Things Work Until They Don’t

By: Tom Chatham

As the world begins its next adventure in financial chaos and rolls over to expose its soft underbelly of lies and deceit that have been perpetrated on the public, those that see the truth have been warning the people once again. You can give people the truth but you cannot make them believe it. That is for them to come to grips with.

Trade wars are usually bad for all parties in the end but between the beginning and the end there can be some surprising developments. Human actions and delusions on the part of the public can produce strange results at times. All of our systems are based on trust. When that trust is lost, everything will come crashing down. Until then, things will go on.

If trade tariffs with China have the short term effect of creating American jobs, that could have a wealth effect by creating more disposable income in American pockets. That in turn can have a positive effect on the stock market and consumer confidence. Also, commodities are set to soar in price soon and this could carry the stock market up with it for a while.

Richard Russell once said he believed we would have a third leg in the current bull market before the bears take charge. He was right in the past and could be right again, only time will tell. This situation can not last long due to the enormous mal-investment built up in the system over many decades. A house of cards will eventually fall and the taller the house the longer and harder the fall will be.

One thing that could destroy the temporary high could be the destruction of the financial system due to loss of the reserve currency status and the replacement of the petrodollar system. If and when that happens things will not be looking good for America for a very long time. China is taking actions that could result in just that type of outcome. Their new silk road initiative and oil trading system utilizing Yuan to gold will eventually have serious consequences for Americas standard of living.

Total debts and derivatives in the world amount to 30-50 times of world GDP. The bulk of this is derivatives and when they fail they will become worthless. The 250 trillion or so in global debt will default when asset prices implode and interest rates explode. When the debt bubble explodes stocks could decline by as much as 95%. Interest rates could exceed the 20% rates we saw in the 1970’s.

In the last 100 years the value of major currencies have declined by 97-99 % relative to purchasing power in gold. The last 1-3% will follow very soon. When the financial system collapses due to losses from derivatives and stocks it will erase all of the savings, and retirement funds people were expecting to get at some future date. This will instantly impoverish the bulk of the population.

As the system collapses the banks will likely try to re-inflate assets by massive money printing which will only cause hyperinflation at some point. As hyperinflation kicks in the price of many assets like stocks, bonds, investment properties and art will likely collapse in real terms. Items like gold, silver and productive farmland will likely fare better.

Eventually deflation will carry all asset prices down as the world falls into a global depression, possibly for decades. All of these things will likely result in social unrest and wars as people become hungry and angry at a system they took for granted for so many years. The trust will be broken and people will look for something else to believe in.

One thing is for certain. People today believe anything but reality and that will catch up to them all very soon in a very painful way. Things work until they don’t. Our economy has been rolling along for decades on the stored wealth of previous generations but that is about to run out of steam very soon. When it does it will be a shock to all but a few. You can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

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Trade Wars With Silver Linings

By: Tom Chatham

The current trade war that is ramping up with China has many pitfalls but could have positive sides for Americans. The world cannot survive without American agricultural products, especially food. They may be able to replace most of it from somewhere else but not all.

The estimated loss of agricultural shipments to China is estimated at around 15-20 billion. This is small potatoes for a government spending 1.5 trillion a year on many questionable items. The U.S. government could do something to relieve the stress on American farmers and actually do something positive for Americans in the process.

The government could simply buy all of the excess farm products that would normally be shipped overseas and create a strategic food reserve for Americans. Anyone who has been keeping up with the food production over the years knows that we keep very little food stored for national emergencies anymore. We should have a food reserve similar to the oil reserve, just in case.

One of the positives for this type of investment is that unlike investing in wars or social projects we would actually be investing in something we could use or sell at a later time making the investment minimal in the grand scheme of things. Purchasing and storing these food reserves near large cities around the country would provide a strategic resource that could save many lives if the distribution system is ever disrupted for any reason such as fuel disruptions, cyber attacks or a grid down situation.

If we are going to spend billions of dollars a year for pet projects why not spend some of it on systems actually worth something to us. The world is not getting any safer and we need to have resources set aside for emergencies.

Removing these resources from the world market would have immediate and profound results. It would send a signal to the world that we do indeed have more than one arrow in our quiver and even in the face of massive deficits we are still relevant in the world.

The world cannot continue adding millions of people a year and expect to feed them all without the U.S. The U.S. has many natural resources and some of the best farmland in the world. We can survive the problems we face as a nation but the world cannot go on without our contributions.

We can get along without the electronic gadgets and trinkets we get from China but they cannot get along without our food. We need to use our resources in a smarter and more sustainable way to continue being relevant in the world. Simply printing our way to prosperity will no longer work. We need to provide real value in the world and our food supply is a valuable commodity. Our farmers are a strategic asset and a necessary one for our country to survive. We need to support them now so they can continue to support us in the future. If a trade war is the only way to solve our trade deficit then let them keep their trinkets and we will keep our food and we will see who is better off.

Surviving The Next Great Depression

By: Tom Chatham

Numerous economists and investors are warning of another great financial crisis to come but few people want to listen to them. No crisis is ever exactly like the last one and the next great depression will be different from the last one. In the last depression those who had money were in a good financial position to ride it out but the next depression will see those with fiat money drowning in it as it becomes worthless.

Very few Americans have any significant savings today. Most live on credit and those with savings have it stored in financial instruments that will be wiped out as the bankers collapse the system to hide the theft they have been involved in for decades. Those who think they will retire with their IRA, pensions or social security will suddenly find them all gone never to return leaving them with no means to care for themselves.

The west line has moved to Asia. This means that North America is no longer the shipping center of the world. The consequences of this for Americans will be disastrous. This means our economy in the future will be smaller and slower and will result in a standard of living far below what it currently is.

Those that own very few assets free and clear will become the new homeless as they become jobless and default on all of their credit obligations. All of the social safety nets that exist now to keep people fat and happy will fail leaving mobs of people to roam the streets to seek out what they need to survive. One only has to look at Venezuela today to see where this will all lead.

The basic minimum wage in Venezuela today is $7 dollars a month. Not a day or a week but a month. Those that hold local currency see it devalue on a daily basis making things increasingly worse as time goes on. Had any of these people stored some of their wealth in gold they would have the ability to live a little easier as the economy collapses. One ounce of gold in the hands of a Venezuelan today would last them for years. This is a lesson we all need to heed.

Simply storing some of your wealth in gold and silver is no cure all but it is part of a bigger strategy to insure you do not have to suffer as many will in the coming years due to their blind faith in their belief the government will care for them. Keep in mind that the government is actually controlled by the same people that will destroy your standard of living so why would they care about your suffering.

Understanding what will likely happen and insuring you have a plan to deal with it is the only hope you will have of coming through the coming bad years in tact. Those who trust in government or only live for today will reap what they sow and it will be unpleasant at best if they survive at all. A simple strategy to insure you do not suffer does not have to be expensive or complicated. The best plans are simple and allow you to adapt to the changing times. If you invest in a simple, inexpensive plan and the world somehow goes on as normal, you will not be any worse for the investment but if things takes an unexpected turn and your plan becomes necessary, it will allow you to survive the crisis much better than the bulk of the population.

The strategy I outlined in The American Dream Lost is a basic plan that will work for just about anyone but is mainly designed for those that have only a few thousand dollars to draw on in an emergency. That is to say it is designed for the majority of Americans that have little money. It is important to understand that a plan of this type is an insurance policy against bad times that can do great harm to you and your family and needs to be understood in that light.

One of the worst problems people have is that when something bad begins to happen they attempt to continue living as they always have and ignore the future consequences until it is too late to do anything meaningful about it. If a person loses their job they continue to live as they always have using up their small savings in the hope that things will change for the better before they run out of money. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, it depends on how lucky they are. This type of mentality often leads people to the point where they run out of money and only then do they try to come up with a plan. The problem is, by then they have no resources left to enact a plan with. This is what you need to avoid.

When your economic situation suddenly changes for the worse you need to immediately sit down and determine what the future is likely to look like. It is good to be optimistic but if the chances of finding a new job are not very good you need to decide how best to use what resources you have to maintain a decent living standard. You may have to make some very difficult choices but the option of doing nothing could be very harmful in the long run. For those that decide radical steps may be needed to continue caring for their family the following list is a good place to start.

Buy a years supply of basic foods and supplies that store easily
Buy some durable clothing for future use
Buy an older vehicle for cash that can pull a trailer
Buy a good used camper trailer for cash that can house your family
Buy a weapon and ammo for protection and hunting purposes
Buy a few rolls of silver coins to preserve wealth and act as an emergency fund

What this gives you is the ability to continue caring for your family even in the worst of situations if everything is lost to creditors. They will have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, security and the ability to buy critical items that are needed at some future time. Convincing your family they have to move to a camper for a while would not be easy but the alternative of being homeless would make it an easy choice. The fact that thousands of people all across America are at this very moment living in tents near large population centers is proof enough it can happen.

Depending on your shopping skills all of these things can be secured for under $5,000 dollars and much less if you have time to look for bargains. Your plan may be slightly different depending on the resources and skills you have. You may have access to a small piece of land you own somewhere that a cabin can be built on or you may have the skills to retrofit a van body truck or enclosed trailer for living in. In situations like this skills are worth as much as gold coins.

When the next great depression hits it will be unlike anything we have lived through before. Nothing will be as it seems and only those that have the resources to adapt will come through it whole. Preparation is the key to adapting to future events and those without resources will reap a bitter harvest as they struggle to survive. No announcements will be made, no warnings will be given by the establishment, it will just suddenly happen out of the blue and everyone will say it was unpredictable. But those who prepared will know better.

How Can We Make Schools Safer?

By: Tom Chatham

With the increase of school shootings the past few decades the safety of students has become a more difficult proposition. There are people on different sides of the issue arguing for their solution but few are actually sitting down to analyze the problem and put forth sensible solutions. No one solution will be best for all locations just like no one solution will work equally well for disaster preparedness in all locations. We need different approaches for different locations based on the threat posed.

One of the most needed changes to schools today is the reintroduction of moral standards to children to curb the hostile intents kids have for one another. You cannot eliminate these feelings completely but you can instill the fear of acting out on these feelings through moral standards and the knowledge there will be a price to pay for doing so.

Teaching kids not to kill one another is probably the simplest way to stop killings but there are those that have true mental problems that only therapy and proper medications will help. These individuals need to be identified and monitored to insure they do not become a threat. This can be done without violating their rights.

Some schools in crime ridden areas go to the extreme length of having metal detectors at the entrances. This has served some areas well but anyone determined to get weapons into the school could still do so if they wanted to bad enough. Simply breaking into the school after hours through a window and planting weapons inside for later retrieval is always possible. Only their willingness and imagination prevents it.

The first line of defense is to keep the hostile person out of the school to begin with. Having external doors that are secured during school hours is one way to minimize the access. External doors as well as exterior windows on the first floor that are bullet resistant will go a long way to making forced entry difficult.

Once a weapon or hostile individual is inside a school there need to be systems in place to deal with the threat. The most effective method is to have an armed security guard that can face the individuals and stop them with lethal force if necessary. This may be the best option for some areas but not necessarily all of them. Armed officers make sense where the threat is high but not all schools have a high threat level.

Inside the building, certain interior doors should be bullet resistant and have an internal bolt to lock the door preventing entry of even an armed person. Keeping a physical barrier between shooters and victims is essential to preventing casualties. If a shooter manages to breach a door those inside should be prepared to defend themselves. This is one thing children need to be taught. Never go down without a fight. This applies more to older children than to smaller children.

The most vulnerable time for a shooter is when they move through a doorway. They can not see what is on the other side of the wall and that is where resistance needs to come from. Being up close to a shooter leaves them little room to maneuver for a shot. When assaulted by several persons at once up close a shooter can be overwhelmed and brought under control. Using a simple weapon such as a piece of wood or pipe and striking them in the head as they move through the door can take them down long enough to get control of them.

There is much debate about arming teachers in schools. This may be the best option in some areas. The more friendly weapons you can bring to bear against an intruder, the greater your chances are of ending the event quickly. There are many that do not like this option due to their fear of guns in general.

One possible compromise to the arming of teachers could be to arm them with less than lethal weapons. Arming every teacher in certain schools with tasers and providing them proper instruction on their use can also provide a deterrent to hostile individuals. The type of tasers that many police departments use can take down an assailant from several feet away very effectively. This type of weapon would reduce the fear of accidental discharges in schools.

Using a mixture of the items listed can make schools safer and give children some piece of mind while they are in school. Every school is different as are the communities scattered across the nation. Only by analyzing the needs and fears of each school can we begin to secure these locations and end the threats posed by people who wish to do harm to others.

Are Liberal Values To Blame For Mass Killings?

By: Tom Chatham

When we look at all of the mass shootings that take place today we need to ask a simple question. What has changed in the last thirty years that has caused mass shootings to become an epidemic? It was only a few generations ago that some boys took their rifle to school with them so they could go hunting after school. Fifty years ago it was much easier to get a gun than it is now. So why didn’t we have mass shootings back then like we do now? What has changed?

If you have two men standing in front of you, one is a neighbor who shares your moral values and the other is a serial killer and both of them are handed a loaded weapon, which one would you fear the most? A liberal would say both but a rational person would fear the killer. That is because you know he has no prohibitions about killing someone while the moral person would have to override his conscience to do so.

I’m not saying it never happens but it is rare for a person with good moral values to go on a shooting spree. Why is that? Is it because they are taught from a young age that killing innocent people is wrong? Is it because they try to treat others as they want to be treated? Is it because they have a greater moral conscience than others?

Those raised in a violent atmosphere are more susceptible to doing questionable things than someone that is raised in an atmosphere of high moral standards. How a person grows up has a lot to do with their mental health and plays a big part in how we act but all things being equal, a persons morals determine what they are willing to do.

In the past forty years we have seen the result of the lefts war on God. They have removed the primary pillar of good morals from schools and replaced it with every kind of questionable behavior you can think of. Kids are confused enough growing up but now many do not even know what gender they are, Pushing an agenda of pedophilia, homosexuality, transgenderism, social justice and hate for anyone or anything the left does not proscribe to has left the nations youth in a confused and sometimes deranged state. Is it any wonder some of them would resort to murder to exercise their demons?

Social media also has a role in the destruction of our youth. When kids are constantly bombarded with sick and hateful ideas they become numb to the evil they see. It envelopes their daily life and pushes them over the edge sometimes. How many kids have committed suicide because of the hurtful things said about them on social media? How many people have committed murder because of something they saw on the internet that made them believe doing so would make them somebody important? Its just one more way of destroying a persons conscience.

The lack of respect and moral values that todays youth are trained in at home and at school also have a major role in the decay in society we are now witnessing. If nothing is taboo or unethical from a childs standpoint then we should not be surprised at the actions they take when the urge hits them. Violent actions not acceptable to society mean nothing to one who has no moral conscience.

Every time this happens the first response of certain groups is to blame the weapon used rather than the person wielding it as if the weapon has a mind of its own. Their cry is always, if we could only get rid of the weapons we would all be safe. The problem is anything can be used as a weapon. Few people know what 5 gallons of gasoline or a tank of propane can do under the right circumstances. They don’t know what a few household chemicals and some ball bearings can do when used in certain ways. We are surrounded by potential weapons of mass destruction because of our technological society and there is nothing we can do to totally eliminate the threat short of teaching people right from wrong.

Those who demand more gun control following an incident are so hypocritical they cannot even comprehend it. They feign outrage when 17 school children get killed but these same people constantly lobby for the right to kill over a million babies a year. Which is it? Are you for protecting children or killing them? You cannot have it both ways.

The cold hard truth is if somebody decides to kill, they will find a way to do it whether they have a gun or not. It might be an airplane, a truck, a bomb vest, a knife or even a hammer. They will find a way. The only thing we can do is try to rebuild our moral base and identify those that are a threat and remove them from society until they are no longer a threat. Unfortunately, that will not happen in the PC world we have created until people regain a moral conscience and place the blame where it belongs. As long as mental illness is celebrated as a lifestyle choice we will all be in danger.

Can You Survive Without Real Money?

By: Tom Chatham

The bulk of the money and credit we use today is created by bankers and politicians. Fiat money is a way for those in control to siphon wealth away from the working class in ways that most people cannot understand. Through taxes, inflation and predatory lending practices the population is systematically impoverished.

It has become difficult if not impossible for the average person to survive without access to money on a daily basis. Everything we do costs money and your access to it is your lifeline. Few people today pay with cash. This makes it easier for those controlling the technology we use to control the amount of access we have to our money. Electronic money also makes it easier to create money and credit out of thin air. The governments monetary policy can make life easy or hard depending on their actions.

Venezuela is a good example today. Most of the population is going hungry because their money is near worthless and they have little of it to buy necessities. Capital controls enacted by the government to keep prices down have done what they always do, created shortages. This is only true for the average person though. The wealthy and well connected can still get anything they want on a daily basis. Those with the money or control do not have to contend with the problems of the masses that rely solely on fiat money.

Those that control the money supply can devalue the currency, reduce access to it or destroy it completely at will. This is the ever present threat that a controlled money supply has on the population. It is for this reason that society needs to realize how much peril they are in and take proactive measures to protect themselves from the actions that will surely come in the future as the economic system collapses from abuse of the monetary system as it is.

Gold and silver have been used as money for 5,000 years and are not controlled by any one person or country. They are the true world currencies that are stable by their very nature and people should once again embrace as the method to free themselves from the control of others. Most people today do not understand gold and silver because they have been slowly removed from the monetary system for the simple reason that people who hold this kind of wealth cannot be completely controlled by those in power.

This kind of wealth cannot be tracked, created out of thin air, or otherwise subverted by individuals because of its universal acceptance and ease of storage and portability. It can be traded between individuals privately, hidden for years just about anywhere and cannot be devalued by overproduction.

There was a man where I grew up that owned a store on the river. He acquired a small pile of gold coins over the years through normal business dealings. When the government called in all the gold in 1933 he kept his gold coins and hid them. In the 1970’s he sold these coins at a greatly inflated price. He was able to do this because the government did not know what he had. That is the beauty of gold and silver and why governments hate them so.

If you can feed yourself, protect yourself and carry wealth in a form that is free of government interference then you are largely beyond the control of the government in many ways and this is what they fear most.

To control the population the government only has to control the money and people will be forced to bow to their will. If people cannot get the things they need they will become desperate and desperate people are ripe for manipulation. This is the danger society faces if they have no alternative currency system in times of unrest. Holding gold and silver give individuals the power to resist government intrusion and manipulation and maintain their freedom.

If every household in America held three ounces of gold and a few dollars in silver currency, the nation would have sufficient real money to function in the absence of fiat monies. This idea may take some time to wrap your brain around but it is really that easy. The difficulty many have is trying to imagine todays prices in fiat money compared to the fiat price of gold and silver.

Many people today, especially government workers, make 50, 100 even 150 thousand dollars a year and the price of goods in the economy reflect those wages. One hundred years ago an average person only made about 600 dollars a year but that money was gold and silver money and the price of goods in the economy reflected those wages. This is what the average person needs to understand.

The people can be controlled by the government by manipulation of the fiat currency and this control will continue and increase in the future. The only way to break free of this manipulation is to hold real money that government cannot control or track. In the future the ability to engage in free market commerce will depend on your ability to hold and use real money that is not controlled by government but by free market principles. Your ability to survive a situation like the one in Venezuela may depend on your ability to pay for goods in gold and silver. That is something that is entirely under your control.

Would Rural Areas Be Safer In A SHTF Situation?

By: Tom Chatham

In a situation where national infrastructure and life sustaining resources are suddenly cut off , population density will have a lot to do with how well you get by in the days following the crisis. When it happens, what you have on hand will likely be all you have to work with for an extended time. Those that lack supplies will seek out and take what they need in an increasingly hostile manner as time goes on. This is why being in a large city will likely be hazardous to your well being.

Very few will argue that being in a rural area when something catastrophic happens will greatly increase your chances of survival. A lower population density and more available natural resources to help you get by will make long term survival much easier. This is why so many people advocate heading for a rural area when something happens. The problem is unless you are already established in a rural area, survival will not necessarily be easier.

Leaving the city when supplies and infrastructure are shut down would work only up to a point. Rural areas are like anywhere else. They have infrastructure designed to service a certain number of people that normally live there. The housing, restaurants, roadways, water systems and grocery stores will only handle a small excess of people even in the best of times. When the city dwellers suddenly evacuate to the rural areas in mass, they will simply be taking many of their big city problems with them. They will likely find no housing, food supplies or other infrastructure they need to live.

Because of this many small towns will likely close their roads at some point and prevent entry to anyone who does not live there. They will suddenly realize their already finite resources will not be enough for themselves much less thousands of new people. This realization will likely come only after they have been inundated with strangers demanding supplies and housing. It is for this reason that rural dwellers should hope cities are locked down fairly quickly to prevent people from leaving.

When Henry Kaiser built a new shipyard in Richmond, Ca. in the 1940’s the town was suddenly overwhelmed with new workers. People lived in shoddy trailers they towed in, some slept in boarding houses in shifts and the schools ran three shifts a day. Eventually they built the new infrastructure they needed and life went on but this only happened because they were living in normal times when everything was working properly. Imagine an influx of people into a small town when supplies are already limited and likely to get worse as time goes on.

That is why it is essential that you establish yourself in a rural area before something happens. Simply hoping to show up following an event is no plan and will likely cause resentment by the locals when supplies run low.

Rural areas offer the opportunity to be much more self reliant than city spaces. This is the reason rural areas offer people a better chance to survive something like a grid down scenario. This is only true until the carrying capacity of the rural area is breached. That is when the city problems become rural problems. Simply moving a mass of unprepared people to another area with even less infrastructure will not solve the problem, it will only change the surroundings and create other problems.

There is an old saying that you never eat your seed stock. Self sufficient people know this because if they eat their seeds or butcher their breeding stock they will not have anything to raise the following year which will lead to eventual starvation or loss of future income. To an unprepared person that thinks food is produced in a factory, preserving seed stock makes no sense when they are hungry right now. They do not care about next year, they only care about today which is why they got into their situation in the first place. This is the type of situation that can doom a society if they lose the ability to produce future crops, even on a small scale.

Will rural areas be safer in a SHTF situation? Only if they can maintain order and protect the resources they have to insure long term sustainability of the community. Most communities are not prepared for this type of situation and will need a steep learning curve if they are to survive it. Many will likely not survive it.

Modern farming communities do not have the infrastructure to maintain themselves like many once did. Factory farming has moved much of the local production to central locations around the nation and few farmers produce their own seed locally. These and other modern systems will make it difficult for many farm communities to even care for their own much less thousands of new arrivals.

The only communities that are likely to survive in tact are the ones that are mostly self sufficient already and have a plan to maintain production and protect themselves from looters and overcrowding. Simply running to a rural area in a time of crisis is no cure all. Wherever you are, the key to survival will be advance preparation and a good plan.

Surviving An EMP The Easy Way or The Hard Way

By: Tom Chatham

Surviving an EMP event without prior preparation would be difficult at best for the population and here is why. Many people have read the reports that claim we would be sent back to 19th century living levels following an event and many simply think they could bear that for a short period until things get fixed. The problem is we no longer have 19th century infrastructure to support that level of existence. We do not have the transportation systems based on horses and steam locomotives, the ability to grow, harvest and process food the 19th century way, the local water sources to support populations, the sanitation systems or the medical systems that do not rely on technology or the ability to heat and cook the 19th century way. We have the knowledge to build these systems but that takes time and resources we may not have especially in the large cities. Without these types of systems waiting on the sidelines to be readily put into action, society as it is would collapse into tribal warfare as groups fight for the few resources that still exist. Even with these systems we could not support the number of people we now have. In short, many people would die even in the best of circumstances. Those that have these types of systems would have the ability to survive if they could protect these resources long enough.

If you own a large boat and suddenly sink for some reason many miles from shore, there is an easy way to survive this situation and a hard way to survive. You can have a good life boat, supplies and a radio to call for help and wait in relative safety or you can float around in the ocean with nothing but a life jacket hoping somebody finds you in time.

Any type of disaster can be looked at in these terms. Preparation makes all the difference when things happen. With all of the talk about a possible EMP happening it is important to think in these terms and provide yourself the best possible way to survive events should they happen. This means realizing what could happen and what supplies you need that can survive the initial effects of the disaster.

An EMP has its own special problems when it comes to storing supplies, especially equipment, to survive the aftermath. The special nature of an EMP make many types of equipment unreliable following an event without proper storage. Even with proper storage the use of a super EMP could overwhelm many basic storage devices such as homemade faraday cages. The U.S. hardened some of its military infrastructure to withstand a pulse of 50 kilovolts/meter. The problem is that Russia has weapons that can produce up to 200 kilovolts/meter which would likely overwhelm our most hardened components. Until it actually happens you don’t really know what will survive. This is the crux of the problem trying to decide what to store to survive an EMP.

I go about this in a two fold manner. I store electronic devices in the safest manner I can but I also have a non-electric backup system in the event that fails. As with any preparations, two is always better than one. This means if one system fails you have another to go to you can be sure will work when needed. This means preparing systems in depth to assure availability.

Just as an example, if you know you will need transportation following an event you could have an older vehicle stored in a metal building to protect it and certain electronic components for that vehicle stored with additional shielding in the event the vehicle is damaged. This will allow repairs following the event. Then you could have a secondary mode of transportation such as horses, a bicycle or a boat depending on your circumstances. This provides you with many options no matter how bad the event was. Just keep in mind that the simpler the system, the more likely it will still work when needed.

You need to determine what critical systems you will need or want following an event and determine what you will need to store to have those capabilities. This prior planning is essential so you do not waste time and limited resources on items you do not need or will not survive the initial phases of the event.

If you want power following an event you need to do a good assessment and determine what components will give you the most bang for the buck. A generator is good but you would also want to store electronic components that can break or burn out as well as items like carburetor kits and spare spark plugs. You would need a good fuel supply on hand and possibly an alternative fuel source like propane or wood gas. If this system fails to work following an event you would need a secondary energy source. Solar or wind is good but you would need all of the components to make a complete energy system including charge controllers, batteries and power inverters.

If you have solar panels and batteries and these are the only things to survive you will still have generating and energy storage capability. Having panels hooked directly to batteries would require close monitoring to prevent damage and a simple voltage meter would be helpful in this regard. This would give you 12v or 24v power to utilize in an emergency and there are many products out there that run on these voltages. This would provide you with a viable energy system as a backup and some capabilities even if you only had a 12v lighting system and a 12v absorption refrigerator to use. Planning ahead and breaking it down to the most likely components to survive will avoid wasted time and money.

Propane appliances are a good way to go when planning for electrical disruptions. Old school propane appliances that lack a lot of electronics will insure operability when you need it. A good supply of propane is also easy to get at this time allowing you to run appliances for months or years depending on your storage capacity. This can give you the time needed to survive and adjust to long term realities.

At the bottom tier of your alternatives should be manual tools and equipment that can replace electrical and energy dependent devices to accomplish the tasks you deem necessary following an EMP event. These are the systems you can depend on to work no matter what happens. This is your last line of defense in a worst case scenario. When planning systems I try to buy the manual items first simply because they are usually cheaper and if something happens before I buy everything I want, I know what I have will work.

Thinking ahead and identifying the weak links now will allow you to survive much easier than the general population will if such an event comes to pass. Having even a handful of backup systems that still function following an event will give you a definite edge when survival becomes a daily task. Every capability you have following an event gives you that much more to insure survival. Surviving an EMP event will be no piece of cake by any means but would you rather be afloat in relative safety or simply fighting to keep your head above water?

Your Disaster Response Is Limited By Your Imagination

By: Tom Chatham

I touched on this in a previous article. You need to imagine the many forms a disaster will take and have a plan to cope with the changing situation.

I am sure there were many people in the areas affected by the recent hurricanes that had prepared for such an occurrence only to find they were still lacking in some form. It is good to have several months of supplies on hand to deal with a crisis but how many of these people had to evacuate due to flood waters and leave the bulk of these supplies behind? I often wonder how many ended up in evacuation sites anyway and how many had a plan and were able to load up their supplies and get to an alternate safe location.

It is difficult to know how any disaster will play out but your response to it is only limited to how much imagination you put into planning for it. I’m often accused of having crazy ideas but those ideas provide me with a data base to draw on in times of crisis. It is often hard to think straight when disaster approaches and time is short and it is in those moments that you must rely on what you already know.

For instance, following the unprecedented flooding in the gulf states I wondered what I would do if I suddenly found my home surrounded by rising flood waters. I live on a small hill which is one of the highest places in the area. Any flooding would cut off vehicle evacuation long before water reached the house. I concluded my only options would be to sink or float.

I keep a number of empty drums around to store animal feed in that are water tight. After some thought I concluded I could strap some of these drums under one of the sheds in the back yard and load it with supplies and other items I did not want to lose. I calculated the displacement of these drums and arrived at a total weight I could expect to float. Is the idea crazy? Sure it is but it would also work. I seriously doubt I would ever have to resort to something like that but there is a plan to deal with it should it occur in the future.

This is the type of imagination you need to put into planning disasters so you are never caught in a situation with no course of action to get out of it. You may not have drums around to use but if you live in a flood plain and think you may want a boat, how about this. Buy a pontoon boat and put a light enclosure on it basically turning it into a small houseboat. You could use it for storage, a work shop or man cave during normal times. It will float, you can pull it down the highway on a trailer and it can serve as a camper if you have to evacuate. Add a few solar panels, a battery pack and a small wood stove and you could ride out just about anything.

You are only limited by your imagination and preps do not have to cost a lot if you use that imagination to think up cheap options to accomplish the same goals. The drums I use only cost me ten dollars each and have many uses around the house especially for prepping projects. If you cannot afford buckets of long term storage food from venders you can make your own with plastic buckets and dry pack items from the supermarket. There are many things like oatmeal, rice, dry beans, potato flakes, cornmeal, ramen noodles, hot chocolate, macaroni or spaghetti that you can use as a starter to build a food supply around, Most of these things are relatively cheap and store for a long time and a little can go a long way.

Just as a mental exercise I worked out a basic field ration to use if I had to travel on foot for a few days at a time. From some of the things I normally store I could use two servings of oatmeal, a package of ramen noodles, four servings of rice, a can of Vienna sausage, a 12oz. can of pork &beans and a packet of hot chocolate. This ration would provide me with over 2,000 calories per day and only requires hot water to prepare most of the items. This list of items would cost me just over two dollars which is not bad for a full days ration. Using this type of methodology, it is easy to come up with a ration tailored to your taste for very little cost.

If you feel there are disasters in your future it will put you way ahead of the curve to imagine those scenarios now and develop a plan to deal with them even if only on paper. The more you plan the more you will feel the need to take the next step and acquire supplies. It is only through this type of self education that you will learn how vulnerable you really are. Those that reject the idea of facing their fears are the ones that routinely find themselves unable to care for themselves following an event and wait for the government to come to their rescue.

Every day it becomes more obvious to those that prepare that there will surely come a time when some crisis will render normal disaster response impotent and everyone will be thrust back onto their own resources. Things are only impossible until they happen. That is a lesson many people are taught over and over again and fail to learn.

Prepping For Disaster Does Not Have To Cost Much

By: Tom Chatham

Many people that want to be prepared for disasters hesitate because of the potential cost of many items. This is because many people look at the ideal amount of materials to have on hand instead of starting with the basics and building on that over time. How many people have you seen following the recent hurricanes that do not have even the most basic things to stay alive?

Every time we have a weather event approaching we see people rush out to spend inordinate amounts of money on things like generators and bottled water when thy could provide these items for much less money if they only took time to plan ahead. When we have a weather event coming I fill a few one gallon jugs with water and set them in the corner in case I need them. Boom, water supply, done, for free. I have several different inverters to use if I need power during an outage. Even a simple plan ahead of time can have a large impact following an event. Here is a small list of things I came up with that a family could store for a small amount of money that would allow them to get through a crisis for 30 days.

2 LED bulbs
300watt power inverter
50’ extension cord
20watt solar panel

4 – 42oz. Oatmeal
24lb. Rice
20lb. Beans
10lb. Pancake mix
30 cans vegetables

2 – 30gal. Trash cans
2 – 30gal. food grade plastic liners

2 – 20lb. Propane cylinders filled
Gas grill or propane camp stove

5gal. Sanitation bucket with lid
15 – 5gal. plastic waste bags
4 – rolls toilet paper

The cost of these items will vary depending on how and where you shop. I can purchase all of these items for about $282 dollars. What does this give you?

You can use your car as a generator and battery supply to power a few lights and a TV or radio for a few hours a day. The solar panel allows you to use minimal power without having to run the car thus saving gas which may be hard to get at that point. The use of a larger inverter will allow you to power items such as freezers for a few hours a day to keep items frozen but may require the running of your car a few hours a day to maintain maximum battery charge.

This basic food supply can provide 4 people with two basic meals a day for a month.

The two trash cans can store 60 gallons of water providing ½ gallon a day per person for 4 people for a month. These can be filled from a faucet in the home costing you much less than bottled water from the store which may be in short supply.

The propane and stove allows for cooking of meals for the month. It can also provide a heat source for short periods of time.

The sanitation bucket and liners allows for waste disposal for 4 people for a month when conventional systems may not be functioning.

This is all very basic and does not seem too much for the average person to acquire yet very few people have even these basic items. If everyone stored just these few things there would be much less desperation immediately following a disaster. This list may differ from family to family but it gives you an idea of what things you need to provide for and a basic way to go about it.

Your preparations will vary depending on your particular circumstances. If you live in an apartment and connecting to your car is not an option you may want to buy a deep cycle battery and trickle charger to keep it fully charged. Then when you need it you can hook a 100watt solar panel and inverter to it for a stand alone power supply. Your options are only limited by your finances and imagination.

I can understand people being desperate for food and water if their home was washed away or burned to the ground but many of the desperate people we see still have a home to some extent but had no supplies to get them through the aftermath. It also bothers me to see people standing in line for hours just to buy overpriced bottled water when it is so easy to fill a few containers beforehand. I understand city water is not that good but a simple water filter can take care of that.

From an economic standpoint things are not going to get much better than they are now so you should take this opportunity to prepare at least at a basic level. Your wellbeing and that of your family will almost certainly depend on it in the future at some point.

A wise man learns from his mistakes. A genius learns from the mistakes of others.