Two tourists with backpacks relaxing on top of a mountain and enbigstockphoto

By Jess Hanson

I have taught both police and school kids the importance of understanding the characteristics of disaster threats such as wildfires and earthquakes. I liken each type of disaster’s cause and their characteristics as I would do when studying an adversary, (my military mind) and I look for ways to reduce or eliminate the negative effects associated with said adversary. Whether it be in the wilderness or in your neighborhood the first question is…Should I Shelter In Place, or should I ‘Bug Out’ when confronted?

A Wild Fire will cause you to move and an earthquake might keep you in place because the broken infrastructure may not allow you to move for some time. Sheltering in place requires you to tap into what resources you have on hand. That’s where the Seven Life Essentials comes into play immediately.

• Food

• Water

• Heat

• Shelter

• Medical

• Hygiene

• Safety/Security

Every day you work for and anticipate fulfilling these needs. A natural disaster puts you on par with a wilderness survival event. In the deep woods you are left with what food, water, and equipment you have on hand, and the wilderness skills that you have mastered, which allow you to produce substitute solutions due to potetial lack of infrastructure.

Since natural and man-made disasters can be an unavoidable stress test on infrastructure, and depending on the magnitude of these adversaries, your disaster scenario will seem like a bad case of Déjà Vu. Your ability to avoid receiving that dreaded Darwin Award is directly proportional to ‘Preparation’–stockpiling resources to fill the Seven Life Essentials, and ‘Anticipation’—having a plan that states ‘Where will I go, how do I get there and what should I bring?’.

The topics of Wilderness Survival and Disaster Preparedness are virtually one in the same—I have formulated the Seven Life Essentials©, which is on my web page at, on the “About Page”, which gives a formula useful for both. Jess Hanson Disaster Preparedness and Wilderness Survival Instructor ©7.22.13 Survival Technologies 6906 Solarian Drive SE Turner, OR 97392