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Pantry Paratus Radio, Episode 017: Interview with Mark Smith on his new book

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Mark Smith stops back by with us to chat emergency preparedness


and his new book, Preparedness, the Basics and Beyond


Mark Smith


It was great to have Mark Smith from back again on the show.  Something about the cool, calm manner of a professional really sets things in proper perspective as well as to talk about his new book!  For those of you who may not be “prepper” minded at all, I would love to get your comments on taking in what Mark says about a whole range of topics from hurricanes to chemical spills.  No plan is perfect, and everyone will need to make some improvision somehow, yet listening to the pros talk about checklists and a proven process makes it much more managable. 


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We talk about:

-We catch back up with Mark Smith again


-Mark talks about getting to speak on stage at the Self Reliance Expo in Arlington, TX this past summer


-Mark talks about the great crowds in Texas, how well he was received, the quality of the workshops and what it was like to interact with so many like minded people


-How well organized the Self-Reliance Expo is when you attend their events (especially on the scale and the level of detail that these events are)


-We get into Mark’s new book, Preparedness, the Basics and Beyond (available in print and e-book form for the Kindle)


-Mark’s response from people who have read it


-Reading Mark’s book is like having him there sitting across the coffee table telling you these things in plain English


-The book is technical in a covert way, you do not realize how much information you are getting without getting bogged down in specifications, statistics or other boring data


-Mark talks about the direction he would like to take to write a sequel


-People from all different levels can read this and get a substantive understanding of the preparedness goals and lifestyle


-You can meet Mark in person when he hosts another Preparedness event in the Oklahoma City area on March 2nd, 2013


-Mark explains the dedication of the book to the NYFD 343 who died on September 11th


-Mark’s work as a firefighter (later law enforcement and later head of physical security at a Federal facility) has helped to inform his work as a prepper and a preparedness consultant


-“Preparedness guarantees us nothing, it does increase the quantity and quality of your options.”


-Mark guest blogged for us on the Bug Out Bag


-Mark’s personal Bug Out Bag is limited to 35 lbs due to an injury he received in the line of duty as a firefighter


-Need to practice with our equipment


-What was Mark’s favorite chapter in his book? 




-Security; if Mark can help someone not have a run in with a genuinely evil person so much the better


-Wilson talks about his favorite chapter(s): food (not surprising) and the last chapter called “The tough questions”


-Talking openly about the things that we assume


-If one person is sleeping and one person is on guard duty, who is gardening?  Who is taking care of the children?  Who is working to take care of the house?


-A plan is only good until you need it, then you will have to inevitably deal with variables that change your well crafted plan—all the more reason to plan ahead to increase the quantity and quality of your options


-Food, heat and shelter—plan for those and you can have a better chance at the rest but if you fail to plan you are planning to fail


-Mark’s process of helping clients through disaster preparedness assessments in person, the book that gets compiled and the personalized results that people get from their input into the process


-“You don’t know what you need until you know what you have.”  This is your foundation to build the rest of your preparedness options


-“It is not a hobby, not a fad, not a weekend project—it is a lifestyle.”


-Turning our attention down to the Southeast, we talk about hurricane preparedness


-Preparing for winter emergencies.  What kinds of things does Mark recommend preparing for?


-“Just because you know what you are doing, doesn’t mean that other people do.”


-Does Mark see an increase in the trend towards preparedness now? 


-With all of his experience as a professional preparedness consultant, what does it take to shock Mark Smith?


-People shopping every day for food and depending on the just in time food system


-Think quality of food, not just the quantity of food


-So say you survive the trifecta of a zombie apocalypse, the end of the Mayan calendar and an EMP only to die of poor nutrition


-There is a big difference between surviving and thriving


-A steady diet of MRE’s will definitely take its toll on your digestive system if you do not have enough fiber and water (you just may have to trust me on this one)!


-Without a way to recharge your food storage battery, you will experience your second food shortage after you tear open that last pouch or open that last can


-Say you just won the lottery and stock a personal warehouse with the proceeds—it is still finite!  Think of a regenerative system like a garden and saving the seeds, etc.


-If a life changing event happens in Oct/Nov in Montana that is not the time of year to dig up the back yard to start a garden


-Not everyone has the option to live in the middle of nowhere, so you have to make the best of the situation you have right where you are


-There is always more to learn, plant, buy, implement, etc—so we stay the course because it is a lifestyle


-People will gravitate towards order during times of chaos to create an “island of less chaos”


-What is the downside of having more food and water?  An emergency kit in your vehicle?  Alternate methods of heating or cooking without municipal power?  Therein lies the simple beauty of preparedness


-We tip toe into the taboo area of “the project list” that every homesteader has


-What projects does Mark have going or what has he seen in the field that can be shared to inspire others?


-Storing spares as well as nuts, bolts, brackets.  How many people have a simple toilet repair kit?  Simple things like that give you the ability to repair what you have, especially when that toilet kit is only $12 at any hardware store.  Watch sales, auctions, yard sales, etc. 


-Wilson mentions how his Poppy (born in the Great Depression era) would save all kinds of parts which came in handy “Low cost, high value”


-Two is one, one is none (Murphy was an optimist)


-As the season winds down, what is Mark putting away for the winter? 


-Mark’s book is available on Amazon and is a free download if you are an Amazon Prime member


-Mark is happy to take your preparedness related questions or to discuss a consult in person (you can contact him on his website) at


-Wrap up




Southern Plains Consulting

Preparedness, the Basics and Beyond by Mark Smith

Mark’s first podcast with us (Episode 002)

Wilson’s blog, Every Day is Memorial Day

Wilson’s blog, Nonperishable Food Report Card

Chaya’s blog, Two is one, one is none




Nothing in this blog or podcast constitutes medical advice.  You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes.  Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.


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