Presidential Preparedness White House South Portico

6 Preparedness Tips To Prep Like A President

The president is a prepper!

Well, maybe not the actual president. But emergency preparedness is a serious business when it comes to the president.

The Secret Service alone has 6500 people protecting our nation’s leaders. That’s a lot of resources focused on emergency preparedness.

And that got me thinking…

Why not put those same resources to work for us? By analyzing some of the pillars of presidential preparedness, maybe we can uncover some great tips.

Besides, this is fun stuff! Cars, planes, and high-tech gear make for some pretty interesting topics.

To be clear, this is not a political article. The lessons here are the same regardless of which party is in the White House.

You and I may never be one of the most influential leaders in the world. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a few things from the people who protect them.

In this article, we’ll dig into some pretty cool presidential emergency preparedness and find valuable ways to apply them in our own lives.

Get Your Free Emergency Planning Worksheet
Sign up to receive periodic updates as new posts are published
    We will never share your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
    Table of Contents

    "The FootBall" - Presidential Emergency Plan

    The Football Presidential Emergency Satchel Emergency Plan
    "The Football," also known as the Presidential Emergency Satchel, accompanies the president at all times. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    The Football Presidential Emergency Satchel Emergency Plan
    "The Football," also known as the Presidential Emergency Satchel, accompanies the president at all times. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    The Football Presidential Emergency Satchel Emergency Plan
    "The Football," also known as the Presidential Emergency Satchel, accompanies the president at all times. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)

    You’ve probably heard of “The Football” in movies, television, or the news.

    The Football, officially called the President’s Emergency Satchel, is an aluminum briefcase covered in black leather. A military officer carries it by the side of the president at all times.

    Smithsonian Magazine writes that “Its primary purpose is to confirm the president’s identity, and it allows him to communicate with the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon, which monitors worldwide nuclear threats and can order an instant response.”

    The Football...provides the commander in chief with a simplified menu of nuclear strike options

    - Smithsonian Magazine

    When you are the commander-in-chief, it’s essential to plan and react as soon as possible. Thankfully, most of us will never have to decide whether to launch a nuclear war!

    So, what can this teach us about our preparedness?

    For us, the lesson is the importance of having a written emergency plan.

    An emergency plan is an outline of responses to different emergencies. Good ones have shelter, evacuation, and communication options, while the best ones include a list of responsibilities, contacts, and emergency kit supplies.

    Creating an emergency plan helps you:

    "The Bunker" - Presidential Evacuation Plan

    Tunnel To Bunker Known As Presidential Emergency Operations Center
    The Presidential Emergency Operations Center underneath the White House serves as the president's evacuation location during an emergency. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    Tunnel To Bunker Known As Presidential Emergency Operations Center
    The Presidential Emergency Operations Center underneath the White House serves as the president's evacuation location during an emergency. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    Tunnel To Bunker Known As Presidential Emergency Operations Center
    The Presidential Emergency Operations Center underneath the White House serves as the president's evacuation location during an emergency. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)

    Did you know that there is a bunker underneath the White House? It lies deep below the East Wing and is called the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.

    According to Interesting Engineering, it was built during World War II and modified during the cold war to protect against a nuclear attack. And since then, it has been continuously updated.

    The PEOC is designed to be a command center during emergencies, with televisions, phones, and communications facilities.

    - Laura Bush
    Spoken from the Heart>

    Throughout the years, presidents and their families have been evacuated to this bunker several times. The average citizen, however, doesn’t have access to a high-security bunker.

    So, is there anything here that we can implement in our emergency planning? Definitely!

    The presidential bunker highlights the importance of an evacuation plan.

    During a disaster, you may need to shelter or evacuate from your home. So, it’s a good idea for you and your family to prepare your plans ahead of time.

    Sit down with your family and discuss what types of emergencies might require you to evacuate. Then, pick meeting places in your home, neighborhood, within your city, and outside your city.

    It’s also a good idea to find the closest mass care shelters in your area. If you have pets, then you should research options for them too. That way, you will know exactly where to go when the time comes.

    Learn more about how to make an evacuation plan as part of your family’s emergency planning.

    "The Beast" - Presidential Emergency Kit

    The Beast Presidential Armored Limo Emergency Kit
    "The Beast" is the nickname for the president's armored limo. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    The Beast Presidential Armored Limo Emergency Kit
    "The Beast" is the nickname for the president's armored limo. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    The Beast Presidential Armored Limo Emergency Kit
    "The Beast" is the nickname for the president's armored limo. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)

    Have you ever heard of “The Beast?”

    It’s the nickname for the president’s 2009 model armored limousine. “The Beast” is a massive vehicle based on the Cadillac STS but built more like a military-grade SUV.

    According to TheDrive.com, “The Beast’s defense capabilities include top-level ballistic armoring, night vision/infrared driving systems, a sealed cabin with an independent air supply capable of enduring a nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) attack, and even a supply of the president’s blood type. Other rumored features include infrared smoke-screen and oil slick deployment capability, as well as tear gas dispensers…”

    What appears to be a very heavy Cadillac is really an extremely survivable and luxurious armored car...

    - Tyler Rogoway
    TheDrive.com

    The presidential limo is the centerpiece of an awe-inspiring motorcade that can include several dozen vehicles.

    Among these are vehicles for the security detail, electronic countermeasures, control & support, counter-assault team, intelligence, hazmat, communications, an ambulance, and a helicopter overwatch.

    I saw a presidential motorcade in person once, and it’s truly an impressive sight. When you are the president, you need all that gear and support to keep you safe during an emergency.

    But, the average person’s needs are a lot more modest. So, what valuable insights can we make?

    For us, the best way to protect ourselves in a disaster is with a good-quality home emergency kit.

    The government expects us to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. So every household should be prepared with supplies for water, food, first-aid, shelter, hygiene, and security for at least three days.

    In my experience, the best way to build an emergency kit is to start with a small number of essential quality items. Then grow your supplies over time.

    This way, you get good-quality items customized to your area and your family without getting too overwhelmed.

    If you want to build your emergency kit, check out my article on the essential items or go right to my page of favorite emergency supplies for home.

    "Sit Room" - Presidential Communication Plan

    President Cabinet White House Situation Room Communications
    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, with members of the national security team, participate in a secure video teleconference from the Situation Room. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
    President Cabinet White House Situation Room Communications
    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, with members of the national security team, participate in a secure video teleconference from the Situation Room. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
    President Cabinet White House Situation Room Communications
    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, with members of the national security team, participate in a secure video teleconference from the Situation Room. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

    I bet we’ve all seen Hollywood recreations of the White House Situation Room.

    President John F. Kennedy established it after the failed 1961 Cuban Bay of Pigs Invasion. President Kennedy wanted all intelligence to feed directly into the White House to have reliable and actionable information.

    According to the White House archives, “The current ‘Sit Room’ is a 5,000-square-foot complex of rooms that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to monitor national and world intelligence information.”

    The staff of the Situation Room...helps the president connect with intelligence agencies and important people overseas

    - The White House Museum

    The Situation Room facilitates reliable and secure communication with generals and leaders around the world.

    While this is vital for the president, can we learn anything from it? Absolutely!

    Good communication is crucial in any disaster–regardless of who you are. You and your family will likely be apart during a disaster.

    A communication plan should be a part of everyone’s overall emergency preparedness.

    You can create your communication plan quickly with the following steps:

    • Confirm that all family members have everyone’s contact information on their mobile phones. 
    • Ensure everyone has at least one “in case of emergency” or “ICE” contact on their phone.
    • Plan to use texts to communicate after a disaster. They may still work on overloaded wireless networks.
    • Have everyone in your home set up an emergency group text.
    • Appoint one member of your family as a primary point of contact.
    • After an emergency, family members should reach out to the point person with their status. The point person can then share the information with everyone else.
    • Select an out-of-town family member or close friend as a backup point of contact.
    • Create a thorough contact list of all your family members.
    • Discuss what information you need to communicate during an emergency.
      • For example, your location, who else is with you, and whether you are safe
    • Expand your contact list to include significant non-family phone numbers.
    • Add phone numbers and account numbers for essential services to your contact list.

    "Air Force One" - Presidential Road Survival Kit

    Air Force One Flying Presidential Emergency Kit
    Air Force One departs McCarran International Airport. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    Air Force One Flying Presidential Emergency Kit
    Air Force One departs McCarran International Airport. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    Air Force One Flying Presidential Emergency Kit
    Air Force One departs McCarran International Airport. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)

    Air Force One is probably the most recognized symbol of presidential preparedness.

    Technically, any Air Force plane carrying the president uses the call sign “Air Force One.” However, most people think of the two specially customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft that serve the president.

    According to the official website for the White House, “The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States. Air Force One [also] includes a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board.”

    Capable of refueling midair, Air Force One has unlimited range and can carry the President wherever he or she needs to travel

    - The White House

    You might be wondering how this could be useful to us. For the president, traveling around the world is part of the job.

    That’s why Air Force One is a “flying Oval Office.” You and I don’t have such grandiose daily travel.

    For most of us, our car is our base away from home, and that’s why a car emergency kit is so crucial.

    A car emergency kit gives you the tools to handle repairs, breakdowns, and accidents. And it’s also your emergency kit away from home.

    For this reason, the best emergency car kits handle automobile issues, treat medical emergencies (especially trauma), and are prepared for emergency and survival situations away from home.

    Furthermore, the best roadside emergency kits are also customized for your vehicle, location, and family needs while still space-efficient.

    To get started on your auto emergency kit, check out my ultimate guide to the best car emergency kit or visit my page of favorite emergency supplies for cars.

    "Line of Succession" - Presidential Estate Plan

    Lincoln Memorial Line Of Succession
    Statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    Lincoln Memorial Line Of Succession
    Statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)
    Lincoln Memorial Line Of Succession
    Statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images)

    The U.S. Constitution and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 established the U.S. Presidential Line of Succession.

    If the president dies, resigns, or leaves office for any reason, the vice president replaces him. If the vice president cannot serve, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives is next in line.

    After this comes the President pro tempore of the Senate. If necessary, the order continues through the cabinet officers in the order they were established.

    Most of us probably learned this in school at some point. But have you ever thought about why it is so important? 

    Historically, a leadership void often results in war and chaos. The founding fathers wanted to avoid this pain.

    We can apply this same idea to our own lives with a little bit of estate planning.

    It’s never fun to dwell on our mortality. However, preparing some essential documents ahead of time can protect you and your family.

    In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President

    - U.S. Constitution, Amendment XXV, Section 1

    The first step is to write a will that clearly states your wishes. Regardless of your assets, a will is always helpful because it simplifies the probate process.

    And, if you are a parent with minor children, then it’s vital that you legally name a guardian for your children.

    You may also consider an Advanced Healthcare Directive and a Power of Attorney for Healthcare. These documents let you specify your healthcare wishes and who can make medical decisions for you.

    If you already have some of these documents, continue reviewing and revising them as your life situation changes.

    Don’t forget to keep your beneficiary designations up to date on bank accounts, investment accounts, and life insurance.

    It’s also a good idea to store all your estate documents together and tell your family where to find them.

    Find more helpful tips on estate planning and financial preparedness in this article.

    Let's Put These Lessons Into Practice

    In this article, we’ve explored some exciting ways our country keeps our president prepared for emergencies.

    Looking at things from a different perspective, we found some handy tips to apply to our planning.

    I enjoyed researching this topic. I think it’s interesting how universal some of these emergency preparedness concepts end up being. I hope you enjoyed it too!

    Now it’s time for each of us to put these lessons into practice. If you are interested in learning more about emergency plans, emergency kits, or financial preparedness, check out some of my other articles.

    If you think I missed anything on this topic, let me know in the comments below.

    Share This Post:

    Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    0 Comments
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Subscribe Today!
    Get Your Free Emergency Planning Worksheet
    Sign up today to receive periodic
    updates as new posts are published
    Your information will never be shared
    and you can unsubscribe at any time