By Optimum Preparedness’s Teri Simpson

When I was 15 (that would have been 1970), I decided I wanted to move to Canada, which meant to me the large forested area above the curved line that delineated the northern boundary of the United States. I saw it as populated mainly by bears and moose, and possibly some trappers and northern-type Indians. As there was most likely no electricity up in ‘The North Woods’ , I would need to take everything one might need to survive in a land with no stores, no electricity and no towns.

What might one need to survive, once one left the “Civilization” of the United States? Well, of course you need a wagon and 2 horses to pull the wagon (and not just regular horses – you want Percherons that can be used as draft horses for plowing and logging, but are also usable for riding), chickens (don’t forget one or two roosters or no baby chicks), flour and beans and cooking pots, salt and sugar and lard. Nails – do you want to have to build with hand carved PEGS? No. Nails – 2 kegs. Rope: very important. And tools. Hand saws, draw knives, and log jacks. More than one hammer – if your only hammer breaks, how will you finish the roof on your cabin or build the fence for the horses? Work boots, socks (those boots will give you blisters without good socks). Buckets for hauling water. Candles. Oil lamps (and oil – where do you buy more if you run out?) Take a wagon ride back to The States? 15 years old and I had a blueprint for living “off the grid” long before that phrase ever surfaced.

I also knew at that age that, in this lifetime, some big bad catastrophic thing would happen. Worse than anything imaginable. And that I had front row seats on the 50 yard line (for non football folks, that would be a seat front and center). It was going to be an exciting life...

Back in 1981, I got to see the importance of what is now called an Evac Pac or a Grab and Go bag.

There you are early one Sunday morning, getting ready to get dressed while your partner reads the Sunday paper propped up in bed, and all of a sudden the building starts shaking violently. What is going on??? You run to the front door and look out: it’s raining, with remnants of snow where the car is parked but things look OK – except for the shaking. You run back to the bedroom to grab clothes so you can get dressed. The bedroom window explodes from the movement of the building, sending glass shards flying. As you grab a shirt (still haven’t got the jeans, shoes, socks) you see the floor start to separate from the wall at the head of the bed. You know all Holy Hell is getting ready to break loose so you take that shirt, hope it has long sleeves, and run outside. Standing in the parking lot in the rain, behind your car, you realize your situation: no shoes, no pants, no coat, no wallet, no identification, no credit cards, no money, car but no keys (no cell phone in ’81). And no way to get inside to get any of the things you count on to maintain everyday. Not even a bicycle outside that I could use to get to a friend’s place.

I always thought that if “Something Happened” I would, of course, grab my purse containing ID, credit cards and check book, my keys (where did I leave them? Kitchen? Bedroom? By the door? Drat!), my coat if cold, shoes for sure, my jewelry box (couldn’t leave THAT), my contacts (wouldn’t want to be seen in my GLASSES), any items that I considered “really important” like a painting or god knows what.

But when Something really happens, none of those things pop into your head. Your only thought is “If I don’t want to die I gotta get OUT of here NOW.” No thought of purse or keys or money or anything. If you can only think of ONE thing, an Evac Pack is way better than a shirt that you hope has long sleeves.

That was my first exposure to the need for a Grab n Go bag: jeans, spare sneaker, socks, some cash, extra set of car keys, copy of drivers license, flashlight, granola bars, water, water container – if you ponder the scenario, you’ll think of quite a few things. There are lists (got em on our website) so you can make up your own Evac Pack. You can buy pre-made ones but those you need to supplement with things particular to you.

In 1986 someone told me about this entity called Ramtha. After an adventure taking me from Florida to Alaska, then throughout Montana and north Idaho, I went to my Beginning event in Yelm in 1987, then went to the Advanced retreat in Estes Park, Colorado, in early 1988 (where there were the bomb threats to JZ so the event was moved back to the Ranch in Yelm). In 1989 I moved to Yelm so that I could be close to the School and attend events. No job, no money, no house or property. Just trust. It was the only thing I could do – a mandate from my Soul.

When I first came to Washington, I stayed with someone I met at Estes Park. Ramtha said “Grow your own food.” So we tilled up half an acre and planted enough seeds to feed Tacoma. Ramtha said “You should have a 2 years food supply.” So be it. Then Ramtha said “You need to have a pack that is called back (a back pack), and you need to be ready to leave in a moments notice for a 3 day march.”

When I heard that I flashed on the earthquake in 1981. I understood the necessity in being able to evacuate RIGHT NOW, not 4 hours later. And that there needed to be enough supplies in that backpack to get us somewhere a hard 3 days march away. I have always been a researcher, and into understanding what you need to keep you safe and sound and alive in any situation. I went into action, researching the best, the sturdiest, the lightest, the most dependable items that would be needed to fulfill the Ram’s mandate. When I first started the research, my focus was to prepare the 5 adult members of our household to be ready to march at a moment’s notice. By the time I was done, I was exhorted to open a store to supply these things to fellow students of the Ramtha school. I opened my store in 1990, half a block from the only stop light in town with barely 2 nickels to rub together (OK, I had an old phone, a desk made out of a door propped up on a saw horse and a filing cabinet, a couple of chairs and $45).

In the early days, I sold backpacks, sleeping bags, water filters and other cool things that are extremely helpful should you need to evacuate your home due to any number of things (one such thing was the government/military instituting mandatory evacuation of the area, where they would round everyone up onto buses and take them to ‘temporary camps’ until further notice. Not fiction. A possibility even today.). We now all carry emergency daypacks in our cars, right? And sturdy walking shoes and something warm to wear? So if there were an earthquake and the roads became impassible we could hike home. If you worked up in Seattle or Tacoma and I-5 became unusable, do you know an alternate route home and have the supplies you’d need to get back to Yelm with you? Think about it.

We were told to build UGs (underground shelters). That presented slightly different needs for lighting and cooking, sanitation needs, etc. More research. More products. A new way of looking at air supply, water and other necessities. Most UGs were wood in the early days. The store supplied some of the things the builders needed. I taught classes to (mainly) women so they could form the idea of such a structure more clearly in their mind (you always want to make sure you have sufficient air for the number of people in the structure, so that you know there will be enough air to wake up the next morning. If the event doesn’t kill you, the first thing that will is not enough air).

Next thing that’ll get you is not enough water. I sold hand pumps for wells from the beginning days. Then I added stoves that were safe to use in an enclosed setting like a UG - like our Porta Chef Countertop Stove – one of the safest, most easy to use stoves you’ll ever run across. No fuels to spill, no matches needed, completely portable, and you can use your regular pots and pans on it. Plus, a years worth of fuel will fit in a space that is 26” x 23” x 34”. And for light, we carry 2 lanterns that will go for 10 days on a set of batteries, plus a cool hand crank dynamo lantern that doesn’t need any batteries. Remember, each candle you burn uses as much oxygen as another person breathing, so using lots of candles for light might not be the best idea. Romantic maybe, but could be deadly.

There were new disciplines at the ranch like Paradise Beach. So I added bivys (Gore-Tex sleeping bag covers) and other helpful things for that discipline. We had severe power outages, so I started adding non-electric power outage supplies like stoves, lanterns, super long burning candles and other handy things. I got involved with the County Emergency Management departments, the Washington State Emergency Management Department, FEMA. The WA State Police had me build extremely robust emergency kits for their airplanes after they lost a pilot who survived the plane crash, but died from exposure due to lack of any preparedness items in the plane.

When Optimum Preparedness was listed on the first video about Y2K as a place to buy necessary supplies we started getting calls from all over the US. Whether Y2K happened or not, there would be many better prepared people in the country. I would just like to acknowledge Karen Hutchinson Eijan (just Karen Hutchinson at the time) for her amazing, impeccable, untiring support and help in running the store all the years I had it in downtown Yelm. One amazing Aussie god/woman. Cheers, Mate – and 1998/1999 leading up to 12/31/1999 and Y2K was a wild and crazy ride.

I’ve lived here in Yelm for a long time. Lived off the grid for the last 20 years. Solar panels, inverter, 12 volt, DC lights and pumps, propane stove and fridge and water heater and furnaces, hand pumps, organic gardening, the whole Mother Earth back to the land thing.

I had a heck of a lot more things for sale in the store than I’ve managed to get up onto the website (YET), but I can still get the stuff, so call or email if you don’t see what you’re looking for. I know what works, what doesn’t and how it all goes together. I keep adding more things, so it’s a good idea to check back regularly. Optimum not only sells hand pumps for deep wells, but we also sell the best darn pitcher pump in the world (it’s also known as a cistern pump or shallow well pump or countertop pump). That should be up on the site before the end of the weekend.

There is also a great section of books on medical procedures as well as a very robust amount of medical kits and supplies, including a suture and syringe kit – what happens if someone in your family or a neighbor needs advanced medical help and there is no 911 to call, no Emergency Room to run to? Even if you couldn’t suture someone up, there is probably someone in your neighborhood group that could if someone had the manuals and supplies (like you). Plus other books about a lot of skills that you probably don’t need today since there is still a Safeway grocery store and a Wal-Mart or Fred Meyers store within a short drive. But if a Coronal Mass Ejection (huge solar flare) or EMP takes out the power for years, the skills that everyone had in the 1800s and first half of the 1900s. Buy the books now. Some are good to go thru now because they’ll give ideas of other things to stock up on that you might not have thought of. Store them in a bucket with your food storage. You’ll have plenty of time to study them after the power goes out.

So preparedness is a passion. Here’s another one: after 9/11 our neighborhood got together and formed a “Communication Network”. We got to know who our neighbors were, met, developed things like a phone calling circle for use while there were still phones and policies/procedures for the time when we’d have to use CBs or ham radios to communicate. There were things like gun safety training, finding out who had what skills, etc. We met monthly meetings for 2 years. We stopped after 2 years because we had pretty much taken it as far as we could without everyone getting radios and having the power go out. But with 2012 approaching, last year a neighborhood couple resurrected the neighborhood network and we are once again a cohesive focused group. I am very impressed with what all has been done. I think it would be great to have this replicated across the area.

If each neighborhood would follow along this line, we could have ‘communication pods’ that would have someone in each group with equipment good enough to reach neighboring groups, so that even if there were no cell phones or land lines we could transmit important info to a huge number of people in very short time.

If you have a neighborhood group or would like to get your neighborhood involved in one, let’s talk.

If you have questions about preparedness, I’m the Answer Lady. Always available by email. Available to talk by phone a good portion of the time. And into seeing everyone as Self Reliant Sovereign Entities. The more prepared someone is, the less likely they will be scared of what might be coming down the pike (that’s a road :o)

I’m here to help.

Teri Simpson
Optimum Preparedness
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Please log in to post comments