How Preparation Concierge got it's start: A note from the founder  

Everything changes when you have a kid, doesn’t it? It’s one of those things that puts everything in perspective. I don’t think this is at all unusual for a new dad — in fact it’s totally common — but my first thoughts upon having my son six years ago was: How do I protect this tiny human being?

The world is scary. My son Max (pictured above) arrived between two major hurricanes that devastated the East Coast — Irene and Sandy — and our apartment in New York City was without electricity. Luckily we have a country house in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania, so we went there. It too was without electricity, but at least we had running water and a fireplace.


And that’s when the idea for Preparation Concierge was born.


If I could only outfit both my NYC apartment and my Poconos house with the right gear — water, food, lighting, power — then perhaps the scary world wouldn’t be so scary. I would take power back for myself, and put a partial end to worrisome nights fretting over environmental calamities, terrorist attacks, and the failure of our national electrical grid. This is how I would protect my family!


So as a longtime magazine writer who once specialized in adventure travel and outdoors gear, I did what came naturally: I started researching.

My wife made fun of me at first, but then there were the rampant fires in California, the devastation of Houston & Puerto Rico, and then she was no longer kidding me about it


What I found was dismaying. Nobody out there in the emergency preparedness world was talking to me. There were many strident, scary voices, many of them rattling on about liberals and guns. Few, if any, lived in an urban environment.


So I began acquiring food and gear on my own, testing them in my NYC apartment and out in the Poconos. I put dried beans in buckets, bought solar lanterns, and mapped routes from NYC to PA.


My wife made fun of me at first, but then one bad thing in the world followed another, with the U.S.’s own political instability, rampant fires in California, the devastation of Houston and Puerto Rico, and suddenly she was no longer kidding me about it.


Meanwhile I reached out and interviewed people who knew about these things: Fire fighters, first responders, CDC workers, NGO personnel, cops, and ex-military.


The more I learned, the more amazing it seemed to me that I’d never worried about any of this stuff before. I grew up on a ranch and farm in northwestern New Mexico, where our family was once almost entirely self sufficient. My grandfather grew his own food, raised his own cattle, fixed his own tractors. I grew up at his knee, but didn’t necessarily transport that mentality with me to the East Coast.

Harper fire.jpg

Meanwhile, I’ve been in New York City for 25 years. In that time, I’ve lived through 9/11
(I was only a few miles away from the attacks), the blackout of 2003, city-crippling blizzards, hurricanes Irene and Sandy, and an apartment fire in Chelsea which nearly killed my wife, my cat and me — and did kill two tenants who lived directly below us. (Thank you, FDNY!)


So it seemed strange to me that New Yorkers are so self sufficient about nearly everything, and yet are utterly unprepared for the exact kinds of things we’ve already suffered as a city. We are only one more storm, or attack, or electrical grid failure from really BIG trouble, and yet the vast majority of us don’t even have small bills stored away, or water, or food that doesn’t come from Seamless. Frankly, considering how much insurance we generally carry — health, apartment, life, pet! — we can’t be bothered with preparing for a real emergency.

Preparation Concierge is here to help rectify that. Our idea is to offer basic level 101 advice to get you going, and a list of emergency gear and equipment that is appropriate for you and your situation. Since we are an affiliate site, it doesn't cost the user anything. (The Amazons of the world pay us a very small referral fee for every purchase.) And since we don’t take advertising, we are totally unbiased. The same gear we recommend is the exact same gear we’ve got at our own houses.

Speaking of “us” and “we”: Preparation Concierge has both contributors and advisors from a number of worlds, from ex-military and police to outdoor media — who both contribute and advise us.


You, as the user, don’t have to live in NYC (or Boston, or L.A. or…) to get something out of it. But hopefully Preparation Concierge can serve as a voice in the wilderness, counseling urban and suburban families that even a little emergency preparedness can go a LONG way. Put away at least some food and water and a go-bag, and make a family disaster plan. Start today. It may seem silly, but then look around you at an increasingly worrisome world. To us, at least, it’s a way to take back a measure of control.


Jason H. Harper

Founder, Preparation Concierge

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Jason Harper, founder of Preparation Concierge