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.
By: Tom Chatham
The recent disasters around the world have shown most people are ill prepared for sudden disruptions to normal life. Just as there was a lack of imagination that allowed 9/11 to happen, the population suffers from a lack of imagination that allows them to suffer from sudden occurrences. Survival favors the prepared mind.
Simply having supplies piled up in preparation for some occurrence is not enough to insure your survival. There are several other things you must keep in mind and balance out among your preparations.
You must imagine the potential catastrophic possibilities
You must prepare yourself mentally to deal with whatever happens
You must have knowledge of how best to employ your resources
You need to use your imagination to think outside the box
You must be able to improvise, adapt and overcome obstacles
You must have a flexible plan to guide you
Many people have spewed hateful rhetoric at preppers over the years and today some are finding themselves in dire circumstances as infrastructure and supplies are cut off for an indefinite period of time. Those unprepared individuals have few options and now rely on the actions of others to insure their survival.
As many in the Caribbean can now attest to, having to wait for help to come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away is slow and stressful to those who wait. They do not know when help will arrive and what resources will be available when they arrive. It could take years for many locations to return to some type of normalcy and this is at a time when help is available and forthcoming. What happens when that help is not available following an event?
In the world we now live in the bulk of the population is conditioned to wait for help to come. They are not encouraged to perform self help to minimize their suffering. This leads to many more victims to deal with overloading services and resources available to the public. This is happening in good times. What happens when things deteriorate and no help is available to communities or cities? What will happen when people and equipment do not come because damage is wide scale? What happens when all expendable resources are exhausted and cannot be replaced?
Preppers already know the answers to those questions and that is why they prepare. They know that someday an event could happen where no help will be available and they will be on their own for weeks or months. They know if something happens, what they have on hand is all they will likely have to work with for the duration. They know those that have not planned will be victims and most will expect someone to help them and their family. This creates a difficult situation for preppers and victims alike.
The act of learned helplessness is the only thing many people know today and that will lead to a reduced chance of survival for many depending on the depth of the event. A prepper can only do so much to help others in this type of situation but the main thing they possess are the leadership qualities and survival skills the masses need to come through the situation.
Following an event there will be a certain number of survivors that will see the light and understand what preppers have been trying to tell them for years. These people will differ from those that will still have the entitlement mentality and expect others to care for them and provide resources they need. These newly enlightened individuals are the ones that preppers will be able to help the most.
The true leaders in society will be able to direct these individuals on courses of action that will allow them to slowly recover and build up some resilience over time. These are the actions that will be necessary to reduce the chaos in society and provide some stabilization. These people will help provide a buffer between preppers and the hostile unprepared masses that manage to survive.
Make no mistake about it. There will be groups with varying mindsets roaming about following an event and it is advantageous to have as many of them on your side as possible. There is little you can do about the entitled victims except defend against their actions. In this case, there will be safety in numbers.
While a prepper cannot foresee every problem, they can plan ahead and set aside some resources that can help solidify your leadership among those you are able to work with. This could take the form of setting aside a few drums of bulk grains like oats or beans that can be purchased cheaply now but will allow you to feed a small group of people a basic meal for several weeks. The small price of a few drums of grain could buy a lot of goodwill.
Being able to provide clean drinking water to a small group by purchasing a good spare water filter will help eliminate the spread of disease among the group. Having a few medications that can help a few individuals that do manage to become sick will mean a lot to their families. Having a few extra radios that the group can share will help with security for everyone. Having a means to provide a small power source for lighting or battery recharging could mean a great deal to those with no power. In some locations having an extra wood stove to share and some wood will provide these people with heat and cooking ability.
There are many little things that could be worth a great deal to unprepared survivors that will help to stabilize their situation and insure they do not become a hostile force you would eventually have to deal with. You may not be able to help everyone or provide everything they need but being able to help a few can have long term benefits.
In a survival situation there will be many that become threats to you no matter what you do but the more you can eliminate from that potential pool the safer life will be for you. No matter what type of event takes place or how long the effects last eventually there will come a time of stabilization. The type of people in control of that stable situation could be a good thing or a very bad thing. As a prepper you could have a lot of influence over the outcome.
By: Tom Chatham
Most people say they want to be free but will also say we must do as we are told. They see government controls as safety from the world surrounding them. You cannot be free and be under someone’s total control at the same time. They force compliance by threatening to take away the things you need.
The more independent from the system you are the less control they have on you. The less stuff you need the less money you will need. The less money you need the less dependant you will be on the source of that money and the financial system in general.
I have said before that in order to solve some of our problems, we need 20% of the people going back to live on small family farms. Living on a small farm reduces the amount of things you are dependant on from others.
A farm provides you with shelter, food, energy, clothing and employment just to name a few. Providing these things for yourself should not be underestimated when it comes to having more freedom. The more power you have over your life the more freedom you have.
You can build a home to live in of any shape and size without many of the rules and regulations that hamper city living. Governments like everything to conform to their visions and they could care less what you want. Many areas force you to build homes of a certain size and type to insure you will be paying sufficient property taxes every year.
On a farm you can grow the types of food you want without all of the pesticides and chemicals now used. You can produce your own electricity with solar and wind or fuels like biodiesel and ethanol from your own crops. You can choose to home school your kids and teach them a vocation at the same time. You can make some of your own clothes from the leather, wool or cotton you produce. You can free yourself from the bondage of working for a company where you could be fired at any time for any reason.
Being more independent does not mean you need a 200 acre farm. A small 5 or 10 acre farm will provide most of the things you need to get by and even excess to sell for income. By taking control of your life you inevitably achieve more freedom as time goes on.
As the government gets deeper into debt they will ultimately become more repressive as they try to strip assets away from individuals in order to stay afloat. The more dependant you are on the system, the easier it will be for them to do this. Those with no other recourse will have to grin and bear it. It does not have to be this way for you if you depend less on the system.
Being independent will allow you to stand your ground as others falter in the face of shortages and chaos. Being independent gives you options that the dependant will not have. You will have strength instead of fear.
When you have freedom you have the ability to follow your conscience instead of doing as you are told. Desperate people will often resort to desperate actions that lead to totalitarian practices. The only weapon that can defeat this is independence from the oppressive system some wish to impose on you.
The amount of freedom you possess is directly correlated to the amount of independence you have from controlled systems that are designed to keep you compliant. In the coming months this will become more evident to many that thought they had freedom just to find it was just an illusion. As governments at all levels become desperate to maintain their control and income, they will devolve into more despotic rule of the masses as they try to strip away the few remaining assets they can get their hands on. Those that do not have the means to resist will lose everything including their lives.
By: Tom Chatham
Rural America is dying a slow and miserable death but only the local inhabitants seem to notice. It was happening slowly but now it is happening faster. The crown jewels of the rural areas, the graduating children, are leaving and taking their potential with them. As rural businesses shut down and opportunities dwindle, younger people are leaving to seek out greener pastures. That is a travesty for small towns and the traditions they have maintained for generations.
There are two main reasons why the youth of America are leaving small towns. One is the economy and the other is the social environment. There are no good jobs and there is nothing to do outside of work. Growing youth need to be kept busy with something and lacking that they will seek out excitement. When the community they grow up in fails to provide them with the opportunities they need they eventually leave and never come back. This is leading to ever smaller towns that are beginning to disappear as the older generation dies off.
If rural communities want to reverse this trend they will have to solve those two problems. They will need to promote locally owned businesses to provide the jobs needed to keep people from moving to cities and they will need to provide a certain amount of entertainment to keep the youth happy.
Multinational companies have stripped the economic base out of small towns as the profits from these businesses get sent to wall street instead of being held locally providing capital for growth and innovation. Smaller local operations employing 5 to 10 people can capitalize on local resources to provide good paying jobs to entice the youth so they can stay local and start a family there. Replacing a few multinational companies with dozens of local operations will make the local area more resilient during economic downturns and insure local access to products produced there.
This type of return to a local economy will happen eventually anyway if economic conditions deteriorate to the point of cutting off goods and services to rural areas. Out of necessity these areas will reconstitute an economic base to provide necessities to the population unless government gets in the way. Multinational companies will pull out and go to where the money is in the world leaving the impoverished towns in their wake after having stripped them economically.
At that point the only question is whether the town is still big enough to rebuild a local economy or if the aging population will simply see the end of the community. With no youth to help rebuild the economy it will likely signal the end.
It has been said that the most important thing a farmer raises are a set of children with a good work ethic and a set of moral values. These two things are something that the current youth is desperately missing in America. As more people migrate to larger cities to find the life they seek, their urban children are left to their own devices as both of their parents work full time to provide a home where children no longer need to have a job and are entertained by the moral codes prevalent in the urban areas. This is creating a generation of entitlement minded youths that provide little value to their communities.
With fewer of these youths growing up in rural areas, the values that helped build this country are becoming obsolete. A new paradigm is building that will ultimately tear this country apart as the old world with its traditions and the new world with its entitlements fight for control. As the song says, you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything, is a lesson today’s youth will have to learn through bitter experience.
As rural areas go, so goes the nation. The destruction of our rural heritage will signal the coming of a new paradigm that is not sustainable and will provide no hope for future generations. Unfortunately, that is what certain groups are hoping for. The destruction of the nuclear family will provide a future of chaos and confusion and allow a select few to maintain power over the many. Unless there is a shift back to rural communities and local production soon, the future of this country will be very different from the past, and not for the better.
By: Tom Chatham
The black market is merely the free market operating in the shadows when government rules and regulations become so oppressive that everything begins to seize up and all commerce and production stop. People can be very creative when there are needs to be filled but government has a way of destroying that potential as they try to maintain control as they slowly lose power.
As the government destroys the economy, people will only play along for so long before they seek out the things they need from any source, legal or not. This is where the free market rises up in the shadows to fulfill those needs. Rules and regulations are no substitute for actual goods and services but this is a notion that is lost on politicians.
When goods begin to disappear from the marketplace, people will try to cope until things get better. But as goods get harder to find, not easier, people will seek them out from those that have them to offer. Those with the resources to provide these goods will soon appear in back alleys and the back of vehicles to sell their goods to anyone with the means to buy them.
Prices will often be higher than before due to supply and demand principles. If you have excess resources at this time you will be in a position to operate an underground business that can likely provide you with a good living. For those that desire those resources, a means to pay for them will be required. In most cases the paper currency normally used may be worthless at some point. Those that do not possess an alternative form of money will likely be left in want. This is the cold hard reality we must live with.
For those that do no see potential supply disruptions soon enough and lay in a supply of goods or alternative payment means, they will suffer from lack of goods they need for their very existence. Unfortunately this will be the fate of a majority of the population that expects things to always be as normal or the government to care for them. You do not want to be one of these people.
Setting aside extra supplies is a reasonable thing to do in these uncertain times. Having excess in a few items will allow you to trade for items later that you had not planned on or for services that cannot be stored for later use.
When systems collapse and black markets arise a good means of exchange can be found in gold and silver. These metals are universal stores of value and can be used to get many types of goods and services in desperate times. Those storing even a few silver coins will be in a better position to deal in the black market for items than someone with household items to trade. In desperate times some things are just worth more than others.
By understanding the dynamics that take place in a functioning black market you can position yourself to function with it and insure access to the things you need. Those selling on the black market are providing goods that are difficult to obtain in the legal marketplace. For this reason you will pay a premium for what you want
The prices may not seem fair to you but this is how the free market works and that is what you need to be prepared for if you want to get what you need. That is why you need to store some gold and silver for trade if you ever have to deal on the black market.
Why gold and silver? Because they are already recognized as a universal medium of exchange. Gold and silver are the best all around mediums of trade because they are compact wealth that can be stored for as long as you need.
There are other goods you can store that will be valuable depending on the specific circumstances. Things like storable food, medicine, booze, fuel, tobacco products and chocolate have proven to be good trading mediums in some cases. It all depends on the prevailing circumstances you find yourself in and how long the troubles persist.
When the current bubble economy collapses there will be a transition period between the time the bubbles burst and the time that prices stabilize with the introduction of a new currency. It is in this period that you need to have the means to acquire the goods you need. You must have a physical medium of exchange that exists outside of government and banking control. The current war on cash is a way to stifle any black market activity following a currency crisis keeping people dependent on banking services under government control.
Gold and silver provide a means to operate within a black market but outside of government controls. Those holding gold and silver will also find some very good deals that could set them up for success following stabilization if they have the means to take advantage of these deals during the turmoil. When the normal market collapses for whatever reason, you need to be in a position to function in the world that follows.
By: Tom Chatham
The recent cyber attack on computers worldwide is just the latest wakeup call to the future we are blindly building for ourselves. The vast majority of humanity embraces technology like it is their next breath of air. Without it, they feel like they will die.
Technology is a double edged sword that we wield that must be handled with care less we cut off one of our own limbs. Technology allows us to be more productive and work faster than without it but as we embrace more technology to relieve us of many manual tasks we must not let it rule our very existence.
Technology must be used as a lever, not a crutch. When we give up our ability to function in daily life and allow technology to rule our every move, we ultimately give up our freedom. To allow technology to dictate what we can do and when we can do it is to reduce ourselves to nothing more than compliant slaves to it.
When a hospital cannot perform operations or even see patients because their computers are down or we cannot communicate or travel because of computer hacking, we have allowed technology to become a crutch that prevents us from falling on our faces in its absence. When we cannot buy food or fuel or depend on electrical power for basic needs we have become too dependant on the technology we invented to assist us.
The use of technology is a good thing that allows us to move forward and build things we never dreamed of before but when it becomes a weakness, we need to reexamine our use of it. If we become so dependant on technology that we cannot function without it we are preparing ourselves for a doomsday scenario when it eventually fails and we are helpless to care for ourselves.
It is only logical to have backup systems to utilize in the event our technology fails for some reason. This is the whole reason we have people to warn us before hand such as the EMP Commission to tell us we are in danger if certain events happen. Technology provides us with many good things but it also leaves us susceptible to many bad things as well if we ignore our responsibility to use it wisely and not become too dependant on it.
Many people today can actually have withdrawal symptoms if they lose access to their technology for any length of time. This should be an alarm to society but most just brush it off as fear mongering. When the loss of technology causes a business to completely stop operations, that should be an indication they do not have sufficient backup systems to fall back on.
One of the prime tenants of the prepper movement is that they have multiple backup systems to rely on if technology stops working. This is just a logical step taken by people that have taken the time to analyze the threats posed by the loss our technology and determine action is warranted for the preservation of life following certain events. The less technology you require to take care of daily activities, the more freedom you have to live a normal life.
Most people still do not take the threat of technological disruptions to society seriously. They think that if something happens, someone will fix it and life will go on as normal. What they refuse to contemplate is if something happens and nobody can fix it. As society moves along this technological road they become more dependent on it and the risk to their lives increases as they lose the ability to do basic tasks. Hopefully this latest cyber attack will instill in people the need to have backup systems in place to continue their daily activities and live life as a free person and not be a slave to the technology they so eagerly seek.
By: Tom Chatham
If you realize that we live in an ever changing and dangerous world where anything could happen at any time then you have probably also realized that you should have a plan to provide resources you need if the supply system is ever cut off. This mindset takes you into the realm of prepping.
The amount of preparations you have is relative to the type and extent of the event you are planning for. The problem is that we never know just how bad an event will be until it happens. Many intelligent people have supplies laid in just in case they need them but what will you do when they run out? We hope any event will be short in duration but what happens if it lasts for decades?
You may have a small farm to rely on but even if it is designed to be largely self sufficient, you will still run into problems later on. For instance, if you have a solar or wind system for power generation, what will you do when the batteries finally fail to work? Even the best lead acid battery will begin to fail after 10 years of use. What will you do then? There are other types of batteries but they all will fail at some point. Some batteries can last many decades such as nickel-iron batteries if you can replace the electrolyte every decade but that would require you to look ahead and store extra chemicals for that job.
If you farm and you need to buy fertilizer, seeds and fuel every year, what will you do when those supplies are cut off? There are ways around those problems such as using manure from your livestock to fertilize fields, using bio-diesel or wood gas for fuel and cultivating open pollinated seeds for future use. All of these solutions require prior planning to utilize them if it is necessary. And for machinery, keep in mind that you may be able to make fuel but lubricating oil and filters are a different matter that will require storage of extra supplies that you cannot make yourself.
Growing and canning your own foods is a smart move but do you have the supplies to do it indefinitely? If you use disposable canning lids how long will your supply last? If you use reusable canning lids and store extra rubber gaskets you will be able to can for many decades.
Following any large event that shuts down the grid or distribution system for several months or more, the supplies you need will not suddenly reappear on store shelves immediately following power restoration, transportation and banking. Many factories will have ceased operation during the event and may never reopen. The production and distribution system is a hardy weed but it will not reappear overnight once it has been shut down and you need to understand that and prepare accordingly.
Most people have a planning horizon of only a week or month at best. Preppers extend that to several months or a few years. If you really think we are headed for some type of catastrophic event then your planning horizon needs to be 5, 10 even 20 years out to foresee any problems you may have and plan your logistics to compensate for it.
Planning for the unknown 20 years out is a big step and the cost of some of the projected logistics could be enormous but simply looking at the problems now and coming up with cost effective solutions can have enormous benefits in the future.
Having a few basic tools and the knowledge to make leather shoes or boots can guarantee you a supply of footwear in the future. Having a sewing machine, spinning wheel, loom and some cotton seeds can provide you with the ability to make clothing indefinitely. A small charcoal foundry will allow you to make many types of metal products.
While we may not want to resort to these primitive types of production, it may be your only option if the worst happens. Simply having the materials and knowledge to resort to these types of production can be inexpensive today but priceless tomorrow if they are ever needed.
Looking ahead today and planning for tomorrow will allow you to deal with anything life throws at you in the future. The more resourceful you can become now, the more likely you will have a good quality of life in the future. It all starts with planning.
By: Tom Chatham
One thing many homesteaders and farmers need is extra income, especially if they are new to the area. It can be difficult getting a market established if you have to compete with others that are veterans to the local market. Producing a product is usually easier than finding enough return customers to make the farm sustainable. In this situation you need to think of unconventional services and products you can provide to fill the financial gap.
Rent RV storage space- There are many people that have RV’s or camper trailers for traveling or even bug out use if the need arises. These people may not have the room to store these items where they live or an economical place to store them. By providing a few parking spaces in an out of the way area on your land you can give them a cheap alternative.
Rent storage lockers- It seems everywhere you go these days you see storage units. One way to separate yourself from the pack is to offer these services to urban and suburban preppers that may not have a place to bug out if things get bad in the cities and need a place for their extra stuff. A 20’ cargo container makes a great storage locker and a potential temporary shelter.
Sell bulk grains to individuals- If you only grow a few acres of grains you want to get the maximum price for them so why not sell directly to people who want to store bulk grains. These people are usually willing to pay prices that are premium for the farmer but still lower than people can get from retailers. If you can process these grains as well into flour, cornmeal or rolled oats, you can get even better prices from potential customers.
Make your farm a vacation destination- If you have sufficient area to park a few RV’s or camping sites, your farm could become a seasonal vacation site for some people. If you can also offer things like a small store, horseback riding, swimming pool, fishing or hiking then you have something to draw people in. You could even offer the “farm experience” where they help slop the pigs, collect eggs or milk the cow.
Bug out site for urban dwellers- You could go one step further with the RV parking space and allow extra footage so a person could park their RV, have a storage unit and have room to plant a garden. This might be very appealing to many preppers that see the need to get out of the cities at some point but have no place to go long term.
Just over an acre of land can provide 12 50’x75’ blocks for rent. A road down the center of the area with blocks on either side and a gravel pad down one side of each block to place the storage container and park the RV is all that is needed. At $75 per month per block, a farmer could potentially make $10,800 per year if all blocks are rented. For the price of a monthly cable bill you could provide someone with storage space and a place to camp anytime they wanted.
When you have to compete with others in a small market, it may be necessary to find that niche that others do not see that you can fill. With the large number of preppers scattered around the country, this segment of society may be a good demographic to target for services they cannot find elsewhere.
We see offers for food storage and survival land for sale but seldom do you see anything in between that people with limited funds can afford. A bugout camping site on a farm may look very appealing to many on a limited budget that see the need. If the need ever arose the farmer would have likeminded people on site that would be of great benefit to him. If the world suddenly turns into a lemon, it would be good to have people around to help make lemonade.