people who went through the ordeal. You’ll learn a lot about evacuations.
  • Dirty War is a docu-drama first broadcast in 2004 by the BBC and made available in the U.S. through HBO. The situation:  A radioactive “dirty” bomb detonates outside a subway station in London. At that time, this was a thriller. Today, it’s become too real.
  • American Blackout is now top of my own list. Produced by National Geographic, the 90-minute docu-drama “reveals in gritty detail the impact of what happens when a cyber-attack on the U.S. takes down the power grid.” The power shut-downs earlier this year gave us a taste . . .

There’s plenty more survival entertainment where these came from!

These movies are available at Amazon and other streaming services. Most are available for purchase at Amazon, too, if that’s how you want to enjoy them. Click away here!

Of course, not all survival fiction may be award-worthy.

But today we’re talking about a vacation change of pace! If necessary, you can always pick out the totally unrealistic moments and describe to your family members what it REALLY would be like. (They may not appreciate the interruption, so maybe save those criticisms until afterwards!?)

At the very least, a book or movie can start a conversation at home to inspire new interest in emergency preparedness and response. Maybe you’ll get ideas for a family adventure tour, or some cool gifts.

Who knows what might happen?! We’re talking survival entertainment here! Hope you enjoy some of these!

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. Of course you have your own survival entertainment favorites! Let us know what they are!

New Threats Emerging


What 2018 is looking like for Emergency Plan Guide

Wet FloorThe Emergency Plan Guide website has been up since 2011. Its main objective has stayed the same since those first days: to help people understand disaster realities and be better prepared to face them.

Three realities continue to sustain the site.

(If you’ve been with us for a while, this will be mighty familiar!)

  1. Emergency Preparedness isn’t top of mind for anybody. When asked, people say they want to be ready – they just don’t think about it on any regular basis. That’s why we came up with the idea of weekly Advisories, filled with tips and reminders. Since 2011 we’ve written hundreds, covering dozens of different topics. (Right now I count 297 in the list of Archives. A number of older Advisories have been retired, and several are being reworked.) People keep subscribing, so the Advisories will keep on coming!
  2. Family preparedness is one thing, workplace preparedness is another. You’ll see that we address both on a regular basis. We also address a third aspect of preparedness that very few other websites even mention – the importance of community and the value of working together as a group to prevent or make it through a disaster. Much of this planning is based on CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training.
  3. Authorities do their best, but . . . Police and fire departments, local and federal government and non-profit agencies may not arrive for hours, days or even weeks after a disaster hits. We hear about new instances of delay, and we use them to keep reminding our readers that no one is coming to save them – it’s up to us.

OK, that’s three of the core beliefs that drive us. What drives YOU to work on being prepared? What threats are keeping you up at night? Keep reading, please.

Seven trends will be guiding our plans for 2018.

Some of these trends have been around for a while, but have pushed themselves to the top of the heap, demanding more attention.

  1. Technology changes faster and faster. Five years ago we might have written about how to use a compass and a map; today we write about personal locator devices (GPS) that will direct rescuers right to you! Smart phones have become THE primary tool in every survival situation; in the past several months solar rechargers have supplanted batteries as the best way to keep devices functioning. At the same time, more technology also means more security risks. Watch for an upcoming series on hacking threats to your home from the internet.
  2. There’s a new normal for natural disasters. In Texas, three 500-year floods occurred in the last three years! In California, three years of historic drought have been followed by the “most destructive wildfire season ever.” Some areas in the world – like Florida – are “hot spots” where sea level rise is 6 times faster than average. Add “normal” emergencies to these locations and it becomes a nightmare. Shelter in place doesn’t work well for these disasters, so watch for more info on how to prepare for evacuation.
  3. Deliberate cutbacks threaten (FEMA). Proposed budgets, not yet passed, aim at cutting federal emergency funding by nearly $1 billion! Local budgets are cutting police and fire department funding. This leaves citizens on their own more than ever before. We have three books on the drawing boards to strengthen citizen response; the first one should be coming out before the end of this year.
  4. Terrorist threats and hate crimes continue. ISIS may have lost its caliphate, but U.S. home-grown terrorists are alive and well. And hate crimes have risen in the U.S. for the second straight year. I guess we can’t change people’s minds about religion or ethnicity – but we can talk about how to spot a potential crime and what to do when you do. And we will keep talking about steps communities can take to increase safety. (Did you know that after the shooting at Sandy Hook, Connecticut passed new requirements and made money available to improve school safety, but barely 25% of schools are reporting that they have even held fire drills, much less hardened facilities or practiced lockdown drills!?)
  5. Risk of nuclear war reemerges after 3 decades. Almost impossible to contemplate. As older Americans, we remember the drills of the 50s. Watch for more as we struggle to consider the realities of this threat.
  6. Most people cannot retreat to the wilds and live off the land. The last census in 2010 showed 80% of the U.S. population living in “urban areas.” Here in California, that percentage was 95%! Today those urban percentages are only higher. What this means is rural lifestyle, which fosters self-sufficiency and encourages learning and practicing wilderness survival skills, is simply not available to most of us. Yes, we can enjoy learning more of these skills, but a plan to “bug out” to the wilderness is unrealistic. We will address more urban survival skills.
  7. We all face more distractions. Driving, devices, politics, health, family — it’s hard to be clear about objectives, much less to follow through. People are also reading less and less — the average American spends only 19 minutes a day reading! These facts have led us to turn more Advisories into quick read worksheets and skimmable checklists – and almost always, a Call to Action! (Nothing like having a background in direct marketing and advertising.)

Now, when it comes to emergency preparedness, what’s on YOUR mind?

When you sign up to receive our weekly Advisories, I get the chance to see the town your message is coming from. But that’s all I know about you!

Occasionally, people write in with a comment or question, and then we are able to begin a real conversation. (I like that a lot!)

After all, I’m researching and sharing information that I trust will be useful. If it’s not – well, it’s a waste of your time and mine.

So . . .here’s that Call to Action.

Can you please take a moment and send me a quick message with some trends or some topics YOU would like to discuss? I can promise I’ll respond!  (I’ll keep your name private, of course.)

Here’s the link:  Virginia, here’s what’s on my mind . . .

Thanks for being a part of our community. The more we all know, the safer we all will be.

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team