Monthly Archives: January 2013

Common sense planning

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Common sense planning)

Trust in Uncle Sam

With commonsense planning, you can survive hard times
January/February, 1999, Backwoods Home Magazine, Issue #55, by Jackie Clay
Pasted from: http://backwoodshome.com/articles/clay55.html

Today, many people are afraid that hard times are about to descend upon us because of the Y2K computer date problem, also known as the Millennium Bug. Others fear that the economic chaos occurring in Asia, parts of South America, and parts of Europe will engulf the United States, causing a Depression on the scale of the one that followed the 1929 stock market crash.

The scenario of a Y2K computer catastrophe, which self-styled experts say will begin January 1, 2000, goes like this: There will be general chaos and shutdowns of the computer-controlled delivery systems of American society. Grocery stores won’t get adequate food supplies, gas stations won’t get enough gas to pump, hospitals won’t get enough medicines, and government computers will fail to deliver social security, pension, welfare, and other government checks.

The computer-dependent banking industry will collapse, making it impossible for you to take your money out of the bank to buy food and other necessities. Planes that are allowed to fly will be unsure of their altitude or bearing because the government software they use will have become flawed. And the electrical grid will either collapse completely, or in huge sections, leaving millions of people without electricity to keep food cold, their homes warm, or the lights on.

People in the cities will panic. Not only might there be widespread rioting, but the panic may well spill over into the countryside, with hordes of people searching for a way out of the catastrophe. Lawlessness and violence will rule the resulting chaos, with gangs of desperate people doing what they feel they must to help their families survive.

The scenario is even bleaker in the event the world’s economic woes overtake the United States. Where the Y2K computer glitch is seen as causing severe hardship on a relatively temporary basis, an economic collapse is viewed as long-term. And it will be exacerbated because most people today live away from the land, unlike the 1930s when a significant portion of the population still understood how to grow their own food and otherwise fend for themselves.

Miscellaneous supplies to store up
• 25 pounds laundry soap
• 12 ea 28 oz. bottles dish soap
• 73 rolls toilet paper
• sanitary napkins in sufficient quantity
• 8 gallons bleach (used for sanitation as well as laundry)
• 12 bars hand soap
• 6 ea 24 oz. bottles shampoo
• personal products, such as toothpaste, deodorant
• chainsaw oil and other items to keep things running
• pet foods
• livestock feed
• 55 gallons kerosene for lighting
• 25 gallons Coleman fuel or other lantern fuel

To view this possible scenario, the experts say you have only to watch the evening television news and observe the woes of Russia where an entire nation has been cast into poverty. Or view the once mighty economic giant, Japan, whose stock market has declined 60%, or the formerly strong economies of Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea, whose economies are down 70 to 90%. And lately South America has joined the casualty list. These countries are harbingers of what lies ahead for the United States, the doom and gloom experts say.

For many of these countries, families cannot pay their power and phone bills, food is in short supply, and other necessities needed to make life palatable have all but disappeared. Repossessions, and families being evicted from their homes, are common.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it? And it may or may not come true in this country. It happened before, the doom experts say, and it

can happen again. And this time, they say, Americans are even less prepared than they were in the 1930s.

Whether it happens or not, or even if it only partly happens, there are steps you and I can take now to prepare for any eventuality. And it’s a whole lot better to be prepared for something that may never materialize than to not be prepared for something that may hit in the year 2000, or next month.

This article, I hope, will help you prepare for any eventuality, whether it’s the Y2K Bug, a major economic collapse, an earthquake or hurricane, or even a death in the family that brings on hard times for you personally. The steps outlined below will also ensure a better quality of life if nothing every comes your way.

Finances first
While times are good, artificially or not, it’s time to work extra long hours and “kill the bills.” Just get out of debt. If you can’t see the way to pay off your $250,000 home, consider selling it and moving to a less expensive place. There are a lot of homes for under $50,000 available, in most locations, if you really look hard.

Consider fixer-uppers, longer commutes from a more rural setting. If your job is so-so, consider moving to a location that has cheaper housing and living expenses. Get your home debt free, as soon as you can. A homeless family is a refugee family. Never become a refugee! Can’t happen in this country? Think again. Check out the statistics for homeless people on the streets now. Sure some are addicted to drugs and alcohol, some too dysfunctional or lazy to “get a job.” But a lot are just plain hardworking people who have hit tough circumstances. Don’t put yourself in a position to become a refugee.

Pay off those credit cards, and put them in a top drawer. The interest is equal to that of “loan sharks” just a few years ago. A thousand dollar item can end up costing as much as three thousand, especially when you just pay the minimum each month, which is largely interest.

Get rid of all the “toys” you can: cable TV, the motor home you only use once a year, the vintage car in the garage, driven just to impress people, the new car in the garage (replace it with a good used one that you can quickly pay off), the extra vehicles you do not really need but are making monthly payments on. The vacation home could be replaced with one less expensive in a very rural location, to be used as a just-in-case retreat should urban or suburban life suddenly get too scary.

Sock away some hard cash. Yep, I sure know it’s awful hard, especially for we folk who are far from well-to-do. Even a few hundred dollars, especially if in coin or paper money turned to gold, could come in very handy. Don’t depend on banks. We use them, but would never, under the current economic climate, keep our savings in them. We would rather have real money where we can get it quickly…no matter what. FDIC insured? Yeah, right…when the country has more than a trillion in national debt…and no gold in sight? I don’t think so.

Prepare to live simply
Begin gearing up your household to run without electricity, which also probably runs your furnace and water well (or city water). In the Detroit suburbs, Dad had his own well.
Check out local regulations before drilling though, as in some areas, it is illegal. Personally, I would not live where there were such regulations, as it could be too dangerous should city water go out. A developed spring is an excellent source of dependable water, as you have water pressure without needing electricity.

A wood stove can be installed in most homes, in most locations, to provide emergency heat (and cooking). Other options include solar heat/cooking, which is legal most places, and propane, which will power a wall furnace or space heater, kitchen stove, lights, and refrigerator. A 500-gallon propane tank will last a long time when gas is used frugally. Beware of stoves with electric ignition or heaters that require fans to heat. No electricity = no heat. We’ve used a propane fridge for years, and like it much better than an electric one. You might consider switching before you need to.

Suggested   contents of a good medical kit
A good first aid book
Thermometer
Daily prescription meds for all family
members
Antibiotics
Ointments for the eye, fungus & cuts
Antidiarreal medication
Pain and anti-inflamitory medication
such as asprin
Burn treatment, such as Burn Free
Iodine/Betadine
Alcohol
Oral electrolytes (for dehydration from
fever, diarrhea, stress)
Cold remedies
Cough medicines
Cough drops/throat discs
Bandages
Gauze
Cotton
Surgical tape
Scissors
Hemostats
Tweezers
Needles to remove slivers
A dental kit to patch dentures,
replace fillings, etc.)
You may choose to include more, depending on your medical experience and background.

Store up fuel
Store up fuel for heating/cooking before you need it. Wood and other fuel can be stored a long time, will be cheaper before there is a great demand, and it will be easier to get. We have at least 12 cords of dry firewood in the lot, and only burn about one a year. It’s nice to have…just in case. Likewise, a barrel of kerosene is good insurance against spending dark evenings. You won’t be able to buy it during hard times, but it’s pretty cheap now.

Have alternative lighting, whether it is kerosene lamps, Coleman lamps, or propane wall lamps. Being poor and in the dark is not a good emotional combination. And be sure to have replacement wicks, globes, and other parts….just in case. We had one drop of condensation fall on a burning Coleman lamp, popping the globe instantly….and had to do without the lamp for a month, until we could get out of our snowed-in cabin for a replacement. Now we have replacements for each lamp type.

Store up some gasoline, where local regulations allow. With life-extenders, a barrel of gas can last a long time without getting too “old” to burn well. This gasoline can be used to travel or to cut wood to keep warm.

Food storage
Have enough food stored up for at least a year, preferably two. This seems basic, but I know very few people, especially those with good jobs and “normal” incomes, who have a full pantry. With today’s disposable society, many people shop daily for what they will eat for the next day’s meals. The pantry (if they even have one) shelves are empty or filled with junk.

I have written two major articles for Backwoods Home Magazine for the last two issues (Issue Nos 53 and 54) about preparing your food pantry. Read them.

We keep two years’ food stored up, from wheat to home-canned foods, just in case. We know we could never turn away hungry refugees without feeding them a good meal, especially if they were our neighbors or married children. Could you?

Medical needs
Build up an extensive medical kit. We use a large field box, which has two levels and many compartments. Get as much medical training as you can, such as EMT classes, held locally. You might not want to become an EMT, but you can learn much that will help your family in an emergency. Buy a good book or two, such as the Red Cross First Aid manual and the Merck Manual. Then stock up that medical kit.

Remember that “normal” things, such as cold medicine, may not be readily available.

Both my husband, a CNA, and I, a veterinary field technician, have extensive medical experience, so we include in our medical kit sutures and suture needles, injectable local anesthetic, an IV and IV electrolytes, epinephrine for shock due to allergies or drug reaction, a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, plaster casting material, and more. One never knows if, and when, a doctor will be available during bad times. Of course, if a doctor is available, one should never attempt to treat their own or others’ injuries or illnesses.

 Other high priorities
A radio and batteries are other must-haves. This keeps you in contact with what’s going on in the world. There are several brands of solar-powered radios on the market today for not a lot of money. Batteries must be replaced or recharged. We also have a weather radio to keep up on weather conditions which can affect one’s life much more when times are tough. Listening to this 9-volt radio each morning keeps us in tune to Mother Nature.

Does your family have adequate warm, sturdy clothing? If not, this is a high priority. Buy good hiking boots, jeans, and clothing that is practical, long-lasting, and warm. If you never need ’em, they won’t take up much space in a closet. If you do, they will become essential.
How about alternate transportation…not your car or pickup? Walking is fine, but doesn’t cover many miles in a day.

Some alternatives are bicycles, ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles (in snow country), and horses. All take much less gas to run than a car or truck, and bicycles and horses take none at all. Remember you don’t have to use a car or truck, even though you are used to it. The Amish and other plain people have always used horses and other non-motorized vehicles for travel, and in Europe and many other countries bicycles are the norm for a lot of folks.

Stay-at-home emergencies
Some emergencies, such as severe ice storms, power outages, and blizzards, occur every year or so in many cold-climate areas, more frequently in other areas. This past year El Nino has contributed to widespread flooding in areas unused to flooding, and to major storms in areas unused to major storms. All these things created emergencies that largely demand people stay where they are out of common sense.

Remember, without power, you will not have access to stores for food and supplies, banks and ATMs for cash, a flush toilet, drinking water out of the tap, your furnace fan (or heat at all, if you have a “modern” all-electric home), the electric kitchen stove, gas for your car, and many other “normal” conveniences you are used to.
The food in your refrigerator will slowly spoil and the food in your freezer will slowly thaw, then rot.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to keep on top of such a situation. Number one, begin a game plan of not depending on electricity. Power is fine. It’s handy, convenient, and easy. Just don’t depend on it.

Checklist for stay-at-home emergencies
• Food and water for family, pets & livestock for at least 14 days; 55 gallons of fresh water will last a family of four for over seven days.
• Daily medications for family for 14 days
• Alternative heat source & fuel
• Alternative cooking source & fuel
• Alternative lighting source & fuel
• Flashlights & batteries
• Transistor, crank or solar radio
• Medical kit
• Matches
• Butane lighters
• Magnesium, flint & steel fire starter

Getting along comfortably without electricity
Trade in your electric stove for a gas range that does not have electric ignition. It will work when there is no electricity. Better yet, buy a wood range for the kitchen or basement. Trade in your electric refrigerator for a gas unit. Not only will it run without power, but it keeps food much better and lasts for many more years. Have at least a back-up heating unit that does not depend on electricity to run or to power the fan. A wood stove, a propane or natural gas wall furnace, or a space heater are all more dependable than a central furnace requiring electricity to provide heat for the home.

Trust2Sanitary concerns
Build an outhouse. What? Yep, even if you live in the city, discreetly dig a hole and build a “garden shed” over it. UmHmm, I know it’s not “legal” in many localities, but in an emergency, you can use it and keep your home much more sanitary and sweet smelling. No emergency? Use it for a garden shed. Remember too that urine is normally sterile and can be diluted with water and poured around trees as nitrogen-rich fertilizer. If it is totally impossible to construct an outhouse, keep urine separate and dispose of discreetly. Solids may be buried daily or you can even use a “kitty litter” box, keeping them covered after each use. Toilet paper may be bagged and burned or kept for later dumping.

[Image: Survival doesn’t have to mean stark times of doing without]

 Alternative lighting
Decide on what emergency lighting you will use. A lot of folks prefer to buy a generator to power their entire home during a short to moderate power outage. We prefer not to have to depend on generators running 24 hours a day; we use one for an hour or so and then only as truly needed. Remember, gasoline or diesel fuel may be exceedingly hard to get. Don’t waste it for luxury. We have used propane wall lamps, which give good light and are cheap to run; Coleman lamps, which also give good light, but must be pumped up to pressure from time to time; and kerosene lamps. Candles can do once in a while, in a pinch, but are easily upset, and are dangerous to use. Be sure you have a good supply of matches, as you’ll need more than you think. A few butane lighters also come in handy. I also keep a flint, steel, and magnesium fire starter, just in case. The magnesium burns very hot so it will light a fire, whether your fuel is wet or dry. You can buy them at the Preparedness Expos all around the country.

Food and drink
Have enough food and emergency water stored up if you don’t have an alternative water supply, such as a well with hand pump, spring, or cistern. Never drink any surface water, such as from a lake or stream, that is not either filtered with a good filter to remove contaminants such as giardia, which causes terrific diarrhea, or boiled for five minutes after straining off the major silt. You can treat questionable water with iodine, in drop or tablet form, but personally, I think the taste is awful. I prefer boiling, cooling, then shaking the water container vigorously to re-oxygenate it, which dramatically improves the taste. Never drink any water from a lake or stream in or downstream from agricultural land (leaching nitrates from fertilizer) or factories/mines (heavy metals, toxic wastes), as these may escape all but the most expensive filters. Boiling will not make the water drinkable.

You can obtain water for washing and flushing the toilet from several sources: melting snow, ditches, ponds, livestock tanks, rivers, and other surface water.
These will all do the job. When your water goes into an urban sewer, be sure you can “dump flush” the toilet, however, as some systems depend on pumps (electricity) to move the sewage. Check it out before you need to.

Vehicle emergencies
A lot of our day-to-day emergencies involve being stranded with our vehicle. A mechanical failure, a flat tire, being stuck in the snow, stuck in the mud and so on can make life miserable. We need to make it less miserable—and not life-threatening as it can sometimes be.

Vehicular emergencies are compounded by other emergencies. If you are stranded in a blizzard, possibly because of an evacuation or civil disturbance, it can quickly lead to a life-threatening situation. You should prepare for these situations also.
It may seem basic, but always know where you are, and know the best route to take to get to where you are going. Carry and use a map.

In cities, avoid “bad” neighborhoods, even if it requires going out of your way. Pay attention to weather conditions when you drive, and prepare accordingly. It’s shocking to us to see folks in cars during cold, unpredictable winter weather, dressed in shorts and sandals. That’s playing Russian roulette. Wear warm clothes during cold weather, or at least have them with you, including warm socks and boots.

Even in summer take some warm clothes along with you. Some evenings get downright cold in many areas, especially when there is a drizzly rain pouring all night.
If the weather is really bad, don’t drive. Seems logical, but a lot of unprepared folks set out into the teeth of a blizzard or hurricane because nothing is going to disturb their plans. Waiting a day or two is a lot safer. Listen to a weather radio or current weather forecast before setting out. Even a four-wheel drive can run into icy roads or drifted snow and have trouble.

If you do get stuck or stranded by a mechanical failure in bad weather, stay with the vehicle. A lot of folks lose their lives by trying to hike for help. In a vehicle, there is absence of wind, making comfortable survival much more certain. Your candle can heat the inside, warn other motorists of your presence, and attract the attention of rescuers. But be careful! Everything inside a vehicle burns with toxic smoke and ignites easily. Keep a down-wind window cracked to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, especially if you run the vehicle (with the tailpipe in the clear) from time to time, to keep warm.

Checklist for vehicle emergency preparedness
• Jack & lug wrench
• Spare tire
• Shovel
• Battery jumper cables
• Basic tool kit
• Fix-A-Flat
• Oil
• Lighter air pump
• Gallon of drinking water
• Blankets
• Basic first aid kit
• Flashlight
• Emergency food
• Candles with matches
• Map
• Cell phone or C.B. can  be a life saver.

A plan, truck, survival pack for short-term evacuation
There are many situations where you may be suddenly called upon to evacuate your home: forest fire, hurricane, earthquake, chemical spills by truck or train, flood, or even radical emergencies such as terrorist activity or riots. To prevent panic, be prepared, much before anything of the sort happens.

We also have our favorite photo albums, important papers, and keepsakes localized for instant grabbing.
Have a “plan of action” worked out, discussed with all family members. Where you will meet? Who will carry what, and where you will go—a relative’s house, a campsite on state or federal land? If you always keep on top of the weather, the news, and local conditions, you will have a jump-start on evacuation, allowing you to prepare beforehand and avoid panic.

Remember, no personal goods are worth the life of a family member. If an intense hurricane or forest fire is headed your way, make ready to leave. Wet the roofs, batten the windows, do whatever you can do. But when it’s time to evacuate, get out before the roads jam with traffic.
Have the car/truck fully gassed up and carry some reserve gas in cans….just in case. Carry not only your “grab and get” supplies, but be sure you have maps and your vehicle emergency equipment, as well. Try to stay out of main traffic areas/jams and stay out of dangerous areas, i.e., near the path of a fire, the chemical spill, the riot, etc.

It’s a good idea if every member of the family has his/her own survival pack. Even a cheap backpack containing warm clothing, food, water, a lighter, candle,

Evacuation Needs

Storage food in large cooler #1
Instant potatoes
Dry milk
Canned tuna
Dehydrated eggs
Dry noodles
Flour
Shortening
TVPs
Dry soup mixes
MREs (military instant Rice
meals; meals ready to eat)
Dry beans
Margarine powder
Dehydrated fruit
Dehydrated vegetables
Tomato powder
Baking powder
Salt
Spices & condiments
Pudding mixes
Cornmeal
Instant coffee, tea, drink mixes
Sugar

Kitchen box in large cooler #2
Frying pan
Large pot
Smaller pot
Mixing bowl, steel (can double as cooking utensil)
Matches & lighters
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Dish towel
Dish soap
Candles
Dish scrubber pad
Bowls for family
Silverware for family
Metal spatula
Roll of duct tape
Small roll of wire
Metal cups for family
Small water filter
Propane stove & tanks
Flashlight & batteries
Hatchet

Medical   Kit (as previously detailed)

Sleeping Gear (in large plastic box)
Sleeping bags
Candles & lighters
Coleman lantern
Unopened gallon of lantern fuel
Bow saw
Warm socks & jackets
10′ x 12′ plastic tarp
lightweight tent
Radio

Rifle/shotgun and ammunition (food procurement, signaling,   and family protection)

Personal backpacks
Warm clothes
Emergency food
Socks
Stocking hat
Basic fishing gear without rod
Small first aid kit
Space blanket
Flashlight
Roll of wire & rope
Pocket knife
Canteen with cup
Lighter
A few dollars in quarters & bills

first aid supplies, etc. will provide extra security if family members become separated or if someone forgets something.

A survival retreat for long-term evacuation
All families today should have a safe place they can evacuate to should things get dangerous in their home area. This is especially true for city-dwelling people. Such possible realistic scenarios as riots, often due to poverty, hunger, and anger at situations that seem to have no resolution; terrorist activity, which even the government fears is on the imminent increase in the U.S.; missile destruction of areas, which will become more possible as desperate Russians sell missile technology to terrorists; and severe economic depression or collapse, which, considering the current global economic mess, may be the most likely scenario of all.

This retreat can be called a summer home, a vacation home, hunting cabin, or whatever. Calling it a survival retreat immediately brands you as a nut-case radical. Just quietly go about your business, not making waves or attracting attention, and secure your hideaway.

This safe spot should be located at least an hour’s drive from a city—two hours from a large urban area such as an L.A. or Chicago-type metropolis. A rural location is great, but a more remote place is even better. Some folks freak out at this, preferring a small rural town setting. That’ll work, too, as a close small community can work together. But we’ve found that is not always the case, and we prefer to keep to the boonies.

You want something with a little acreage in case you must raise all of your food. Some people claim you can raise all your family’s food on a small 50 x 50-foot garden. Nope, you can not! When you must can all winter’s food, raise all of your small grain and corn, and grow feed for any livestock you have (chickens, rabbits, etc)—and take into consideration weeds, drought, and predation—you will need more land, at least two acres to feed your family well.

Forget living off the land. This sounds radical for a self-reliant, wilderness-living person such as myself, but it’s true. Sure, one family can survive living off the land, but when a significant portion of the nation lives off the land, the game is quickly killed off. It happened during the homestead days all over the nation. Even Indians starved because they were forced to eat what they could scrounge up in a limited area (reservations), and there was not very much left.

It is a great idea to learn to supplement your diet with wild foods. (Supplement, not live off.) There are many wild plants that can regularly be incorporated into the daily meal plan that are not only readily available, but nutritious and tasty. A good book on the subject is Guide to Wild Foods by Christopher Nyerges, who writes frequently for BHM and whose book is available through the magazine. He also offers courses on wild foraging.

Experiment before you need to forage for dinner. Remember there are some poisonous plants that will kill you if you eat them. You need to learn the good from the bad, the edible from the tasty. Get Nyerges’ book.

Your retreat needs to have non-electric capabilities (or PV power), well or spring water, wood heat, and alternative lighting, with appropriate fuel stored up in advance.

The sooner you get started the better, for you can plant an orchard, berries, and perennial vegetables, such as Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, etc., allowing time for them to mature to bearing age. You can also have adequate time to slowly stock up on food and other supplies, work the garden plot up very well, fence any land you need to, develop irrigation, etc.

Where should the survival retreat be located? That’s largely a personal preference. We love the very remote country: central Alaska, northern British Columbia, the Montana and Wyoming and Idaho high country. But it’s certainly not for everyone. Many more folks would be happier with the plains states: Maine, Arkansas, Missouri, or Minnesota. You can still find very rural areas, far from a freeway or big city, and find it easier to raise food for the family.

And the survival retreat does not need to be expensive. I have personally priced many retreats, in diverse locations, nationwide, priced below $35,000.

Choose the retreat with care, taking into consideration such things as nearness to a freeway (dangerous refugee traffic in some scenarios), nearness to a military or other strategic government location (possible missile or terrorist strike), nuclear plant (possible malfunction or terrorist strike), below a dam (possible rupture and flooding), or near any factory, chemical plant, etc.

The decision to evacuate
The decision to evacuate for long-term, perhaps forever, of one’s home is stressful and highly personal.

It’s best to leave before a situation becomes very serious. There are several reasons for this. First, there will still probably be gasoline available. The roads will be relatively uncongested, as most people have a tendency to wait until the last moment to leave, hoping desperately that things will get better. Travelling will be less stressful and much safer. A hoard of panic-stricken, angry, hopeless people, even the “nicest” people in the city, could become dangerous.

Take a good map and trace out a route, avoiding freeway-congested areas and large cities, even if it means going miles out-of-the-way. We would prefer to stick to back roads and minor highways. Drive this route often during normal times to familiarize yourself with it and work out any possible problems.

Trust3People today have largely become spoiled, being used to a relatively easy life (regardless of the stress of “the rat race”) with all the goodies and toys. They have forgotten how to live frugally, save money, provide for their own food, keep warm, safe, and dry.

[Moving into your survival retreat can be easy– if you plan ahead]

I know of one intelligent young man who went to Alaska to live off the land. He killed a moose, then later almost starved because he didn’t know how to preserve the meat. It rotted.

When people suddenly lose all they have: the homes that were not paid for, the easy living, and the well-paying job, they will panic, angrily demanding to remain in their past lifestyle. And angry “nice people” can get ugly.

During the last upheaval, the Great Depression, folks were much less spoiled, and for the most part they had basic living skills. Women knew how to garden, raise small livestock, make meals from scratch, make soap, sew clothes, etc. Men knew how to maintain machinery, raise crops, raise large livestock, cut firewood, etc. All, including children, knew how to work hard to survive. This is a skill greatly lost today, as are the basic living skills. And Depression-era folks had always known hard times, and they were more prepared to face them.

Our goal today should be to regain some of our independence and self-reliance, and to be prepared for any hard times in our future, whether they are slight, short lived, or more violent and long-term.

A year’s food supply for your family

This is a sample list for my family, which is a family of three. Your family needs may differ quite a bit, due to your meal preference. However, if you use this list as a base, you won’t go hungry. It also allows for “company”  meals. This is a realistic pantry supply to last a year comfortably. Remember to rotate your supplies, using the oldest first, replenishing as you use, in order to keep relatively fresh food stocks.
If you have a family of 4, increase the amount by 25%, a family of 6, by     50%, etc.

Grains
• 300 pounds of hard wheat or in     combination with 150 pounds of wheat and 150 pounds of flour.
• 50 pounds of dry corn to grind for cornmeal
• 50 pounds of soft wheat
• 50 pounds white rice
• 50 pounds brown rice
• 50 pounds oatmeal
• 25 pounds of masa harina de maize (corn flour for tortillas and tamales)Legumes
• 50 pounds of pinto beans
• 50 pounds of combined other beans, such as navy, kidney, etc.
• 20 pounds of split peas
• 20 pounds lentilsDairy
• 18 #10 cans dry milk or in     combination with boxes of store-bought dry milk
• 2 #10 cans cheese powder
• 5 #10 cans dehydrated eggs
• 3 #10 cans butter or margarineSugar
• 50 pounds white granulated sugar
• 10 pounds brown sugar
• 10 pounds powdered sugarShortening/Oil
• 10 3# cans shortening
• 5 48 fl. oz. bottles vegetable oil
• 2 16 fl. oz. bottles olive oil

Salt
• 10 pounds non-iodized table     salt (used in pickling & meat preservation as well as table use)

Fruits
• 52 pints peaches
• 52 pints apple sauce
• 52 pints fruit cocktail
• 52 quarts apples (includes pies, etc.)
• 52 pints pears
• 104 pints misc. fruits
• 1 #10 can raisins
• 1 #10 can dehydrated strawberries
• 2 #10 cans dehydrated apple slices
• 2 #10 cans dehydrated banana slices

Vegetables
• 104 pints of green beans
• 104 pints of sweet corn
• 104 pints of carrots
• 104 quarts of tomatoes
• 104 pints of tomato sauce
• 104 half pints tomato paste
• 104 quarts of potatoes and/or 22 pounds instant potatoes
• 26 quarts of squash or pumpkin
• 26 pints beets
• 2 #10 cans dehydrated sweet corn
• 4 #10 cans dehydrated peas
• 1 #10 can dehydrated onions
• 2 #10 cans dehydrated broccoli

Pasta
•15 pounds spaghetti
•6 pounds assorted noodles
•6 pounds lasagna

Meat
• 52 pints lean beef/venison roast
• 52 pints chicken/turkey
• 52 pints ham/fish/misc.
• 52 cans tuna
• 52 cans Spam
• 52 pints home canned hamburger for tacos, casseroles, etc.
• 1 #10 can ea. TVP (textured vegetable protein), bacon, chicken)

Seeds
A heavy selection of garden seeds to replenish your food supply, should the period of hard times last longer than a few months. Always opt for the worst and prepare ahead.
Most garden seeds last for years, if kept dry. One notable exception is     onion seed, which should be replaced yearly.

Miscellaneous
• 1 pound baking soda
• 3 pounds baking powder
• 1 pound dry yeast
• spices usually used
• 25 dozen canning jar lids, wide mouth & regular
• coffee, tea, powdered drink mixes in sufficient quantity
• A grain mill to grind grains
• An Amish or other “cooking with basics” cookbook or two
• 1 gallon inexpensive pancake syrup
• An assortment of “treats”, such as pickles, jams, preserves

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Disaster “triggering events”

Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Disaster “triggering events”)

trigger events1

A.  How to Spot the Triggers of a Socioeconomic Collapse
19 Sep 2011, SHTFplan.com, by Fernando Ferfal Aguirre (Surviving in Argentina)
Pasted from; http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/how-to-spot-the-triggers-of-a-socioeconomic-collapse_09192011

The following article has been graciously contributed by Fernando Ferfal Aguirre. Fernando lived through the hyper-inflationary meltdown in Argentina and shares his wisdom in his book, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse, as well as regular updates at his web site, Surviving in Argentina .

Editor’s Note: With the many possibilities for natural and man-made events that can lead to local, regional, national or global crisis, it is often difficult to identify what is happening and what the consequences of certain events may be. As preppers we are always on the look-out for a potential disaster or emergency – it’s what we do. This is the nature of our chosen lifestyle. It is both a blessing and a curse. While most of us who prepare will likely be ready to deal with an emergency situation and minimize our panic while we respond to the crisis around us, our curse is that any event, no matter how insignificant or in the periphery it may be, raises our sensitivity levels, perhaps at times to extreme levels. There’s a lot of noise, confusion and misinformation out there, and sometimes it may lead to unnecessary stress.

In the article below Ferfal provides a little bit of relief for those of us who may look at every financial or economic occurrence as the potential trigger that devolves the entire system into meltdown and chaos. While we never know what will set the entire system ablaze, so our view is that it’s better to be overly sensitive than ignorant, Ferfal’s firsthand knowledge of a currency and societal meltdown on a national level gives us a critical view into what such an event may look like, the signs that will precede it, the sentiment and behavior of the people in the region, and what you can do to prepare. It’s not just about storing food and guns, but also being aware of our surroundings and the changes in society as the system around us becomes unhinged. With Ferfal’s help, we have another important piece of the puzzle. It’s an important piece, because in the event that the situation begins spiraling out of control, you’ll see it coming.

” Socioeconomic Collapse and Preparedness Timing by Fernando Ferfal Aguirre
Fernando, I really enjoyedyour book, (so have my parents, my wife, my friends and a dozen people in my office). It is very well written and packed with useful information. In fact, your book occupies a place in our law firm’s bookcase next to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Your book and your blog bring credibility to the debate over whether and how to prepare for a financial or other collapse.

One topic I have not seen covered deals with the timing of events. Most people I know who “prep” talk about “bugging out” and scenarios that rely on “triggering events.” Even in your case, you had a fairly short window of time during which time the currency collapsed. A currency collapse would definitely be a “triggering event” to almost everyone I know. In the last two years, however, I have come to believe we are in slow decline here in the U.S., and that there will not be a single “triggering event” that signals the time to start wearing my body armor (or whatever other example you want to use). The endpoint will be the same, but perhaps less dramatic than in Argentina. The problem is, there is a lot of danger and mayhem between now and what may be the final collapse of U.S. social order, perhaps even a generation. I am worried that in a slower, more orderly decline, it will be difficult to match my level of security with the level of threat. Many more people, even well prepared people, could be taken by surprise.

Most of the skills you recommend to your readers are good life skills that all people should have to enhance the chances of daily survival, even under normal circumstances. That said, constant, extreme vigilance is not any more practical than having Uncle Bob come over and help me guard my house 24/7 WTSHTF. While I am raising my children to be watchful and vigilant, there is a whole different level of vigilance I would apply if I lived during a triggering event like a currency collapse. For example, I let them play outside with their friends in the neighborhood without adult supervision. To disallow that would be unhealthy to their development, and the threat to their safety at the moment is not extreme. If the dollar were worthless and crime rampant as you have described in your book, there is no way I’d let them outside without an adult.

My question to you is this, assume I have taken all the advice in your book and acquired the skills, equipment and commodities to survive a pretty long time; what would be the top five or ten subtle changes in society, government, or markets that would cause you to go from a normal state of awareness to the “never let your kids out of the house to play in the back yard level of awareness?”
Thanks,
Andrew.

Fernando Ferfal Aguirre’s reply:
“An economic collapse in many ways is similar to the decline of an empire regarding how complex it is to prepare for it. Unlike defined disasters, natural ones like Katrina or man-made, there’s no clear beginning to it. It is a complex, multilevel event that in some aspects may have a clear trigger or milestone (such as defaulting or bank holidays) but on other aspects it may have been cooking slowly through inflation and unemployment for months, even years. Certain economic events may be easy to pinpoint, but how does unemployment affect people, when will this cause an increase in crime, or affect me directly leaving me without income? When will crime stop being only a factor related to the harsh economy and also be influenced in terms of how violent it becomes due to social hatred because of social polarization? Then there’s also the consideration that it may have been affecting people in different ways based on socioeconomic level and location in the country. Calling such a situation complex is an understatement.

Given such complexity and all the variables impossible to ponder, all you can do is stay informed, learn to tell the different signs and know how to interpret them so as to know what the future holds within a certain margin of error.

Things to look for would be unemployment, rumors from people within the banking and financial world (some of those rumors saved people millions when our economy collapsed) crime and what type of crime is taking place, corruption, debt and inflation. You must also become pretty skeptical regarding the information the main stream media provides. Who OWNS such media channels? Who are their sponsors and advertisers? What political agenda do they have or slightly tend to favor? If the media says the economy is doing wonderful but people on the street are barely getting by and you see more industries moving abroad, do have your doubts.

All these events and signs do tell you something. Don’t wait for the official SHTF day, in socioeconomic terms that simply will never happen, you will simply look back one day and realize the world around you has already changed. That is indeed how people will be taken by surprise. People sometimes talk about rule of law and no rule of law times, as if it were an on/off switch. One day everything is fine but the next week, ups! No ROL folks, so its madness out there, I’ll wear my MOLLE vest with armor plate to work and leave my Keltec 32 in the safe and pick my 1911 instead, carried in a drop leg holster or attached to my vest of course. People that think this way are the ones that will indeed fail at protecting their families today, ROL or no ROL. If you suffer a violent home invasion in an upper class neighborhood like the Petite family did, does it really matter if some nutcase declared that ROL is still in effect, or that it isn’t? Preparedness is now folks. Modern survival is the way you analyze events, make decisions and ultimately live your life from day one, not after an event. In states where its legal to carry, I would get my CCW permit and carry today. Doing so won’t bring any disadvantages to my lifestyle. My kids playing in the street with friends unsupervised? I´d be honest with myself. Can my son defend himself from a social predator? I wouldn’t leave a 10 year old kid unsupervised no matter where I live. How about 13 or 14 years old, and the general area you live in being pretty safe? Then I might be a bit more flexible.

What would be the top five or ten subtle changes in society, government, or markets that would cause you to go from a normal state of awareness to the “never let your kids out of the house to play in the back yard level of awareness?”

Unemployment: If unemployment is over 15-20% there will soon be serious social changes involving desperate people.

Poverty: Are half the people around you poor and looking your way with resentment? In Argentina the numbers are still pretty bad. 50% poor and 25% below the poverty line. Of the remaining 25% only 3% make enough money to life a life standard similar in quality to what middle class Americans are used to. Watch out for poverty and not only what the newspaper says or what the president announces. Do you see more people begging on the streets, more dumpster divers? How about shanty towns or tent towns? If you have any of those close keep an eye on your kids, your property and yourself.

Inflation: Right now Argentina ranks at the top 3 worst inflation in the planet. That’s a sign of bad times to come. We have unions forcing higher wages that chase after ever increasing prices and still losing millions keeping an artificial exchange rate with the dollar around 1 to 4,2. When the peso devaluates again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go to 7 or 8 pesos per dollar. Rising inflation is perhaps one of the final stages before the collapse, and something Americans should pay special attention to.

Businesses and Infrastructure: Are roads being repaired, parks kept tended to? Do you see a general sense of decay in the overall infrastructure? Neighbors keeping their houses well kept are a sign of good times. When the economy collapsed here in 2001 middle class people wouldn’t even buy a can of paint let alone remodel, and it showed. Things like stores closing and going out of business, shops boarded up, sometimes being replaced with cheapo discount stores.

Crime and Rumors: Crime will be a clear indication of you having to go from yellow to orange in terms of awareness. Now, it may not appear on the media as much as it should and negative news may be avoided entirely by news groups trying to be “team players” with the government. You on the other hand cannot afford the pink shaded glasses. Pay special attention to the local gossip and rumors, and when something catches your attention try verifying through other sources. Who got mugged, robbed or suffered a home invasion. Don’t wait too long. Once you know this is happening in your general area take the extra precautions you know you must take.
You can still have a pretty normal and happy life in spite of being forced to be more cautions and more aware given the circumstances. I believe its much better to take those measures while still enjoying the things I can, than taking the easy road and not doing it, and maybe one day regret it.”

.

B.  Here is my List of Triggering Events – What’s Yours?
29 Jun 2012, learnto prepare.com, by Denis Korn
Excerpts from: http://learntoprepare.com/2012/06/here-is-my-list-of-triggering-events-whats-yours/

trigger events2 These times require being alert and awake! “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.” ~ John Curran

In January of this year I posted the article below. Here is the segment of that article I want to focus upon in this post:
As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.” Ask yourself, “What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?” “What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?”
If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for possible immediate action.

It is time to be specific! Whether an emergency can be short term and have only a minimal disruption in your daily routine, or catastrophic requiring a significant change in life style, apathy and ignorance will not be bliss. While I’m not a prophet or psychic, I do have the discernment skills to realize that we live in very precarious and uncertain times. Between acts of God or geophysical events and man-made devastating incidents, there are so many potential scenarios that could come to pass, that being continually vigilant is essential.

Based on the potential scenarios listed at the bottom of this post, here are some of my specific triggering events:

  • Declaration of an imminent weather event
  • A pattern of major and/or catastrophic weather events
  • Significant indication of, or actual occurrence of, a major physical event or multiple events
  • Prolonged drought leading to possible food shortages
  • Potential loss of job, income or bank accounts due to government or corporate actions
  • Serious personal illness
  • Substantial instability in national and global financial markets
  • The elimination of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency
  • Bank holiday’s
  • An indication of a major financial restructuring
  • Economic collapse
  • Shortages of critical foods, medications and provisions
  • Curious and strange activity of government officials, corporate executives and the very wealthy
  • Social unrest and civil disobedience leading to severe government and police action
  • Martial law being declared
  • The suspension of the 1st and/or 2nd amendments – freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc. and the right to bear arms
  •  Strict control over the internettrigger events3
  • Major cyber attack
  • Suspension of elections
  • Terrorist attack, act of war or preparation for war
  • Disruption of oil supplies
  • National medical or biological emergency – real or contrived
  • Activation of emergency presidential powers that will control everyone’s normal activities
  • An extraordinary governmental or media deception
  • Severe solar activity that could lead to CME’s (Coronal Mass Ejection) and major disruption of the electrical and communication grid
  • A profound and extraordinary religious, spiritual or cosmological event
  • Signs of an imminent pole shift or major geophysical event
  • An announcement by the government – widespread or to a confidential group – to relocate, leave coastal areas and to seek secure surroundings

You don’t have to believe in catastrophic events to be prepared. Being prepared for the unexpected is simply a good idea. Whatever your perspective, being aware of world events during these critical times and the their potential effect upon you and your family and friends is the responsible attitude to embrace.

Many folks are reluctant to plan ahead, or they assume that the government or others will take care of them, or they are just too busy, or they just don’t think it is necessary. As an option to doing nothing or to enhance some other method of emergency preparedness planning you have chosen, consider the following. As you reflect on the scenarios that you presume might – or might not – occur, think about the concept of a “triggering event.” Ask yourself, “What are the triggering events that will motivate me to immediate action?” “What triggering event will launch the imminent arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur or thought wouldn’t occur?” If you have created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for possible immediate action. This is especially important if you have considered scenarios that will have a long term impact on the supply of goods and services that are required to sustain your basic needs.

If there are items that are essential to your well-being such as medical products, devices, children’s products, or special nutritional foods, then being alert to a potential disruption of vital needs is crucial. While it is always desirable to plan ahead and have provisions in place, it is better to react at the last minute than not at all. Know exactly what you need, how much will be adequate, where you have to go to supply your needs, how you will get there, and how you will pay for your supplies. Obviously some scenarios may offer some prior indications, such as hurricanes, storms, or economic/political issues; while others can occur without warning. You are responsible – you must choose to act or not – unfortunately non action can have severe consequences for yourself and your family!

If you have been hesitant to act or even reflect about preparedness planning you are encouraged to seriously consider this post.

Scenarios

Acts of God Man Made Earth Changes
Local – Regional National National/Worldwide
Earthquake Government regulation/control Catastrophic Weather
Flood Martial Law Asteroid/Comet
Fire Food Shortages Pole Shift
Hurricane Societal Breakdown Solar Flare – CME
Storm/Ice/Snow Civil Disobedience/Riots Tribulation/Religious
Tornado Medical Emergency Severe Earth Changes
Drought Economic Emergency/Collapse
Power Outage Major Accident
Mud Slide Terrorism Attack
Tsunami Biological/Chemical/Radiological   Attack
EMP – Electrical Magnetic Pulse Attack
PERSONAL ISSUES Bombing
Job Loss War
Illness Cyber Attack – No internet
Emergencies
Financial Loss

 Time Frames:

3 Days to 2 Weeks
Minor to moderate inconvenience and disruption of the daily routine.
Basic supplies in the first 3 days would be valuable for comfort but not essential.
An adequate amount of basic supplies after 3 days are important.

3 Weeks to 2 Months
The inconvenience is very noticeable and the routine disruption can be significant.
Supplies required are usually on hand, and stockpiling some supplies will be very important.

3 Months to 6 Months
Preparedness planning is very important and a serious disruption to the daily routine is inevitable. Mobility and location to wait out the emergency is important in your planning.
Proper supplies will be critical.
Medical and other special needs must be planned for in advance.

6 Months to 1 Year
Unless you are very prepared and are committed to self-reliance, in this time frame your lifestyle will definitely be impacted.
Serious attention to your preparedness planning is required.
Action and provisions are essential.
You will be dealing with serious issues during this time period, and you must be prepared.

1 Year or More
Scenarios actualized in this time frame are this most serious and catastrophic, and will require a serious commitment to lifestyle changes.
You will be dealing with national and worldwide calamity.
The extent of the impact on everyone’s life cannot be over emphasized.
Significant and detailed planning is required, and even with this an emergency situation of this duration will be wrought with uncertainty.
This will be a time for community togetherness, sharing, and mutual support.
Skills not normally possessed by folks will be required.
Gardening and other self-reliant skills will be essential.
Books, tools, and other valuable resources will be vital.

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Preparation levels: Why short, medium & long term planning is required

RainMan(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Preparation levels: Why short, medium & long term planning is required)

A.  The Three Levels of Preparing
12 May 2012, Code Green Prep, David Spero
Pasted from: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/05/the-three-levels-of-preparing/

prep1

[A FEMA map showing county by county counts of Presidential declared disasters for the period 2000-2010.]

It is easy to think of prepping as being one single set of actions, designed to prepare for any and all future challenges as/when/if they occur, and of the differences between types of situations and necessary responses as being on a smooth continuum, from trivial and minor to life changing/threatening and major.
This is only partially true, and masks the very different types of situations and preparations required. There are very different sets of responses to different types of situations – perhaps best to think of prepping like a plane, which you control very differently while taxiing on the ground compared to when flying through the air.

In fact, rather than just two modes of response (like a plane), we suggest it is most helpful to create three different sets of future challenges, and to identify prepping solutions for each of these, because the three different types of preparations are very different from each other. These three levels of preparing, and the three levels of future challenges, are :

Level 1 : Short Term
Short term problems are those which are, obviously enough, of short duration. They are events that clearly have an expected resolution to them via society’s normal mechanisms, and it is just a case of waiting for the issues to be resolved.

An example of a short term problem would be a major storm, flood, or power outage. Such events could inconvenience you for anywhere from an hour or two up to perhaps a week or two. Lesser events can be considered, too – having your car break down on the side of the road late at night, for example.
In such cases your response to such challenges generally does not require evacuating your normal residence – indeed, by definition, any Short Term/Level 1 events are ones which do not require you to leave home.

You may lose power, you may lose other utilities, and you may have transportation challenges, and there may be regional disruptions to normal social support functions. But the functioning of the country as a whole remains unchallenged, and in some form or another, you know that matters will, in the foreseeable future, return to normal. Society is not disrupted, you don’t have lawlessness or looting.

How/what do you prepare for and respond to a Level 1/Short Term disruption? Things like an emergency generator and enough fuel to power it for a couple of weeks. Extra fuel for at least one of your vehicles. Food and water for a couple of weeks. A two-way radio, although there’s a good chance your landline and cell phones will still work, as may also your internet.
You only slightly modify your normal lifestyle, and you are secure in the certainty that life will be back to normal well before you’ve exhausted your emergency supplies.
A person can be well prepared for Level 1 events without needing to outlay more than $10,000, and probably without needing to outlay much more than $1,000.

Level 2 : Medium Term
These are obviously events which are more major than Level 1 events. We define Level 2 events by the need to abandon your normal residence and move somewhere else. Level 2 events disrupt the total fabric of your region, and are more open ended in terms of when and how matters will return to normal. They might be natural – a solar storm wiping out our power grid, for example. They might be economic – a collapse in the global economy – something which we seem to be flirting with at present. They might be the result of military action, or could be any one of many other issues – maybe even something minor which then snowballs and destroys the increasingly fragile and delicate state of today’s modern interdependent society.

Level 2 events may even threaten people’s lives due to interruptions not only to utility services such as water, sewer, power/gas, trash, and communications, but also due to disruptions to the distribution system for food, gasoline, and other essentials – disruptions which appear likely to extend beyond the point at which most non-preppers can cope.
Some lawlessness and looting will develop, as desperate people search for food.
On the other hand, these problems, as severe as they are, have some sort of an eventual happy ending and resolution clearly in sight, such as to see the restoration of normal infrastructure and a return to ‘life as we know it’ (LAWKI) at some reasonable point in the future.

How do you prepare for and respond to a Level 2/Medium Term disruption? You need a secure location where you can shelter from the lawlessness that may envelope cities and other areas of dense population, and where you can create your own little bubble of comfort, safety, and what passes for civilization.
Possibly your retreat will still have essential services connected to it (power most of all), but you’ll be prepared for an eventuality without power.

You’ll live primarily from stored supplies without worrying too much about replenishing them. Sure, you’ll try and reduce your reliance on external sources of most things, but you’ll not feel the need to become 100% self-reliant or to adopt a 100% sustainable independent life. Instead, you’ll happily live off your stockpiles of food, energy sources, and whatever else, because you can see a clear restoration of ‘normalcy’ at some point within a year or so.

You need two way radio communication to supplement any remaining ‘normal’ types of communication, but primarily to communicate among yourselves, and perhaps augmented by a shortwave radio receiver so you can keep updated with news of ‘the rest of the world’ and what is happening to resolve the problems your region has suffered.
You may choose to do this independently by yourself, because you have the supplies and resources you need. Alternatively, and perhaps for optional social reasons rather than for any essential needs, you may choose to band together with other prepared people too.

Level 2 clearly requires a massively greater amount of preparation (and expenditures) than Level 1. If you have only prepared for Level 1 contingencies, you’ll have a problem surviving a Level 2 event, primarily due to not having a retreat location to move to. Cities will quickly become lethal environments, and even if you successfully manage to evacuate the city you live in, so what? Where will you move to? See our article about the modern day imbalance between city and rural life – there’s no way that small country towns can suddenly accept four times more people than they had before as refugees from the cities. If you don’t have somewhere to go to, already prepared, you have in effect nowhere to go to.

Preparing for a Level 2 event will cost you anywhere from $100,000 as an absolute bare-bones minimum up to $1 million or more. These costs will start to encourage you to adopt group/shared solutions. While two people can never live (or prepare) as cheaply as one, they sure can do so for much less than double the cost. There’s not only safety in numbers, but economy too.

If you feel it impractical to consider preparing to Level 2 standards yourself, don’t give up. The reality is that a Level 2 condition is close to essential. Maybe Code Green can help. Ask about becoming a member of our cooperative community and how you can benefit from shared investments in Level 2 and Level 3 preparations.

Level 3 : Long Term
This is the big one. Society has broken down. Something has destroyed much of the infrastructure not just of your region, and not just of the United States, but of most of the entire world. This might be a bio-disaster (a flu pandemic as has several times come very close in the last decade) or a global conflict, or an EMP pulse, or any one of many other events.
You’re not yet reduced to a stone age life-style, but you’ve no idea when you’ll be able to resupply any of the items you’ve stockpiled, and so your focus now is on sustainable ongoing self-contained living.

Whereas in Level 1 events, you happily lived off and even squandered your stored supplies, sure in the knowledge that the event was short term, and in Level 2 events, you were more prudent and glad you had spares for essential items and generous amounts of ‘just in case’ materials, with Level 3 events, you’re not just focused on spares for essential items, but on how to build replacement products from raw materials and how to adjust to a life with massively fewer modern and complex appliances.

You of course have needed to evacuate if you lived in a city, and the lawlessness (or arbitrary capricious unilateral attempts at imposing draconian ‘order’) is pervasive. It is an ‘every man for himself’ sort of situation, and yes, it may also become a ‘kill or be killed’ situation too. Starving people, facing certain death for themselves and their families, will have no choice but to fight for food and shelter, and you in turn will have no choice but to defend that which you have.

You need to change your lifestyle so that you can become self-sustaining and self-sufficient. Sure, you’ll use up your stockpiled supplies as you devolve down to a level of sustainable self-sufficiency, and as you do so, you realize that you might never be able to replace such things. You need to become both energy and food independent, and your energy independence needs to be not just in the form of PV solar cells (because what do you do as they degrade and fail, in a situation where you have no replacements and where you can’t create the underlying pre-requisite technology to manufacture more) but rather in the form of some type of energy source that you can maintain and operate indefinitely.

Food independence can be slightly modified by trading off surpluses of the types of food you can grow with surpluses of food developed by other nearby families and communities.

You need to become part of a community because you don’t have enough resources, by yourself and with whatever handful of friends and family are with you, to have all the talents, skills, and resources necessary to optimize your life. You need to be able to communicate, bi-directionally, not just locally and regionally, but nationally and internationally, so as to understand what has happened to and what is happening to the rest of your country and the world, and to coordinate your activities with those of other pockets of survivors.

If you have already prepared for a Level 2 contingency, you’ll have a ‘parachute’ to cushion your crash-landing down into the post-industrial society that you’ll be entering. The most important thing is you have a place to retreat to, and enough supplies and resources to buy you some time to urgently start adapting to the new future staring you in the face.

It would be better, of course, if you already have some Level 3 planning and preparations in place, but if you’re already at Level 2, you’re way ahead of most other people.

How much does it cost to be prepared for a Level 3 situation? That’s a question with a huge range of possible answers, and it depends on how much of life’s former comforts you want to try and preserve and for how long, how much you want to have in place to devolve down to less complex forms of technology, and how far you can split such costs with fellow preppers.

This is where Code Green Prep can help. Ask about becoming a member of our cooperative community and how you can benefit from shared investments in Level 2 and Level 3 preparations.

Here’s a table showing some of the key differences in these three levels of future event and their implications to us as preppers.

Item Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Duration Short – maybe up to a week or two Medium – perhaps up to a year Longterm
Likelihood of   Occuring Varies regionally, but between likely and definite every 5 – 10   years Take your best guess. A disruptive solar storm = 12% chance   every 10 years. Other risks = you decide. More likely than you’d wish for. What are the chances of Bird   Flu evolving and a global pandemic wiping out a huge slice of the world’s   population? Might Iran or N Korea detonate an EMP over the US? etc.
Return to Normalcy Assured Very likely Not for a long time, maybe generations
Regional Scope Probably local and limited Extensive, possibly national Definitely national, maybe continental, possibly impacting   much/all the world
External   Assistance Yes, expected Maybe some, but not much and such resource as there is will be   massively over-extended and unable to cope Probably none for extended periods of time
Survivability if   Unprepared Yes with some inconvenience and discomfort Marginal to low Very low
Social Disruption Possibly some limited opportunistic rioting and looting, brought   under control within a week or so Major, probably new forms of small community government and   policing programs will spring up to create pockets of order among much   lawlessness Complete. Organized gangs will dominate
Relocation Can survive in your normal abode Due to breakdown of city services, need to relocate Essential
Food strategy Not a constraint You’ll survive by eating through your stockpiles of food in the   hope by the time you’ve eaten it all, order will be restored Your stockpiles of food will give you time to create your own   ongoing food sources and to become self sufficient
Energy Some candles, flashlights, warm blankets, open fires, and a   generator You’ll reduce your energy needs and rely on a generator and   stockpiled fuel, perhaps using some in-place renewable energy sources too. Stockpiled fuel will be used carefully as you transition to   energy independence and renewable sources
Defense Stay at home. Biggest threat will probably be rude/pushy   neighbors. Hopefully no lethal threats or responses needed. Moderately uncoordinated groups of starving people or   opportunistic raiders, will probably be able to be repelled by presentation   of weapons and maybe occasional skirmishes. They are looking for easy   targets. Organized groups will battle among themselves for regional   supremacy, and will ‘fight to the finish’ to take over the assets and   resources of others. Expect stolen military weapons as well as civilian   rifles/shotguns/pistols to be used.
Transportation Stay at home Necessary to get to your retreat. Little need to travel outside   your retreat boundaries. Necessary to get to your retreat. Occasional travel to trade   with other groups, roads degraded, few mechanized vehicles. Pushbikes and   horse drawn carts become the norm. Travel is dangerous due to risks from   marauders.
Communication Hopefully some normal forms of comms remain operative – radio,   tv, land line, cell phone, internet. Traditional comms largely degraded or disrupted. Short-range   two-way radios to keep in touch with other members of your group. Shortwave   radio receiver for general news. Traditional comms all gone. Long range two-way radio for comms   within your group, and to interact with other groups and to understand the   world situation and what the future may bring.
Group Size Small. You can survive just fine, even if alone. Medium. Your group/community will essentially be the people who   share the retreat with you, providing social interaction, extra skills and   additional manpower for some tasks. Large. You need access to as broad a range of skills as   possible, and in a nearby region due to dangers and difficulties of   traveling.
Cost of Preparing Low – less than $10,000; probably less than $1,000. High – More than $100,000; potentially as much as $1 million   (but possibly shared among a group of people). Maximum : Everything you can afford and more besides. Definitely   requires group participation to make high-cost items affordable.

When Does Each Level Evolve to the Next Level
Determining the type of event you’re facing depends on three things. The event itself, the reactions/responses of other people, and the level of preparedness you already have in place.
If you have a realistic 5 year supply of everything you could possibly need, you’re in a Level 2 situation for any event that promises to be resolved within that five year situation. But if you only have a six month supply, then you’re forced to adopt Level 3 measures even if the event seems likely to be resolved within a year.
And if you’re prepared only for Level 1 events, you’re way short on options for any type of Level 2 or 3 event.

If society ‘gracefully degrades’ without rampant lawlessness, and if support mechanisms remain in place, then what could have become a Level 2 – 3 event may remain as an ‘easy’ Level 2 event. But if society explodes, then even a survivable Level 1 event assumes Level 2 status due to the need to evacuate the city.

At the risk of repeating ourselves, you need to consider how you can improve your preparedness to be able to respond adequately to Level 2 and Level 3 events. There’s no real trick to lasting out Level 1 situations, but even a mild Level 2 event will be life threatening to many people in the affected area. Speak to us about the Code Green Prep cooperative communities, and how it might be possible for you to find strength, safety, security, and financial feasibility as part of a larger group of fellow preppers.

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B.  Why People Will Steal Your Food – And Everything Else – in a Level 2/3 Situation
11 Jul 2012, Code Green Prep, David Spero
Pasted from: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/07/why-people-will-steal-your-food-and-everything-else-in-a-level-23-situation/

prep2London’s 2011 riots yet again demonstrated the ugly streak of evil that lurks close below the surface of modern society.
(Note – it might be helpful to refresh your understanding of what we define as Level 1, 2 and 3 events.)

The main challenge you will have in a Level 2 situation is security. While you probably will have food and energy supplies for a year or two (or three….), most ‘normal’ unprepared people have no energy stockpiles and little food. Within a week, most people will be increasingly forced to ‘forage’ for their food – and we use this word ‘forage’ as a euphemism for more than simple ‘stealing’, because stealing is a familiar and non-violent sounding term.

Interestingly, we see the greatest problems being in the early days of any Level 2/3 scenario. There is probably an evolutionary process that society will shake down through – we discuss this in our article on the security/lawlessness cycle here.

In that article we lightly touch on the concept that people will be forced to choose between starvation and forcibly taking such food and shelter as they can, by any means necessary. Let’s look into this in some more detail both in terms of the types of risks and threats you’ll face, and how you need to prepare for them.

Level 2 Risks : (a) Lawless Gangs
We have regularly seen, both in the US and elsewhere in the world, the propensity of some groups of society to degenerate into violent lawlessness any time society hiccups and normal law enforcement activities pause.
These people violently riot and loot (and attack and murder) for the sheer devilry and ‘fun’ of it, and because they are laboring under some bizarre view of reality that makes them feel entitled to behave that way, and also for the opportunistic chance to enrich themselves by carrying away color televisions and other home electronics from stores they are looting.

How much more aggressive will they be in a Level 2 situation? It seems realistic to accept that normal law enforcement will be massively reduced in a Level 2 situation. Even if all the police and other law enforcement personnel still report for duty, the same as normal, they’ll be overwhelmed by the number of problems suddenly dropping in their lap.

As we saw in, for example, the Los Angeles riots in 1992, normal law enforcement numbers can be completely inadequate for any outbreaks of mass violence, and in a Level 2 situation, not only will there be even greater disorder, there will not be regional and national reserves of manpower to call upon, because every other region will also be struggling to keep ahead of their own problems. The inability of local law enforcement to deal with rioting is the flipside of the coin to do with the police relying on the general consent and acquiescence of the communities they police – when this starts to fail, so too does the policing, whether it be as we say in Los Angeles in 1992, or more recently in London in 2011, or anywhere else.

Add to that the fact that such roving gangs of people won’t only be looting for fun and for personal enrichment, and they won’t just be seeking things such as computers, iPhones, and suchlike. They’ll be as threatened with starvation as anyone else, and they’ll be looting for food and survival, too – just more vigorously and violently then everyone else.

Level 2 Risks : (b) Organized Gangs
A much greater threat is the presence of organized gangs – bikers, drug distribution networks, street gangs, and such like. While there aren’t as many of these people as there will be, initially, of lawless gangs, they are organized, disciplined, and totally amoral.

They are also determined. Whereas lawless groups of people – ad hoc gangs – are opportunistic and will attack easy targets and avoid hard targets, organized gangs will be willing to attack all types of targets – weak targets because they can, and hard targets because they pose potential threats to the organized gang that will otherwise seek to become the new power structure in a region.
Even worse, many of these gangs are vaguely prepping for the future, too. They’re poised, waiting to attack society as soon as it becomes feasible to do so.

Level 2 Risks : (c) Starving People
We don’t need guns if/when a person politely comes up and knocks on our door and asks if we can spare any food. If we are unable to help out, they thank us for our time and leave again.
But do you really think that is what will happen?
Let’s say 50% of the population only has food for three days or less, another 25% for about ten days, another 20% for about twenty days. And let’s say it becomes obvious to everyone that the Level 2 situation will take not days or weeks, but many months to be resolved.

In three days, half the population will be looking at empty pantries. What will they do?

Within another week, 75% of the population will have no food, and there will be a growing realization by everyone, whether they still have food or not, that there is no hope of any arriving any time soon. What will all these people do?
Over the next ten days, they’ll be joined by just about everyone else. In less than three weeks – probably much less – more than 95% of the population will be starving.

Will these people politely knock on your door, and then just shuffle off and die quietly on the street if you refuse to share your own limited supply of food with them? It is possible that a pacifist single person might do this, but what about a man (or woman) with a spouse and children to feed? Will they just passively let their entire family die of starvation, while watching you and a very few others continue to eat almost normally?

Here’s the logic they face :
You can threaten to shoot me with your gun, but if I don’t take your food from you, I’ll definitely die of starvation, so it makes sense for me to risk being shot while doing anything and everything necessary to take your food from you. If I have to choose between you dying, or me and my family dying, you will be the one I prefer to see die.

You need to understand this. If you refuse to feed your best friend in a post Level 2/3 situation, then he, just as much as any stranger, has no choice but to use whatever means necessary to take your food from you, because it is essential tp the survival of himself and his family.

You also need to remember how people are so brilliantly good at justifying any actions to themselves. The same people who laughed at you for stockpiling food will now be demanding it from you as their ‘right’ – ‘You have no right not to share your food with us, you can’t just leave us to die, you selfish so-and-so’. That’s only one small step removed from ‘You are trying to kill us by withholding food from us’ and ‘You’ve more food than you could possibly need yourself, there should be a law against such selfishness’.

After they’ve demonized you in their own mind, and played up their own deserving victim status, they’ll feel totally justified to shoot you in your doorway, and then to clamber over your dead body and to loot your house of all its supplies.

We are deliberately writing this in vivid shock terms, but you need to understand and accept this. If it sounds impossible to you, ask yourself – and answer the question – what will starving people do instead when they see you with plenty of food while they have none?

Some people might find it unlikely that their friendly next door neighbors will turn around and use any and all means up to and including lethal force to take food from them. We agree this is unlikely, but we realistically fear that it is much more likely that your neighbors (and, of course, strangers too) will do this than it is that they’ll just peacefully and calmly resign themselves to die of starvation and lie waiting for death to occur in their own homes.

Implications
No matter where you have your retreat located, sooner or later it will be found by groups of starving marauders and/or opportunistic gangs (see our article on ‘Is it Realistic to Expect Your Retreat Will Not be Found‘). The only three things you don’t know is, 1) how long it will be until you are first confronted by starving/looting marauders, 2) how often such confrontations will occur into the future, and 3) how many people you’ll encounter on each occasion.

The one thing you can be sure of is that these people mean to take your food and other supplies and resources from you, and if they have to do it by force, they won’t even pause to think twice. Indeed, their resentment at you being well prepared is such they’ll feel you ‘deserve to die’ – this is about as warped as illogic can get, but do you want to bet your life that this is not how people will end up thinking?

You will have become the evil ’1%’ that has recently been demonized by the ‘Occupy Wall St’ protesters. We’ve seen, over the last year, people trying to wrap themselves in the righteous mantle of being part of a supposed 99% of the country, using this supposed ‘moral majority’ empowerment to advocate violence and sanctions against the remaining 1% of the country – even though the supposed 99% group are – quite obviously to those of us who truly are mainstream – anything but representative members of the majority. They’re as much a 1% minority group as are the people they claim that their ‘majority status’ empowers them to act against.

We make these points not so much to criticize the Occupy Wall St people (although we definitely don’t support them) but rather to point out how people readily make completely ridiculous claims about themselves so as to give themselves a self-claimed mantle of legitimacy that then empowers them to do whatever lawless and wrong acts they wish.

The same people who are keen to live off government handouts today, and who believe that rich people should be taxed and then taxed some more so that they (the ’99%’) don’t need to do any work themselves, will of course now resent you for doing the very thing they will have laughed at you about before the Level 2 event – preparing prudently and storing food.

They won’t now consider it to have been prudent preparation and storing of your food. They will claim it to be immorally selfish hoarding of food that should belong to the community (and, in particular, to them). Your refusal to give all your food to them means that you are denying them the right to live. So, of course, they’ll feel totally morally empowered to at the very least take all your food from you, and if they have to shoot you in the process, so be it.

Summary
You need to plan your retreat not just from a perspective of weather and suitability for agricultural purposes and everything else. You also need to plan to make it defendable against people keen to rob you by force, even by lethal force if necessary.

The most important adage is ‘safety in numbers’. You need to become part of a community to share the burden of defending your properties, and to have the strength in numbers necessary to prevail against attacks by evildoers

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2012 in review

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4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 51,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 12 Film Festivals

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