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Summary: Prepared: A Manual for Surviving Worst-Case Scenarios by Mike Glover

“Prepared” (2023) argues that true preparedness goes beyond stockpiling supplies and involves building resilient habits to increase stress tolerance, situational awareness, and the ability to respond effectively during crises.It offers practical advice on overcoming disaster and emergency.

Introduction: Be ready when disaster strikes

It seems like every day the news confronts us with another story of catastrophe, whether natural or man-made. From hurricanes and earthquakes to active shooters and civil unrest, disaster can strike when we least expect it. How, then, do we cope when catastrophe hits close to home?

Thriving in catastrophe requires both mental resilience and physical preparation. In this blink, we’ll outline some key principles for modern preparedness.

We’ll look at how to develop mental toughness and steady nerves. We’ll learn how to create emergency plans and protocols to help keep your family safe. And, finally, we’ll go over some essential items to keep with you every day, in case things go pear-shaped.

You don’t need a doomsday bunker to become a resilient citizen. With some basic savvy and supplies, you can turn unknown threats into manageable challenges.

Let’s get started.

Steady under pressure

When it comes to being prepared for a crisis, what’s the most important thing you need access to? What one piece of equipment will you rely on, no matter where you are or what you face?

Is it your car? Your home? Try again.

It’s your brain. Keeping your mind clear and functioning well during an emergency can often determine whether your efforts to protect yourself, and your family, succeed or fail. So to become prepared, let’s start with the brain – so you can master stress and stay in control.

Ever wonder why your heart races when you’re scared? This is your sympathetic nervous system revving up for fight or flight. This half of the autonomic nervous system governs the body’s response to acute stress. When a threat looms, it dumps adrenaline to mobilize energy reserves and ramp up physiological processes to maximum speed. Your pupils dilate, your lungs expand, and your blood pumps faster – prepping muscles for struggle or escape.

Its counterpart, the parasympathetic nervous system, hits the brakes. Once danger passes, it calms your frenzied sympathetic response, slowing your heart rate and respiration until your body resets to normal.

But excessive (or prolonged) stress can cause this balance between gas and brakes to falter. The sympathetic pedal gets floored, but the parasympathetic brake fails. Like an engine pushed to the redline, the system overloads.

What happens next? You freeze. Neither fighting nor fleeing, the mind shuts down even as the body remains tense. When you’re “in freeze” you can’t respond to a crisis. You can’t effectively protect yourself or those around you. Instead, you’re paralyzed, just when clear thinking and swift action are most needed.

So how do you overcome the freeze? How do you become steady in a crisis? The freeze response is, in a sense, part of every person’s biology. But with training, you can shorten this paralytic panic, recovering faster. You do this through controlled exposure. You need to expose yourself to different levels and varieties of stressors.

This means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Modern life cocoons us in comfort, keeping harsh realities at bay. But consistent exposure to manageable stressors can inoculate us against the debilitating effects of acute stress. It builds confidence that we can handle whatever life throws our way.

Start small. Consider a weekend camping trip without the usual amenities – no stove, no pillow, no toiletries. Get used to roughing it a bit. Or you can try exercising in extreme temperatures. Go for a winter jog in shorts or use a sauna in summer. The acute discomfort will trigger your body’s fight-or-flight response. (Be sure to clear all of this with your doctor first.)

Once you start feeling anxious or uncomfortable, don’t run from it – sit with the feeling. This feeling is what you will use to grow stronger.

To help yourself remain calm, you’ll use two simple techniques: breathing and self-talk. First, breathing. Take a deep inhale; pause, holding the breath in your lungs. Then take a long exhale, and pause with your lungs empty. Rinse and repeat. Then, begin speaking encouragingly to yourself. That’s right – out loud. Say, “I can handle this” or “I know what to do.” It may seem silly, but it works.

Conscious breathing and positive self-talk will help you stay grounded when you’re feeling overwhelmed. By breathing purposefully and verbally affirming your capabilities, you can calm your nerves and regain focus. What feels intimidating now will feel achievable with practice. Remember: have courage … and believe in yourself.

As you develop your ability to control your stress, you should also consider this: What kinds of skills will you require in a survival situation? Practice these, too, under a variety of adverse conditions.

There’s an old saying, often quoted in the military: “We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” When catastrophe strikes, the fine motor skills required to save lives – like calling 911 or applying a tourniquet – abandon the untested. But by developing a resilient mindset through challenging exposure, you help to ensure that you have the dexterity and clarity needed to take life-saving action in the darkest moments.

Outpacing danger

The smell of smoke and the shriek of the fire alarm jolt you awake in the middle of the night. Your home is on fire. What do you do next?

In situations like this, having an emergency plan in place can mean the difference between life and death.

The key to responding to emergency situations like these is developing a simple, sequential plan that you practice ahead of time. In the military, this is called the PACE plan – Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency. Are you ready to get serious? Let’s walk through how to create your own tailor-made PACE plan for a fire in your family home.

When it comes to fire, your first priority is getting everyone to safety. A PACE plan for fire provides a logical set of backup options if your first choice for escape is blocked. Start with the most obvious escape route, or Primary plan. For most homes, this would be the front door. Come up with a simple “go” phrase like “Patrick!” that signals your family to head out that exit. Make sure your kids understand where the designated meeting spot is outside. Run practice drills using your phrase until everyone moves on autopilot.

Next, identify an Alternate option in case fire or smoke cut off the Primary exit. Typically, this would be the back door. Pick another “go” phrase and rehearse using this route as you did with the first. Empower your kids to pivot on their own if you’re not there to give the signal.

The Contingency plan anticipates more dire scenarios, like both downstairs exits being blocked. Your next best way out may involve windows and ladders. Choose a window you can safely access. Do you need an emergency ladder or ax to break glass? Make sure the tools you need are easily reachable but secure from young children. Run practice climbs with your family until the route is second nature.

Finally, the Emergency plan. This is truly the last resort – for example, a window too high to reach, leading to bushes or trees. The goal now is raw survival, where injury is preferable to mortal threat. Scout all corners of your home for creative ways out and have backup tools near every room. Mentally prepare to face cuts, falls, or burns.

To maximize safety, focus most on drilling the riskier Contingency and Emergency plans. Check that exit windows function properly and ladders/tools are in place.

If creating a PACE plan seems daunting, start simply: pick one Primary and Alternate exit and do a few basic walkthroughs. Build up your protocol over time. The key is to ingrain quick reflexive reactions, so that if disaster strikes, you all escape – quickly, efficiently, and safely.

A pre-scripted PACE plan puts logic above emotion, giving you a better chance of making it out together when every second counts. Practicing ahead of time beats panicked improvising in the moment. Prepare for the worst, and rest easier knowing you have a detailed response for the unthinkable.

Your home should be a place of comfort, not danger and worry. A fire escape plan will bring you peace of mind.

Dressed for distress – equipping yourself to survive

When an emergency strikes, we all hope that police, firefighters, and other first-responders will be there for us. Unfortunately, it’s not always guaranteed that help will arrive in time. Police response times average 10 minutes or more in major US cities, for example. When emergencies happen, we must fend for ourselves until assistance comes.

The path to feeling truly secure lies not in worrying, but in practical preparation. And that preparation includes making sure you have the right equipment on hand when you need it most.

The term “everyday carry” refers to the essential items people choose to carry on their person on a daily basis to help protect themselves in any situation. When some people hear this term, they immediately think “self-defense.” But that’s by no means the whole story. So let’s focus on what other equipment you need to stay secure.

Start by taking stock of the emergency supplies you have on hand. Then begin organizing a lightweight, slim-profile backpack or satchel that contains key supplies.

Some suggested items include a basic first aid kit that includes gauze, tape, and nitrile gloves, which allows you to treat injuries on the go. Be sure to include a tourniquet, which, used at the right time, could save a life. Tuck this safely in its own pouch. Alongside this, don’t forget to include any medications you or your family might need.

Some everyday carry items are more mundane, but no less important. Carry essential documents with you – ID, insurance cards, cash, any bus or train passes. Scan and back them up online just in case – securely, of course. Having your critical information on you reduces headaches and speeds recovery if the unexpected occurs. A spare phone charger and charged battery pack mean you’re less likely to be stranded without a connection. And, of course, don’t forget a flashlight.

Choose versatile, durable clothing that supports preparedness without screaming “tactical.” A sturdy belt offers a solid holstering point and flexible storage options. Reinforced shoes provide stability for sudden sprints or changes in terrain. And a discreet untucked shirt allows access to tools while keeping a low profile.

It’s helpful to choose gear that is both compact and multifunctional – a reflective emergency blanket, for example, can be used both to provide warmth and to signal for help.

But your everyday carry isn’t just what you store in your pockets or pack. It’s also what you “carry” in your mind. Learn skills that extend your capability. Take first aid and Stop the Bleed courses. Study some basic emergency wilderness survival techniques. Knowing how to purify water, start a fire, or signal for rescue can transform truly dire situations.

Along with skills, develop situational awareness. Note exits and paths of escape in the places where you regularly spend time. Practice paying attention to your surroundings in everyday situations. Doing so can help acclimate you subconsciously to what’s normal, allowing you to trust your instincts if something seems off.

Preparing both supplies and skills cultivates resilience and readiness. While safety is never guaranteed, small steps will expand both your confidence and capacity to assist others in need during a crisis. Proper preparation can be the difference between panic and clear-eyed grace.


While catastrophe can strike suddenly, this doesn’t mean we’re helpless in the face of turmoil. With some forethought and training, we can respond to crises with confidence and effectiveness.

We’ve seen that, by practicing getting comfortable with discomfort, you can keep hand and mind steady, ready to act decisively. Using the PACE technique, you can create contingency plans so you can react fast. And by preparing ahead of time, you can equip yourself with tools that give you the power to protect.

Life can turn on a dime. By combining level-headedness with practical resources, you can master the madness when it does.

About the Author

Mike Glover


Psychology, Productivity


“Prepared: A Manual for Surviving Worst-Case Scenarios” is a comprehensive guide written by Mike Glover, a former Special Forces soldier and founder of Fieldcraft Survival. The book aims to equip readers with practical knowledge and skills to navigate through various worst-case scenarios and emergencies.

The book is divided into several sections, each focusing on different aspects of survival preparedness. It covers a wide range of topics, including mindset, physical fitness, situational awareness, emergency planning, self-defense, and first aid. Glover draws from his extensive military experience to provide insightful advice and techniques that can be applied in real-life situations.

One of the key themes emphasized throughout the book is the importance of mental preparedness. Glover stresses the significance of cultivating a strong mindset, resilience, and adaptability to effectively handle stressful and dangerous situations. He shares personal anecdotes and lessons learned from his time in the military, illustrating how mental toughness plays a crucial role in survival.

Another essential aspect covered in the book is physical fitness. Glover emphasizes the need for readers to maintain a high level of physical conditioning to handle the physical demands that may arise during emergencies. He provides practical exercises and training regimens that can be followed to improve strength, endurance, and overall fitness.

Situational awareness is explored as a vital skill for survival. Glover teaches readers how to assess their surroundings, identify potential threats, and make informed decisions based on the available information. He offers practical tips and techniques to enhance situational awareness and minimize risks.

Emergency planning and preparation are extensively covered in the book. Glover provides a step-by-step guide to creating a comprehensive emergency plan, including considerations for food storage, water purification, shelter, and communication. He also emphasizes the importance of building a network of like-minded individuals and establishing community connections to enhance overall preparedness.

Self-defense techniques are also addressed in “Prepared.” Glover shares practical strategies for personal protection and self-defense, including hand-to-hand combat techniques, weapon selection, and situational tactics. He emphasizes the importance of training and practicing these skills regularly to develop proficiency.

First aid and medical skills are given significant attention in the book. Glover provides detailed instructions on basic first aid procedures, wound management, CPR, and dealing with various medical emergencies. He emphasizes the importance of having a well-stocked first aid kit and being knowledgeable in administering life-saving measures.

“Prepared: A Manual for Surviving Worst-Case Scenarios” is an incredibly comprehensive and practical guide for anyone interested in survival preparedness. Mike Glover’s wealth of experience as a Special Forces soldier shines through in his writing, providing readers with valuable insights and actionable advice.

The book is well-organized, covering a wide range of topics systematically and effectively. Glover’s writing style is clear, concise, and engaging, making it easy for readers to follow along and absorb the information provided. The inclusion of personal anecdotes adds a personal touch and helps to illustrate the practical application of the concepts discussed.

What sets “Prepared” apart is its focus on mental preparedness and mindset. Glover stresses the importance of cultivating a strong mindset, resilience, and adaptability, which are often overlooked aspects of survival. This emphasis on mental toughness adds depth to the book and sets it apart from other survival guides.

The practical exercises, training regimens, and step-by-step guides provided in the book make it easy for readers to implement the advice and techniques discussed. Whether it’s physical fitness, situational awareness, emergency planning, self-defense, or first aid, Glover provides readers with practical tools to enhance their preparedness.

While the book covers a vast array of topics, some readers may find certain sections more relevant to their needs than others. However, the diverse range of topics ensures that there is something for everyone, regardless of their level of experience or specific concerns.

Overall, “Prepared: A Manual for Surviving Worst-Case Scenarios” is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in survival preparedness. Mike Glover’s expertise and practical approach make this book an invaluable resource for individuals looking to enhance their skills and knowledge in navigating worst-case scenarios.

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