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
It is the conclusion of many that in any serious world altering event it will likely be far safer in a rural location than an urban one. Many of the hazards we face during and following any event can largely be reduced to one main threat. People. The more people there are in a disaster area the more competition there will be for any resources that are necessary for life. Population density can become a serious threat in and of itself.
For this reason the rural retreat is seen as the answer to reducing many of the threats we are likely to face. While rural areas offer many advantages, they are still prone to situations that can be detrimental to survival. As I have often stated, those who prepare and have a rural home still need to be concerned about the possibility you may have to bug out of your location. The recent fires in eastern Tennessee are a case in point.
The rural areas hit by these fires could be seen as ideal retreat locations due to their remote locations, low population density and closeness to a national forest. Even with all of these things going for you it is still possible to be forced out of your retreat location by natural and man made forces. It is for this reason that alternative sites should be surveyed ahead of time in the event you have to leave in a hurry.
It is also important to know when to leave. As we have seen with these fires, many people were virtually trapped and unable to evacuate. They waited too long and then had to hope for the best as fires swept through the towns and communities. Roads became blocked with burning trees as people rushed to get out. This situation could have ended much worse than it did.
Having a rural retreat location to hunker down in is preferred but you must take stock of other dangers once you are there. Natural disasters like fires, floods, earthquakes and tornados or dangers such as war or a social breakdown can make your safe haven a death trap. It does not matter if it is a fire or a group of scavengers moving across the land, you will be in great danger at some point unless you have planned for that eventuality.
Even a simple plan can be lifesaving when the time comes. Simply having a hidden cellar where you can store your extra supplies or even your family until the danger is past can make a lot of difference. Having a cellar dug in deeply at some place away from your primary residence that is protected from natural or manmade forces can provide you with options in an emergency.
Having a bug out plan for your retreat is also an option depending on the danger. There are times when leaving is the only option to stay alive. Having some of your supplies stored in a small trailer that can be quickly hooked up to your vehicle can make evacuation much faster. This trailer can also be set up to provide a makeshift shelter until you can return home or to a safe area. You are only limited by your imagination.
Many people live in urban areas and do not have the luxury of moving to a safer area. When disaster strikes, these people can be in the most danger and they need to have a plan to relocate by some means in the event it is required. These people are still at risk of fires , floods and earthquakes not to mention social disorders that can make their current position untenable. For urban dwellers a simple plan of relocation along with resources to support yourself is necessary.
For these people, having a plan to shelter in place under most circumstances is reasonable and proper but there may come a time when you must go. It is important that you realize the implications to you and your family if you fail to at least consider the possibility of evacuation under certain conditions and have a plan to carry it out.
Many people are breathing a sigh of relief now that Trump has been elected but our problems are not over by any means. The many dangers we face in the future are still present and just waiting to unfold. Those that are easing up on their preparations should not be led into a false sense of security. Now is the time to be even more vigilant and review your preparations just in case things do not go as planned.
Of all the dangers we can face our own lack of preparedness is the one most easily corrected and reduced to a negligible level. You do not need to be wealthy to take simple common sense steps to reduce the hazards we will all face at some point in the future. As we have seen in the past, our worst enemy is our own lack of imagination to the threats we can face and the actions we can take to deal with them before they get out of hand and become too big to deal with in a timely manner. There will always be threats to our existence and we will have to face them with a plan or suffer the consequences of our inaction.
By: Tom Chatham
Most people that take future disruptions to their lives as a given usually go to the next step and have a backup plan to deal with those disruptions. Some people set aside extra money to pay for unexpected breakdowns or appliance repair. Some set aside money to pay rent and utilities in the event of job loss or sickness. Some set aside supplies in the event of natural or man made disasters that cut off their normal supply systems. Some even prepare for world altering disasters that may only happen once in a millennium.
In any case people are taking responsibility for their own well being and doing what they think is reasonable diligence given the uncertain world we live in. Do you have a backup plan to deal with any disruptions in your normal daily life? If you do not, then why not? Now is a good time to sit down and contemplate some of the things that could alter your life but could be substantially minimized if you only take some preventive actions now.
Disasters that can prevent you from going about your daily routine for an extended period of time can be life altering. Especially if these disruptions prevent you from acquiring the basic necessities of life you have come to depend on. The inability to satisfy your needs can be depressing and even life threatening at some point. The following is just one of many ways you can reduce possible problems to mere inconveniences with just a little though and preparation. This list only lists food and energy in the solutions but can be expanded to include anything you might deem necessary. Just think of it as a starting point.
Normal operations in your daily life that encompass small manageable problems that everybody faces from time to time.
Mitigation options: Maintain 30 days worth of money to deal with unexpected financial problems.
Temporary disruptions that disrupt your daily routine and can prevent you from doing certain tasks that need to be done. The disruption will limit your access to food, water and energy resources for up to two weeks. It can be a power outage, cyber attack, natural disaster or man made disaster.
Mitigation options: Generator with 20 gallons of fuel storage, battery pack with power inverter to reduce generator use, canned foods, water storage, cash on hand.
Long term disruptions that alter your daily routine and can prevent you from doing certain tasks. This disruption will eliminate all availability of food and energy resources for the duration of the emergency. The situation is much like a temporary disruption except it can last much longer putting the health and welfare of the population in serious risk.
Mitigation options: generator with at least 50 gallons of fuel, batteries with power inverter, solar and wind generation as backup, larger food stores or garden production, water filtration and storage, alternative fuel source ie: wood gas or biogas system, wood stove with wood supply.
This could be a long term disruption that falls outside of normal circumstances. It could be something like an EMP or CME that takes down the technological infrastructure. It can also encompass your response to a long term disaster that goes beyond the limits of your technological preparations in earlier plans.
Mitigation options: Oil lamps and lamp fuel, hand operated water pumps for wells, water filters, gas stove with bio gas fuel or wood stove with wood supply, absorption refrigeration with bio gas system.
This is merely an example of how you can break down potential problems and devise solutions to the type of situation. It also allows you to jump ahead to the proper plan given the known problem allowing you to react in a timely fashion. The faster you can respond to the problem the better you will be able to limit the negative effects on you.
In many disasters it is all too familiar to see people running around in a daze not knowing what to do. It is these people that present the greatest threat to keeping society stable when things seem to fall apart quickly. The more that you can reduce disasters to mere inconveniences the better off you and your community will be. Having a plan and resources standing by when that happens is instrumental to maintaining order and allowing some type of recovery to begin.
Granted, living in a rural area on a few acres of land will give you many options that an apartment dweller will not have so it is important to do a realistic appraisal of your situation and determine the best course of action in the event of a disaster. Your plan needs to be tailored to you and no one else. This is why you must give considerable thought to it and not just try to copy the plan of others. While others may have very good ideas to incorporate into your plan your plan must work for you when the time comes.
A plan does not have to be complicated or expensive, it just needs to work. When it comes to disasters the greatest asset you have is your own mind. Expanding your knowledge base and just taking the time to think through different situations will greatly increase your response to situations that might send your neighbors over the edge. When disaster strikes, how you are able to respond will determine how well you get through it so give yourself every opportunity to stay safe and healthy.
By: Tom Chatham
The current declining state of the economy is just the first leg in a long journey to the bottom of the pit of misery we will all know in the coming years. The cycle of business has been turned on its head as bankers rush to save themselves and their ill gotten loot. Never in the course of human history has so much been stolen from so many by so few. All of the human labor that has been converted into wealth has been diverted to the ruling elite and now that they have gotten all that they can get they will pull out of the system and let everything else crash. It is a slow process as they move their wealth around to insure most of it survives but when they reach that point the lowly masses will see the next leg of the greater depression unfold.
The withdrawal of this wealth from the markets will insure the system crumbles and what little that is left will be fought over by the masses as they scramble for dwindling resources. The life work of many people will be reduced to a few scraps of worthless paper in the end. After these people realize they have been robbed they will look for the person to blame but the machinations of the elite will insure this anger is redirected to other priorities. When the masses are reduced to poverty and misery they will then be subjected to war. This is the slight of hand that will keep the bankers safe for the time being. Hopefully by the time the war is over the masses will be so glad, they will have forgotten how it all began.
As the wealth is pulled out of the financial system the distribution system will begin to crumble from lack of credit to function in the just in time delivery system we now employ. This breakdown will seem like a slow motion train wreck as things slowly get worse until they simply stop one day. Truckers are now in survival mode as loads are drying up nationwide. Hundreds of locomotives are now parked on rail sidings because there is no freight to move. Major retailers are closing hundreds of stores and laying off workers because consumers no longer have the credit they need to maintain their former lifestyles.
Hanjin, one of the largest freight carriers in the world is now in bankruptcy and the 500,000 containers filled with goods still on their ships are now in limbo. Some are now using the word chaos to describe what is happening as customers and manufacturers rush to find new carriers and get their containers of goods back. This is just the first crack in the global distribution system that we are seeing and more cracks will appear in the future as shippers succumb to lower shipping rates and fewer goods to haul. Most of the goods and about 50% of the food eaten in the U.S. is imported. As these goods stop flowing into the country the population will see their standard of living get worse.
This loss of goods will trigger internal strife and fighting among the population as they seek to maintain their living standards. Unlike our ancestors who knew how to live in hard times, the snowflake generation will be unable to adjust to the desperate times. This combined with the over medication of our population will make the world a very dangerous place. Society will gyrate from withdrawal and fear to fits of rage on a regular basis and this will do little to help the average person make things better as we try to work through our problems as a nation.
Unlike previous hard times when people worked together and made the tough decisions needed to recover, the future will be very different. It will be a time of chaos, deceit, violence and lack of sympathy toward others. Families will be torn apart and social groups will fight one another. The war that comes may very well be on our own shores this time and Americans will be the cannon fodder for the global cover-up of theft and mismanagement of resources.
The coming days will truly try mens souls as we each work to live day to day and survive the turmoil that follows. Each person will need to understand the changes that are to come and determine what infrastructure they will need to get by for the several years that anarchy will rule. They need to know what they will need to do now so they will have the resources available when they need them. When the social safety nets collapse they may not have anyone to turn to for their needs. The future may seem bleak but the human spirit is more than able to compensate and see us through if we allow it and we all rise to our potential.
In times like this it is all too easy to allow a country to slip into a dictatorship in the hopes that some strong man will fix our woes but that never happens in the real world. The fundamental loss of freedoms will lead to more misery and poverty as the few remaining resources are diverted to the ruling class and the excess goods are used as a weapon to control the masses. Those that do not go along to get along will find themselves hunted as enemies of the state and see neighbors turn into informants to stay in the good graces of the state.
The only recourse in times like this are to become invisible and stay out of the way of the state while you work behind the scenes to undermine the states power and control through covert methods. Being off the beaten path will be the best method of survival that will allow you the most freedom to utilize natural resources and live a decent life away from the machinations of those that would enslave you for their own purposes. Hard times are coming and ignoring this will not change the future it will just make your life that much harder. Times change but how well you live through them is entirely up to you.
By: Tom Chatham
Should you dig in or bug out? That is a question many people will have to ask themselves at some point in the future. That answer will be different for many people due to a range of circumstances and conditions.
What is right for one person and location may be lethal for someone else in another location. That is why you need to have situational awareness and critical thinking ability. You need to analyze the threats and determine the best course of action in that time and place. What once was a safe location could quickly become a death trap if you fail to see the changing situation. This is why normalcy bias kills.
Just like a person who loses their job and decides to stay where they are and continue life as normal while watching their savings quickly depleting. They fail to look ahead and contemplate the dangers if they take no action. If they did an honest assessment and determined they probably will not find a new job before they run out of money and lose their home, they would come to that conclusion while they still had resources to work with and determine a safer course of action.
Your knowledge, location and preparedness level will largely determine what you should do at any given time. When disaster arrives what you do and when you do it will determine how well you overcome the problems and make it to the end.
If you live in a large city and something happens that destroys basic services and the ability to care for your family, you may not have much time to act. In some situations you must act before the disaster strikes if you are to have any chance of getting through it. Hurricane Katrina is a good example. Martial law that cuts off cities from surrounding areas is another.
In most survival situations your chances of survival in a rural area is about 10 times better than in a city. That is because you have lower population density and you are surrounded by the resources you need to survive. That means fewer people competing for those resources. You also have the space to produce more resources that you need over time.
Even in the country you will face dangers and have to determine if you should stay in place or move to another location. Fires, floods or roving bands of survivors from other places may make a rural location unsafe. You need to see those dangers coming before they happen and decide your best course of action.
In the end, your knowledge, location and preparedness level will help you decide what you should do before you find yourself in a situation you cannot get out of. There are many unknowns when a disaster happens. Being prepared and having thought through some of those potential problems reduces some of those unknowns so that you can make good decisions. The better informed that you are, the better your decisions will be.
The decision to dig in or bug out will be a pivotal moment in your life because it will have serious repercussions on future events. You need to make decisions that greatly enhance your chances to survive not put you in more danger. You need to expand your comfort zone to allow you to think outside of normal situations and doing so will help eliminate your normalcy bias and give you the best chance to make good decisions in a timely manner. When the worst happens, you may not have the benefit of someone else telling you what to do, it will be up to you to make those decisions. Once you make a decision you will have to live with it.
By: Tom Chatham
We all like to think that even if something catastrophic happens we will still have at least some access to electricity to run some of our most critical items. It is in our nature to be optimistic when it comes to our well being. Unfortunately the universe has no limit to the ways it can harm us. Whether through natural or manmade occurrences, we are subject to crisis at any time.
It is this potential for hardship that we are required as thinking persons to take due diligence and insure we can overcome potential events at least to some degree. Preparedness allows us to exert a certain amount of control over what happens to us.
It does not matter if it is a hurricane, earthquake, CME or war. How well we cope with the event is entirely up to us. When the worst of events happen we are forced back onto our own resources until things stabilize and resupply of basic needs is restored. In some cases it could be weeks or even years before this stabilization happens and distribution systems are reestablished. This will depend on the type of event and its damaging effects.
When the worst happens and society as a whole is stripped of its modern conveniences, only those that can cope with the new reality will likely survive. This means knowing how to use the ways of past generations to get by from day to day. Survival will depend on how prepared you are to revert to these older techniques to fulfill logistical needs. Here are some of the major items you will need to deal with when the worst happens.
Water sources and pumping –
Finding and retrieving clean water is a critical need when services are cut off for extended durations. Knowing where to go locally to find clean water and having a way to collect it and carry it home become life saving measures. Having the means to filter water or knowing how to build devices to do so becomes priceless knowledge.
Growing food –
Having food stores is essential to staying alive following an event until distribution and production systems are working again. Storable food gives you the time to find new sources of food or to begin growing your own food. The ability to grow your own food provides you with a sustainable source of food for indefinite periods of time. Extra food production also gives you a product to trade with.
Storing food –
Once you have food you must have a way to store it until you use it. Different foods have different storage requirements and shelf life. You may need several types of storage to satisfy all of your needs. Root cellars, dehydration, canning and salting are some of the most popular methods that do not require electricity to maintain food supplies.
Providing heat and light –
Providing heat and light without electricity will require primitive methods to some extent. Wood stoves for heating and cooking are necessities over long periods of time. Some stoves with glass doors will even provide some light. Oil lamps and candles are the most basic types of home lighting. In desperate situations it is possible to make additional candles and produce liquids to burn in lamps.
When modern types of transportation no longer work you must cultivate older systems to fulfill your needs. Bicycles, horses, boats and walking will be the fallback systems most will use when modern systems fail.
Without electricity to send and receive signals from afar, older more local systems will be required. Bike or horse messengers will become standard again. For more technical minded people like ham radio operators, Morse code can still be utilized with the use of signal mirrors or signal lamps. Message boards at central locations will be useful for dispersion of information to local populations.
Poor sanitation has the ability to kill more people than anything else on Earth. We see it all the time following major disasters. Whatever your living situation is now, it could drastically change within minutes. Understanding proper sanitation methods such as how to build an outhouse in your yard can mean the difference between life and death. You need to know how you will dispose of waste safely if your current system stops working. This is especially true if you live in a city where your options may be limited.
In the old days before telephones, the sheriff was a long ride away. Any imminent threats had to be dealt with by you. That can happen again and does following some disasters. Being able to keep your surroundings safe following some event will allow you to start the rebuilding process. Lack of a safe area makes survival much harder especially long term.
Long ago when a person got sick they either sent for the doctor or carried the sick person to him. This usually required actual horse power in either case meaning it was slow. When this happens today we have the advantage of having modern medicines and equipment to keep people alive when they would have likely died in the past. Many of these modern techniques and medicines can be maintained by individuals to insure they are available to injured persons if help cannot come. Knowledge of medical procedures and organic medicines would be necessary if a long term disaster occurred.
The possibility of total loss of electrical production and electrical devices is very small but not impossible. The only way to be fully prepared for any type of event is to assume the worst case will happen and have a plan to deal with the needs of the community. It is good to have back up equipment to satisfy your needs but some natural disasters can destroy that equipment leaving you only the most basic means to work with. When that happens what you know becomes very important.
Knowing how to take care of basic needs for long durations without the aid of modern conveniences becomes more critical as the world around us becomes more automated and technologically based. Many people today cannot function when something as simple as a power outage or communication outage occurs. They have forgotten how to think for themselves and think through the most simple problems.
If the worst should happen such as an earthquake or major war, leaving you cut off from modern services, it will be up to you to work through the problems you face with the tools available to you. Help may not come for a very long time and if that happens your life will be in your hands.
By: Tom Chatham
Everyone has been telling you for the past week what to do to get ready for the coming weather but you also need to think about what you need to do when it is over. There are three periods you need to think about when doing any planning.
The pre-event planning
The event actions
The post event actions
You always hear about the actions you need to take before and during any planned event but you seldom hear about what you need to do after it has passed. Your post event actions related to smaller events will result in better preparedness the next time you face a similar or larger event.
The actions you take following smaller events will ensure you are better prepared for the larger events you may face in the future. Once an event is over there are certain things you need to think about while it is fresh in your mind.
What went right during the event?
What things went wrong during the event?
What could you do differently the next time to make things better?
You also need to think about your equipment following the event. You need to service anything you used that needs regular servicing. You need to replace any supplies you used like food, batteries and fuel. You need to repackage your supplies for the next event to insure they are ready for use.
Once an event is over it is all to easy to just toss your equipment aside until you feel like putting it away properly but you never know just when another event will occur without warning and you will be caught unprepared.
It is also easy to forget what problems you faced during the event until the next time when it happens again and you suddenly remember what you failed to do this time. Having a written after action review will provide you with a learning tool to make every event better than the last. It can help you fine tune your actions during an event and determine what you are missing and things you might not need.
This AAR is something that should include input from the whole family. It only takes a few minutes to do and it will help the whole family feel like they have some control over your preparations. Since your preparations must keep everyone happy during the event their input is important.
Everyone goes through the first two actions but few if any do the necessary follow up with an AAR to resolve the problems. This is one thing that many plans lack and needs to be addressed now when the events are minor and there is the opportunity to fix the problems while you have the means to do so.
By: Tom Chatham
Most thinking people have a backup plan for disasters of some kind but do you have a final default plan if everything goes wrong? That is to say, do you have a final last ditch plan to provide the basic things you and your family need if all other plans fail.
I have written before that you should have a few thousand dollars set aside in the event things go wrong and you are forced to resort to a backup plan to insure your family has the basic things they need. This backup money would be used to create your backup system and not to continue living your normal life until all of your resources are gone leaving you no good options.
That basic plan was based around having or getting a good used camper trailer and a cheap tow vehicle you could pay cash for. Then buying a years worth of basic food items to put in it and some clothing for each member of the family. You would then want to get a basic rifle or shotgun and ammo for hunting and self defense. With this basic setup you could continue to care for your family even in the worst situation where you lose your job, savings, mortgaged home and vehicle.
Having a backup system like that would be ideal for many people but there may be many that do not have the financial means for even that these days. It has been reported that most Americans have less than $5,000 saved up for retirement and many have nothing at all. For these persons, losing the little bit that you now have would be devastating. It would mean losing all of the support structures you need to take care of your family.
In this event you would still need a basic system to take care of your family. There may come a day when you will not have the advantage of collecting money from the social safety net. If that system fails along with the economic system you will be forced to live with what you have on hand. For those with limited financial abilities, you will still need to develop a fallback plan.
A very basic plan would include buying a good four season cabin tent that you and your family could live in year round if necessary. Each person should have a good cold weather sleeping bag good to at least zero degrees. You will need a set of camping cookware and cooking utensils. A good backpack for each person and a good set of hiking boots per person in addition to suitable clothing for your area year round. You should have at a minimum a water filter, an axe, bow saw, hunting knife and shovel. Add to this a good rifle or shotgun with ammo for hunting and self defense.
You should have sufficient food supplies to last for at least two months. Since you might be carrying this along with your other supplies you will need to keep food items very basic and light. Rolled oats, rice, dried beans, cornmeal, flour or pancake mix, honey, salt, spices and powdered drink mix.
Any equipment and supplies beyond these that you can manage will make life that much easier long term. Keep in mind that if you find yourself in this type of situation, it will likely be something that will last for quite some time meaning months or years.
With these supplies you would have the ability to move into a wooded area, possibly on the edge of a national park, and set up a camp. It would need to be near a water source but off the beaten path. With the basic tools you have you would have the ability to construct a dugout in the side of a hill to provide better shelter than your tent. With local building materials you would be able to construct a hillside shelter with overhead cover and even build a basic fireplace in it for cooking and heating.
This type of backup plan may not only be necessary during an end of the world situation but during current economic disruptions such as what happened in 2008. Even now, there are many people living in tents around the country due to their current economic situation. This is happening at a time when social services and government agencies are available to help. Just imagine what it would look like if these agencies ceased operations. While this is a level if existence you should try to avoid, it could happen if you fail to plan to prevent it.
This type of plan is your last line of defense when everything goes wrong and nothing else is available. No matter how well you may have planned for future disruptions, you need to have a very basic plan standing by at the bottom of your list that can prevent a total collapse of your living standards. Sitting on a street corner or in the woods with no supplies and no way to care for yourself is the last thing you want. Even if you have a good fallback plan keep in mind that something could happen that destroys that plan. If you are forced to flee you may only have what you can carry to start over somewhere else so you should know exactly what to grab if that eventuality ever happens. People always hope for the best but reality has a way of making life hard at times.
Nobody would want to resort to this level of living but the fact is many have and will suffer from events out of their control and how well they live afterwards depends on how well they are prepared to deal with it. If you fail to prepare for the worst you may be condemned to suffer through it when it happens. Preparing does not have to be expensive. It costs nothing to sit down and write out a plan of action utilizing the resources you have on hand now and working to fill any gaps you identify in that plan as time and money permits. Your well being is your responsibility so provide yourself a plan to succeed.
By: Tom Chatham
Many people now feel that pending trouble is in the air. They may not know what or why but they can feel it deep in their bones. For these people the urge to prepare for potential problems is now incorporated into their everyday lives. When something far reaching and catastrophic happens the ability of groups and communities to pull together is one way to deal with the aftermath and work through the problems to remain safe and healthy.
When something happens that may prevent outside help from reaching you, it is necessary to have the infrastructure and supplies to help yourself until the situation stabilizes. For the group or community there are certain actions that can be taken beforehand to insure the group can sustain themselves for the duration.
A potable water supply must be present to sustain the group for as long as necessary. The water source must be available when current systems may be interrupted or destroyed due to the emergency. A water filtering system must be available when necessary to filter any suspect water from potentially contaminated sources.
A supply of food must be stocked to insure the group can maintain their health and strength. It is easy enough to store food for individuals or small groups but there must be a system in place to store extra for those that have no supplies for various reasons. If the community can be fed after an event it will greatly decrease the potential for acts of violence and help maintain order. This can be accomplished by storing bulk items for use by large populations. Grain bunkers can be constructed to store bulk grains for this purpose. A minimum of one bushel each of wheat, oats, corn, beans and rice per person per year for the expected population will provide the basics for feeding the affected population following the event. Any food items beyond this would be of additional benefit.
A team to assist those in need that may be trapped or injured must be available. This is where the local civil defense unit would be useful following an event. The local CD unit should be able to provide search and rescue, shelter, medical help, food and leadership after an event that may destroy local infrastructure and leadership.
A team to provide security for the group must be available to insure the groups safety. The local volunteer militia group, with the necessary training would work with the CD unit to maintain order and security to the population after an event. Some events have the ability to destroy local law enforcement abilities or at the least overwhelm their abilities to maintain order causing even more chaos.
Energy systems to provide power for necessary infrastructure to rebuild and repair systems to enhance and support a decent quality of life for the group. Electrical power to provide heat, cooking, lights, communications and water pumping are essential to long term living. Liquid fuels to provide transportation and generating capability will be needed in the days following any event. The ability to provide at least some power from sources such as solar and wind will greatly reduce the need to store large quantities of fuel and lesson the impact of loosing these supplies.
Safe shelter is necessary to provide protection from the elements and potential hazardous conditions that may exist as a result of the emergency. In these modern times the threat of an NBC event is as likely as any natural catastrophe. Many of the sheltering needs are similar in these events and any overlap will reduce costs in preparing for these eventualities.
The ability of the government to respond to emergencies is limited and requires days before help arrives in many cases. Any large scale event that affects a wide region or the whole nation will overwhelm government resources to the point that many localities may not get the necessary help. In this event it will be up to each locality to provide their own emergency management and solve their problems locally. In most cases emergency management is directed to survival of government operations and civilian populations only receive excess resources from government entities.
In some cases such as an act of war, events may eliminate government at some or all levels and necessitate that communities help themselves. If the community relies solely on government preparations and leadership and suddenly finds that entity gone or even hostile to the people, chaos can grow very quickly destroying any continuity that still remains among the population. Having a civilian group outside of government control to administer to the community today is not only logical but imperative given the nature of events that continue to unfold.
Of all the preparations that should be addressed by local communities, the need to have bulk food supplies available is the most pressing. Storing several hundred bushels of grain may seem too much for the average citizen but it is not beyond the abilities of many farmers. In the event of any supply disruptions, locally available food supplies will determine whether the community can maintain continuity for the duration. As it stands now, most large cities will collapse and most small towns will follow during any supply disruption. The government no longer stores sufficient grain to supply the civilian population in the face of any catastrophic event. It is therefore up to each community to take the necessary steps today to insure survivability if the worst should happen.
By: Tom Chatham
When the grid power that you depend on suddenly stops for an extended time, you need an alternative supply to work with. If you have an off grid home you will have the same options to look at for power. The main thing is if you are living off grid for extended periods you will need to analyze how you create and utilize that power.
Using a backup generator for a few days every year is a far cry from providing all of your power on a continuous basis. A backup generator is great but most of them are not built to provide power on a continuous basis. Even if you had the fuel supply to run it for a year it is likely your generator will break down after only a few hundred hours if you are even that lucky. I have seen a brand new generator suffer an electrical failure after the first hour of operation with no load on it. The motor had to have an electrical component replaced inside the motor which required a mechanic with the proper tools and the replacement part.
For those that want or need to live off the grid it is necessary to look at the power system and understand where the weak links are. If you find yourself in a situation where you must provide all of the maintenance and repairs yourself, you must have the necessary tools and repair parts as well as the knowledge to do the job. In a longterm situation, the simpler the system is the more reliable it will be and the less you will need to fix over time. There are systems that are well made if you can afford them, and they will give many years of service but eventually you will run into the same problem. You may be called on to repair them some day and most people are not prepared to do that.
If you are contemplating a retreat to shelter you from some kind of catastrophic event, you will want something that the average person can work on and maintain with minimal effort for thousands of hours. It is common to find that the most efficient and easy to use systems are filled with high tech components that the average person does not understand and has no hope of fixing given a component breakdown. The more electrical components you have in your power chain from the generator to the appliance you wish to run, the more chance you have for a failure of some type that requires replacement of a component or equipment to restore electrical power.
Living off grid you have three basic choices for electrical power. You can have no electrical power, use 110v AC or 12v DC. In many cases you will have a combination of AC and DC components. To keep things simple you may want to analyze your situation and determine if using only 12v DC power may be best longterm.
Utilizing only 12v systems will greatly simplify your system and make it easier for the average person to fix when something breaks. A pure 12v system works well with alternative power generation such as solar, wind and hydro. In most cases you are generating power and storing it in a battery bank for later use. If your appliance is 12v DC you will be able to run this item straight off the battery system . In this instance you have reduced your components to the very minimum. Generator, regulator, battery and appliance. This is basically how the electrical system on a car is set up.
This very basic electrical system is easy to maintain, very durable and easy to repair. An automotive alternator can operate for thousands of hours and can be rebuilt with a few tools and repair parts by anyone with some mechanical ability. The automotive regulator either internal or external is easy to replace and easy to stock extras for future use. There are many 12v DC appliances available that can be useful in an off grid household to include refrigerators and freezers.
When thinking of longterm use the fewer appliances you have the easier it will be to provide the power you need. Having only a few necessary appliances and some 12v lighting will allow you to harden your system and get the most out of it over time. With a 12v system you can still utilize 110v appliances when needed utilizing power inverters but in the event these components become inoperative you will still have the use of your 12v system for full utilization.
You may still need a motor to turn your alternator but you will have more options to do so. You can use a small air cool motor that you already have and if it breaks you have the ability to replace it with another one. You can even use your car to provide the power and use it to charge a battery pack. The ability to power engines with homemade fuel also allows you to generate power when fuel is hard to find.
Making automotive alternators the center of your power system will give you much more flexibility over time. It is much easier to find another alternator than an AC generator especially in desperate times when everyone is looking for them. The same can be said for power inverters. We have an AC generator for emergency use but to date it has not been used.
In the past when we have suffered power outages lasting for days we have used a home built system. We take the motor off of our rotor tiller and bolt it to a board with an automotive alternator. This system charges a set of deep cycle batteries. We then hook a power inverter to the battery pack to run the freezer. With this type of system we can run the motor only a few hours a day and have uninterrupted power all day and night. This helps to conserve limited fuel supplies and limit’s the wear and tear on the motor.
When the power goes out we take everything out of the kitchen freezer and put it in the deep freezer. We then place gallon jugs in the deep freezer to freeze and rotate these into the refrigerator to keep it cool. This allows us to keep everything refrigerated and only have to power one appliance to conserve on power.
Having some type of plan to maintain power to essential devices is essential to maintaining your quality of life when you can no longer depend on the power grid. Whether you use 12v exclusively or a combination of AC and DC power, you will need to have something you can depend on if the unthinkable happens and you are thrown back on your own resources.