Threat Matrix

by Jeff M.


As preppers, we all love a good list. There are lists for food storage, lists for BOV prep and lists for weapon and ammunition. We have lists upon lists subdivided into immediate, soon and someday.

I love lists. Lists have taken the immense topic of prepping and allowed me to take on each segment in a less panicked and methodical manner.

I have a prep list for hurricanes, tornadoes, bug in and bug out; plus the usual ancillary lists for food, tools, gardening… well you get the picture.


The thing I don’t appreciate about lists is that they bring out the “planner” and not the “do-er” in me. I love to compile my new list of  ammo I want, the new list of accessories I want to turn my latest weapon into a reborn tacti-cool piece of kit that will end all of my worries that I don’t have the right item hanging from the rails. While I love to do all of this prep-dreaming, it doesn’t get me closer to what I really want; progress on my preps.


So this hurricane season I decided to do something different. I still keep my dream lists and rework them from time to time (or weekly, depending on the news), but I divided the scenarios into threat categories.


Example Threat Matrix:


Possible Short term (1 – 7 days)
Possible Long term (8-30 days +)
On Hand vs. Needed
Need to Acquire
(1- now, 2- this month, 3-soon as possible, 4- long term)
Power Outage
Power Outage
More Batteries, Candles and Matches, 2 gallons Water p/Person
Extra propane tanks (4)
Need New Weather Radio
Work Stoppage
$500 Cash reserve
$1500 per month (3)

Now this is an example only and each of us needs to sit down and actually think our own situations through. How much money can you afford to put aside and what can you do without to get to that goal?

This can be very hard for preppers with kids or living on a fixed income and those of us with medical conditions and or already under-employed understand these financial issues. We must be brutally honest with ourselves and determine what is an acceptable level of prepping regardless of what those with deeper pockets may be posting on the boards.

I see a new weapon and I want it, even if it’s not a caliber I like. Can I afford it? Not if I want my kid to have a Christmas.

Keep in mind, kids do not prep easily. They are stuck with wanting the coolest sneakers, jeans or video games. They have more peer pressure than you can imagine.  Parents that prep have the unenviable task of balancing the needs of today with the worries for their tomorrows. We all want college for our kids but can we afford to put money aside for that if we get the new all-band radio and 10 meter antenna?


So where do we strike the balance? Again, you must decide as I have after looking at what I have done and what I believe we need as a family.

I have redirected funds from weapons to food, from ammo to water filtration.  When the last hurricane appeared to be headed for my local area, I took my last savings for a generator and portable AC because the hurricane is my immediate threat not roving herds of zombies.


Now I have to rebuild that nest egg again while I pick up some of the less expensive gear I want to add to my preps, all while providing a birthday party for my daughter in two weeks. Glad she likes pizza and putt-putt golf.

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2 thoughts on “Threat Matrix”

  1. Great post. We have had to decide between wants and needs also. Prepping is such a part of my life that now theres a rhythm to using and replacing items -food ,medical supplies etc. (rotating) Also seasonal needs require
    flexibility.Ex. Here in upstate NY we have to have snow tires, salt, windshield deicer etc. Spring will bring seeds for the garden etc. Christmas allows us to stock up on some comfort foods (candy, cakes, baked cookies, pies etc.)
    Balance is essential and current imminent threats ( weather, terrorism activities, politics etc.) affect our level of
    prepping.Thanks for your ideas. I agree Christmas and birthdays for children are very important and providing for today while prepping for tomorrow takes experience and skill and careful maneuvering of finances.
    For Christmas this year I am giving our relatives and friends useful prepping gifts-sometimes disguised as
    something they like- scented candles ,flashlights for the children,batteries, maple syrup or honey ,socks,gloves,knitting supplies,emergency kits I make up-
    “survival stuff ” without the lecture -smile !!!

  2. Good post Jeff! Certainly each of use must design our prep method based on our own threat assessment. After hurricane Hugo the most sought after and wanted item in my area was -ice-. Of course food and water were major issues since most households only had a few days of meals and I’m sure the number of meals was effected by a lack of power. At that time bottled water was mostly non-existent. It’s amazing how much you want/need ice when it’s hard to find. I’ve read others comments who have witnessed similar experiences to mine regarding ice.


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