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  • #16
    Re: The Anatomy of a Breakdown

    Phase 3: The Breakdown (3-7 Days)

    Have you ever heard the saying, “We’re three days away from anarchy?” In the wake of a disaster, that’s all you have is three days to turn the crazy train around before crime, looting and chaos ensue. In reports during the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, residents from Staten Island were pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing.

    “We’re going to die! We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!” Donna Solli told visiting officials. “You don’t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!”

    Similar stories of looting occurred during the tornado in Joplin, MO of 2011. This time, the looting occurred from national guard soldiers patrolling the area.

    “The night of the tornado, as emergency responders rushed from one shattered home to the next, Steve Dixon sat outside his father’s destroyed house with a baseball bat. They wouldn’t see me sitting here in my chair, I was in the dark,” he told NPR. “I’d turn my bright spotlight on them and tell them they needed to move on. Then when the police came by, I’d tell them which way they went.”

    Multiple factors contribute to societal breakdowns including failure of adequate government response, population density, citizens taking advantage of the grid being down and overwhelmed emergency response teams.

    For whatever reason, 3-5 days following a disaster is the bewitching hour. During this short amount of time, the population slowly becomes a powder keg full of angry, desperate citizens. A good example is the chaos that ensued in New Orleans following the absence of action from the local government or a timely effective federal response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In such troubled times, people were forced to fend for themselves and their families, by any means necessary. This timeline of Hurricane Katrina effectively illustrates “the breakdown,” and within three days, the citizens of New Orleans descended into anarchy, looting and murder (Source).

    If this scenario isn’t bad enough, at the end of this time frame, there will be an increase in illnesses due to cramped living quarters from emergency shelters, sanitation-related illness, compromised water sources and exposure to natural elements. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, sanitation- related epidemics became a large concern for the disaster victims. In fact, the outbreak erupted into the world’s largest cholera epidemic despite a huge international mobilization still dealing with the effects of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake (Source).

    Victims from Hurricane Sandy are also beginning to see their share of illnesses. Due to the horrible weather plaguing the area, many of the evacuation shelters in Brooklyn were closed last week for sterilizing due to a vicious viral outbreak that struck.

    Phase 4: Recovery (8-30+ Days)

    Despite what we want to believe, most recoveries are slow and difficult in progression and require long-term planning. On average it takes a city around 1-2 weeks after the event took place to start this phase of the cycle. Every disaster is different and the length of recovery efforts vary greatly on the nature of the incident.

    7 years after Hurricane Katrina leveled parts of Louisiana, the state is still in the recovery phase.. ”We are in a process of long-term rebuilding,” said Christina Stephens, Spokeswoman for the Louisiana Recovery Authority. “There is at least another 10 years of recovery.” (Source)

    Within this recovery phase, essential goods and resources could will still be hard to come by, thus forcing local officials to implement the rationing of resources to ensure there is enough for the population. We are seeing this right now with the gasoline rationing in New York.

    It could be months before the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy is cleaned up. Damaged communities are coming to terms with the devastation that delivered an unprecedented punch to the region’s economy, causing more than an estimated $50 billion in losses and forcing hundreds of thousands to rebuild their lives. (Source)

    Don’t Be Another Statistic

    Now that you understand what we’re dealing with, there are ways you can use this information to prepare for the next event so that you will be a part of the population that is ready for what may come.

    Trust yourself. Learn to be self-sufficient and rely on yourself. When it is all said and done, you are the only one who can care for yourself and your family the best. You will be the one who has your family’s best intentions at heart. Having a stock of your family’s favorite canned or dry goods, a supply of water and a simple medical kit can maintain your basic needs for a short-lived disaster. This simple preparedness supply could set you apart from the unprepared.

    If you live in a highly populated area, understand that resources will diminish quickly, so preparing beforehand can circumvent this. You can always start out with the basic 10 preparedness items you will need to skirt through a disaster:

    Food and alternative ways to cook food
    Fuel for generators, cooking stoves and mantels, charcoal for outdoor grills
    Emergency lighting
    Medical supply
    Baby formula
    Sanitation supplies

    Or, if you want a more comprehensive supply, take a look at the 52-Weeks to Preparedness series.

    Educate yourself. Learn from the disasters, folks! Each time there is a disaster, the same pattern occurs: the warning, shock and awe, the breakdown and recovery. Study the effects of disasters that effect your area and what items you will need to get through the event. Further, find the weak points in your preparedness supply and correct them. Supply inventories twice a year can do wonders in this area.

    Get into the mindset. Learning what to do in the face of a disaster or how to care for your family during extended grid-down emergencies can put you well ahead of the race. The more prepared you are, the faster you are at adapting to the situation. You can learn anything as long as you research, gather and apply the information. For example, while many on the East coast were still in shock from Hurricane Sandy and were sitting in their homes panicking and watching their perishable food items go bad, those that had learned how to survive in off-grid, cold environments were well prepared for this type of disaster, and had already begun packing their perishable items in the snow to preserve them. It’s that simple!

    Practice makes perfect. Practice using your skills, your preps and prepare emergency menus based around your stored foods. The more you practice surviving an off-grid disaster, the more efficient you will be when and if that event occurs. Moreover, these skills will keep you alive! For a list of pertinent skills to know during times of disaster, click here.

    Further, to make your family or group more cohesive, cross-train members so they can compensate for the other during a disaster.

    In summation, only until we see the cycle for what it is and the effects it has on society will we be able to learn from it. There is always a breakdown in some form or fashion after a disaster. If you can prepare for this, you will be able to adapt more quickly to what is going on around you.

    The cycle is there and we can’t look past it. Prepare accordingly and do not overlook ensuring you have your basic preps accounted for.
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    • #17
      PREPPING MISTAKES: 6 Mistakes Preppers Make That Can Get You Killed

      PREPPING MISTAKES: 6 Mistakes Preppers Make That Can Get You Killed

      Filed under Preparedness Posted by: Off Grid Survival

      FAIR USE

      These are six very common mistakes I see people make, that in my opinion, could be detrimental to your ability to survive. Just a warning, relying on Gear, Guns and Ammo are all on the list…..

      Not Having Enough Water

      55 Gallon Water Barrels Stocking up on water is not glamorous, it’s certainly not sexy, but your life sure as hell depends on it. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see; it’s also the deadliest one we can talk about.

      I really can’t overemphasize how important it is to have a clean drinkable emergency supply of water. While stocking up on water may not be as exciting as buying guns, ammo and gear; it’s one of the most important things you can do, and should be number one on your list of priorities.

      They put too Much Importance on Their Gear

      What kind of gear should I Buy? This is one of the top questions that I receive from new readers, it’s also something that takes away from what you should be focusing on, knowledge.

      Newbies, and even some old timers, often obsess over their gear. They sometimes put so much emphasis on stockpiling gear that it can actually start to hinder their ability to survive without it.

      I love survival gear as much as the next guy, but the problem highlights something I see in all aspects of society; our culture has become addicted to the quick and easy fix. In survival that doesn’t exist. There’s no silver bullet, there’s no magic piece of gear, and nothing except good old fashion knowledge and training will improve your odds of surviving a disaster.

      They lack the Knowledge it takes to Really Survive

      KNOWLEDGE in the key to survival. What, didn’t you just say that?

      Yes I did, and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face if that’s what it takes for people to get up off their butts and learn what it really takes to survive.

      You can own every piece of survival gear ever made, but if you lack the skills to survive that gear is useless. To be truly prepared you need to learn how to survive without your gear. Once you have a good grasp of what’s needed to survive without it, then you can start to focus on what gear you should buy.

      The Rice & Beans Mentality

      I’m not trying to pick on Rice & Beans. They’re actually one of my favorite foods, and in my case they might be the perfect food to stock up on. The point I’m really trying to make, is you need to tweak your plans to fit your unique situation. If rice and beans is what you normally eat, then by all means go ahead and stock up on rice and beans.

      Just remember that buying a truckload of emergency food that you’ve never tried, or would never normally eat, is not only expensive, but it could get you killed.

      An emergency situation is never the time to find out how your body will react to certain foods. The last thing you need during a survival situation is to find you don’t like the food you stocked up on; even worse would be finding out you have a life threatening food allergy. And even if something that drastic doesn’t happen, do you really want to be stuck eating foods you hate?

      Becoming too dependent on your Guns & Ammo

      Oh no, I said it. Bring on the hate emails and the angry comments. But before you get to upset, give me a minute to explain.

      Guy Holding a Rifle I love guns! In fact, I think they’re one of the most important items that you can have. That being said, there are a number of people who I’ve encountered over the years that think having a gun means they’re somehow prepared to survive anything. I’ve actually heard some people say, “I don’t need to stock up on supplies. I’ve got all the guns and ammo I need to survive.”

      In my opinion, that type of thinking is not only juvenile, but it also shows a complete misunderstanding of what it really takes to survive. Stocking up on guns and ammo is definitely important, without them you’re putting yourself and your family at risk, but it’s also not the be-all-and-end-all of survival.

      Not Understanding that People will become a Threat During a SHTF Crisis

      Large Group of People

      During a crisis situation, people will likely become one of the top threats to your safety and security.

      While the world may be filled with millions of good and decent people, in a crisis situation these people can and will quickly become unpredictable. In my opinion, during a disaster of any size, the most dangerous locations will be large cities, or areas that have a high density of people. This is a threat that must be considered.
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      • #18
        Ten Reasons to Become Self-Sufficient and Ten Ways to Get There

        Ten Reasons to Become Self-Sufficient and Ten Ways to Get There
        Michael Edwards and Jeffrey Green
        Activist Post

        We are now three to five generations removed from the rural backbone that strengthened America. The world at large has undergone a similar transformation as the promise of easier work has created a migration to big cities. These mega-cities could be seen as an experiment gone awry, as general well-being has declined, with suicide rates increasing across the world. Crowded conditions and economic strife have led to rampant crime, pollution, corporate malfeasance, and a dog-eat-dog type of competition that can be described as a temporary insanity.

        The economic crisis we are living through has been the final straw for many people, as promises of a better, easier, and more creative life seem to have been sold to us by carnival-style tricksters who are laughing all the way to (their) bank.

        Here are the top reasons for becoming self-sufficient; these are based on fundamental, systemic concerns for why undertaking this life change will not be a fly-by-night fad, but rather a long-lasting means for personal independence.

        Freedom from market manipulation - The traditional market-driven investment vehicles are more and more obviously controlled by traders and banking institutions. The debacle of the private Federal Reserve Bank is just the icing on the cake to a previous decade full of Ponzi-type schemes. Now, the institutionalized looting of retirement money is being planned.

        Hedging against inflation - Have you noticed the price of goods

        Even Wal-Mart is silently raising its prices. People might have a choice whether or not to buy stocks or gold, but people have to eat -- the current increases in basic goods portend hyperinflation, and will not ease anytime soon. Food shortages could make the problem exponentially worse.

        3. Increasing health and wellness - It has now been revealed that some "organic" items have been falsely labeled. In addition, a host of "GMO-free" brands have been exposed as deceptive. GMO food lacks the nutritional value of what can be grown in the average backyard. GMO mega-corporation, Monsanto, has a sordid history and has continuously trampled on our trust. It is time that we do the work ourselves.

        Building community strength - We constantly hear people say, "I don't even see my neighbors, let alone know anything about them." Of course not: 80-hour workweeks and grabbing meals-to-go doesn't exactly promote community interaction. With such little time to interact with our immediate community, it is no wonder why many people report feeling disconnected. In these trying times, it is a local community that can offer the best support.

        Working for yourself - Working hours are increasing, pay is often decreasing, and corporate executives are taking bigger bonuses than ever. This is leading to a prevailing disgust, as people are being forced to admit that they are living lives of near-indentured servitude. Even for those not working in corporations, working for someone else is rarely as satisfying as creating and working for something where every minute you spend is yours alone.

        Having more free time - We have been taught to believe that life on a farm is arduous sun-up to sun-down drudgery where you collapse at the end of the day. This is not so much the case anymore. Sure, the setup of any farm or self-sufficient endeavor is often time-consuming and laborious, but new technologies and new skills of manufacturing food via permaculture and aquaponics are offering low-cost start up and minimal maintenance, as these techniques serve to create symbiotic systems that are remarkably self-governing.

        Generating food and energy security - The planet is running out of food and traditional energy. Climate volatility, market forces, GM foods, and rising costs of harvesting and transporting food are all conspiring to create food shortages even in the First World. This trend will not reverse. And our oil-soaked way of life is being threatened by mounting evidence that the oil lifeline could be disconnecting rather soon. We should be looking to the air, sun, geothermal, and wave power to wean us from the energy grid.

        Acquiring an appreciation for life - As one gets closer to life-giving forces, there is a natural appreciation for how things come into being. When you have created your garden, toiled there, selected the best for harvest, and have prepared that food for your family and community, the significance of what you have taken part in can be transformative.

        Restoring balance - Nearly everything in our society is at a peak, or is drastically out of balance. The systems and governments to which we have looked for balance restoration are missing in action. We must take it upon ourselves to restore our own financial and environmental balance sheet. The best way to do that is to reduce our overconsumption.

        Becoming a producer, not a consumer - This is the best way to reduce your cost of living and increase your self-sufficiency. In the U.S. over 70% of the economy is based on people buying things. This is a clear sign of imbalance and, by extension, it is not sustainable. Furthermore, we also have seen corporations race to the bottom to find low-cost production on the backs of desperate people. The exploitation of the Third World to clothe, feed, and entertain the First World is something that most people do not want to think about, but it is abominable. Again, new technologies are making it easier than ever to produce your own food, and even your own clothes.

        As the cliche goes: Freedom is never free. But it sure beats the alternative.

        The global economic collapse has become an eye-opening experience for many people. The ongoing crisis continues to create more joblessness at a time when the cost of essential items like food and energy continue to rise.

        Inflation is only expected to continue due to excessive printing of money to compensate for the bursting economic bubbles, which were arguably created by printing too much money with artificially low interest rates in the first place.

        The 2008 price shocks in oil followed by the financial collapse have led many people to begin taking measures to become more self-sufficient. And recently the ominous signs of food shortages, the weakening dollar, and the rising price of oil all point to a similar atmosphere as 2008. Some have taken steps to conserve electricity, reduce spending and consumption, while others are planting kitchen gardens and installing solar panels on their homes. Even living off the grid is becoming a mainstream concept for those seeking independence.

        Indeed, becoming more self-sufficient is proving to make common sense whether one anticipates more hardship to come or not. Sure, many of us would love to live completely off the grid without giving up everyday comforts, but this is not practical for most of us. However, there are many steps that can be taken to move towards self-sufficiency which can be relatively painless and quite rewarding.

        The following are 10 suggestions that can lead to independent living:

        Reduce your debt: Especially get your credit card debt under control, since it is entirely corrupt. Call your credit card companies and ask for a work out plan similar to what they received from the taxpayer bailout. If they don't cooperate to your satisfaction, there are some reasons not to pay at all.

        Reduce your consumption: Evaluate your current budget and determine absolute necessity. Push your comfort level to find areas where you can scale back, and then identify comforts that you’re willing to sacrifice.

        Reduce energy use: Change light bulbs, have entertainment systems plugged into a splitter that can be shut off completely to reduce phantom charges, etc. Carefully plan shopping trips and other transportation needs.

        Store energy: Always have back-up propane storage and a large wood pile for a rainy day. Investing in a generator of some kind (even a solar generator) will be money well spent.

        Invest in food storage: With a falling dollar and rising food prices, why not create a food savings account? Get some good books, dehydrators and vacuum sealers for storage methods. Best storable food items are grains (rice, beans, flour), canned goods, seeds, and some prepackaged items.

        Produce your own food: Replace your lawn with a garden, fruit trees, and keep chickens. Go on hunting and gathering adventures for nuts, fish, and wild game. Store extra garden seeds!

        Learn new skills: Surf the Internet, read books, and take courses in practical skills like gardening, cooking with whole foods, composting, carpentry, alternative energy, natural health and wellness etc.

        Start a side business: Turn your passion or hobby into a small side business to make some supplemental income. Who knows, it may become your path to full financial independence.

        Install alternative energy: Start with small installations like a solar hot water system, a solar freezer, a solar attic fan, or a wood stove etc. If you have limited funds, tip-toe your way to independence.

        Suggest solutions for your community: Start or join a local cooperative for food, products, and services. Engage your local community in discussions to take steps for self-sufficiency. Share your story and build support.

        These steps will save money as we move closer to the ultimate prize of independence. Each action we take to live more simply frees us from the control systems put in place to make our lives more complicated, more toxic, and less independent.
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        • #19
          The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse

          The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse
          Posted on December 13, 2012 by suburbanprep

          NOTE FROM CDW: I'm pinning this post because I hope it can help anyone that may have to do this. I see people having their kids moving back in with them and thought this could help. I will be adding other articles I find on this subject, so watch for updates.

          I'm afarid this will become a "new normal" with the way as our economy keeps going downhill.

          The living situation where grandpa and grandma live in their retirement community, far from their children, is rather new. Some 60 years ago, the elder generation typically lived with their adult children. Or at least lived within walking distance.

          From a social-economic and evolutionary point-of-view, grandparents have a very important duty. Aside from the love of their presence, grandparents exist to teach. Grandparents teach their adult children how to be better parents. Grandparents teach skills, values, and life lessons to their grandchildren. Not that I want to grow old quickly, but I do look forward to teaching and playing with my future grandchildren. When all three generations coexist under the same roof, this can be a lovely, healthy way to live. Grandchildren should not think of their grandparents as those old people who send gifts on my birthday.

          Here are a couple of links about the importance of grandparents: Grandparents give human evolutionary edge and The Ties That Bind: Grandparents and Their Grandchildren.

          With many disaster situations, you will often find the best retreat or survival location is with your close family members. If a fire or hurricane has destroy your home, living with your parents for a few months is a good way to get back on your feet. Merging households with your family or survival group can cause a lot of stress and result in a lot of bad feelings. This article is about “doubling up“, which is where two or more family merge into one homestead.

          Doubling up was a common practice during the first Great Depression of the 1930′s. It was cheaper for multiple generations to live in one house. Grandma could watch over the children while mom and dad worked in a factory or tended to the crops in the fields. Grandpa typically worked so long as his body permitted. Until Social Security came into being, the concept of a leisurely retirement was simply not possible. I must say in with regard to men, it is actually quite healthy for men to continue working into retirement years. Studies have shown, the longer men work, the longer they live.

          In the next Great Depression, doubling up will be a common event. This trend is already occurring. With the 2008/2009 financial crisis, and the resulting recession, too many people lost their jobs. After exhausting their saving, the only recourse for many was to move in with their relatives. The next Great Depression will make the 1930′s look like a Sunday picnic. Back in the 1930′s, a high percentage of people were still tied to the land and food production. Today, a mere 2% feed the other 98%. In the next Great Depression, I am expecting malnutrition and starvation to be widespread. Evidence of this prediction can now be seen in Greece, which has already entered the next Great Depression. Starving Greeks queue for food in their thousands

          Many families will have no choice, but to merge their household, to “double up“. The families of adult brothers and sisters will consolidate into one. Retirement communities and retirement homes will go bankrupt or close. Grandparents will go to live with their adult children. Adult children without jobs will return to live with their parents. Grandchildren will go to live with their grandparents, as families break down or parents travel very far to find any work.

          One the main reasons why doubling up will occur is safety. In the next Great Depression, crime, especially robbery and home invasions, will be come prevalent. The increases in crime were demonstrated in Argentina and Greece, as they recently entered their Great Depressions. Living alone, Grandma and grandpa will simply not be able to protect themselves. But what the grandparents can do is take a security watch, provided their eyesight is good enough. During the first couple years of the economic collapse, homesteads will need to maintain high security for 24 hours every day. A young punk with a AK-47 might be brave, but rarely wise. I’d much more fear an elderly man with a deer rifle who has been hunting all his entire life. Because crime and violence will be so widespread, a single family of two adults will be unable to maintain a homestead by themselves. A homestead will need to have at least 6 adults with shooting skills to preserve security at a home. That is 6 adults with a semi-automatic rifles, such as an AR-15, AK-47, AK-75, M1A, AR-10, or FAL. Shotguns are also very effective for close range self-defenses (50 yards on less). A pistol chambered carbine rifle is better than nothing, and useful for close-in defense. Upon a full economic collapse and break down of civil society, I can easily image where every adult member of the household is carrying a firearm. And never be more than a few steps away from their rifle or shotgun. I’ve read it many times throughout the survival prepper community, the purpose of a pistol is to allow you to fight your way towards your rifle. After a few weeks of constantly carrying a pistol, you will miss not wearing it, just as cell phones do today. Now is the time to go obtain your concealed carry license. Go through the effort. It took me 3 months in total to obtain my concealed carry license. In the non-liberty loving states of California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey, it will likely take longer, if not completely impossible.

          The other reasons that families need to come back together is finances. It is much less costly to run one house than two. As family members lose their employment or lose their retirement incomes, the only way to survive is to live together. Today in Greece and Argentina, cuts in pensions and rises in inflation have destroyed the purchasing power of retirees’ pensions. During the 1st Great Depression, it was not uncommon for one working adult to financially support 3 non-working adults and more children. Living together, family chores can be more easily shared. Some family members can stay home to watch the children or care for bedridden family members. This allows other family members to work outside the home. During the next Great Depression, any job is better than no job. For myself, I’ll do whatever it takes to feed my children, including digging ditches, picking crops, whatever. Most parents feel the same.
          Last edited by Clan DireWolf; December 14, 2012, 08:15.
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          • #20
            Re: The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse

            The following are some preparations to make in anticipation of multiple family coming to live in your home.

            Doubling Up Preparations:

            Goals of Your Homestead
            The goal of doubling up families into a single home are quite simple. You are supporting each other physically, economically, emotionally, and spiritually. You are no longer two families under one roof. You have become one family.

            If you are non-related individual coming together as a survival group, nevertheless, you are becoming a family. In order for a survival group to work, all members will need to contribute, share, and sacrifice, just as families do. Anticipate arguing, fighting, making up, kissing, and moving forth, just as families do everyday.

            The major activities that will dominated your household after an economic collapse, are: producing income, producing your own food, providing security against crime, maintaining your property, caring for family members (especially the very young and very old), preparing meals, cleaning, maintaining sanitation, sleep, trading & bartering, and attempting to enjoy life. Expect that you will have very little time for leisure. Surviving is hard work.

            Your families will live together until the economic situation improves, and perhaps never split. Elder parents will likely live with their children until death. But you will need to consider that a family member might leave, if they find a job or their circumstances improve.

            Qualifications of Entry into Your Homestead

            Family Members – In order to keep peace in your homestead, I would recommend that you create a set of qualifications for who you will permit to enter your homestead. Even among siblings and parent/children relationship, there may be such differences in personalities, such it would be impossible to live together for long-term. For family members, you will need to consider whether you can live together for a long period of time. Desperate circumstances may force incompatible families to live under the same roof. Therefore compromise, patience, and tolerance will be needed by all parties. Any difficult persons will need to be told forthright to be nice. Upfront and in the beginning, there should be an agreement among the merging families to understand if living together is expected to be a short-term or long-term situation.

            Non-family Members – For non-family members, you should establish a set of qualifications for what you will accept. I would recommend that you make a list of what values are important to you. Prioritize the lists into three categories: (1) Must Have, (2) Prefer to Have, (3) Not Important. For example, laziness and tobacco smoker are deal breakers for me. If you are not willing to work as hard as I do, out you go. In the business world, this is called a ranked (or stacked) scorecard. Some of the line items on your qualifications list may include:

            Religious Beliefs and Practices
            Moral Values
            Work Ethic (or lack thereof)
            Sexual Promiscuity
            State of Health and existence of any medical dependencies
            Personal Hygiene
            Skills and Work Capabilities
            Medical Skills (registered nurses and doctors are highly prized as survival group members)
            Complimentary Skills (You have skills in gardening and hunting, the candidate has skills in carpentry and communications, these are complimentary.) If everyone in your group knows how to hunt and fish, but no one knows how to cook or do home canning, your group is unbalanced.
            Prospect of Generating Income
            Willingness and Ability to Contribute Money to Household Expenses
            Communication Style
            Willingness to Compromise and Work as a Team
            Stress levels, anxiety, temper
            Addictions to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any compulsive behaviors
            Sleep Cycle (ex: night owl versus morning person. If you are a morning person, then having a household member who is a night owl might be a good thing. The night owl can take the overnight security watch shift.)
            Number of Children and Prospect of Having More Children
            Likelihood of the Candidate’s Extended Family Members needing support or making a surprise visit to your homestead. If the candidate’s grandmother shows up at the door, what will you do?

            What Tangible Goods and Tools does the person bring to the homestead

            What Survival Supplies the Person Brings to the Household

            The ability to teach, share skills, and mentor other team members, especially homeschooling of children

            Undoubtedly, You Will Have Additional Qualifications to Add to This List
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            • #21
              Re: The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse

              Sleeping accommodations

              You will likely not have enough bedrooms. So you will need to be creative. You might need to split rooms. Consider repurposing a living rooms, den, sitting room, or basement into bedrooms. Separate rooms by rearranging furniture to create a physical barrier. Then hang sheets to create a visual barrier. Some rooms may become bedrooms only during the night, and then become living quarters for the entire homestead during the day. Even a warm space on a hardwood floor is more desirable than sleeping on wet, cold ground with no cover.

              You will likely want consolidate all the children into a single bedroom, and not co-sleep with their parents. This is manner, the children can maintain consistent sleep and school schedules. Parents who must be awake at night to pull security watches or do shift work will then not disturb the children. Unmarried boys and girls should be separated into different bedrooms to allow for privacy. In my homestead, I am preparing to receive two families under my roof. All the boy children will go to one bedroom. All the girl children will sleep in a different bedroom. Half of the bonus room will be converted to an adult bedroom. The other half of the bonus room will remain as the children’s play room with all their toys.

              You will not likely want to purchase extra mattresses, which will be sitting unused for years. New mattresses are bulky, expensive, and take up too much space. Instead of storing extra mattresses, considered storing several sets of inflatable mattresses. Also, having a few spare camping cots is a good preparation. I plan to have a couple camping cots and a couple small roller beds available for new members to my homestead. If there is time and money are permitting at the last-minute, I’ll buy a couple of twin mattress tops for night-time use,. During the day, the twin mattress tops will be push up and against a wall to provide additional daytime living space.

              Definitely, buy and store lots of extra blankets. Wool blankets are the best, which retains heat even when wet. With several extra blankets, you can improvise bedding. Two blankets could serve as bedding and one wool blanket on top to keep you warm. One blanket can act as a pillow. Extra warm blankets will be one of the best survival preparation items for any family. I’d budget for 4 spare blankets per person. The military surplus wool blankets are perfect for this situation. You might always want to root around Goodwill Stories to find good quality blankets without stains. Wash and dry thoroughly, then store the blankets in moisture-proof plastic bags, until needed.

              If you can afford to buy some extra sleeping bags, these will not go to waste after the economic collapse. You’ll want outdoor camping-quality sleeping bags of a neutral, natural color. Select a color that best matches the predominate outdoor color of your location (in desert regions, select tan/brown color; in northern forest areas, select green camo colors). Every family member will need an outdoor quality sleeping bag, in case you need to bug-out and sleep under the stars. Children’s sleep-over bags are essentially worthless, and should not be considered. The cheap sleep-over bags are not water-proof, and do not provide sufficient warmth in the outdoors. Even for your children, you want outdoor-quality sleeping bags. The sleeping bags should be rated to the lowest expected temperatures of your region. If your region averages 30 degrees F during the Winter, I’d buy sleeping bags rated down to zero or 10 degrees F. I’d rather be too warm, rather than too cold in a sleeping bag. During the Summer, I can always sleep on top of a sleeping bag.
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              • #22
                Re: The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse


                Water Purification – Consider the possibility that public water and sewer are not available. You might need to carry water from a distant source and purify at your homestead. For this reason, having a ceramic water filter, such as the Big Berkey, is the top most priority for any homestead. Buy a couple spare sets of filters. You will always want lots of spare buckets. You will need spare buckets for carrying pre-purified water. You will need buckets to store purified water. You will need extra buckets for washing and cleaning. Don’t mix the use of the buckets. With black market, write on the buckets, “Dirty Water Only” or “Clean Water Only”. I recommend that every family keep a dozen spare 5 gallon food grade buckets on hand for water handling purpose. And if you can afford it, obtain a garden cart or stable wheelbarrow to haul the filled buckets around. For water storage, budget for 1 gallon of purified water per day per person for drinking and meal preparation. For sanitary usage, you will need to store even more clean water. There must be a strict rule that all water consumption must be first purified. Have a couple 55 gallon water storage barrels will serve you well for storing rain water or potable water.

                Disposal of Trash and Human Wastes – The most likely cause of death after major disaster is waterborne diseases. Strict discipline is needed by your homestead and your community for the disposal of all wastes, including human wastes and trash. Most home plumbing systems will be under great stress with more than one active family living under one roof. During an economic collapse, I expect some public sewer systems to fail. Be prepared to turn off your home’s valve to a public sewer hookup, to prevent back-flows. With more than one families living under your roof, a home septic systems could easily become overwhelmed. If you have a home septic system, make sure you keep up with its maintenance, and occasionally use Rid-x to keep the septic system flowing well. You might want to consider constructing an out-house. If an outhouse is not possible, you will want to dig a disposal hole to contain human wastes. Use makeshift chamber pots to contain any human wastes produced overnight. Then every morning, bury human wastes. Cover the human wastes with lime, baking soda, kitty litter, wood ashes, or a small layer of dirty to reduce the smell and keep insects away. During the day, keep the hole covered with wood or plastic, which will minimize insects. Any human wastes should not be disposed near any water source. Bury human wastes at least 100 feet, perhaps more, from any water source. And dig the disposal hole about 5 to 6 feet deep. Do not let the disposal hole remain open more than a couple of days. Flies will land on the human wastes then land on people’s food to start a disease cycle. When digging your disposal hole, if you encounter ground water or very moist soil, find a different place to dig the disposal hole. You want your disposal hole to be deep and dry. After a couple of days usage, fill the hole completely with soil and dig a different disposal hole. Because your continually digging effort, having a couple of strong shovels will be among your most useful tools. This will be one of the regular chores to be performed weekly. Vegetable-matter wastes can be feed to pigs, chickens, goats, and perhaps rabbits. Non-human trash should be first composed or recycled, if possible. For example, zip-lock bags can be washed and reused to store non-food items. If the trash cannot be composted, then garbage should be buried or burned. Burial is your first choice to maintain security. Smoke of any sort will attract refugees and bad people to your homestead.

                Personal hygiene – All family members will need to have great discipline about washing their hand, brushing their teeth, and going to the bathroom. Set up strict rules about personal sanitary daily requirements and practices.

                Laundry – Keeping your clothing and bedding clean will be a huge challenge. Without automated washing machines, washing of clothing and bedding will be very tedious, very labor intensive. You will want to store lots of extra laundry detergent. Two laundry soap items that store for a very long-term, and are relatively cheap are (1) washing soda, such as Borax, and (2) Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap. For many reasons, you will want to store plenty of bleach. I recommend that you buy several large galvanized steel tubs and a very large pot to boil water. Use one galvanized tub for washing. Fill one galvanized tub with dirty clothing, hot water, and laundry soap. Then use a clean toilet bowl plunger to agitate the water. (Toilet bowl plungers are cheap, so dedicate one plungers or two to just laundry. Write “laundry” on the plunger with black marker. You certainly don’t want to mix up usage of this device.) Agitating the dirty laundry water is a good task for older children. Take your time to let the soap and agitation work into the dirty clothing. Expect stains to build up over time, that’s okay. You are attempting to get dirty, oils, and bio-matter out of the clothing. Once the clothing has reach an acceptable level of cleanliness, use a wooden pole to pull the wet clothing from the wash tub. Let most of the water drip down from the washed clothing, then drop the washed clothing into the 2nd galvanized tub filled with clean water for a manual rinse cycle. Stir the dirty clothing in the rinse tub until most of the soap is out of the clothing. If the water continues to bubble after a lot of stirring, perhaps you used too much soap. Drain some of the water and add more clean water for a 2nd rinse. Many folks make the mistake of using too much soap. You will need to gauge how dirty the clothing is and measure how much laundry soap is needed. Hang the clean clothing to dry on a clothes line. During the winter, you’ll need to run a clothes line inside your home. Let the clothing dry completely before wearing or storing for future uses. The drying process is helps sanitize the clothing. For any clothing that contained human wastes, dried blood, vomit, or any other human secretions, such as baby diapers, those clothing items must be boiled and sanitized. Make a small fire away from the house. On cinder blocks or rocks, prop the metal wash tub over the fire. Let the water come to a modest rolling boil. Once the clothing is in the boiling water, reduce the flame to very low. Add laundry detergent. Add bleach for white clothing. Let the clothing boil for 10 minutes. Then go through the rinse process twice. Isn’t this fun? After you wash baby diapers in this old fashion method, you’ll dream for the days of laundry services and disposable baby diapers. Without electricity, washing clothing is very, very hard work.

                Personal cleanliness – Keeping your body clean will be a challenge also. First, you will be sweating more than ever from the hard work needed to maintain your homestead. On a day-to-day basis, you will be likely dealing with garden soil, animal wastes, and disposal of human wastes. Expect to be dirty more frequently and for longer durations. Personal discipline is required to clean yourself at the end of each day’s labor. Keeping your body clean will help you avoid diseases. For this reason, I store lots of extra bath soap. Good old fashion soap and water is a wonder to maintain personal cleanliness. A full bath will be considered a lovely luxury. On a weekly basis, every member of your household should take a full bath, if possible. It is a lot of work to boil the water and haul it to a bathtub. A sponge bath from bastion or large bowl will be your most likely daily option. For a sponge bath, use ne wash cloth to apply wet soap, and another wash clots to rinse-wipe your body. And then a clean towel to dry your self. For a short-term disaster situations, my family stores lots of baby wipes and toddler wipes for personal cleanliness. Consider also storing a couple of camping showers, even to be used indoors over your bathtubs.

                Examples: Outdoor Solar Bath Bag and Solar Heating Shower.
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                • #23
                  Re: The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse

                  Wounds or Injuries – Any wounds, injuries, or cuts must be cleaned and sterilized immediately. Make this a household rule. Any puncture wound or any cut that produces blood MUST be reported to whomever is designated as your household’s medical coordinator. You cannot risk getting lockjaw or an infection. Every adult should get a tetanus shot every 10 years. Even the smallest cuts should be immediately cleaned and then covered with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Do not let even the smallest cut go unattended for more than a few minutes. You will likely not have access to antibiotic medicines. And you will likely not be able to access or afford care at a hospital. In the next Great Depression, even the small infection will be life threatening. Having someone in your homestead with medical skills will be invaluable. A registered nurse or MD doctor will be in great demand after the economic collapse.

                  Disease Control - You might need to allocate one room of the house as the sick room. If someone becomes ill, they should be moved into the sick room. This will allow other family members to get their needed sleep. And the sanitary needs of the ill person is better controlled from a single room. Eventually and likely every year, each family member will become ill with a flu, cold, injury or ailment. Do your best to prevent the spread of a cold or flu to other family members. In my family, we believe in vaccines. Our family gets a flu shot or flu mist every year. It is my opinion that older people and those with chronic illnesses should also get a pneumonia vaccine shot. After the economic collapse, newly arriving members to your homestead should be kept in isolation for about two weeks. It can take a long time for a disease express itself, as diseases are easily spread by travelers and refugees. I would expect diseases such as cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, other infectious diseases, and food borne diseases to make a resurgence during the next Great Depression. When there is lack of clean water, lack of sanitation, lack of sufficient food, many diseases will increase suffering during the next Great Depression. Have a plan to deal with one or all family members becoming ill.

                  Death – After the economic collapse, you might need to deal with death at home. As sad as it can only be, you must deal with this matter quickly. If the rule of law is in existence, call your local police to get their guidance. If the rule of law does not exist WROL), then you must handle this on your own. To handle a death, there are several things you must do. First, take pictures of the deceased, if possible. Second, take notes about the time and cause of death. Third, wrap the body in plastic sheeting or in large trash bags. Fourth, find a good spot to bury the deceased. The hole should be 5 to 6 feet deep to prevent animals from digging it up. The burial site should be far away from any sources of water. Fifth, after the burial, place a marker on the grave and have a remembrance session. Sixth, sterilize any closing or bedding that was used by the deceased. Throughout this entire process, wear sterile gloves and face mask if possible. And continually wash and sterilize your hands to prevent passing any diseases. Seventh, take a picture of the burial site. Eight, collect all the photos, notes, and paperwork of the deceased are organized into a single folder or envelope. Ninth, collect and store any of the decease’s worldly goods to be handled by a will, if exists, or given the deceased’s closest relatives. Keep an inventory of the collected items, so that there will be no disputes later. Tenth, go back to living and your daily work. The deceased person would have wanted you to go on and have a great life. As harsh as it might sound, morn the dead briefly and then get back to work. You have people who rely upon you. If you become depressed or non-functional, other people will suffer as a result.

                  Kitchen Sanitation – In the kitchen, set up specific zones for meal preparation and washing of dirty dishes. Meat cutting areas should not be reused for other meal preparation activities. Meal preparations areas should be sanitized before every meal. Places where dirty dishes are staged and washed should not also be the location of where meal preparations. All dishes must be completely clean and dry before storing or using for the next meal. Do not stack wet plates on top of one another. Most folks don’t realize, it is not the soap the sterilized plates, but the drying process. Soap and drying both are essential to cleaning any eating utensils or cookware. In a survival situation, there may be a need to eat food that is questionable or past expiration. Any food items that smell bad or have an “off” taste should be disposed.

                  I would suggest a practice that the healthiest member of your family sample the food 30 minutes before the rest of the family eats. If that person start to have an upset stomach, dispose of the food immediately. It is better to go hungry than eat bad food. I have had food poisoning before. Food poisoning is a miserable experience. That was one week that I’ll never want to repeat. During my food illness, I had access to doctors and antibiotics. In an economic collapse situation, any food related illness can easily result in a painful death. Incorporate discipline in all meal preparation to limit your risks. Since I expect some of my long-term stored food will go bad, I store more than I need. When in doubt, throw it out. I’d rather lose 5 pounds due to thin meals, rather than 25 pounds due to food poisoning.
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                  • #24
                    Re: The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse

                    Sharing Workloads

                    Governance of the home will be tricky. Generally the views and opinions of all adult members of the homestead should be respected. But when it comes down to the hard, final decisions, the owner of the home has the final word. There is an old saying, “If you take the King’s pound, you take the King’s law.” I am generally a very tolerant and flexible person when it comes to other people’s views, religions, and beliefs. However you decide to govern your home, clearly communicate the decision-making process in your home, before anyone comes to live with you.

                    What I can’t tolerate is slackers and malcontents. If you live in my house, you work and do chores. No excuses. There is no sitting around playing video games while I’m working my ass off. Every adult should be assigned a full set of chores and work duties. Every child from age 6 and above should be given some type of chore. Older children in the teens should be given a full load of work, but not some much that it interferes with their school work.

                    There should be an agreement about all residents of your survival homestead about workloads. Hard work, each and every day, is essential for survival. Gardens need to be tended. Animals needed to be tended. Meals need to be created. Water needs to be hauled and purified. Cleaning will be an endless task. If you ever have a spare moment not filled with work, you are doing something wrong. Every able-bodied adult and older children should have a full day’s of work assigned. Only when ill or injured should an adult have a restful day. Even grandma and grandpa can be assigned chores. Workloads should be assigned based on skills and physical abilities. If grandma and grandpa are no longer able to work, perhaps they can take security watches, provided their eyes are good. Grandpa and grandma could babysit the young children. Or assist with meal preparation. One of the realities of life is the longer you work into your older years, the longer you will live.
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                    • #25
                      Re: The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse

                      Happy Household

                      Sharing Meals – There is nothing better than a hot meal at the end of a hard day’s work. The entire family should gather to share the big daily meal. There should be a firm rule to attend dinner, unless someone is ill or pulling guard duty. Eating meals together is the best way to create family unity.

                      Holidays and Celebrations - It is important to keep and preserve your family holidays. This will provide a sense of normalcy and continuity. Even if you cannot afford a birthday cake or Christmas presents, celebrate with what you have. Many holiday decorations can be obtained from nature. It is important to include celebrations into your lives. All the toil and hard work must occasionally stop to allow time for happy moments to be shared with the household. Births, graduations, marriages, job promotions, retirements, and more should be celebrated. My instructions to my friends is to throw an old fashion Irish wake upon my death. Instead of mourning for me, rather I’d prefer that my friends roll out a keg of beer and plates of food for my wake. Tip a glass and throw back a shot glass, rather than cry and mourn for me.

                      A Good Night’s Sleep – When you are working hard and long, your body needs time to refresh and recover. The average person needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Don’t cut this short. With lack of sleep, you are less productive and less mentally sharp. You are more likely to become depressed or ill, if you have insufficient amounts of sleep. Force yourself and your family members to maintain good sleep discipline. Attempt to go to bed and wake at nearly the same time very day, week day and weekend. Human bodies like consistency. There is a point in everyone’s day where you must say, I’ve done all I can do, and it is time to go to bed.

                      Anxiety and Stress – After the economic collapse, some people will just frankly lose it. Many people will not be able to handle the stress and worry. Those that don’t cope or can’t make the mental adjustments will suffer greatly. Family members need to watch over one another and provide encouragement. Eating well and sleeping well are keys to reducing stress and anxiety. Faith and the belief in a better future is essential. A positive attitude is its own self reward. There will be a tendency to escape into drugs and alcohol to feel better. But drugs and alcohol start a downward spiral that is often not recoverable. If you are currently taking medicines for depression or anxiety, now is the time to heal yourself and try to wean yourself off of medicines. Work closely with your doctor reduce your dependency on any medicines. After the economic collapse, you can easily expect to lose access to many prescription medicines. If you can reduce your dependency of prescription medicines, then you will not suffer so greatly after the economic collapse. If you absolutely must rely upon medicines, such as for diabetes, then I recommend that you store lots of extra medicine and search for alternative sources of your needed medicines which can be produced naturally by yourself. For a chronic illnesses where medicines are essential to continue life, such as type 1 diabetes, I simply don’t have any good advice. If you or a family member has a chronic illness, I advise that you research how you can preserve access to the needed medicines during a disaster or economic collapse.

                      Religious Practices – Whatever your religious beliefs, continue the rituals and practices that provide peace, guidance, and happiness for your family. Prayer or meditation can easy your mental burdens. Faith is an important part of happiness. You must have faith in a higher cause, faith in yourself, and faith in a better future.

                      Charity or Helping Distant Family Members - Set expectation early about what material or financial resources will be shared with charity or with distant relatives. Have firm rules about what your household will and will not support. If a person’s distant relative calls asking for money, does the individual or the entire household contribute? During the next Great Depression, you can easily expect beggars, refugees, and distant relatives showing up at your homestead, asking for help. If a relative of a household or survival group members shows up unexpectantly at your homestead, what will you do? Have specific rules and procedures for handling any visitors. Since security will be at risk constantly, I recommend that charity be given at a distance, if at all. Criminals will pose as beggars to see if your homestead is a good target. Criminals will pose as delivery people, mail delivery, or as working for utilities. Don’t let anyone onto your property, until they have been properly vetted and qualified as reliable. If you are having worry about feeding your own children, then sharing with strangers cannot be permitted. If you only have enough food for your existing household, what will you do if your brother’s family suddenly arrives. Anticipate this ahead of time. Set firm rules for duration of any visit. Expect your heart to break with all the suffering that will occur. But you must focus first on your household and your survival. If and only if you have excess, then provide to charity.

                      A Positive Outlook – Your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors will all be counting on you for support. One of the devices that keeps me sane and mentally positive is to simply keeping myself too busy to worry. Work, family, and some minor hobbies absorb 26 hours of my 24 hour day. I am typically to busy to be worried, because I have something that needs to be done. One of the best devices to keep positive is to have a dream or a mission in life. And don’t have just one. Have many dreams or missions. That way, when one dream or mission fails, as often does, you can transfer your energies immediately into other goals. My dreams and goals is to raise my children into productive adults, buy a hobby farm for my retirement, and live as long as I can with interesting things to do. My dreams are simple, but that is all I want. You need to establish your own dreams, goals, and missions. Once established, your time and mental focus should be towards your goals. With single-minded determination, any obstacle to your goals simply just alters your path, and doesn’t become insurmountable barrier.
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                      • #26
                        Re: The Art of Doubling Up – Familes Coming Back Together After an Economic Collapse

                        Keep Track of Everything

                        Food – It will be paramount for you to keep detail inventories of all your supplies, especially food. How much food you have in storage will guide many of your decisions. If you have lots of food in storage, you have time for discretionary activities. If your home is at risk of running out of food, you need to have a sense of when that is likely. I am a strong advocate of pre-planning how you will produce food after an economic collapse, even if you can’t grow a garden today. Will you be able to grow your own fruits, nuts, and vegetables? Can you raise small animals for protein? Can you gather wild foods near your home? Can you hunt, trap, or fish close to your home? Have you stored enough garden seeds for the future? All these questions need to be considered against your food inventory and food production plans. I highly recommend that you buy lots and lots of garden seeds. After the economic collapse, garden seeds will be more valuable, by weight, than gold or ammunition.

                        Household Chores Schedule – Keep a detail schedule for household chores. But posting a weekly chores schedule, expectations about sharing workload are not misunderstood. When a chore is completed, the person should note the date and time completed. If someone slacks off or neglects their chores, the chores list will make it self-evident.

                        Medical Supplies – Keep a list of what medical supplies are needed by your household, especially prescription drugs. You will need to carefully monitor the use of medicines and first aid supplies.

                        Firearms and Ammunition – Keep a detailed list of what firearms you own. Record the purchase date, purchase source, serial number and any other identifying information. Keep track of number of magazines and ammunition supply. By keeping track of your ammunition, you’ll know if you have capacity for firearms training or barter with the ammo.

                        Stored Fuel – You will need to carefully track the fuels you store, including gasoline, diesel, propane, lubricant oils, and firewood. Know the anticipated expiration of each stored unit, so that you don’t damage an engine with old fuel.

                        Purchase / Barter Lists - Keep a running list of what items your household need and what items you have to offer in return.

                        Other Lists – Here are some suggestions for other items to track:
                        Precious metals, such as gold and silver coins, ingots, and jewelry
                        Garden seeds

                        Work and trade skills of the household, and what skills you wish to learn
                        Contact list of friends, family, and service providers such as doctors
                        Any financial resources you might have, such as pension plans, 401(k) plans, IRA plans, real estate ownership
                        No doubt, you can think of many more

                        Doubling up a household is not easy. But if done correctly, the situation can become joyful for all. Set expectations early, so that no one is surprised by household rules and by shared responsibilities. Continuously communicate to avoid misunderstandings. Allow everyone a little privacy from time to time. Be patient and tolerant of little errors. Be forceful and clear about the impact of big mistakes. In preparing ahead of time for this potential, the living situation will be eased for all the members of your bigger new family. Fortunate for me, my mother-in-law is a lovely lady, so her joining my household would be easy. As for my own siblings and in-laws, they would require additional forbearance.
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                        • #27
                          Survivalism 101

                          Prepping 101 – A Step By Step Plan for How to Get Started Prepping – pt.1

                          I have been asked before by friends how I got started with prepping. It seems the concept can be pretty daunting at first for some people. I can understand how it is when you start to think of the literally hundreds of important items that you need to consider for your family. My first list of “needs” took up an entire sheet of paper. On first glance, this undertaking can appear to be a giant behemoth and some people throw their hands up immediately and give in. I have heard excuses from not having enough money to not knowing where to start. While I agree that some prepper items require money (sometimes a lot!) often there are alternatives in to spending a ton of money, but knowing where to start should never be an issue.

                          The uncertainty of knowing where to begin could stem from the motivation that is driving you toward emergency preparedness. If your desire to be prepared is driven by some external threat that seems real and tangible like living in Tornado Alley, the place to start might be easier to find. If the motivation to be more prepared is due to what I would call common sense; which is telling you to be prepared for anything, the sense of urgency being lower in some cases might make the choices about where to start and what to do more complex.

                          In this article, which will broken into a few different parts, I will try to lay out what I consider is a basic guideline for how to start prepping with a list of areas that I have placed in order of importance. This is just an example of one methodology, but your personal needs, resources or experience might shuffle some of these around. This list was designed for the perspective of the person who is brand spanking new to prepping and is looking for a template of sorts they can follow to get their homes prepared for most emergency situations listed above (within reason). This does not address bugging out but is designed primarily for sheltering in place. My wife loves lists and something like this breaks everything into nice little chunks that is easier to digest and then she can cross off one at a time, so this type of list is designed for people like her.

                          Step 1 – Priorities

                          First things first, before you do anything it is important to understand a few things. This is also known as “So you want to be prepared, now what?” For me, it started with a gut feeling for lack of a better word back in 2008. I have said before that I believe someone was trying to get my attention so I started to listen. There was no driving natural threat like earthquakes or hurricanes, wildfires or mudslides that prompted me. I do not worry about the poles shifting too much or aliens attacking from planet Niburu (look that one up) but I did have a sense that society as we know it now is too fragile. Within this fragile society we are dependent upon systems and processes that are created to address the problem of Just in Time inventory management and if those systems break down, so does society. When society breaks down, so do people. When people break down, all hell breaks loose. As Gerald Celente says; “(when) People Lose Everything, They Have Nothing Left to Lose, And They Lose It.”

                          The example that gets used pretty frequently is natural disasters so I will stick with that for a moment. Looking back at Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina, the people in both of those situations saw how quickly society could come crashing down. In both Katrina and Sandy, gas shortages, grocery stores wiped clean and looting happened almost overnight. Power outages of course happened right away and within 24 hours people’s lives were turned upside down.

                          Now, imagine your family and what you would be faced with if you were in a similar situation. But I don’t live anywhere near the ocean you say. OK, now forget about tornadoes earthquakes, fires, nuclear meltdowns, comets with aliens living in them and all of the other natural disasters. What if there is a major fluctuation with the price of gas and the grocery stores are no longer filled by the trucks that drive down the street every day? What if the trucks were rolling, but with the high price of gas, they were only able to come half as often as they were in the past? What if there is a terrorist attack at the port of Los Angeles and shipments are delayed for months? What if there is a stupid basketball game that doesn’t go right and there is rioting on your street? What if the police declare martial law because a bad guy is running around and they prevent you from going out of your house for days or weeks?

                          The point I am trying to make is that there shouldn’t be one single reason you are preparing for. You should want to be prepared for anything. The chances of any one single event happening to you are too small, but the chance of something happening at all that could disrupt your life is much higher. To understand what you need to be prepared for, think less about the event that could cause disruption and more about the potential for disruption and what you would need to live comfortably through that disruption.

                          There is a saying called the rule of 3’s and it goes like this. A person can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. We will use these as a guideline for prepping going forward. In some cases, the rule of threes can drive what you need to focus on.

                          Step 2 – Water

                          Assuming for a minute that you can breathe and have or can obtain shelter easily we will skip over to water. Water is an obvious necessity, it is probably the easiest survival item to procure before any disaster and yet most people still don’t have enough of it to last the normal duration of what we might call your “usual” disaster. Without trying to be funny, a normal disaster is not measured in hours, or days. At a minimum, if you are faced with a severe emergency like a tornado, hurricane or earthquake, services and life as you knew it probably won’t return to normal for several weeks. To verify this just look at the people who lived through Katrina and Sandy. There are people still that can’t go back into their homes and this happened back in October of 2012. That is 7 months ago and Sandy was only a Category 1 hurricane. Imagine the destruction had it been much stronger.

                          A good rule of thumb for water storage is to have one gallon per person per day. This includes cooking and cleaning, but that amount could change depending on the weather, the health of the individual and the physical activity they are participating. Still, one gallon is a good rule and it is simple to figure out. I like nice round numbers.

                          For every person in your home, you should plan on storing a gallon each for as many days as you can envision needing clean water. FEMA recommends 72 hours’ worth or three days. The general concept is that you need a 72 hour kit for each person for survival. I think that in order to be well prepared a minimum should be three times that amount. For a 4 person home, you would need to store 4 X 9 = 36 gallons of water. That is a great start, but having twice as much that would be even better. Twice as much would be closer to 21 days which works out nicely with your 3 weeks of food so now for that same family we are looking at 84 gallons of water.

                          For water storage the problem is space for most people. If you have a large basement or storage building, storing a couple hundred gallons of extra water is easy. In an apartment this is not the same because you will usually only have a small closet and some pantry space if you are lucky. Regardless of your situation, water is an essential aspect of planning and should be one of the first items you consider for your survival kit.

                          For storing water, it is easier and more space efficient to store at least 5 gallon jugs of water as opposed to a case of individual bottles. There are plenty of relatively inexpensive options at your local big-box stores or online. Just search for 5 gallon water storage and you will have plenty to choose from. For those with more space, 50 gallon barrels are ideal. Because I don’t have the storage space I incorporated two 50 gallon barrels as rain barrels outside attached to my gutters. This water will need to be treated, but if it rains I can have a fresh 100 gallons fairly easily. For inside the house, I went with 5-gallon because that made the most sense for our available space. We got ours from the Ready store and they stack easily which helps with space.

                          The bottom line is get some water stored for yourself and your family. It’s easy and doesn’t take any preparation at all.

                          You can read more about storage and water treatment options in our article that deals specifically with water.
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                          • #28
                            Re: Survivalism 101

                            Prepping 101 – A Step By Step Plan for How to Get Started Prepping – pt.2

                            This is the second in a series for the beginning prepper on how to get started Prepping. If you want to read part 1, you can view that article here. In the first article we covered defining your Priorities and making sure you have a sufficient store of water.

                            Step 3 – Food Storage

                            Now that you have water taken care of, the next thing you should take care of is food. Food is the number one thing that most people simply do not have enough of. In the not too distant past, most had their own gardens, canned their own foods, got milk and cheese from the local farmer or dairy if they didn’t raise it themselves and our diet was much different. Since the advent of bigger cities, grocery stores, refrigeration and processed foods, our knowledge and dependence upon nature to provide us food has quickly disappeared. The local farms have disappeared as they have been purchased and combined into approximately 5 national conglomerates that provide almost all of the food in grocery stores today. Grocery stores themselves have evolved from local family run stores to national chains with complex distribution systems and warehouses. Your local grocery store relies on trucks shipping food in every few days to maintain inventory and this system right here is one that is highly prone to disruption.

                            The average family doesn’t have a 5 day supply of food on hand. We have become accustomed to running to the store to buy what we need for the week or even an individual meal. In the case of a disaster or inclement weather being forecast, the first things to disappear from the grocery shelves are food . This is partly due to panic, but mostly because people simply don’t have enough food to last them comfortably through the duration of whatever event is anticipated.

                            At the first sign of some impending crisis, the store shelves are wiped out within hours or days. It might start out as simply a trip to get a gallon of milk or some chicken, but quickly turns into a full on buying frenzy as shoppers see the quickly dwindling supplies and the faces of other worried shoppers in the crowded store.

                            This should not happen to you.

                            Food is something that you are always going to need and there are several strategies for stocking up on food items that you can use depending on your preference. For most people, the simplest option is to buy more of what you use every day. Groceries aren’t cheap and I hated the idea of spending extra on groceries but I could see the value and benefit in having a stocked pantry. We started with our normal grocery store run and began to add more of the items we eat a lot of. Items like spaghetti sauce, noodles, canned tuna and chicken, beans, coffee and tea, soups and canned vegetables were something we already ate, so we just added more. The trick is to buy extra food when you go to the store and not simply buy food when you are out of a particular item. If you can add a couple of cans to what you normally purchase, you will start to see the amounts you have increase. You will need to ensure you have some system to rotate your food storage because you don’t want to have a bunch of cans of grossly out of date food when you need it the most.

                            Purchasing more store bought food is great for short-term, but for longer term preparedness it is good to supplement with freeze dried food or dehydrated foods sealed in Mylar bags and stored in heavy duty food grade buckets. These food items will typically last years and can be your reserve supply of food that you don’t have to worry about rotating as much. There are a lot of suppliers of long term food that you can find out there and if you have the money and would rather purchase your food and forget about it (for a long time) then this may be a good option. I recommend having a balance of the two types of food. Store bought foods that you already eat everyday and freeze dried so that you have the most flexibility.
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                            • #29
                              Re: Survivalism 101

                              Lastly and I might say more importantly, you need to plan for self-sufficiency when it comes to your food. If we have some catastrophe that lasts a very long time, you will run out of food. What if the grocery stores are never going to be operable again? What if you have purchased a 2 year supply of freeze dried food, but the disaster or event lasts longer than two years? What if 20 family members show up to your house and start eating your supplies?

                              Having a working garden now will be the best thing you can do to augment your store purchases with healthy fresh foods and it will allow you to continue feeding yourself if for some reason we can’t rely on grocery stores in the future. I know this is a very bleak sounding future, but not something that is out of the realm of possibility. It is important to purchase and store heirloom seeds for your garden and learn how to harvest and keep seeds from your vegetables, but it is even more important to start your garden now. Gardening is not goof-proof and it is foolish to believe that you can go into your back yard, dig up some dirt, plant some seeds and feed your family. If this is your plan, they will likely starve before the first fruits are visible.

                              Try your hand at gardening now so you have the area, experience and hopefully crops that will feed your family all year. This will be a fairly decent sized undertaking for a family of 4 people. If you plan to feed a larger family, a garden can’t wait. Gardening takes preparation and tools that you may not be able to acquire if the grid-goes down for some reason. If you are worried about the impending disaster, do you think you will remember to run to the hardware store and buy shovels, rakes and hoes? Do you realize how long certain vegetables take to fully mature so that you can harvest them? What if some disaster happens in the middle of winter? You will not be able to start a garden for several months and you won’t get food out of that garden for many more months. Gardening is not a suitable quick solution to food needs, but it is probably the best long term solution and this should be something you consider if you have a means to create a garden on your property.

                              If you have the ability, raising your own livestock will give you just one more advantage when it comes to feeding your family. Raising chickens for eggs or rabbits for meat are two of the simplest ways to augment your long-term food supply.

                              You can read more about how you can stock up 30 days of food for your family in this article.

                              Step 4 – Firearms for self defense

                              So by now you should have a plan for water and food to last you through most normal emergencies, the next shoe to drop in a SHTF scenario is to plan for security. This is simple common sense to most people and I am often asked what the best gun for home defense is. I surmise this is because people know like I said in the first part, that in a disaster; the rules get thrown out the window quickly and you may be left to defend yourself against looters or people who just want to take advantage of the situation. If you are really prepared with enough survival equipment and disaster supplies to last you through the emergency, chances are that you could become a target for people who did not plan.

                              Human nature is funny, but it is predictable in a lot of instances. Desperate people do desperate things. A mother who has starving children will do things for their benefit that she never would otherwise. In the same capacity a father who has a sick or starving family will act with their interests above all else, including his. This can lead to incredibly dangerous encounters and it is a good idea to anticipate these and plan for them.

                              Having a selection of good firearms and being trained in their use is going to give you a greater ability to defend your family and your possessions in a true collapse or grid-down type of disaster. I think that anyone who does not have a means to defend themselves will eventually become the victim of some form of theft or violence. History is just too full of examples of this type of atrocity happening to otherwise good people. My philosophy in cases like this is to pray for the best and prepare for the worst.

                              If you don’t have any firearms at all, the current political climate and government meddling may have stirred in you a sense of angst to acquire some means of defending yourself with a firearm. You could be on the other end of the spectrum and believe that all guns should be banned and people should all just “get along”.

                              There is no real reason for me to try and change the opinion of any true pacifist. I will only say that no law ever stopped a law breaker. The only people who won’t carry guns if you make a law are the law abiding citizens and it is foolish to believe that a law will stop either guns or violence from being tools used by bad people.

                              For the rest of you out there who want a firearm, I would recommend you read our article on the Best firearm for self-defense and if you have the means, I wouldn’t stop there. Once you have the most basic method of defending yourself, you should expand and our post on the Top 5 firearms you need to get your hands on now offers a pretty good argument for and the specific types of firearms I think each family should optimally have to weather a total societal collapse or a power outage of a few days.

                              Ammunition is the next important thing to get because without bullets, those firearms you purchased for self-defense will be just about worthless. As of right now, Ammo prices are incredibly high and inventories are low. This makes finding ammo hard because everyone is out there looking to replace and augment what they already have. If you are just starting, I would have no less than 2 boxes of hollow-point ammo for any handguns regardless of the cost. You just have to bite the bullet (no pun intended) and get enough for basic protection. Shotgun ammo is still in relatively good supply so make sure to stock up on shotgun ammo as much as possible. You will probably never regret spending money on guns or ammo if you ever get to the point of needing them for security. You will definitely regret not having anything.
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                              • #30
                                Re: Survivalism 101

                                Prepping 101 – A Step By Step Plan for How to Get Started Prepping – pt.3

                                This is the third in a series for the beginning prepper on how to get started Prepping. In part one of this series we covered defining your Priorities and making sure you have a sufficient store of water. The second article covered planning for long term food storage and selecting the best firearm for self defense.

                                Step 5 – Financial Security

                                I chose to add financial security as the next most important consideration because unless there is no concept of money or value of goods anymore, you will need some form of currency in which to trade for services or goods. When everything goes south, in almost every scenario, money can still buy you out of a jam so to be dependent on getting your money if it is stored somewhere else is a huge liability. Financial Security used to mean owning stocks and bonds or having T-bills or a really nice 401K or pension fund. Recent events have shown that all of these vehicles are prone to risk and by risk, I mean outright theft. You need to have a plan that falls outside of the norm for society, because if society collapses, you want to have your own source of wealth that you can access regardless of what is going on in the financial markets. I have broken this into three areas.

                                Emergency Fund – I think everyone needs to have some money that they can get their hands on quickly and no I am not talking about the ATM at the bank down the street. For a wide variety of reasons, you can’t count on banks to either have or be willing to let you access your money anymore. You only have to look at the dozens of bank failures this year alone, or the recent bank crisis in Cyprus where banks shut down for almost two weeks and no one was allowed to take their money out. As long as your money is in someone else’ hands, they control whether or not you can access it and when. This puts you at the mercy of the holder of your money’s good will. Trust is fine and dandy until one party fails to live up to their promise.

                                Without going into all of the details of fractional reserves or high volume trading (which I can’t coherently explain anyway), I will simply recommend you have a fairly decent portion of money where you can get access to it whenever you want. I would suggest several thousand dollars if possible. Why this much? You may have to live on this money and nothing else if you are unable to get your money from a bank for weeks. Think of this reserve of cash as your monetary survival kit. If for some reason, the banks are closed but the grocery stores are still open accepting cash, you want to be able to purchase items you need. I know that ideally, you would have everything, but look at this as another layer of protection. Another example where cash might help you is bribing people for access of favors. I know this goes against most peoples morals, but if you can bribe a corrupt official to turn a blind eye instead of throwing you in jail, what will you do?

                                There are a lot of places you can hide your money but this, as with banks isn’t completely risk free. Even if you have money saved and can access it, our money could be worthless due to an economic collapse and even thousands of dollars won’t be able to buy you a loaf of bread. This is exactly what happened in the Wiemar Republic of Germany after World War I. Regardless, I personally would rather have the money just in case. If we have an economic collapse, I think the cost of everything will skyrocket first so you may need to pay more for necessities. Having a fairly large supply of cash could come in handy. There are a lot of people who say you should have small bills and change and I think that would be good if you are faced with some type of emergency that happens and our economy is still functioning relatively normal. If the economy goes bust, it may cost several hundreds of dollars for a few gallons of gas. You really never know what could happen, so again, having a supply of cash could help you. The trick is to put his money away in a safe place and not use it for the family vacation to Disney World.
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