Category Archives: Preparedness
By: Tom Chatham
When people are sitting around making lists and deciding what they need to survive or just get by in the future there is one thing they need to give great thought to. Energy is the basis of everything. Energy takes many forms such as food, electricity, liquid fuels, mechanical, nuclear, solid fuels, solar and wind to name a few. Without it your body will not function, you will have no light, no heat, no transportation or communication. Energy is the foundation of everything humans do in this world. Without energy in its many forms we cannot live.
If you can produce enough energy you can do just about anything. You can live deep underground, live on the moon or even in space. You can heat your home, produce light to see, grow food, power vehicles and radios, produce goods from raw materials and power equipment to keep you alive.
Most people do not think about this very often because they can simply walk outside and feel the warm sun on their skin, do numerous tasks and even feed themselves as a result of this energy from the sun. They can do many things without modern technology because the sun provides the energy to do it. Knowing how to generate and utilize the various types of energy allows you to survive in many different environments. Here is one example to think about to show you what I mean.
In the movie The Road, the earth is consumed by an environmental disaster that leaves the world in a cloudy haze, leaving it cold and dead. The survivors wonder around looking for any type of sustenance they can find including each other.
Even under the circumstances given these people still have the ability to produce energy. Energy means life. Nuclear power would still work under these circumstances especially in navel vessels. Even though all of the trees seem to be dead, they can still be burned for fuel. As long as water falls from the sky hydroelectric power will still work. Where you have power generation you have the means to provide heat and light to grow food. You only need the knowledge and skills to do it.
In a survival situation, especially an extreme one, having an energy source that allows you to live is very important. That is one reason why knowledge and skills are so important to many preppers. Knowledge and skills allow you to construct a new living environment following an event and energy plays a major role in that. It is idiotic to walk around like the survivors in The Walking Dead, with no food, water, equipment or transportation when there are resources scattered all around you that can be utilized.
Simply burning wood can provide you with energy to run a vehicle, produce power for lighting and communications and produce heat for cooking. With sufficient energy you can grow food, produce clothing, distill water, even provide fresh air and refrigeration. Energy is the key to living and the more knowledge you have in producing and controlling it the more likely you are to survive long term. The types of energy produced and the ways you utilize them are entirely up to you when your survival is in your hands. The more energy you can produce, the better your living standard is likely to be.
When an abnormal event occurs that can bring civilization to a screeching halt, the energy you have available to you will determine if you survive or not. Energy in all of it’s forms is something most people never think about until it is too late. It does not matter if it is the sun, wind, hydro, wood, oil, bio fuels, coal or thermoelectric. You need to be ready to utilize what you have available when the time comes. Your ability to create and utilize the energy available to you is your ability to live.
By: Tom Chatham
The west line theory states that the shipping center of the world moves in a westward direction slowly over the centuries. It started in the mid east and has moved west through the Mediterranean, Europe, North America and now sits over Asia. A shipping center usually implies a production center as well giving that area great wealth. The U.S. was the previous shipping and production center in the world. We now find ourselves on the back end of prosperity and all that it entails.
We are not the first nation to find ourselves in this position. Those nations that came before us had to deal with a slower, smaller economy following the westward shift of the line. We must now do so as well. Understanding this phenomenon allows people to adjust their lifestyles to maintain a good standard of living. To ignore this natural process is to invite much suffering and chaos into your life as everything changes around you while you remain static expecting things to continue as usual.
For those that are waiting for prosperity to return to the U.S. as it once was, you will not see it unless you are still here several centuries from now. You can not turn back the clock and reverse a process such as this. You must learn to understand it and adjust to it. Having a slower, smaller economy is far from a death sentence. Americans are accustomed to a great deal of abundance that is now seeping away until equilibrium is achieved. By understanding what is happening we can equalize the process at a level we find comfortable.
A good standard of living can be had by most Americans in the future if we adjust our thinking and return to a more sustainable level of living that we can maintain without excessive money printing. As I have stated before, a person can live comfortably on about $10,000 a year and have a standard of living equal to someone making $40,000 a year living an excessive lifestyle. That may sound crazy to many people but it is true. How you live and spend your money has a lot to do with your standard of living but that fact is lost on most people.
For those that have an open mind and want to understand this, it falls upon you to look ahead and plan for the leaner economic times ahead. Those that do will have a much easier time living a normal life. Those that do not make the difficult decisions now will likely find a tent city in their future as many people now deal with in many once prosperous cities.
There are many things you can do to prepare for this leaner economic future. For one thing housing is too big and expensive today for most to afford. Having a small plot of land and a small home on it makes good economic sense. Building a 16’ x 32’ home with a basement and second story will provide you with a home over 1,500 sq. ft. but is cheaper to build due to the smaller foot print. It is cheaper to build up than out. Providing your own power with solar or wind makes good economic sense today as electricity rates continue to rise and solar and wind equipment continues to fall in price. Growing at least some of your own food makes sense as well as inflation begins to climb and transportation costs increase.
Having an older paid for vehicle is cheaper in many cases. An older paid for vehicle requires less expensive insurance and eliminates a monthly car payment not to mention cheaper property taxes. Depending on how much you drive and how much of a do it yourself person you are you might even be able to produce most of your own fuel. There are average people today that use wood gas for their pickup truck or bio diesel for their car made from used vegetable oil they process themselves.
A little bit of time and effort on your part can pay huge dividends if you simply put some thought into how you live today and how you want to live tomorrow. A major change in our economic future is now taking place and it will occur whether you want it to or not. Making plans now to survive in a slower economy will provide you with the best chance to maintain a normal existence in the future. A slower economy is guaranteed at some point if the west line holds true but a possible full blown economic collapse due to excessive money printing would make your future plans even more important.
By: Tom Chatham
Those that are aware of the EMP commissions report have probably also heard the statement that this type of event would suddenly transport everyone involved back to the 1800’s almost instantly. It is also possible that up to 90% of the population could die within 2 years due to the sudden lack of modern technology. It does not matter if it is an EMP, CME, cyber attack or terrorist attack on the grid, the results will be largely the same.
This is a sobering notion that you can either believe or disbelieve. If you think it is all hype you need only to go back to your daily activities and hope it never happens and leave your survival to someone who will do something if it ever happens. For those hardy souls that take responsibility for their own fate and that of their family, it falls to you to determine what this type of event will mean for you. An event of this magnitude will affect different people in different locations in different ways.
It is important to first realize what changes you will likely see following this event. To understand this you must look at what a 19th century lifestyle would look like to you. Understanding these differences will help you to determine what plans you need to make ahead of time to adjust to these changes in a way that will allow you to survive. Here are some of the things you will face with a collapse in modern technology and this does not even take into account problems you will face from the ill prepared.
19th Century support systems included the following
Sailing ships for cargo and human transport
Steamships for cargo and human transport
Steam locomotives for cargo and human transport
Horses and wagons for cargo and human transport
Horses, mules and oxen for cultivation and harvesting
Root cellars for common storage
Ice houses to store ice cut in winter
Open pollinated seeds for planting
Livestock manure for fertilizer
Local mills for processing grains
Shallow dug water wells for fresh water
Manual tools for building and repairs
Developed systems for kerosene, whale oil and candle making for lighting
Mechanical power systems for factories and machinery
Telegraph lines for communication
Local craftsmen to build and repair items
Human and animal means to produce coal
Wood stoves for cooking and heating
Outhouses for sanitation needs
Buildings designed for natural ventilation
Limited clean water systems
Limited hospitals and doctors
Limited drugs, medications and medical equipment
Limited firefighting capabilities
Limited law enforcement capabilities
Physical currency of silver and gold
Banks utilizing paper records
Many of these systems exist today only in museums or historical sites and in insufficient quantities to support the population we now have. So simply going back to 19th century living standards would be impossible for the vast majority of people even under the best of circumstances. This brings to light the conclusion that 90% of the population would not survive long term under these conditions.
Assuming this type of event did occur, what would you need in advance to insure your survival? That is a question many people need to ask but most will not simply because their belief system would be shattered if they acknowledged potential threats and that they need to be responsible for their own lives.
There is the potential for many types of catastrophic events that we may never see but the potential should be enough to cause reflection on the individuals part to at least ask the important questions for their own survival. To prepare mentally as well as physically is important to survive the worst of the potential events we could face. You may not find yourself living in the 19th Century tomorrow, but what if?
By: Tom Chatham
Any size homestead that fulfills your needs is a good size but here are some things to look at when designing one. Different people desire different things and that will determine how much land you need.
I have determined that 7 acres is a good size small homestead that can provide all of the items you need to be self sufficient to a large degree.
Two acres for a wood lot
One acre for buildings, garden, orchard
Two acres for pasture
Two acres for grain crops
Two acres of mature timber will produce about 1.5 to 2 cords of wood per year sustainably. That will provide you with wood for cooking and heating during the winter months.
One acre is enough for a home and out buildings, a large garden and a small orchard. This will provide enough food not only for your family but extra to sell.
Two acres for pasture will provide enough grass for two cows. A milk cow and a beef cow to provide dairy products and meat throughout the year.
Two acres will produce enough grain for your family’s needs and extra to feed hogs or chickens and still have extra to sell.
The amount of acreage you need will depend mainly on the systems you decide to have for food production and how much extra you want to produce for sale but the 7 acres outlined above will satisfy the needs of most people. It is important to understand that different people will have different needs. Some people may not want to produce meat for consumption and elect to rely on a vegan diet. This would require much less land, while others may want to produce excess meat for sale that requires more land.
Whatever you decide your ultimate goal will be, this 7 acre plot is a good starting point to insure you allow room for the production systems you plan to use. A farm of this size is within the ability of just about anybody in terms of cost and work load. The ability to produce food, shelter, products to sell and even a large portion of your energy needs can provide a good nights sleep when the world around you ceases to function as normal.
A homestead of this type can not only provide a means of income but provide a survival position to insure your family has the basics they need if financial difficulties grip the world once again. Having little money on hand becomes less of a problem if your needs are provided for internally. This is something many people never think about until they suddenly find themselves in desperate need of resources.
Most people work for a paycheck to provide enough income to buy the resources they need on a daily basis. The more resources you provide for yourself the less income you will need to produce. Producing a dollars worth of resources for yourself is worth much more than a dollar when you take into account taxes, transportation costs and other assorted expenses associated with making that dollar at an off sight job. Producing most of your resources internally can greatly reduce the income you need to get by which is becoming harder every day for many people.
Something as simple as a small homestead can provide you with many benefits depending on your situation. It can provide relaxation from a fast paced world, a retirement home to reduce expenses, a means to produce extra income or an escape when chaos engulfs the world. Building a small homestead does not have to be expensive or difficult. All it requires is a solid plan and the will to make it happen.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.