Blog Archives

Utilizing 12v DC Systems for Primary or Emergency Power

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.

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Navigating A World of Dangers

By: Tom Chatham

There is no shortage of dangers in the world today. It seems every day something else appears from out of the blue and adds to the pile of potential problems we have to deal with. Some of these problems are covered over or ignored all together. They are hidden in the shadows to prevent people from protecting themselves from the dangers.

The whole premise of hiding these dangers is that when someone loses in the future, someone else will profit from it. In our case, when many people lose, a few will profit massively. That is how the system has been set up. The people have been set up and the time is near when the plug will be pulled and chaos will be the order of the day. When that day comes many of the seemingly unconnected problems we face will coalesce into a massive problem few will understand or be equipped to deal with, and that is the hope of some. Here are some of the problems that will come together in the future and spell disaster for many.

Drought conditions in the western U.S are going into their fourth year with no change expected in the near future. This is causing a water shortage that could leave many western cities with little or no water in the near future, forcing mass relocations if it continues for another year.

Drought conditions in California are destroying a large percentage of the produce this nation relies on for food and jobs.

The federal government continues to lie about the economic numbers in hopes they will change soon for the better or at the very least nobody will notice they are unemployed and broke.

Current estimates are that over 101 million working age people are unemployed in the U.S today. The U.S. is a consumer driven economy and the destruction of the middle class means things will not get better until more people have jobs and money to spend. People will not have more jobs until the economy gets better. We are now in a catch 22 situation.

The FED cannot raise rates without exploding trillions in derivatives and keeping them low will result in a loss of confidence at some point in the near future. The only thing they can do is print more money and hope things get better, somehow.

Factory farming has seen the decimation of poultry by avian flu this year, pigs succumbing to porcine disease last year and cattle herds dropping to 1950 levels due to drought. This is likely only the beginning of stress on the food system that will increase as society and environmental conditions continue to deteriorate over time. That will mean more expensive food over time.

The government has embarked on a program to decimate the armed forces in America making us less safe while simultaneously building a civilian government army just as powerful and just as well armed as the military. They are building detainment centers around the country and have bought over 2 billion rounds of ammo. They continue to pass draconian laws that insure less freedom in the future. These laws and executive orders now give the government the authority, in their eyes, to take everything you have and use you as slave labor.

The government continues to leave the southern border open allowing mass illegal immigration into the U.S. Large numbers of refugees resulting from American intervention in foreign nations are being allowed into the U.S without proper screening. Some of these refugees are militants determined to destroy America. They will not assimilate our culture and seek to replace western law with Sharia law in the U.S. Over 30 Islamic training camps are now active in the U.S and the government refuses to do anything about them.

The U.S. government has been infiltrated at the highest levels by the Muslim Brotherhood. These people are now making national policy and hate everything that is American. The POTUS has said he would side with Muslims if he had to make the choice and he has demonstrated his distaste for everything American.

The government continues to press for gun control and the abolition of guns and ammo in the hands of citizens. Every shooting is utilized as an excuse to push the agenda further along. Every opportunity is used to restrict the current access to guns and ammo and it is increasing daily until gun control is complete.

The ability to produce your own food in America is slowly being revoked by government agencies that will ultimately allow the government to use food as a weapon against uncooperative Americans. The corruption of seed stocks with GMO’s is a strategic operation that will lead to food scarcity.

The government considers anyone who stores more than 2 weeks worth of food a terrorist and enemy of the state. They consider anyone who owns guns an enemy of the state. They consider anyone who home schools an enemy of the state. They consider anyone who is a veteran, especially those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, as an enemy of the state. They consider anyone who is a Christian an enemy of the state.

The government has armed local police forces with military grade weapons and are now seeking to federalize these same forces. The goal can be nothing other than the establishment of a total police state. This combined with the information gathering devices deployed by government is all encompassing and for the express purpose of depriving people of their freedom.

New laws such as the TPP will relinquish national sovereignty to multi national corporations that will be controlled by a hand full of oligarchs beholden to nobody. The corporate model has led to the destruction of local jobs and wealth in the hands of workers.

Large investors and funds have begun to dump stocks and accumulate gold and other hard assets as the economic numbers become more distorted and defy logic. China, Russia and some large institutions are accumulating gold as fast as they can in the prelude to paper asset destruction.

Central banks led by the BIS have brought us to the ultimate destruction of paper currencies. When all paper assets are destroyed, the people will have little choice but to succumb to the demands of bankers and corporations. The only other choice will be revolution but by then, most of the people will have no ability to fight or resist and most do not have the will to fight to begin with.

When you take all of these things into consideration, the future seems to be a veritable minefield of obstacles. It is hard enough to navigate the world when everything is supposedly working well but when everything is suddenly working against you, you need to have a plan to deal with it.

In the face of adversity, the real you will come out. It is surprising how some people rise to the occasion and just as amazing how some people will withdraw into the corner and assume the fetal position. There is a storm coming unlike anything people have seen before. Are you prepared to deal with it?

Disaster Proofing Your Life

By: Tom Chatham

If you are reading this then you understand the danger we face or at least want to understand it. The daily assurances by the government and MSM are all that most people need to relieve them of the burden of individual responsibility. Ultimately, the buck stops with you when the welfare of your family is at stake.

In The American Dream Lost I outlined a simple strategy to disaster proof your life if everything falls apart in society. For the benefit of those that have not read it before I will outline the basic strategy here. Time is getting critical and decisions need to be made. The strategy is designed for those with minimal savings to draw on but can be used by those with substantial assets as well.

It does not matter if the emergency is loss of employment, natural disaster, civil unrest or economic collapse. The results are similar. Your ability to care for your family is hampered to some degree and life can become difficult very fast. The credit system we rely on can break down and leave you with few or no resources to continue normal daily living.

As many in the preparedness community have stated many times before, there are certain things you need to have to get by in difficult times when you cannot afford them or possibly find them. Food is universal in all lists but that is not the only critical item to have. Food will keep you fed but there are other environmental conditions that need to be addressed.

Here is a list of critical items you need to have covered no matter what happens.

Food & household items
Water
Shelter
Clothing
Security
Energy
Transportation
Silver

These are not the only things you should have covered but they are the top of the list.

You need to store enough basic foods to feed your family at least two good meals a day for one year. Three meals a day is better but two is a minimum to prevent starvation and desperation. Basic, inexpensive foods should be emphasized such as flour, cornmeal, beans, rice, oats, pancake mix, cooking oil, powdered milk, canned vegetables, canned fruit, syrup, honey, potato flakes, gravy mix, canned meats and pasta. Cooking essentials should also be included such as granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, pepper, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder, yeast, cocoa and spices. You also need to store basic household items such as dish soap, washing powder, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, sponges and scrubbing pads.

Water filtration is essential where water sources are suspect. Either portable filters or countertop models will insure you can maintain good health during difficult times when potable water is not readily available from the usual sources.

Shelter is a critical element and can determine the quality of life of your family over long durations. If you do not fully own your present shelter you are in danger of losing it if you are unable to maintain payments at some future time. Even if you own it the location may present security problems in the future so other alternatives must be available. A good used camper trailer allows you the ability to shelter your family year round and also provides you with mobility when you need it. A good used camper trailer can be found today for under $3,000 dollars and some for much less but you will have to shop around. The sooner you start looking, the more time you will have to find good deals.

Clothing is an essential need of humans. While most people have ample supplies of clothing to get them through several months, it is good to have a backup supply of some basic clothing for each family member just in case the difficulties last longer than expected or you lose most of your clothing due to disaster. You should buy two complete sets of clothing for each family member and store them in your trailer.

Security is important and its relevance depends on your location. Those in a remote area will have fewer security problems than someone in an urban area depending on the disaster and its aftermath. The ability to defend your family is critical depending on events and you need to have a plan and equipment to take care of unfolding situations. If you do not currently own a gun and have limited gun knowledge a pump shotgun and 500 rounds of ammo would be the best thing to start out with. It will provide you with good defensive capabilities and the ability to hunt.

Energy is a critical element and the longer you must care for yourself, the more critical it becomes. You must have the ability to provide conventional energy for short durations and have an energy plan to cover needs for longterm situations. Propane and a generator work well for short term but once you run out of fuel you will suffer. You must have a way to provide alternative energy for your systems regardless of the situation. One good alternative is to build a wood gassifier unit. You can use this to run your generator and your truck. With a sufficient wood supply you can run most of your items for months or even years on locally available wood supplies. Other systems such as solar, wind or wood stoves are good but they are limited to only a few things where a gassifier can be utilized to provide power for most of your energy needs. A combination of these energy systems would be best if you can afford it.

Transportation is critical if you are not in a safe location when everything destabilizes. If you have a camper trailer you will also need something to pull it. Older pickup trucks can be found for under $1,500. When combined with a wood gassifier, you have a transportation system with almost unlimited range when conventional fuel supplies are cut off or unavailable.

Silver is a good commodity to have when the economic system is not functioning as it should. Holding at least $30 dollars in face value of junk silver coins provides you with the ability to buy items when money is scarce or not accepted. It also provides you with a way to save money over the longterm until it is needed. If you have sufficient financial means, larger amounts of gold and silver provide a medium that is easily stored and transported.

With a fully stocked camper trailer and truck, you have the means to get out of harms way very quickly and maintain a reasonable quality of life wherever you go. If you lose your job and home to economic disruptions, it is good to know you can still care for your family properly until you can improve your situation. This is something many people do not think about until it is too late.

Most people like to run things out until they have no resources left to take care of their family. They ignore the threat and then must rely on government assistance to provide the things they need. What happens when you lose everything and there is no government assistance available to you? That is a problem that many will have to deal with in the future and when it happens it will be too late to do things differently. The disinformation coming from multiple sources in the government and media are setting people up for disaster and the people will suffer horribly for it for years to come.

If you have the means to buy a small property in a rural area that you can live on in your trailer that would be ideal but many may not have the resources for that so what can you do? If you live in the city and determine you may need to relocate during some type of disaster you need a preplanned destination. Simply driving around in a collapsing environment will likely end in tragedy.

One thing you might want to do is make friends with a farmer in a rural area. In the event you need to relocate, you may be able to park your trailer on his property in trade for helping him around the farm and keeping an eye on things if the situation deteriorates. If you are already friends with him he is more likely to help you when the time comes.

For those that already have a plan, you are ahead of the curve but for others that have not thought about it this should give you something to think about and begin the process of disaster proofing your life when things go wrong in society. Take this basic plan, adjust it to your needs and abilities and make a plan that works for you. It is your responsibility to care for your family no matter what happens. This is not a responsibility you can farm out to government agencies so get busy now.

The Only Four Things You Should Trust In The Months Ahead

By: Tom Chatham

It seems like there is less and less that people can hold any trust in these days. The government lies about everything, more so than usual, the FED lies, the market is a lie, the economic numbers are a lie and we cannot even get protection from outside threats because of open boarders and political correctness.

When one looks around for something they can hold to provide security and comfort in times of imminent peril and chaos there are very few things the average person can count on with any certainty. In the coming days of propaganda and political spin there are but four things you should trust with any certainty.

God
Having hope and spiritual guidance during difficult times transcends the physical needs of humanity. While he may not always give you what you want or expect, he is always present and listening and is prepared to give you what you need.

Guns
A mans best friend is his dog, but apart from that the best friend a man can have in times of great unknowns and chaos is his rifle and a good supply of ammo.

Gold
When the monetary system is about to fail and nobody wants to admit the truth, the best thing a person can hold to protect their wealth is gold. It has a 5,000 year record of working as a medium of exchange when everything else fails.

Groceries
In times of uncertainty, the ability to eat is a basic need that few realize until it is too late. A full pantry is one of the most comforting things a family can have to ward off fear and hunger. It does not matter what the emergency is. When you are unable to buy what you need, it is good to know you already have what you need.

America is on the pathway to financial chaos and betrayal on a scale many cannot imagine and the sooner you accept the implications of this the sooner you can begin to protect your family from the dark days ahead. What lies ahead does not have to be the end of the world but it will feel like it if you are unprepared to deal with the situation that develops.

It is foolish to go boating without a life vest. It is foolish to go on a long trip without a spare tire in your car. It is foolish to think you will never become a victim of crime if you travel in dangerous places with no protection.

Yet most people will leave the most basic needs of their family to chance by trusting in a system that is run by criminals that will take everything you have and tell you to give them more. They trust in a system that must run flawlessly to provide them with the things they need everyday. They trust that life will go on as it has their whole life without any problems. Everything works until it doesn’t.

When that day comes it is too late to think of the things you should have done. It is too late to do anything but trust that someone will be there to provide the things you need. Either that someone will not be there when you need them or they will extract a great price for the services they provide. You cannot expect to care for your family properly when you are at the mercy of others.

Only when you hold those things that can provide the security and comfort that you need will you have the flexibility to do what you need to do when normal conditions cease to exist. It is easy to get by in normal times but when things suddenly change for the worst, you need to remain in control of your future. No one will care more about your future than you do so do not leave it to chance or the machinations of others.

The Great Unwinding and The Aftermath

By: Tom Chatham

As global currencies wage a race to the bottom, citizens of the world are kept distracted by insignificant things to keep them calm right up to the end. The end will be the destruction of many world currencies and the savings of those invested in them. When that happens those who have lost everything will panic, and for good reason. The conspiracy theorists and sound money people will be proven to be prophets but none of that will matter by then.

All of the savings that people think they have was long ago looted by the bankers and now they must destroy those ledger entries that people think they have. Much like the phantom gold that no longer exists in vaults but only on paper, those ledger entries must be destroyed before the banks are required to give that money back to its rightful owners. It is not only the savings but the promised payments from government entities that must be eliminated. The government has made promises it cannot keep and now it must find a way out while maintaining “plausible deniability”.

That is the crux of the unwinding we will see in the near future. The people have been robbed of their wealth and their futures and now it is time to perpetrate the cover up so the guilty parties can sail off into the sunset with their ill gotten loot. It almost sounds like a movie plot but unfortunately the people will have to stick around after this show and deal with the aftermath. That is something most people do not see coming and are ill prepared to deal with emotionally, physically or financially.

There are many things that people will disagree on when it comes to the future but there are some things those following events will agree on.

There will likely be a catastrophic event in conjunction with a monetary crisis.

Most people will be completely unprepared for the events.

Only those that hold hard assets and the means to protect them will come through this with any wealth in tact.

The government will increase their control of the population.

Basic resources like food, water and energy will be expensive or difficult to get. This is especially true for imported goods.

People will lose the homes they cannot afford and their retirement savings.

Government payments will be cut off or severely cut back.

There will be armed resistance against the government as they reduce freedoms that people are accustomed to.

Roving gangs will likely be a problem at least in the short term following the crisis.

The country will look much different in ten years than it does now, and likely not for the better.

People will need a different strategy for retirement than they now hold.

Healthcare will become more expensive and less available to the average citizen.

The U.S. will likely become a third world nation as far as living standards are concerned.

These items point out the direction we are headed as a nation. Those that ignore the reality we now live in will suffer greatly and will be immobilized with fear and uncertainty as to what to do. The government they looked to in the past for guidance and safety will be at odds with their very existence in the future. Those things they took as a given will no longer exist.

This list defines what you as an individual must be prepared to deal with in the uncertain future ahead. Only by addressing these issues will you have any peace of mind in the coming days as events play out on a global scale. It has been said many times before but must be repeated because many still do not hear the message.

You must be prepared to provide basic necessities to your family for a prolonged period of time. This includes clean drinking water, nutritious food, shelter, sanitation, security, clothing, health care and any excess funds should be used to buy precious metals or some other wealth preservation tool. Any transportation and communication assets you have will greatly enhance your survival position.

Beyond these basic items you will also need to think about some way to produce income in the years ahead. Having special knowledge or capitol equipment to produce needed goods will insure you can continue to care for your family long term. The ability to produce food, water, clothing or energy and provide medical help or capitol goods will insure you have a product to sell that will be in demand.

In a dysfunctional world the business opportunities are many. Basic supplies that were once taken for granted will be sought after by everyone. Herbal remedies, meat production, paper goods, cleaning agents, tools, building supplies and such mundane things as blocks of ice and footwear will have to come from somewhere. Something as simple as an absorption freezer powered by a homemade power source like bio-gas can provide frozen meat and ice to sell the year round.

You must also be cognizant of many possible dangers that an uncertain world can present. These include natural disasters, the threat of war, disease, nuclear dangers such as fallout and contamination and chemical threats from malfunctioning plants and storage sites.

The ability to plan for the future is more imperative now than ever. It is a sad thing that people spend more time planning a summer vacation than they do for their future. That lack of planning will insure a difficult future for them and their children as the world unwinds at an ever faster pace taking their standard of living to ever lower levels until reaching the bottom of this unknown new world. You need to prepare now like your life depends on it, because it does.

You Need To Act Rather Than React

By: Tom Chatham

You wake up one morning and there is no power. You say ok, maybe there is a local power problem. You check your cell phone and it works but there is no signal. You start up your generator and your home comes back to life. Everything works so you know the problem is not an EMP attack so you feel better. You turn on the radio to see if you can find out about the power outage but all you get is static on all settings. You turn on your TV and get nothing but static on all channels. You try the internet but your satellite direct connection is dead. You think ok, maybe there is some very bad solar interference so you try to call out on your land line and it is dead. Now you start to worry some. You go outside and start your car and it runs fine but that radio does not work either.

You drive into town to see if you can find out any news but the situation is the same there. No power from the grid and no communications from any source. What does it mean? At this point most of the sheep will just resort to their usual mini-emergency persona complaining they don’t have any heat or air conditioning, they cannot watch their favorite shows, they cannot spend hours talking meaningless dribble on the phone or they cannot get on the internet. For many this will result in aggravation and mounting hostility toward whoever they plan to yell at for this latest inconvenience.

The sheep dogs out there will likely take this lack of communication as a sign something sinister is happening and they will endeavor to find out what. But how? At this point, what would be your next move? That is not a rhetorical question. What would YOU do? This is the crux of the problem. Most people set around after an event waiting to be told what to do and be informed what is going on. In the event of total communication failure, the country could literally be under attack an nobody would know about it.

Given the recent revelations about government agencies stockpiling munitions and the current world situation, this type of situation is more likely as the days pass. This could be the result of cyber attacks, foreign enemy invasion, a U.S. government takeover or a combination of these things. With a lack of communications, you would not know so what would your first move be?

Some may take this as a sign to go to a retreat location, lock down their home or make contact with like minded individuals in their group. In this situation there are no clear one size fits all answers. Who you are and the situation you live in will define what you do or should do next. The point is, what would you do, right now, today, if this happened? Have you ever thought about that? Maybe you should. If this is the beginning of something sinister, time is critical.

If I were going to seize control of a nation the size of the U.S. the first thing I would want to do is create a minor emergency to divert attention by cutting everyone off from information and basic services. This would create enough chaos and confusion to mask movement of forces and prevent any type of civilian response in the initial hours. If foreign forces wanted to land unimpeded or the government wanted to begin gun confiscation or roundup of subversives, this would be a good way to prevent that from becoming common knowledge that could warn potential targets of what was coming. This could prevent any resistance from forming.

The public would be almost helpless in the face of this type of move. This brings us back to the question, what would you do if this happened to you right now? What would be your first moves? That is something everyone needs to think about right now while they can think clearly and determine a plan of action. There are many different types of scenarios and you should explore some of the answers now because when it happens, you may not have the luxury of time to plan a proper reaction. In the unstable world we now live in, the crazy things are becoming more of a reality every day.

You do not want your first indication that something is very wrong to be tanks and troops moving down your streets, bombs falling or masked thugs breaking through your front door “to help you“. If this happens, your well laid plans may be over before they start. A shortwave radio may be of use, and maybe not. A plan for messages passed from town to town by individual messengers may work, and maybe not. A plan to use bicycles or horses as transportation may work, and maybe not. You need to figure that out now so you can act rather than react to the situation.

Should You Warehouse Goods For Future Trade?

By: Tom Chatham

There are many common themes espoused by those preparing for future difficulties. One of the things many will agree on is the need to store an ample supply of food. This should be enough to take care of your needs and possibly extra to share or trade with others. The need for storing excess wealth is another concern if you have wealth to preserve. This is usually done with precious metals that are compact and easily transportable. Beyond these obvious items what you may want to store depends on your location and situation.

One item many will want to store is extra ammo which is a sure bet to be worth more in the future and be in high demand. Other items will depend on the things you perceive others in your area will likely seek out in desperate times when supplies are scarce and distribution systems are unreliable.

Some may argue that all excess wealth should be stored in food or metals. The problem is you are limited to the space available to you and the ability to move those items if relocation becomes necessary. If storage is not a problem another thing you must consider is what will you trade for if the only things available are food and metals.

Even in the most desperate circumstances people will eventually need some of the other necessities in life such as hygiene items, tools and clothing to name a few. Once you are beyond the point of possible famine people will start to look for the other things that make life more livable. Some things people will gravitate to will be pleasure items such as liquor or tobacco products.

The more products available in the area the more trade will progress into large scale barter and sales. Those that hold silver or gold will eventually want to trade it for something they need. If you have some of those things in demand you will have the opportunity to establish a thriving business to rollover and increase your holdings.

Some of the things you may carry may be impulse items such as hard candy, knives, gloves, jewelry or beauty supplies. These things are items people are willing to sacrifice to get if they decide they want it even if it is not necessary to their survival.

There are legitimate reasons for warehousing goods for later sale or barter. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990’s one of the reasons they were able to get by was the fact that many of the stores had goods stored in their storage rooms. In the past, businesses in the U.S. operated the same way. Stores would get delivery every week and stock enough extra to keep the shelves full until the next load arrived. Today we have a just in time delivery system where stock is monitored by computers and when levels get to a certain level the computers automatically reorder a certain amount of goods for next day delivery. Very few modern stores carry inventory in the back room to keep the shelves full. When the delivery system breaks down, stores can run out of product almost immediately. This is why a catastrophic event will be even worse in the U.S. in the future.

With no excess inventory to absorb the buying pressure in the days following an event people will panic. Once the shelves are empty and no stock is available to the public the situation will deteriorate quickly. A person with a mini warehouse should not attempt to sell goods in the immediate aftermath of an event but should store supplies until a later date when the situation stabilizes and resources are almost impossible to find. It is in this time that some availability of goods will help the local population to move forward and reestablish some type of normalcy and begin the rebuilding process.

Commerce in the form of sale or barter is one of the building blocks to a vibrant community. The availability of goods will encourage the necessary work to earn the goods wanted. Work is the foundation of a prosperous society. If there is nothing to gain by work, only the minimum amount will be done for the purpose of basic survival. This will cause stagnation and prevent advancement of the community that will benefit all. Even the existence of one mini warehouse in a community will go far in advancing the recovery and stability of a community after an event. In extreme cases this product availability may not be possible for weeks or months following an event but the longer the duration before release of goods, the more valuable they will likely be to the community.

Several persons coordinating what they will warehouse will provide wider coverage and greater benefit in the end. There are many that may say having a substantial supply of goods will make you a target in any chaos that follows an event but that is only one of many problems you will likely face in such a situation. Secrecy is a major component in any long term plan following societal chaos.

In any given breakdown, stability will eventually return to society and it is then that stored goods will help to move the population forward in a positive way. Storing some of your excess wealth in such a way may be plausible for many. After a major event, the possession of gold and silver will be more valuable if you have something in the community to trade it for. Keep in mind that gold and silver are merely a medium of exchange, for them to be valuable there must be something useful to trade them for. There are many goods that would be difficult to produce in local communities after a crisis so the storing of them now will only add to the value of locally produced goods.

This type of storage plan may only work for a few but that is all that is needed to make a significant difference in the aftermath of an event. What you store, how much and how in depth you go is something you will have to decide for yourself. Only you can decide what will be most valuable to your community after the crisis passes and people decide to get on with their lives. Keep in mind that storing goods for after the crisis is different from storing goods that will be needed during the crisis such as food or ammo. You may want a plan for both situations. Even a few footlockers full of selected goods will go a long ways after a serious crisis. No plan will ever be perfect so a great deal of thought needs to happen to insure you are at least close to your target.

One other thing to keep in mind is that durable goods stored now will almost certainly be more expensive in the future which is one way to leverage your wealth. A mini warehouse is a way for someone to create a source of income for their family after the crisis and provide goods to the community to help fill the gap until normal production of goods resumes. There are many items that people desire that are relatively inexpensive now but could demand high premiums if they suddenly become unavailable. The amount of money you decide to allocate to such a program will determine what supplies you store. Someone with considerable wealth to put into supplies may store more expensive items such as boots or quality clothing while most people will be relegated to storing smaller inexpensive items. The following is a list of possible items to consider.

Matches
Disposable lighters
Zippo lighters and replacement supplies
Inexpensive knives
Gloves
Winter hats
Lamp wicks
Lamp mantles
Lamps and lanterns
Bulk propane
Rechargeable batteries
Seeds
Salt
Chocolate
Coffee
Ammo
Medical supplies
Hardware supplies
Liquor
Playing cards
Tire repair kits
Bicycle repair parts
Canning supplies
Kitchen cutlery
Manual kitchen utensils and appliances
Hygiene supplies
Pencils
Ink pens
Writing tablets

How Will You Increase Your Self Sufficiency This Year?

By: Tom Chatham

It is always good to reevaluate your position to identify any lapses in your plan or resources. What will you add to your supplies this year to improve your self sufficiency? It helps to plan ahead especially if you are working with a tight budget. This can allow you to buy a major piece of equipment when you might think it is not possible. By thinking ahead to the end of the year and deciding what you want to add to your supplies or resources this year, you will improve your situation rather than let it stagnate or deteriorate.

It does not matter how much you decide to spend on items this year. Every thing you get increases your position. You may buy several things or just one but it is important that you constantly work toward some goal that you have set for the future. It may be a two week supply of food or a small garden. It might be the ability to can your own vegetables or produce your own power in an emergency. This is your life and you need to set the standards for what you expect from yourself. In the end you are responsible for the position you may find yourself in. The ability to come through it safe and happy is mostly up to you. The following are some of the things you may want to think about as you decide how to proceed.

Food storage-

To become more food secure you don’t need to buy two years worth of food all at once and at a time when you can ill afford to. All you need to do is increase your excess food reserve by buying a few extra cans or packages of food every week and add to your supplies over time. You may want to buy some plastic buckets to store some of your food in to keep it fresh and rodent free.

Food production-

Regardless of where you live it does not take a lot of space to buy and store some food production essentials. These may be things you can use now or later. Things such as seeds, canning supplies or garden tools are items you can slowly accumulate over time to increase your production and storage capabilities.

Barter-

It is never a bad time to learn to barter. You can locate a barter group near you and identify certain items that are easily tradable now or in the future if supplies are cut off for some reason. Having a barter connection will provide a backdoor to get what you may need if things take a turn for the worse. Now is a good time to store extra barter supplies while they are easily assessable in the market place.

Energy-

Energy makes the world go round. It is difficult to live in modern society without some form of energy to make life easier. What type of energy do you rely on the most and how can you store some to insure an available supply if the economy gets worse or a disaster strikes? It may be as simple as storing a few cans of gasoline in your garage in the event you cannot buy any. It may be the purchase of a few solar panels, a few deep cycle batteries and a power inverter to insure you can maintain refrigeration and minimal lighting during an extended power outage. It may be a wood stove and supply of wood to insure you can keep your family warm if the power is out for an extended time in winter weather.

Water-

Water is a vital element and one that is easily lost during some type of disaster. It may be wise to at least have a water filter to produce clean water in an emergency. You may be able to drill a well or develop a water source independent of the local water authority. You may want to have water storage containers on hand to store sufficient amounts for long durations.

Clothing-

Clothing is something many people think little of until they need it and cannot get anything. It is more of a necessity in winter than in warmer climates or locations. The economic situation today and the constant inflation could impact your ability to get clothing in the future. If you loose your job or your paycheck just does not keep up with rising prices you may find yourself in want of clothing you cannot get. Do you have the equipment or knowledge to repair your clothing to make it last longer? Do you have the means to make clothing from scratch? It is not that difficult to buy a few extra things now and store them for future use to insure you have what you need in the event of future hardship.

Shelter-

What will you do if you suddenly lose your primary shelter? What will you do if the current economic situation gets much worse and you need to maintain your current shelter with the supplies you have on hand? Most people give little thought to this type of scenario. Having a backup shelter of some type or a plan to get to another shelter may be necessary at some point. Having a few repair supplies to fix a broken window or a leaky roof may be lifesaving in a disaster.

Transportation-

What would you do if your vehicle suddenly stopped working along with everyone else’s? What would you do if energy supplies were suddenly curtailed or cut off completely? Having an alternate transportation system may be necessary depending on your situation. A bike, a boat or canoe or some type of alternate energy source for your vehicle will give you something to fall back on when the time comes. It may be a supply of fuel or something like a wood gas producer that you decide is best for your situation.

Income-

The current economic situation will likely get worse before it gets any better. If you suddenly lose your primary source of income what will you do? It is always good to have some money set aside for such circumstances but that may not be enough. Do you have an alternate plan to make some money? Do you have special equipment you can use to earn money? Do you have skills you can utilize to start your own side business? A little time and thought put into this now can pay big dividends in the future if it is ever needed.

Security-

When the economy gets bad, the security situation deteriorates as well. It is good to know the police will come when called but will they get there in time to actually help you? It is always good to have your own security plan to protect your family until help arrives. It may be as simple as a can of bear repellant or something more potent such as a gun. If you have a weapon you may lay in extra bullets or cleaning supplies. There is always something you can add to your supplies to improve your chances of survival when things go wrong.

These are just some of the things you may want to consider. It is always helpful to sit down and think about your future wants and list the items you may need to get you there. Being self sufficient is a big job and it does not happen overnight. Having a list to keep you on track is very helpful and makes planning for future purchases easier. The longer your planning horizon is the more likely you will be able to work in the larger purchases to fulfill your dreams. Planning is always the first step to doing. So, what will you do this year to move toward a more self sufficient lifestyle?

Six Things You Should Know How To Improvise

By: Tom Chatham

In the technological world we live in it is very easy to lose that capacity in a severe disaster. Our ability to use technology to leverage our resources and make informed decisions gives us a decided edge during disasters that improves our chances of surviving. When disaster strikes our ability to make certain things from scratch allows us to maintain some capabilities and overcome the problems we face.

Refrigeration –

When technology fails the need for keeping foods and medicines cold are still present. Those that have absorption units and a good supply of fuel can maintain refrigeration but most of society will lose that ability. In an emergency situation where refrigeration is a matter of life and death you need to have a reliable backup system to employ even if only for temporary periods. One possible backup system can be the use of CO2 fire extinguishers to produce ice for cooling. By “hosing down” a container of water with an extinguisher you can produce ice that can be used for keeping coolers or refrigerators cool inside for short periods of time. This may enable you to preserve some foods and medicines until other systems can be repaired or replaced. This type of cooling effect is due to the compressed gas in the container. When it is released and expands it creates a cooling effect. This is true with many compressed gasses such as Freon. A CO2 extinguisher works great for icing down a 6 pack when you are in the middle of the desert. This type of system is messy and should be used outside.

Canned Heat –

Canned heat, more commonly referred to as sterno, is an ideal substance to provide cooking ability and limited heat during a crisis when other forms of heating are not available. This substance can be made by utilizing a metal can and dissolving Styrofoam into different types of petroleum fuels. This causes the fuel to become thickened forming a gel. This type of fuel is more stable and safer to use than pure liquid fuels. Other types of liquids can be used such as alcohol. The following link provides one way to make sterno for emergency use. http://www.noodle.org/learn/323025/make-home-made-sterno-type-fuel-for-cooking-camping-prepping-a-vr-to-soulsurvivorx2

Compass-

The ability to navigate from point to point following a disaster may become necessary to get to a safe area. This is not as difficult in a city environment as it is in open country that you are not familiar with. When you must travel long distances cross country and only have a general direction to your destination it is helpful to know what direction you are moving in. It is very easy to get disoriented in woods or mountains causing you to stray off course and get lost. A simple way to keep on course is the use of an improvised compass. The following link explains how to make a simple compass. This should be practiced before you actually need it to familiarize yourself with how it works. http://www.green-planet-solar-energy.com/experiments-with-magnets.html

Radiation Meter-

During times of nuclear war or nuclear hazards such as the continuing Fukushima disaster it is important for you to know how much radiation you are being exposed to so that you can make informed decisions and take the appropriate actions to preserve life and health. It is easy to buy a radiation meter but it is a piece of equipment that is relatively expensive and may not be used very often making it a luxury that many average people cannot or will not purchase especially during times of financial difficulty. Because of this and the fact that
many people will not see a need for this type of device until something has already happened making acquisition of such equipment impossible it is good to know you can make a reliable radiation meter from household materials. The following link will allow you to make a meter from scratch. http://www.ki4u.com/free_book/s60p792.htm

Radio-

When something severe such as an EMP or solar storm takes down the normal technology that we use, information will become very important. Even in the most severe cases it is likely that some transmitters will be restored in short order to transmit information. This will not matter to you unless you have receiving equipment to pick up the signal. The use of solid state devices and chips will render most if not all civilian receivers inoperable in such a disaster. Even if you have a functional unit you will also need power to operate it which will be difficult to produce under these circumstances. The ability to build a basic receiver from household materials that requires no power source will enable you to stay informed in the most severe circumstances which will help you stay ahead of the survival curve. The following link provides good information on building such units. http://scitoys.com/scitoys/scitoys/radio/homemade_radio.html

Clean Water –

The ability to produce clean drinking water has allowed modern society to control many diseases and keep people healthy. In a severe disaster you may be confronted with the specter of contaminated water. The ability to produce clean water and remain healthy when medical resources are limited will help provide an edge during disasters. The easiest way to purify water is to boil it killing all harmful organic organisms. This is something many do when water supplies are suspect. In a disaster this may not be enough. Organic threats are only one problem. Disasters can unleash chemicals and harmful particles into the ecosystem that cannot be made harmless by heat. Many of these threats may not be known by you until they accumulate in your system and suddenly cause disabling affects. The ability to construct a filtering system from locally available materials will give you one more wall of defense against unnecessary sickness. The following links provide a good starting point for making your own filters.
http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/blog/how-to-make-a-homemade-water-filter.htm
http://www.practicalprimitive.com/skillofthemonth/charcoalfilter.html

Many of the things we use today are taken for granted and we do not realize how dependant we are on them until they no longer work. The fact that basic science has been so politicized today and schools are dumbing down society means that many people do not know how many basic things work. Learning how things work is one of the best ways to combat the dangerous situations we encounter when disaster strikes. A little knowledge can go a long ways when things fall apart without warning.

Personal Responsibility and Critical Thinking

By: Tom Chatham

When everything is going right its’ easy to let other people worry about the things you depend on but when everything ceases to function properly who’s job is it to worry about your needs? That should be an obvious answer but in these times its’ not so clear to many people. ITS’ YOUR JOB TO CARE FOR YOUR FAMILY NO MATTER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES YOU FIND YOURSELF IN. You accepted that responsibility when you decided to have a family. Its’ not something you have the right to pass off on someone else. That’s not to say that in difficult times you can use all of the help you can get and its’ good to know there is someone willing to help you but the generosity of others is not something you have a right to expect.

The recent disaster in the Northeast is a prime example that people just don’t seem to take personal responsibility for anything when the norm is breeched and that statement does not apply to everyone but you know who you are. You hear it every time there is a major disaster and the song is getting old. Where is the government and why aren’t they taking care of me? I’m sorry people but it’s not the governments’ fault that you did not listen to the warnings and failed to prepare. It’s not the governments fault or your well prepared neighbors fault that you don’t know how to think for yourself. You can excuse someone who just does not know and will be prepared the next time but with all of the disasters that occur in the U.S. every year, not knowing what the aftermath of a disaster will bring is pure stupidity. You can fix a lack of knowledge but you cannot fix stupid.

The critical thinking ability of many people is sorely lacking. If you know a storm might take down the power grid, you go to the store and the gas station BEFORE the storm arrives. If you rely on the grid for heating and cooking needs and you know you may lose power you make sure you have some type of backup heat source to take care of your needs for the immediate future. With no power you know the lights will not work and the water will not flow so you need a plan to deal with that. With no power the sewage system will not function, unless you have a private system. Lack of knowledge of these basic things is the cause of much suffering after a major event.

When an event is reported many people immediately buy a generator and the local supplies are depleted quickly. One way around this major purchase is to buy a power inverter in the 2,000 watt range. This can be connected to your car, which was filled with gas before the storm, and provide you with limited power to keep your refrigerator or deep freezer running a few hours a day to keep foods refrigerated. This system can also provide you with light and even cooking ability if you have a small hot plate. An inverter of this size will also power most microwave ovens. Just keep the vehicle running while you are using a lot of power to keep your vehicle battery from going dead, AAA may not be able to get to you for a while. If you have the ability to use propane or kerosene units, you can provide heating and cooking ability for several days. There is always a way to get around a problem without it costing a great deal, you just have to think the problem through and come up with a solution that works for you.

And people, if you live near the beach, and only 3 feet above sea level, and the storm surge is going to be 10 feet, you need to pack up and get out. This is basic math but considering the state of public schools today I can understand how this simple fact is lost on many people. This disaster is devastating and the next one will be no different because people will be just as ill-prepared. And after it happens we can all sit back and be lulled to sleep by the chorus of where is the government and why aren’t they taking care of me?