Lisa Bedford has developed a substantial following with her blog, The Survival Mom. She has been interviewed on a regular basis on TV, radio, and in print. We’re honored to have her as a guest on Survival Weekly. Lisa will also be one of my fellow guest speakers at the 2011 Survival and Preparedness Conference next month.
For our readers who might not already be familiar with you, could you
share with us how you got started with preparedness? Was there one
significant event in your life that “opened your eyes” or was it more of a
I’ve always been a little on the cautious side – always carried blankets and water bottles in the trunk of my car, first aid kit, etc., but about three years ago, my husband and I began to realize that the world was changing rapidly, in a downward spiral. It was both a gut feeling as well as our observations of current events here in America and around the world. My husband’s first instinct was to add to the family arsenal; mine was to figure out how to keep my family safe, comfortable and well cared for in the face of an uncertain future.
How did the website come about?
I’m an avid reader and researcher and spent countless hours on survival websites, forums and blogs. I learned a lot, but much of it was over the top and didn’t address my concerns as a mom. One evening I had a brainstorm, “The Survival Mom.” I had originally planned on doing a podcast with the blog as a back-up, but as it turned out, the blog was easier for me to maintain. Maybe someday I’ll do a podcast.
If you were somehow placed in charge of emergency preparedness for the
United States, what would you do first?
Not to step on any political toes, but I would take steps to close the southern border and beef up security at our ports. Natural disasters and extreme weather events we know how to prepare for, but there will be other terrorist attacks, and everyday citizens aren’t ready. I understand completely the desire of families south of the border to escape the massive war going on down there and establish a better life here, but at the same time, people are crossing our border who are not refugees, nor are they looking for a better way of life. Heck, if I were a terrorist, that’s what I’d do. Learn some Spanish, dress to blend in, and make a run for the border. Only until that border is secure can our law enforcement agencies begin figuring out who is already here that has plans for another 9/11, or worse.
Other than that, I would take the message of preparedness (and not just for emergencies or disasters) to moms. When a mom is on board, it’s easier to get the family is on board. Not so much the dad. He can come home and talk about stocking the family arsenal and buying MREs, but his job is made far more difficult when mom says, “No way!” When a mom understands that it’s her brood that is in danger, I believe most of them will go into over-drive and do whatever it takes to protect her family.
How would you describe your personal philosophy with regards to
Prepare for the most likely disaster first. Our family has tried to, first, prepare for a significant decrease in our income and a business/personal bankruptcy. So far, that disaster hasn’t happened, but it’s more likely, for us, than an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado.
Once you’re ready for a personal financial disaster, you’re also ready for other events. Freedom from debt, money in the bank (or in precious metals), stored food and water, extra supplies and tools, and being as self-reliant as possible will mitigate the effects of other disasters. You can add the bomb shelter and Faraday cage later, but if you lose your job and your savings disappears in a matter of months, or less, there won’t be any money for anything else important to your survival.
What do you feel are the biggest, most realistic threats to our current
way of life?
The end to our current way of life is already happening. We talk about TEOTWAWKI, but, heads up! It’s already the end of the world as we know it. Most people just won’t realize it until they look around in a few years and they no longer live in a first world country. Millions of unemployed are not finding work, and long-term unemployment takes a huge toll on individuals and families. Many of them will never recover. They will continue living on less money, however they can get it, working just as hard, with nothing left to save and nothing left in their retirement or college accounts. As the economy continues on this slow, downward trend, more and more people will find themselves facing that same future.
Of course, this isn’t happening in a vacuum. For the most part, government policies, actions, and inaction are bringing down our great nation and setting up a two-tiered social structure common in third world countries: the ruling class and the peasants. I’m an optimist, but when it comes to the long-term future of America, not so much, and that is very, very sad.
I usually leave politics alone because it doesn’t help to argue over which political group or individual is to blame. The truth is, it’s both parties over a period of many, many years that has brought about a dismal economic future that will impact virtually every home. Add to that, the threat of an EMP, other terrorist attacks and “everyday” events like Katrina!, and there are plenty of reasons to prepare and begin living a more self-reliant life.
What do you tell people who are just starting out with entering the
prepping lifestyle? Do you see any mistakes that are made over and over
by these new folks?
The most common error, if you can call it that, is feeling overwhelmed. New preppers don’t know what to do first. Always prepare for the most likely disaster, even if it’s just a winter storm. Once you’re well prepared for that, tackle preparedness for the second most likely disaster, and so on. Keep in mind that air, water, food, shelter and warmth are the Big Five, so include provisions for each in your plans. At the same time, don’t rely too much on stuff. Spending lots of money doesn’t necessarily make you more prepared. In fact, it can make you feel more secure than you really are. Combine all that stuff with lots of research about living a self-reliant life. How could you manage without your city’s water supply and sewage system? For how long could you live off the grid? What can you learn that could help your family in a medical emergency? Do you know how to grow and raise your own food? Preparedness is a mindset, one that goes back to the days of our great-grandparents and beyond. Start thinking like your great-grandma, and you’ll figure out what you need to know!
Survivalism is historically a male-dominated field. Obviously that is
changing (and for the better, in my opinion). Have you caught much flak
from men due to your site?
Quite the opposite. The very first bloggers to reach out to me were men. Tom Martin, of American Preppers Network, and Mac Slavo of SHTFplan blog invited me to contribute articles to their sites, and men make up a fairly large percentage of my readers.
Any flak, or criticism, I’ve received has been because of my speaking out as a prepper. However, from the beginning, I felt it was important that women connect with another real person, a mom, who shared their same concerns. It’s not the same when you’re posting on a website or emailing someone who could easily be just a professional blogger who owns dozens of blogs or some anonymous panel of writers.
When our families are threatened, we need support from other moms, and what could be scarier than a future that could hold hyperinflation, maybe even the end of the America that we have always known? Since most people are oblivious to any dangers on the horizon, it’s easy to feel that you’re the only one, and maybe you’re going crazy! I love that I’m able to encourage and support other moms, even though I have given up some of my own privacy to do so.
What’s next on the horizon for The Survival Mom?
Actually, I just finished a book that will be published by Harper Collins in early 2012. I’m hoping to soon resume my schedule of webinars on preparedness topics. I enjoy writing the blog and connecting with others via my Facebook page, my forum, and emails. There’s no reason for anyone, especially moms, to travel this road alone, and thanks to the internet, we can do that without affecting the family OpSec!
My family also hopes to move to a more rural location soon, something we have wanted to do for the past several years. That will be an enjoyable challenge for all of us.
Lisa, thank you for taking the time to speak with our readers. We appreciate your insight and knowledge. Best of luck with the new book, be sure to give us a shout when it is released!