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Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people.

To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to make a shelter and fire. Some people believe it’s mostly about securing their finances against market fluctuations, while others feel it’s about defending themselves and their property.

Regardless of what first comes to mind when you consider this important issue, we’re all going to have to eat after a disaster strikes. None of us will be able to survive the coming crisis without the vitamins and minerals that come from food. And that food must be packaged and stored properly if it’s going to remain nutritious for many years.

Of course, there are other factors involved in stockpiling survival food for the future. We’ll eat anything if we have to, but good-tasting food will make the situation much better, as will a significant amount of variety. The food also needs to be nourishing because a crisis will produce stress and we’ll need all the nutrients we can get to deal with that. With the electrical grid likely to be knocked out for a while following a disaster, the food we store should also be simple to prepare.

And despite how good our food tastes, how much variety we incorporate into our stockpile, how nutritious it is and how easy it is to prepare, it needs to be packaged and stored in a manner that will ensure its longevity. None of us knows how long it will be until a major emergency occurs, and none of us has any idea how long that emergency will last.

Let’s take a look at several long-term food storage components, starting with the most common mistakes people make when they begin their stockpiling process.

10 FOOD STORAGE ERRORS TO AVOID

Do you know who the biggest believers in the importance of storing food and water for emergencies are? It’s probably the victims of disasters that have occurred in this country over the past 15 years or so, including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, tornadoes in Oklahoma, Alabama and elsewhere, and snowstorms in the Great Lakes regions.

gettyimages-452124739-1Few people would disagree that it’s a good idea to store emergency food and water, but the folks who are most convinced are the ones who wish they had been prepared for the tragedies they experienced. Many of them are now ready to face the next crisis because they realize from first-hand experience how crucial it is to be prepared.

What some people are not quite as sure about, however, are the best types of food to stockpile, as well as the strategies for storing it in a manner that will maximize its usage once it comes time to access it. There are many mistakes made in this area, and the downside is significant. A lot of hard work can go to waste because just when emergency food is needed most, people can discover that their stored food has gone bad.

There are a number of examples regarding how this can happen. Someone could have huge amounts of grains stored, for instance, but quickly learn that too much of a good thing is not really that good. Balance and variety are essential, and not merely for your digestive system. They are also a psychological help to you and your family, especially if the emergency situation lasts for days, weeks or months.

Another very important factor is the type of containers in which you store food. If there is exposure to air and moisture, it can ruin your food storage tactics. In addition, where you keep those containers is crucial because high temperatures and light can negatively influence vitamins, proteins and fats.

Other factors include your food’s nutritional quality and how frequently you rotate it. You also want to make certain that the majority of food you store does not require refrigeration because a power outage would spoil those foods quickly. Finally, keeping some food at multiple locations is important, because your home could be destroyed in a disaster, or you might not be able to get back to it right away.

Here are 10 common food storage mistakes:

1. Ignoring the importance of nutrition in stored food. This happens more frequently than one might think. Sometimes we’re so concerned about the volume of food we store that we forget about vitamin and mineral content.

2. Using sacks or other containers that are not airtight. This is wrong for a variety of reasons. Air and moisture will greatly decrease the shelf life of stored food. In addition, containers that are not airtight increase the chances that insects or critters might get into your food.

3. Failing to keep food containers in a dry, cool place. Moisture and heat are two of the worst enemies of stored food. The storage temperature for most food should be between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Failing to keep food containers out of the light. You definitely want to head to the
dark side when it comes to storing food. Light can deplete the vitamin content of food.

5. Storing too many items that need refrigeration. As mentioned, it’s very likely a crisis will include the loss of power, which means your refrigerated items will spoil quickly without a generator.

6. Failing to include enough variety. After a couple of days of eating the exact same thing, you and your family are going to want something different.

7. Failing to include at least a small percentage of “comfort” foods. In addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, comfort foods will give you and your family a big psychological lift in a crisis.

8. Failing to check expiration dates and rotate stored foods. In each container, organize food by expiration date. When an item’s expiration date is approaching, eat that food – or donate it to a shelter – and replace it with newer food.

9. Failing to keep your stockpile discreet. Advertising to others that you have a stash of survival food could make you vulnerable when a crisis hits. Keep your preparations on the down low.

10. Storing all the food in one location. This is the classic case of putting all your eggs in one basket. If your home is destroyed in a disaster, you’ll be glad you kept food and water at a secondary location.

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Some folks believe that freeze-drying is the way to go with long-term food storage. While it’s effective, it’s also very expensive and strips the food of some of its vital nutrients.

Another common technique in the food storage industry is the cheaper “rapid dehydration” method that sucks all the water out quickly. But it can also pull out flavor and nutrients. Low-heat dehydration is a proven technique that keeps flavor and nutrition locked in, and that food will last just as long as freeze-drying without costing an arm and a leg.

Two main advantages to dehydrating food are that it can stay fresher longer and can be stored and transported more easily. Water in food can carry bacteria, which will make that food go bad sooner, and it also weighs down that food.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, dehydrating food would be a great way to prepare it for your stockpile. It will be more compact and easier to store as you keep it at home, and it will be lighter and more easily packed if you need to bug out. And anytime you want a quick and nutritious meal prior to a crisis situation, all you have to do is rehydrate it and eat it without having to bother looking for an expiration date.

Figure on dehydrated meat lasting only about two months, but many dehydrated fruits and vegetables will be good for a year or so. If you dehydrate herbs, they can probably last for several years.

In order to dehydrate some of your food, you can either use an oven set at a low temperature or invest in a modern, electronic dehydrator. That way, you can make food with an expiration of one month last about 12 months. You don’t want to go much beyond a year in most cases because at that point, even though the water has been removed, it’s likely the nutrients will start breaking down.

Regardless, storage is the key. Once you’ve dehydrated various foods, place them in airtight, plastic containers such as Mylar bags. You may think you’ve squeezed all of the oxygen out of a bag, but there is probably a small amount left, so use an oxygen absorber.

As far as rehydrating that food is concerned, all you have to do in most cases is place it in boiling water and stir, providing a little time for it to thicken.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TASTE

Yes, we will eat anything if we’re starving, but consuming foods that don’t taste good to us is a real challenge. Just when we need that food the most, tasteless food could be tough to swallow – literally and figuratively.

Make sure that the food you put into long-term storage includes top-quality ingredients. Think of the recipes that have proven to be your family’s favorites through the years, and focus on them.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION

Everybody knows it’s important to eat food that’s good for you. Well, that’s going to become even more important after the stuff hits the fan. Being able to perform at peak capacity under pressure will be essential when we’re dealing with a crisis, and eating healthy food will go a long toward accomplishing that goal.

Be certain that your survival food is jam-packed with nutritional value, preferably food that takes 100 percent non-GMO fruits and vegetables as
its starting point and ideally food that is grown, harvested and made from scratch here in America.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF VARIETY

Have you ever noticed that many foods taste great if you haven’t had them for a while, but not quite as good if you ate them recently and definitely not as good if you ate them yesterday? Our taste buds – not to mention our minds – react differently to foods based on how long it’s been since we’ve eaten them.

Variety in survival food is extremely important… for taste, for nutritional value and for the psychological effect. Make sure you stockpile a nice variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention snacks and desserts. These foods might include oatmeal, powdered milk, soups, stews, rice, pastas, potatoes, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PACKAGING

Another key factor to consider with long-term food storage is packaging. There’s not much point in stockpiling survival food if your food isn’t going to survive. It needs to stay good for a long time.

It’s vital to keep air and moisture out and to have a durable package that can take a few bumps over the years without bursting. The best way to ensure that result is to use space-age Mylar packaging that gets placed inside airtight containers, so look for sealed Mylar pouches with less than 2 percent oxygen content.

Mylar is what NASA uses in spacesuits to protect astronauts from solar-thermal radiation. So, you know your food will be protected against all the elements Mother Nature could throw at it. This barrier against air, moisture and light – the three things that will destroy food over time – is possible even with re-sealable pouches.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLICITY

Now, none of that time-consuming packaging process makes any sense if it doesn’t contain great-tasting, nutritious food capable of lasting a long time and that is simple for you to prepare. A majority of your stockpiled survival food should require only boiling water, simmering and serving.

WHAT ABOUT CANNED FOOD?

Some survival websites will tell you that canned food is very good for long-term storage, while others will tell you it’s not. Although it can have some drawbacks – weight and portability, for example – canned food is probably better than many people think… especially if you’re hunkered down and don’t have to lug it around.

While you would not want to live exclusively on canned foods, they have their place, especially when one is on a tight budget. Many folks are living paycheck to paycheck during these rough economic times. They barely have enough money to feed themselves and their families, let alone stock up on foods that can sometimes be expensive.

As a more economical option for part of your emergency food supply, put together a stockpile of canned foods. Many of the same foods that people eat on a regular basis are available in canned form, including vegetables, soups, meats, fish, stews, beans, pasta and many more. Canned foods can be nutritious and rich in protein, which people will need for keeping up their strength when they’re dealing with a crisis.

Of course, there is the issue of shelf life when it comes to canned food. Cans also take up a lot of space, and they are heavy. If you have to grab your emergency food supply quickly and head out the door, cans are not your ideal choice. In addition, epoxy resins containing Bisphenol A (BPA) are frequently used as coatings on the insides of cans, which has raised some health concerns. And while it’s extremely rare, some people have contracted botulism from canned food.

But below are seven reasons why you might want to consider having at least some canned food in your survival stash:

1. Price. When you purchase items in bulk, you can save up to 75 percent by acquiring most canned foods rather than freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Even if you’re not able to buy in bulk, you will still save money with canned foods.

2. Long Lasting. Many canned foods have a shelf life of between one and several years. You should still rotate your supply occasionally and eat the food if the expiration date is getting close, but there’s peace of mind knowing that most canned foods last a long time.

3. Variety. People will eat the same thing over and over again if they’re hungry enough, but everyone appreciates having choices. You can acquire a wide variety of canned foods that should keep pretty much everybody in the family happy for a while.

4. Calories. The last thing you should be worrying about in a survival situation is weight watching. So what if some canned foods are high in calories? Focus on what will be important in that situation, not on how you’re thinking right now. You’re going to need those extra calories when you’re in survival mode.

5. Water. There’s very little water in freeze-dried and dehydrated foods (although there is usually a small amount), but most canned foods contain the water that will make preparation easier. Yes, that also makes them heavier, but that shouldn’t matter if you’re able to stay put to ride out a crisis situation.

6. Familiarity. Most families normally eat foods such as chicken, beef, ham, fish, vegetables, stews, beans and pasta, all of which are available in canned form, plus many more. In a time of crisis, familiarity will go a long way to “normalizing” what you and your fellow family members are going through.

7. Safe Storage. Bugs and rodents can sometimes infiltrate boxes and bags, but seldom do they break through a can.

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Regardless what kind of food you stockpile and how you store it, do whatever you can to keep survival food (and other essentials) in more than one location. Those who have gathered large amounts of bottled water, canned food, toiletries and a host of can openers, flashlights, batteries, radios, blankets, clothing, first-aid kits and weapons need to keep a portion of those items in multiple locations.

A home is a great place to stockpile food, and that’s where many people keep their largest supplies because that’s where they and their families are most likely to be when the stuff hits the fan. And even if they’re not home at that exact moment, they will probably be in a position to return there shortly.

Homes are not only where most people keep the majority of their emergency supplies, but also where they’ve spent time and money to secure their belongings. If a breakdown in society occurs following a disaster, they want to be as prepared as possible to protect their families and possessions.

But what if their homes are destroyed or severely damaged by whatever crisis occurs? If that’s the only place where we have our emergency goods including food stockpiled – and we either can’t get to them or they’ve been destroyed by the disaster – we will have wasted a huge amount of time and money preparing for the exact scenario in which we find ourselves.

It is absolutely essential that you keep supplies in multiple locations. If you have a year’s supply of goods at home, keep six months’ worth in at least one other place. If you have six months’ worth of goods at home, store at least three months’ worth at a secondary location.

Now the question becomes, exactly where should your second and perhaps third locations be? There are several important factors to consider. For one, these other locations need to be close enough to get to, yet far enough away that they’re unlikely to be affected by the same disaster that just did a number on your home.

Just as important, these locations have to offer the same features that your home does – a cool, dry place where food and water won’t be negatively affected by sunlight, moisture and extreme temperatures.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide where those second and possibly third locations will be, but among the possibilities are a storage unit that you can rent, a root cellar or storage bunker on your property but away from your house, inside a separate building that you own in town, within a building that a trusted friend owns, or buried in a remote area where only you would think to look.

Finally, as all good preppers know, don’t advertise the fact that you have stockpiled food and water in your home and at other locations. People
will remember that, and you could have some unwelcome visitors following a disaster.

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INCLUDE COMFORT FOODS IN YOUR SUPPLY

The word “comfort” sure is comforting, isn’t it? When you think of that word, you might imagine lying in a hammock on a warm summer day, or relaxing on a porch with a beverage on a pleasant evening, or sitting by the fireplace with a cup of coffee when it’s cold outside.

Yes, it’s important to keep your body healthy by eating nutritious food that will provide you with the energy you need. That will be especially true during a crisis when you might be on the move and when your stress level will be higher.

But giving your family members and yourself an emotional lift once in a while with some foods you and they love will do wonders for everyone’s state of mind. And you can’t underestimate the value of keeping attitudes upbeat at a time when depression could easily set in.

So, what is meant by comfort foods? Anything that goes down easy, tastes great, is easy to prepare and reminds you of a time when things were better. Are most of them “healthy” and “natural?” Probably not, although some are. Some are probably high in calories and carbohydrates, and some include a little too much sugar.

But if a vast majority of the foods you are consuming are nutritious, you can afford to eat a snack once in a while that may be better for your attitude than it is for your cholesterol level.

If you asked 15 different people to list their top 15 comfort foods, you’d probably get 15 different lists. But there would certainly be some overlap. Here’s one list that comes to mind.

Hard candies. Some people’s favorites are caramel and butterscotch, but you might prefer cherry, root beer, butter rum or other flavors.

Chocolate pudding. This might be the universal kid-favorite comfort food, but adults love it, too.

Popcorn. You don’t have to be watching a movie to enjoy it, but it’s difficult to watch a movie without it.

Pizza. Are you kidding? Few people don’t like pizza, despite the great debate about which is better – thin crust or deep dish.

Mac and cheese. Another item that few kids will turn down. Many children love it when mom adds hot dog slices to their mac and cheese plate.

Candy bars. Yes, there’s too much sugar. But you don’t have to live off of them. But once in a while, a Three Musketeers, Snickers or Milky Way really hits the spot.

Peanut butter. Most people use this as a spread, but have you ever put a spoonful in your mouth and just savored it?

Hot chocolate. There should be a federal law requiring parents to serve this when their kids come in from playing in the snow.

Honey-coated banana chips. Those who’ve never tried them before rave about them after finally tasting them.

Freeze-dried yogurt bites. Ditto.

Granola bars. These are almost too healthy to count as comfort foods, but they’re included because they taste great and are so easy to open and pop in your mouth.

Trail mix. Dried fruits and nuts are tasty, and many enjoy the kind of trail mix that cheats by including M&Ms and chocolate chips.

Coffee or tea. For some folks, coffee is not a comfort food; it’s an absolute necessity. For others, it could be a pleasant reminder of more normal times.

Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes. A nutritionist just rolled over in her grave, but as long as you don’t fill an entire bug-out bag with them, you’re probably OK.

WHAT ABOUT PET FOOD STORAGE?

Regardless of whether a disaster causes us and our families to hunker down or bug out, our pets are going to stay with us and receive as much care as we are capable of providing them. These furry creatures are part of the family and are treated that way.

Now, you might keep much of your family’s emergency food supply in space-age Mylar bags, which is a great idea because you may want that food to last a very long time. But most of your animals are probably not going to live another 25 years, crisis or no.

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THE BAGS ARE LOADED

There’s good news for you. The bags in which your pets’ dry food are sold are perfectly capable of keeping that food fresh for a couple of years. The only thing to be concerned about here is making sure there are no rips or tears in the bags before you purchase them.

But just because you don’t need to remove your pets’ food from those bags and place it in Mylar bags doesn’t mean you can just toss the bags into the crawlspace and forget about them.

Give a mouse or another rodent access to a bag made of paper and he won’t need long to scratch his way in. Unless your goal is to keep mice happy and healthy following a crisis, this is not the way to go.

USE AIRTIGHT CONTAINERS

You need to pack your pets’ dry food bags in airtight plastic containers then place those containers in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight. And once you open a bag, the oxidation process will start, so make sure to use all of its contents within six months at the most.

Also, you need to rotate this pet food periodically. If the expiration dates on the bags are difficult to read, write the date that you placed it in storage on the bag with a black Sharpie. Then use the oldest food each time, assuming it has not expired.

One note to consider here. If you feed your pets “natural” dry food, you may be giving them something that is healthier for them than “regular” pet food. But due to its lack of preservatives, natural pet food will not last as long.

CONSIDER CANS

Many people prefer dry pet food to canned food, but canned food does have the advantage of lasting longer… sometimes up to five years. The storage principle is the same here. Keep it in a cool, dry place. Although cans are much more difficult to infiltrate than bags, you should still keep them in an airtight container.

FREEZE-DRIED OPTION

Another option is freeze-dried pet food. Assuming nearly all of the moisture has been removed, it should stay good for a number of years. But the plastic packages it normally comes in are not meant for long-term storage, so transfer the food to Mylar bags and then store them in airtight containers. Toss an oxygen absorber into the container while you’re at it.

HOMEMADE NEEDS HOMEWORK

For you DIYers who make your own pet food, you’re probably doing your pets a favor by feeding them a diet that does not contain additives and preservatives. But as with store-bought “natural” dog food, you really need to do your homework before canning that food in order to figure out how long it will stay good.

CONCLUSION

Whether you build your own food stockpile or purchase a ready-made solution, the bottom line is you actually have to do it, not just talk about it. And when you do, make sure it’s stored in a manner that will ensure its value and longevity. Then and only then can you rest easy, knowing you’ve done what you could to prepare for whatever comes your way.

Preparing for an uncertain future means many things to many different people. To some it’s about storing bottled water and other essential items, while to others it’s about learning how to

I believe that each of us has an inner voice. Call it what you will; instinct, hunch, feeling, foresight, or intuition they are all the same. It is a compelling force within us that we feel on an almost imperceptible level when you are quiet and your mind starts to ponder things you normally don’t give a second thought. This inner voice or instinct might be ignored or blamed away on bad tacos but for me and a lot of other people out there, our inner voice is telling us that we need to start getting prepared.

For me, my inner voice or ‘gut feeling’ as I typically call it started acting up around 2007. I don’t know why exactly and I haven’t over-analyzed it, to be honest. For me, I simply started feeling like I needed to take steps to prepare my family. There wasn’t a specific event I was worried about, just a general feeling, perhaps brought on by some realization of how fragile our society is. It was around this time that I really began to research how to start prepping and the journey I started back in 2007 continues to this day.

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If you are new to prepping, you must have millions of questions. I know I did and in the beginning, I scoured the internet for prepping websites, survival books and information from a wide array of sources that led me to a lot of insights and some great recommendations. I try to share what I have learned on the Final Prepper every day but even for me, there is no finish line. I am still working on prepping just like millions of other people. Today I want to share some advice for the person who is beginning their own journey and has questions on how to start prepping.

Do you know why you want to start prepping?

Prepping is a word that has only fairly recently become known around the world and it is usually associated with a negative connotation. TV shows like Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Castle have both helped and hurt the idea of prepping in various degrees but I believe overall most people see the benefits of Prepping and can separate the bizarre actions of some from the common-sense process of prepping itself. Prepping to me is simply taking steps to prepare yourself and your family to better weather disasters. Why do we need to do anything in the first place? Isn’t that what the police and the fire department and government are for?

If you are here on this website, I am sure the answer to that question is obvious. If you have paid any attention to the events of just the last few years there are numerous examples of disasters that caught people off guard where neither the police, nor the National Guard, nor FEMA were able to help in a way that was fast and effective enough to save everyone or to end suffering. The cold hard truth is that in a disaster situation, you are better off relying on yourself than anyone else. Police can become overwhelmed, bureaucracies always have more important things to worry about and the needs of the individual (you) are not first on the priority list. In short, when something bad happens, you need a plan to deal with events if help doesn’t arrive. Relying on anyone in a professional capacity to save you is foolish and it can get you killed. You know that its time for you to get started prepping.

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Start with the basics of getting prepared

There are many types of disasters that can strike. You only have to look at the news to see earthquakes, fires, riots, mudslides, hurricanes, wars, drought and the list goes on and on. Some people want to prepare for a specific event like a tornado and at first, that may seem like the most logical place to start, but what if you are prepared for a tornado and a flood comes instead? What if you are worried about a forest fire, but there is an earthquake? What if you are all set for a hurricane, but an EMP wipes out the electric grid?

There are things you can do to prepare for any event and I recommend you start with these 4 basic necessities. These 4 things are needed for life no matter what happens and if you take care of the four essentials, you will be ahead of 98% of the population.

Food – It’s very simple to know what you need. You need to store as much food as your family needs to eat for the duration of any disaster. Ideally, this would be food that doesn’t require refrigeration like canned or dehydrated food. If your budget allows you to purchase freeze-dried food, this is the simplest option and you can easily store several months’ worth of food under your bed in nice plastic containers. Even though it is the easiest, it isn’t the cheapest and a wiser strategy is to slowly just buy more of what your family already eats. This way, with a good rotation system you always have an abundance of fresh food your family likes. The freeze-dried food is pretty decent, but nothing like fresh food.

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Water – Another easy one. Water is necessary for life and you need a gallon per day for each family member. If you have 4 people in your house you would need 120 gallons of water to last a month. Ideally, you would back this up with a good filtration system like a Big Berkey water filter. Don’t believe you need that much water? Just look at the residents of Charleston WV a few months back or more recently Toledo who were told not to drink their water for weeks. Could you wait that out? Store water now while you have it and it’s plentiful.

Shelter – This is simply a way to keep out of the elements. If you have a home and it isn’t blown away you have shelter, but what if the power is off in the summer or the heat is out in the winter. Make sure you have plans to keep warm and cool. Sleeping bags work great in the winter, but summer there are fewer options. Unless you want to build your own swamp cooler.

Security – Disasters bring out the worst in people, but it doesn’t take a disaster to bring violence to your town. Just recently riots broke out over the shooting death of a teen. Riots break out all the time over sports games. Imagine if the power is out and the grocery store shelves are bare and people are hungry. Make sure you have a way to protect your family from people who either want what you have or simply want to burn and destroy things. I recommend legal firearms for responsible adults.

Research additional topics

What is your learning style? I guess more accurately, what can you use for motivation or ideas? I have been able to pull ideas out of a lot of different places. At the beginning as I was learning how to start prepping, I frequented numerous prepping websites and we have a great list of prepper sites on our resources page. Let me know if you’re interested.

I also bought books. The Doomsday Book of Medicine is the most complete medical guide ever written for non-medical people, it is also a manual that you can use to keep your body vigorously healthy and disease-free. No other book on the market today will teach you all of this, as well as how to make your own wound care solutions, saline solutions, eye irrigant, natural insect repellent, sunscreen, hydrating fluids, and even toothpaste. There has never been a book like this, so easy to read and so full of life saving medical information that cannot be found anywhere else.

Movies are another source of ideas and inspiration although you do have to have a certain tolerance or affection for the end of the world movies. I love them but my wife isn’t a big fan so I have to judiciously watch these. If you are looking for a good prepper movie, you can try the Best Prepper movie list and see if you can find something you haven’t seen before. I have even found movies do a better job of convincing people to prepare in some cases than all the factual arguments you can muster.

What Next?

Once you have the basics under control, there are tons of other areas where you can specialize for lack of a better word. The pages of the Final Prepper are filled with information around various threats, methods and strategies and all the pages are searchable and downloadable.  You can learn about how to pack your bug out bags, vehicle survival kits and even prepper gear reviews. If you have any questions, just comment in the articles and I am sure someone will help you out with ideas and share their experience. Good luck on your journey and keep listening to that inner voice.


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I believe that each of us has an inner voice. Call it what you will; instinct, hunch, feeling, foresight, or intuition they are all the same. It is a compelling

Life is often about measuring ourselves against a standard. The standard changes with the situation but there is always some metaphorical yardstick we are trying to use to gauge our progress for our efforts. Consciously or maybe subconsciously we keep looking back to that yardstick, checking to see how we stand. In some cases it is easy to see how you are doing. If you want to diet and lose weight, you have the ability to look at yourself in the mirror, maybe your clothes fit more loosely, and then obviously there is that dreaded bathroom scale. If you never get on the scale, you might think you are doing better than you actually are on your diet. The problem comes when you do step on the scales and find that you are much further away from your goals than you thought.

With Prepping, I think we should also do a similar exercise at least once a year where we pause for a moment and take stock of where we are and how much further we need to go. With a clear understanding of where you are at currently in contrast with your prepping goals, it is easier to identify any problems before they are too late to fix. You don’t want to get invited to a pool party at the end of the world and realize you are still 15 pounds overweight and your bathing suit has a big moth-eaten hole in the butt.

I wrote an article some time ago titled “How Will I Know When the SHTF” where I brought up this concept of the Arc of Preparedness. For me, the journey most of us are on towards being more prepared doesn’t have a final destination, but I think there is a less prepared and a more prepared side with a healthy middle in between. Ideally, we would be as close to the more prepared side as possible, but without measuring your progress on that continuum occasional, how would you really know where you stand? The last thing we want to happen is some SHTF event and you realize with horror that some vital aspect of preparation you thought you had covered, is not going to be able to save you or worse missing completely.

What is the Arc of Preparedness?

Like anything else we measure on an arc I will start with least prepared and end with what I think is the maximum level of preparedness we need to realistically worry about achieving. Obviously, nobody is expected to have capabilities akin to a Global seed vault like they have in Norway, but for the average family I think something a good bit less than that is a reasonable level of preparedness. Knowing again that I consider prepping a journey with no destination. You can be very squared away, but I don’t believe anyone will be able to prepare for everything under the sun for the rest of their lives.

Minimum Requirements to be Prepared

I think the minimum level for being remotely “prepared” would be one week of supplies to feed, clothe, shelter and protect you and whoever is in your care. This should assume that all utilities are off, no emergency services are working and you have to rely on only what you have at your present location. Could you live for a week if the grid went down? What if you had to leave your home? If you aren’t even to this point yet, you might want to read our How to start Prepping article.

Just as a point of clarification, I am not talking about extremes here which some commenters like to throw out as an argument. If a nuclear bomb goes off in your neighborhood, I don’t expect you to be able to live for a week. I am not talking about the military or someone else dropping a bomb on your house or an F5 tornado barging through the front door. The example I will use is a global disruption in power. This in itself doesn’t kill everyone, at least not at first, but for all intents and purposes, it is the end of our world as we know it.

It is important to routinely measure your progress towards prepping goals.

Low-Medium Preparedness

Low-Medium preparedness using the same scenario above is the ability to take care of your family for one month. This means you have at least a month of food and water stored and can survive without power to heat or cool your home. Stocking away an extra month worth of food and water for your family is nothing to sneeze at and would keep you safe for 99% of all disasters.

Medium  Preparedness

Medium level of preparedness would be 3 months. All of the supplies above to keep your family alive for this duration. Of course with a longer duration of TEOTWAWKI, we have to assume mass civil unrest and possible violence in your town or neighborhood. At this point I don’t believe you would be safe on your own and hopefully have banded together with like-minded individuals, perhaps your neighbors for shared safety.

Medium-High Preparedness

Surviving in a grid down world for more than a few months will require skills most of us no longer have.

Medium High in my opinion is the ability to take care of your family for 6-9 months, assuming you haven’t been forced from your home. This level means you have acquired or identified a pretty large amount of prepping supplies. After this amount of time, the country may be very different. Martial law may have been declared and confiscations of supplies, or forced relocations or forced labor may have taken place in some areas.
Preparedness

I think anything over one year could constitute a high level of preparedness. This would allow you to feed your family while you work on setting up a sustainable food alternative. Assumes you have some backup power for the duration.

Maximum Preparedness

More than one year or the ability to care for larger groups of people. There are some who have many years of stored food, water, underground bunkers and all of the necessary things you would need to weather the apocalypse in style. I can’t say I wouldn’t do this too, if I won Powerball, but until that happens, this side of the arc is probably unobtainable for most of us. This could also include people completely self-reliant with food, gardens, power and a warehouse of supplies, although that is no small feat either and like Powerball is not possible for most preppers.

How to measure where you are on the Arc of Preparedness

Most of us, going back to that earlier analogy have a feel for how we are doing. We know if we are losing weight or in this context, how prepared we are. I think it is good to measure yourself though because you might be surprised. Do you have a ton of freeze-dried food stored in the shed? When is the last time you checked that out? Is it still good? What about your water supply? Have you measured how much you have? How is your garden doing and more importantly, how much food are you able to put up each year from the harvest? Have you considered that amount if you are eating solely on what is produced? Will that be enough?

Training is a component I didn’t even cover because that is a little harder to measure. You can take a first aid course, but that doesn’t mean you won’t crack under pressure or the individual you are treating will be worse than your skills can handle. Patients die every day even in the care of doctors with all the modern conveniences you have. What about self-defense? Do you have weapons? Are you training with them? How much ammo do you have?

Measuring where you are on the Arc of Preparedness is highly subjective I know, but the practice of taking stock each year might help you avoid disaster down the road. Knowing what you have will help you focus on what is needed and at the same time, reassure you of the bases you do have covered.

So, where are you on your own personal Arc of Preparedness?

Life is often about measuring ourselves against a standard. The standard changes with the situation but there is always some metaphorical yardstick we are trying to use to gauge our progress for

At some point, the information you have been processing must turn to action. The knowledge that you have been gaining and the perspective of someone who now sees the world differently has to be used to do something for yourself or your loved ones. You must make the choice now to be proactive, to lead and to take control of your life from a prepping perspective because Hope won’t feed you.

In my own prepping journey, there have been phases. Initially I was on a serious information gathering mission and devoured all of the material I could. I can’t nail down precisely what if any event caused me to wake up figuratively, but I do remember strongly feeling that I needed to start thinking long-term about my family’s future and by that I didn’t mean retirement. I don’t think there was any real event like Y2K or any terror attack. There had not been any natural disaster that spurred me on, but there was a gut-level awareness that kept me awake at night and consumed most of my thoughts for a long while; almost like an itch that you can’t scratch. I believe that someone was trying to tell me something and I started listening.

The easiest way to get started for me and most others was the Internet. You can spend days staring at your computer and wandering down rabbit holes getting lost in a sea of information. The rabbit holes are sometimes pretty shallow, but other times if you are curious, go to levels you wouldn’t dream. For me with my background I was able to believe some sources of information easier than others in my same place in life. Initially I was drawn to what some would consider conspiracy theories. I think these are more interesting to the average person if you don’t seriously believe that anything bad ever happens. I on the other hand knew just enough about history and the capacity for evil in the hearts of man that I viewed these theories and concepts with an almost academic view. Instead of saying to myself “that is just stupid”, I would evaluate each and rationalize individual pieces of the narrative. I used each to give me another piece of the puzzle of information but I did my own research and came away with my own opinions. There is an old saying (and at least one cheesy 90’s song that I own) that there are three sides to every story. Yours, Mine and the Truth. I do believe that there is truth in almost everything out there, but you might have to dig for it and that is what I started doing.

This digging spurred me on in my prepping efforts and became my motivation for a lot of different beliefs but I have learned over time that the reasons for prepping are too numerous to count. There are people concerned about space aliens, the shifting of the poles, fires, mudslides, EMP, tsunamis, zombie attacks and adolescent girls with PMS. There are a million scary reasons to prepare and none of them are more “right” than any other. Prepping is frequently distilled down to a reason or threat but I don’t know why. This seems to exist purely to give people a way to shoot down preppers for what they are doing when the reason why doesn’t matter at all to me. That is one problem I have with the Doomsday Preppers show in that they focus on debunking the reason for these people prepping at the end of every segment. Why? You spend 15 minutes watching someone prepare for adverse events and then you hear, “Experts say you are totally stupid for worrying about that”.

Do Something

I don’t want to get bogged down with reasons for prepping. I think it is perfectly fine to just say you don’t want to be caught off-guard in the case of an emergency. This is simple common sense. If your car slides off the road into a ditch in a driving snow storm are you going to be happy you had the contents of your Get Home Bag to keep you and your young kids alive? Sure! Are you going to complain that survival kit was only for when the zombies attack? No. Would you keep it locked up and not use it unless the government started letting the aliens that they have been partnering with finally attack us? Of course not and yes I am being intentionally silly. The bottom line is that bag is there to help you when you need it. The reason you need it doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that you have it when you do need it. That is the best place to start.

OK, so the rather lengthy introduction to this post is over now so what am I trying to say? Take this knowledge you have been amassing and do something with it. I know that some of you are new to prepping. You may (like me) have already spent days researching what needs to go into a Get Home Bag and have the list sitting right next to the bed on your nightstand. Now, you need to go to the store and get the bag. Pack it and take it with you. Having knowledge of what you need is only the first step, action is required for most of that knowledge to be any use to you.

You may have been researching the best shotgun for home defense and have price spreadsheets and are watching the now infamous actions of the DHS and their ammo buying binge, worried that you have waited too late. Do Something! Get out there and get you a firearm if that is what you are looking for and as many boxes of shells you can get your hands on. Thinking about this to the point of inaction doesn’t help anyone. We call this analysis paralysis and you have to break out of that trap.

Chart Your Progress

I am not one of those copious note takers. My wife is and I know a lot of other people who have little notebooks filled with detailed notes about every meeting and conversation. I know one person at work who can just about dictate exactly what was said by every person in every meeting from two years ago. That isn’t me.

What I can do pretty simply though is create simple lists of things I want to work on. For my prepping items I have a couple of spreadsheets to help me track the things I need to focus on. The first spreadsheet started with all of the items I thought I needed to be super prepared for most any contingency and has highlighted some items that I had overlooked. This had things broken down into different categories that I thought were important. I started with Power, Shelter, First Aid, Water, Food, Garden, Tactical and Livestock. Under each category I had lists of items like tents, sleeping bags, spare tarps, water filters, etc. and I used this as my guide to how I was doing. The great thing about a spreadsheet is that you can easily add or modify how the results lay out and add priority or cost to each item.

For my ammo spreadsheet I listed all of the calibers I needed and what my goals were. Then I conducted an inventory of everything I had on hand, made a simple calculation and that showed me where I needed to get to. I still haven’t made it to my goals, but I know right where I am and can easily see what I need to focus on first. I also added cost per rounds and projected what my eventual cash outlay would be to get to where I wanted to. That has since been blown out of the water, but the spreadsheet can easily be updated.

Don’t stop there

Getting started is the hardest part of any project. I view prepping as a lifestyle that you begin slowly and grow into over time. Taking that first step is really all you need to put you and your family on a path to preparedness. Once you have started with putting your plan into place, acquiring tools, equipment or skills to help you, the next phase is to broaden your reach. Talk to your family about prepping. Help neighbors see the wisdom of having some food stored up for a rainy day. Take steps to prepare yourself financially for whatever may be headed down the road and you will see how your perspective changes again. I think you will see that you may become less focused on the boogeyman (and there are many out there) and more on the idea of being self-reliant and prepared for any situation you are faced with.

As with my previous comments about research on the internet, as you start prepping you will identify other areas you may not have considered. Once you start thinking about food storage, that may lead you to think about what you will do after all of that food storage is gone. Planning for your Get Home Bag may logically lead you to consider how your choice of vehicles could impact your preps. Analyzing your defensive options may cause some thought about what immediate threats or strengths you have in your own neighborhood.

The main point is to start. Get into the game and start making positive progress toward your goals. As I said at the beginning, hope won’t feed your family. You have to make that happen and the time is now.

This digging spurred me on in my prepping efforts and became my motivation for a lot of different beliefs but I have learned over time that the reasons for prepping

Everyone has a personal bias they bring to any situation they are placed in. Your mental baggage is formed in part by who you are (your life experiences, how you were raised, personal beliefs or principles) and what you think you know (skills, training, history, and evidence) combined with the various factors of the situation or how it relates to you in terms of personal risk/reward. Put 6 people in a room and catch the room on fire, you will have 6 different responses at least internally to what each individual is thinking and is capable of doing. Or at least that is what I think.

I do believe that for whatever reason – and I know smarter people than I have studied and diagrammed this out millions of times – that each of us has our own opinion based upon, for lack of a more scientific term, what we feel in our gut. How our gut gets programmed is a science arrived at by the specific disciplines I mentioned above more or less I believe and maybe 1 part supernatural, but regardless of how we get to what we are; each of us brings our own perspective to everything we do. It is no different with potential threats we all consider when we are talking about SHTF and how best to prepare for those threats as we see them in our own minds. What is our gut telling us about the various threats and how should we react knowing what we think we know and dealing within the realities of our current lives?

All of this is to say that we all have different opinions on what is important. We all make our own determinations as to what is reasonable for us individually and each of us comes to the subject of prepping, with respect to the threats we visualize, from a different point of view. How in a world of so many various viewpoints and opinions, advantages and limitations can anyone say they have a concrete step by step plan for all people that will guarantee safety and security without fail?

The bottom line is you can’t.

I take with a grain of salt anyone who proposes to sell you a 10-step program that promises to solve all your problems. You should look at the information on Final Prepper the same way if we start doing that. Even from my own perspective, I speak in generalities more often than some people are comfortable with because I believe that you have to make the best decisions for yourself and your family based on what your gut is telling you. I can share areas of consideration that I can argue make sense, but I can’t make the specific detailed decisions for you because I am not you. I don’t know what you know. I don’t live where you live. I may never go through the same things you go through and I may not act the way you would act when confronted with the same information.

Too often we look for the easy way out and I am just as guilty of doing this as anyone from time to time myself. We just want a magic box of preparedness that we can stash in the closet that will give us everything we need. We don’t want to think about what is in that magic box and we don’t want it to take up too much space or require us to pay attention to it from time to time. We just want someone to send us the box that will do anything we need it to if we have a disaster. People want to be prepared just by owning a “kit” and then having that box checked, we can go on with our lives. Preparedness to me isn’t just about having stuff (your survival kit), it is taking steps in a direction that puts you on a path to preparedness that you are constantly traveling. The destination is never reached.

I don’t believe there is any magic kit of preparedness that you can purchase. There isn’t a single list of prepper supplies that will cover any and every contingency that you could ever be faced with but I do believe there is a strategy you can follow that can guide you down the right path towards being better prepared for any crisis. So absent the rationale of the specific threat itself which we might all disagree with; what do we all as humans need to do to be prepared for any crisis that we face from Alien invasion to Zombies? (Note to the new reader to Final Prpper, that signifies A to Z… not that I only believe in highly improbable events)

Physical health and ability are just as important as having the gear.

Are you physically prepared for any crisis?

I can’t imagine that too many people would argue with the statement that a physically healthy individual is better prepared to handle any crisis. I have discussed this on Final Prepper before and this isn’t a new topic by any stretch on prepping blogs, but I see so many people who are out of shape but believe they are going to be running through the woods with a giant overloaded bug out bag on their backs. Have you gone to almost any store and looked at the overall physical health of people? I would say that where I live, a majority are toting an extra 100 pounds on their mid-section. I shouldn’t need to pull up statistics on obesity in the US, but survival in great measure depends on strength, endurance and the need for hard work and movement. If any of these are difficult to do on a normal day, how do you feel it will be when it is raining aliens from another planet?

All joking about aliens aside, even if you have the latest bulletproof vest, survival rifle and all the tactical battle gear in the world, that doesn’t mean you are prepared as well as possible to survive. Even if you have 500 cases of the best freeze dried food on the planet, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a heart attack carrying it up the stairs. If you aren’t able to run a couple of miles, carry that bug out bag for a few days or work hard in your yard all weekend without pulling something or being laid up the next week with body pains; you should consider how this might affect your overall chances at surviving anything.

This is not directed at the more senior of us out there who may have age related health issues, but if you are a 30 year old man who can’t do any push ups, couldn’t run 2 miles to save your life, but have spent thousands of dollars on the must-have prepper gear you should stop and think about getting physically prepared now. If the crap hits the fan chances are you won’t be able to do a Jillian Michaels workout in your living room fast enough to get in shape before you need to.

Are you mentally prepared for any crisis?

I think the mental angle of preparedness is more important than just about any other aspect of prepping when you consider everything that goes into forming, executing and possibly modifying your preparedness plan. Going back to what I said at the start of this article, you can’t simply buy a ton of gear, lock that in a safe and call yourself prepared. There is a mental component to analyzing data that changes daily. Certainly having supplies stored up is a component, but mentally you have to work through the problems of figuring out what supplies you might need and in what quantities. You will have to adjust for your own environment so that could involve researching alternatives and there is your own reality. You may have small children that require different approaches than an older teen for example might need. Prepping is a lot of thought and it is this process of research and a lot of trial and error that has informed my prepping plans more than any book.

In addition to knowledge, mentally you have to consider the various outcomes possible from some of these scenarios you are preparing for. It doesn’t matter if you have the best handgun in the world. If someone comes to your home intent on harming you or taking your supplies, are you prepared to use that handgun? What good is stocking up in the first place and purchasing a weapon for security unless you have made the mental decisions about what you will do if ever placed in that situation? In the end it will boil down to what you actually do and your mental preparations need to take this into consideration. The magic box isn’t going to think for you.

Are you logistically prepared for any crisis?

I saved this for last because it is less important in most respects than the other two in my opinion. I believe knowledge trumps stuff, but stuff can and will benefit you. It is very important to have water on hand for example, but without it, the person who will be better prepared is the person who can go get water, disinfect it and live when it runs out. These two people are both capable of obtaining water for at least the short-term and that may be all that is necessary. Another way of looking at this is the person who doesn’t have any water stored, but is able to go out and acquire it may be putting themselves at greater risk that the person who has it stored at home.

A well-rounded prepper should both know how to make do without supplies and ideally have those supplies at their disposal when they are needed. This gets into subjects like food storage, having a garden that is producing, having first aid supplies and self-defensive weapons. I am not advocating having a lot of “stuff” without knowing how to make it work for you, but if you do have a fully stocked pantry, a working garden or livestock that you can depend on for food if the stores are no longer working, you may have an advantage over the person who knows how to create a snare to trap small game; at least initially. Long-term Daniel Boone will be better prepared, but in the short-term I wouldn’t advocate relying entirely on your ability to acquire food in the forests.

In addition to supplies, you may have to move. Are you prepared to leave your home if needed? I know my personal plan is to shelter-in-place, but I know that can change. If it does, my family has prepared to go on foot. We have options should my perfect disaster situation not work out like I hope. Going back to mental preparation, this backup planning and strategizing will help you.

Prepping gets distilled down to simple lists and advice, but there are tons of things to think about. I personally think the act of thinking about the various topics benefits each of us. Certainly conversations on this blog inform others so I welcome the dialog.

Have you thought outside of your magic box?

Everyone has a personal bias they bring to any situation they are placed in. Your mental baggage is formed in part by who you are (your life experiences, how you

Welcome back to the last installment of our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid where we are discussing preparations you can make right now that could possibly save your life if you find yourself without the conveniences of the grid. As I stated in other articles, we frequently hear people planning of a simpler, more self-reliant life where they can live untied from the complex systems of our current 21st century lifestyles. For obvious reasons, this dream is one that many of us strive for, but frequently are unable to obtain.

In a disaster though, that dream of being untied and self-sufficient may not be something we opt for by making various lifestyle and geographic changes; it may come to us without much advance warning whether we are ready or not. The news of the impending blizzard in New York is a perfect example of the possibility of disaster. In extreme cases, the conveniences of the grid might be unavailable to people for an extended time. If a disaster strikes, what would you need to have prepared ahead of time to make it through your own off grid scenario?

To briefly catch everyone up; our first article talked about the importance of water and having a renewable source if we have any hope of lasting a long time without the benefits of modern utilities. The second article dealt with food and creating systems now that would feed you if the grocery stores never opened again. The third article focused on sanitation and hygiene so that as much as possible we reduced our exposure, and conversely our risk of infection from disease. The fourth article discussed topics of shelter. The last item we will discuss is the need to have an alternate source of power.

Electricity

It is hard to imagine our days without the benefits of electricity. We have become so reliant on this source of energy that most of our modern lifestyles are dependent upon having a reliable source every single place we go. Without electricity, the obvious things like light bulbs and microwaves no longer work, but I wouldn’t have a job without electricity. In the past when I worked in various other careers, if there was a disruption in power, there was always something to do. Usually this involved cleaning in some capacity or reorganizing supplies.

Now, in my current profession if the power went out I wouldn’t be able to do any of my job responsibilities. I rely on power which enables the internet for every aspect of my job, from computer to phone. Meetings are held over the internet as well as presentations and conference calls with our VOIP phones. Our service is a web based application and without internet, nobody can access your service. Zip. Zilch, Nada. It is that way for many millions of other people, but outside of work, almost every other system relies on power too. ATM machines, wireless internet routers, gas pumps, cash registers, credit card transactions and on and on. We can’t really conduct many of the main transactions of commerce without power, but we also rely on power in our homes for simple survival.

Having a backup source of power is important if some event or circumstances take down the power grid. In the example of the anticipated blizzard in New England, power could be lost for millions making an already undesirable situation worse. To prepare for power outages or blackouts I think there are several layers of backup power and associated items you can consider. They might be too late for the people in New York, but you can make plans now to prevent a disruption in your future.

When the elecricity goes out, so do the lights. Make sure you have backup lighting options.

Short Term Power Outage Supplies (up to 8 hours)

For this relatively short duration you shouldn’t have to worry about more than simple navigation (light source) and minor power needs. Batteries should all be topped off in anticipation of outage if possible.

Small generators will greatly improve short-term outage conditions.

Medium Term Power Outage Supplies (1-3 days)

Alternate sources of power will most likely be needed for essentials. You can plug an inverter into your car’s auxiliary outlet and power a decent amount of items. Plan for storing fuel.

  • 1000 Watt Inverter connected to car battery for charging devices/running small appliances
  • Spare fuel to run vehicle (min 25 gallons)
  • 5 – 5 Gallon gas cans
  • PRI – G gas treatment for long-term fuel storage.
  • 2000 W Generator
  • Headlamps for each individual – infinitely easier and more practical than flashlights. Allows for hands free tasks.
  • Propane lanterns – great outdoor lighting option or use within well-ventilated area. They also put off a decent amount of heat.
  • Battery Recharger – It is important to get one that can charge multiple battery sizes if you have different battery uses.

Long Term Disruption in Power Supplies (4 or more days)

Larger generators and solar are good options to consider for longer outages.

So there you have it. 5 areas to consider now if you want to be prepared for an unexpected Off grid moment in your life. Are there other areas to consider? Of course, but I think this covers some of the most major bases we have. If you have a plan for Water, food to feed your family, Shelter from the elements, Sanitation to keep diseases at bay and Electricity, I think you have a good handle on the crises and should be able to weather the disruption. There are security aspects too, but those are dealt with in other posts on the Final Prepper that can be read here, if you are interested.

I hope this series was informative or helpful in some way. As always, I love to hear comments so please let me know what you think and stay safe!

Welcome back to the last installment of our series on the 5 things you need to go off grid where we are discussing preparations you can make right now that

Welcome back to this series on the 5 things you need to go off grid now, where I have been discussing the scenario of a collapse or long-term disruption of “the grid”. The term ‘the grid’, can mean different things to different people, but for the sake of this series, the grid I am referring to would be many of the systems and services we have come to rely on in our western culture. This would include things like electricity, water, sanitation, natural gas, emergency services, the internet and communications.

Some people think of the grid as the information collected about our lives through various electronic transactions. “Jason Bourne has gone off the grid”, meaning his whereabouts are not known because he isn’t using credit cards to pay for anything and they can’t track his cell phone. When Jason is spending that cash he had so brilliantly hidden in the safe deposit box, the CIA spooks can’t find him using their usual systems of detection. That is certainly one aspect of the grid, but when we talk of a lifestyle of living off the grid, we don’t normally associate that with running from a rogue department in a shadowy government agency that is hell-bent on killing us.

Going off the grid has become synonymous with living more simply and in many ways reducing or eliminating our dependence on systems like electricity. In an effort to go off the grid we may purchase solar panels as an example, or drill a well in our yard to provide fresh water instead of relying on city or municipal sources. It is an achievable goal for many, but not all of us. This series is focusing on that goal from a different angle and that is if you find yourself forced to go off the grid due to a natural disaster or some catastrophic event that renders these systems temporarily or permanently out of commission. You don’t leave the grid, the grid leaves you.

Gimme Shelter

In our first article in the series we discussed the importance of water and having a renewable source if we have any hope of lasting a long time without the benefits of modern utilities. The second article dealt with food and creating systems now that would feed you if the grocery stores never opened again. The third article focused on sanitation and hygiene so that as much as possible we reduced our exposure, and conversely our risk of infection from disease. The fourth article will discuss shelter.

Human beings are incredibly resilient and resourceful creatures when we put our minds to it, but we weren’t really built to live outside in the elements. Humans need shelter from temperature extremes as well as exposure to the elements so if the grid does go down; shelter needs to be high on your list of priorities.

Unless you are a gypsy, homeless or happen to be backpacking your way across Europe, most of us do have a place to live already. You may be asking why this is one of the 5 things you need to go off the grid. It’s true that there should be no shortage of shelter, at least in the form of a shell, for pretty much anyone in the world. What we may not have though are the heating and cooling systems we have today. We also may be forced to leave our homes and make our way to another location. You may be stranded away from your home and need to get back to it.

Without constant irrigation many cities would quickly become wastelands.

How many people would want to live in Arizona without air conditioning? I have been there and I know a lot of our readers live there now, but can you imagine summer without being able to get out of the blistering 100 degree temperatures that last 4 months out of the year on average? What about growing crops with minimal rainfall? On the flip side, would places like Maine, Minnesota or North Dakota, be a lot of fun in the winter without heat? Sure we can burn wood, but that is not a resource all people have access to right now. Even if everyone had their own wood burning stove, how many cities have forests right outside your door for fresh firewood? Can you imagine how quickly Central Park in New York would be decimated if people were looking for a source of wood to heat their homes? It would probably look a lot like that scene in Lord of the Rings

Could you build your own shelter if you had to?

Electricity is responsible for the majority of our temperature regulation in our homes and businesses. When the power goes away, life will be a lot less pleasant. For some in the extremes, it can be deadly.

But shelter doesn’t only need to be considered from the standpoint of a roof over your head, although that is pretty important. Your clothes are a more important aspect of shelter I believe because with the right clothing, the outside weather is less of a danger. Do you have warm clothes in layers that will keep you alive when the temperature drops into single digits? By the same token, do you have lighter weight clothing that will protect you from the sun in the summer? What about hats to keep rain and sun off of your head?

My daughter, much to my chagrin will frequently go to leave the house in clothes that while they are perfectly fine for inside, would not protect her from the elements. Like a broken record, I say “It’s freezing outside, better grab your coat”. To which she replies: “but I’m going to be inside”. It is at this point in the conversation that I repeat my mantra which everyone in my house has heard before, “You need to dress like you would if you have to walk home”. If something were to happen, would you have the proper clothing to make it back home or would you freeze to death? What if today was the last day you could ever buy any clothes from the store? Would you have appropriate clothes for spending a lot of time outside, possibly living in the elements for short periods? Would you have work clothes if you were forced to begin your garden and work outside of the home more than inside?

Protection from intruders

Shelter from the elements is one aspect, but what about protection from the human element? Yes, we can lock our doors, but in a grid-down crisis I anticipate desperate people doing desperate things. As part of my strategy for if the grid goes down, I also consider security from the standpoint of reinforcing our home as much as possible to prevent easy access. Would we be able to hold off a determined band for long? Probably not, but we can slow them down.

 

Strengthening doors is a great step you can take to make your homes more secure, but that is only one access point. Windows are more vulnerable and if someone has a hard time getting in the front door, they can decide they want to bash out your windows. Protective window films offer additional protection and can be easily applied by anyone to make your existing windows act like safety glass. Instead of shattering, the film holds everything together and could buy you some time.

Similar to hurricane preparations, having extra lumber in the form of plywood would make sense so you could board up windows if things really got out of hand. Sandbags are another worst case item that I think would be very useful, right up there with barbed wire and a home defense plan with your neighbors. Assuming of course that is isn’t your neighbors you have to worry about.

Tomorrow we will be discussing the last item to consider for going off grid. I hope you’ll come back and please let me know your thoughts on shelter options that preppers should consider below.

Welcome back to this series on the 5 things you need to go off grid now, where I have been discussing the scenario of a collapse or long-term disruption of

Our last article; the first in this series of 5 things you need to go off grid now, began with the concept of preppers looking for an ideal life of untethering ourselves from “the grid” in an effort to enjoy a more self-sufficient life. To that end, many of us only consider moving to rural land and building homes that depend less on some of the interconnected systems we rely on today. But even if that isn’t possible for most of us currently, we might be wise to plan on going off grid anyway. In a disaster scenario, we might not have any other choice. If the grid goes down due to any one of dozens of possibilities and you aren’t at your perfect survival retreat in the woods, what do you need to consider now that could impact your family’s survival?

The last article covered water primarily because more than almost anything else, water is needed for survival. The average human person can only go for three days without water so in a grid down situation, this will need to be one of the top if not your first priority. If you have water taken care of, the next thing you will need if the grid goes down is food.

Food

After water, our bodies need food for energy and nourishment. When I started prepping; food and water were the first two items I began to consider for the obvious health related requirements, but unlike a survival bunker, stocking up on extra food is an easy thing to do. On top of that, not too many people look at you with a weird expression when you simply purchase a little extra food each trip. I just blamed my children for being pigs… “Man! You just won’t believe how much spaghetti my 6-year-old puts away.”

Each and every one of us eats food every day so it isn’t like we need to plan clandestine trips to the Army Navy store to avoid letting our neighbors know we are prepping. The concept you need to remember is planning for the Grid down scenario where you won’t be able to load up the car and drive over to the local supermarket. If the grid really does go down in a major way, you will need to already have a plan in place for taking care of your food needs both short and long-term. You will not be able to begin your food storage after a disaster.

Stocking up on groceries

Easy food storage start is to simply buy a little more each week of what you already eat.

There are many ways you can begin to think about food after a collapse and the simplest short-term solution is to simply stock up on the foods your family already eats. When you go to the grocery store; if you buy 3 jars of spaghetti sauce normally for example, just buy one more. I won’t lie and say that purchasing extra groceries will not cost you more money, but it is the easiest way to build your supplies. For a lot of us, we have more money than time right now. In our imaginary grid-down scenario there will be no power so I would recommend against stocking the freezer only or buying dozens of microwave burritos. In addition to planning your food storage, you have to consider how you will cook this food if the power is no longer working, but I will deal with that in another article.

Long term food storage

When we think about planning for long term food storage, we routinely consider canned foods or foods that have been sealed to prevent spoilage for a long time. You can purchase bulk items like rice and beans and seal them with oxygen absorbers in 5 gallon buckets. This will allow you to store a lot of food for a really long time. Optionally, there are dozens of companies that sell freeze-dried food where they have done the job of protecting the food for you. Of course, this food will cost you more than what you can spend if you do the work yourself, but there are some advantages. You can assume that most of these companies know what they are doing more so than you starting out which may give you comfort in knowing that when you need to use the food you are storing it will have been properly stored and you won’t open up a 5 gallon bucket of rotten rice.

Growing a survival garden

Even if you spend $10,000 on food and you have it locked in your basement, eventually that food will run out. What if the grid is still down when all your food supplies are depleted? To really be in the best shape you can be in when the grid goes down you need to have your own source of renewable foods. The most obvious and understood option is to have a garden. Gardens are not a cure-all though and require a significant amount of up front work, planning and there is a learning curve.

A garden is simply a prepping must-have to live off-grid.

Many preppers I know plan to start their garden when the grid goes down and that is not a good strategy in my opinion for a few reasons. First, simply making a garden plot takes a lot more than a shovel and a rake unless you already have tilled soil that is ready. Most of us have a spot in our backyard where we imagine that beautiful little garden with nice neat, weed-free rows of fresh vegetables. That doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t happen without some hard work.

Secret Garden gives excellent tips on growing your own camouflaged food forest to reduce the threat of anyone stealing your food.

Assuming you have a nice plot of land without any grass or weeds, you may need to amend your soil to give it the right nutrients. Composting and adding natural fertilizers help with this but again, that isn’t something you will have on day one. And, probably the best reason against this plan is that those beautiful vegetables take time to grow. You can’t wait until you are hungry and expect to go dig a hole and plant your survival seeds. You could be waiting months for the first fruits of your labor. I recommend starting a garden now. The Farmer’s Almanac says that a 16 x 10 foot garden will feed a family of four with a little left over for canning and freezing. What if your crops fail? I would plan on a much larger garden even though that is more work and the reality of it is you may be looking to convert every single square inch of dirt you have into food production. You will also need to plan on canning supplies and all that goes with that. Gardens do not provide food all winter so you will need to grow enough to eat and put away to last you during the winter months.

Something else to consider is your garden will be visible to anyone walking past your property. A really brilliant alternative would be to use the food forest concept to grow a camouflaged food forest so that your food supplies are less likely targets of wandering hungry people. Rick Austin has a book that introduces these concepts called “Secret Garden of Survival” and I think that is a great place to start.

Raising Livestock

OK, so you have a full pantry and even have a stash of freeze-dried foods under the beds and in the closets. Your garden is underway and you are already seeing the first fruits from your plot of dirt. What about protein?

Rabbits are a low footprint option for raising a lot of meat.


Assuming you aren’t a vegetarian, meat is on the menu or it would ideally be in a grid down scenario. Sure you could plan on hunting but you will be in competition with everyone else in this grid-down world that is hungry too. I believe in a massive collapse, any wildlife would be quickly depleted and the chances of getting wild game would be slim. Sure, legumes and some grains have protein, but for those of us who like to eat meat there are a couple of relatively simple options to consider in a grid-down world that you can even use now.

Chickens are incredibly easy to raise and take care of. They just need some basic protection from the elements, good quality food and water. In return you will get delicious fresh eggs. At our house I have fresh eggs every morning for breakfast. Raising rabbits is another great option for protein but they will need to be slaughtered and butchered. Rabbits are prolific breeders – a single female has on average 8 kits per litter and their gestational period is about a month. Assuming you start with three rabbits (2 females and one male) you could have well over a hundred rabbits in the first year.

Aquaponics is another option that I think lends itself to an off-grid lifestyle, but it does require power. Raising chickens and rabbits does not.

Tomorrow we will get into the third thing you need to go off grid. Water and food are checked off our list. Can you guess what is next?

Our last article; the first in this series of 5 things you need to go off grid now, began with the concept of preppers looking for an ideal life of

Like some of you reading the Final Prepper, I have long wanted the ‘Prepper dream’ of a large tract of mostly wooded land, complete with a large stream or river gently rolling through the property. In this imaginary paradise full of wild game and fertile soil, I would set up my modest log cabin complete with all the amenities (underground man cave/survival bunker) that we could purchase or build which would allow us to go off-grid and be able to live as self-reliant as possible. Naturally, I roll up to my homestead in the woods in my brand new Devolro Tundra, complete with Realtree paint job – family in tow, breathe in the fresh air and smile with contentment.

For me, those dreams are on hold, but definitely not forgotten.

There are those who are searching right now for the perfect piece of land and who may have already made plans to move their family, but for the large majority of the rest of us, this is simply not possible. Oh, I know there are those out there who will say anything is possible if you just put your mind and priorities to it and I agree that there is truth in that saying. Maybe I should say that it is far too much trouble now for me to do what is necessary to move, for a lot of factors I won’t get into in this post. I did want to discuss going off-grid from another standpoint though and that is from the perspective of events or circumstances out of our control.

What if you don’t get to choose when you go off-grid. What if the grid suddenly up and leaves you without so much as a dear John letter? For those of us who have dreamed of that self-reliant way of life by that picturesque cabin in the forest, our reality could be our suburban homes are rendered Grid-less in some future disaster and when that happens, will you have what it takes to live off the grid?

There are common elements to living off-grid and I want to discuss these today and how you can take steps now in anticipation of a future disruption in the status quo. Today we will begin a five-part discussion on the 5 things you need to go off-grid and how to make your home prepared for that possibility right where you are, without the trouble of moving or chopping down a lot of trees. Oh, and the Devolro is optional too… unfortunately.

Water

To go off the grid, it helps to have sufficient water collection capacity.

To go off the grid, it helps to have sufficient water collection capacity.

This may come as no surprise to most of you but water is a necessity. If you and “the grid” go through a nasty breakup, you will still need the basics for survival. Water is one of the easiest items to stock up on now, but finding it, collecting it, transporting it and making it safe to drink, make this no trivial item when the taps are shut off.

High capacity water storage tanks like this 530-gallon tank from Bushman would solve a lot of grid-down water problems.

Source – A source of water is an absolute necessity and as much as I like to point to rain barrels as one potential option, you will need to make sure that the capacity you are collecting is enough to last you from rain to rain. The beautiful thing about rainwater collection is that collection is virtually zero work once you have the system set up and it is possible to get an insane amount of water from the mildest of downpours. For every 1” of rain on 1000 square feet of roof, you can collect around 600 gallons. If you have moderate rains, this could keep a family of 4 in water for a long time. (1 gallon per person per day x 30 days) = 30 X 4 people = 120 gallons of water minimum per month. With only one inch of rain and the right capacity of a rain barrel system, this could keep you stocked with plenty of water for 5 months! Double the capacity and you have doubled the supply. The Tank Depot has great slimline water tanks from Bushman that will fit nice and snug to your house and comes in several colors that hold 530 gallons of water each. Two of those are an approximately $1700 investment that could hold 1160 gallons.

Not everyone has that much money to plunk down on a thousand-gallon water storage tanks so there are other options, sizes and price points. You can purchase nice decorative rain barrels that hold closer to 50 gallons at your local hardware store or purchase used food-grade barrels and build your own system from much cheaper. There are more videos of rain barrel videos on YouTube than you can shake a stick at.

Collection – If you are unable to collect rainwater and are forced to go acquire it somewhere you will need containers to hold the water you are transporting. One thing to consider here is that water is heavy in quantity. Sure, you can carry that single liter water bottle around all day but if you are humping it to the water hole you probably want to get enough so that your efforts aren’t wasted. At the very least, you don’t want to have to go out every day to get water if you don’t have to. There could be threats to your life going out so take that into consideration.

A means to transport the water is best and I think a heavy duty rolling yard cart would be ideal unless you have your own mules. You could load 20 gallons of water easily in 5-gallon water containers or buckets in one trip and wheel that back to your home. If you had to carry your own water and didn’t have the benefit of a cart, I doubt many people would be carrying more than 5 gallons at a time. Additionally, if you are carrying water without a cart, you want something with handles. Don’t be that guy schlepping off to the water hole with 2 liter Pepsi bottles tied with your paracord around your neck. That would work, but seriously???

Filtering water doesn’t get much easier than gravity-fed units like this Berkey Light.

Filtration – This is the part of the water problem that will cause more illnesses to survivors after you and the grid are splitsville I think and that is drinking contaminated water. There are virtually no untainted sources of water unless you tap into a spring right as it is coming out of the ground or a well. For anyone collecting water from a pond, river or stream and even those rain barrels, you will need to disinfect your water. The absolutely easiest way to make a lot of water safe for drinking, in my opinion, is a gravity filter like the Big Berkey line of water filters.

I have the Berkey light and it doesn’t get much simpler than pouring water in the top. Gravity feeds the water through the special filter elements and the water collects in the bottom reservoir ready for drinking. The only work you have to do in the filtering process is to pour. The filters have a life of about 4 years assuming 4 gallons a day and usually only require gentle cleaning if your water is nasty. You can purchase replacement berkey filters now, to have on-hand.

Options? If you don’t have water filters, you can absolutely boil water or use bleach to disinfect but that takes time, energy (building a fire) or you have to worry that you either have too much or not enough bleach to water ratio. For me, simpler is better.

Tomorrow we will discuss the second aspect of going off the grid. I hope you will come back and join us and as always, please comment with questions or opinions below.

Like some of you reading the Final Prepper, I have long wanted the ‘Prepper dream’ of a large tract of mostly wooded land, complete with a large stream or river

Would your family know what to do in the event of a disaster or SHTF event? Would the prepping supplies you have carefully purchased and stored away help your family survive or would they be unused because nobody knew about them?

Not that your family is inept without you, but do they know all of the plans and preparations you have made? Would they know immediately what you had planned to do in specific disasters? Would they know your rationale for making decisions you did or would they make the same mistakes you had already learned through? Would they know the dangers you had anticipated and prepare correctly for them or would they have to figure things out along the way?

The article has a cryptic title but the thought of writing down instructions for what to do in the case that you weren’t home during the apocalypse occurred to me the other day. I envisioned how best to leave information for my wife or any family members if TEOTWAWKI happened and I wasn’t there to help. The image of a grainy video tape playing of me sitting in my favorite chair, possibly holding my AR15 for effect came to mind from far too many cheesy movies. My family would be watching me as I said the words uttered by many a B-Movie actor: “If you are watching this, I must be dead” or something like that. I wouldn’t leave video behind but I could see printing a manual out and in a nod to those cheesy movies, my opening line might be: “If you are reading this, I may be dead”.

You may be in fact dead or you could just be seriously delayed in getting back to your home. We talk about people who travel for business on Final Prepper and making a journey of hundreds of miles on foot possibly with the right circumstances. If you are on a business trip and something like an EMP wiped the grid out while you were hundreds of miles away your family might not even hear from you for weeks. They might not know you are alive and trying to get back to them. The unknown in that situation would be pretty daunting to most people. The last thing they knew you were hundreds of miles away and now the bottom just dropped out. Without knowing if you would ever even make it back home, instructions you leave behind could be your plan laid out into words that they could look to for guidance and direction. While it may not make the thought of you being lost forever any easier to take, it could help them survive.

Before you begin your prepper plan

I think it’s only fair to say that your family shouldn’t be clueless about your prepping plans for survival even if you are traveling. I personally share most of my plans with my family but I don’t go into great specifics on many issues. I do understand that on some issues they hear me, but don’t care very much. Would they recall what I said two years ago during a disaster now when they could possibly very scared and near panic? Maybe, but I am sure they would need some additional details to make things go smoother if my plan is meant as the ideal for our survival.

Some people though don’t have family members that care about their preparations. Some preppers have spouses that are actually opposed to taking any steps to survive if something happens. That’s what the government is for, right? If you have a situation where you are prepping on the sly or are in some ways doing this all by yourself because of an unwilling spouse, you probably want to leave them with information they can use if you aren’t there.

As much as possible, I think you should try to get your spouse on board with your prepping plans. If you do, things will be so much better in the long run. If your spouse is with you, the rest of the family comes next. Make sure to talk about bad things happening in life and what you would do if faced with those situations. You can make these conversation topics age appropriate obviously, but share your prepping plans with your family as much as possible and then they will already know where your mind was at even if you aren’t there.

Make sure the location of this document is known. The last thing you need to do is hide the instructions from them, but don’t put this out in the open for anyone to read.

What should you document?

I have seen detailed plans for very specific things like how to thaw the well pump with schematics. If this is something that you need to pass along and have the time to do that, I say more power to you. Most of us wouldn’t need that level of detail, but each of us must take our own situation into account when you are writing down the important information that the people you leave behind might need to know.

I have broken a hypothetical set of instructions down into what I think are logical sections. Your plans might be completely different from this sample, but you can use this to create your own prepping instructions list.

  1. Introduction – If you’re reading this I may be dead. You can use whatever words you want to in this section obviously but the introduction should be an explanation of what the instructions are for and what to do in your absence.
  2. Evaluate The Crisis – This part is important because some people freak out unnecessarily. Is this a regional event? Are communications affected? Is the TV still working? Are people dead outside? The urgency of their actions could vary greatly with the crisis. Using guidelines based upon your own prepping priorities there should be logical decisions you can make based upon what you are seeing.
    1. Short or Long Duration – Assuming there isn’t wide-spread catastrophe is this disaster short-term as in a natural event like hurricane, tornado, flood excreta or is this something more protracted and longer with no end in sight?
    2. What is affected? – What infrastructure is impacted? There are triggers that you can analyze to see if you need to act immediately or can try to wait out the crisis in your current location.
    3. Last Minute Preps – In some situations, there is a chance to run out and obtain last minute supplies. What are the risks of this? Do you have cash stored if credit cards and ATMs are down? What stores and supplies should be at the top of the priority list?
  3. Do you need to Bug Out? – This is a complicated subject but going back to the list of triggers, what decisions does the person reading this need to consider? How long can they expect to last with the supplies you have on hand? Do they have a place to go? Could they get there? Is it worth the risk traveling at this time?
  4. Security – Hopefully the person reading this knows about any firearms you have, where your ammo is stored and combinations to the safe. Do you have weapons hidden? Do you have platform considerations they need to know about? For example all of your pistols are .45 Glocks and our tactical carbines are all AK47. This information could be a detail they need to consider when looking for additional ammo or bartering with others for bullets. What provisions do you have for home security and defense? Do they have an appreciation for how desperate people could become and standard safety procedures to prevent unwanted contact with hostile people?
  5. Shelter – Heat and Cold – assuming there is no power, what can be done to heat the home? Do you have heaters stored somewhere? Where is the fuel? How do you light that Kerosene heater and keep the house vented? Where are the tents? Do they know how to set them up?
  6. Food and WaterHow much food and water is stored? How many people will this feed? For how long? Do you have any food hidden in caches somewhere? How will they cook the food without power? Do you have stoves or gear to cook over a fire? Water filtration is a big one. Do they know how and why they should filter the water, optional sources for collection like rain barrels and how to disinfect with calcium hypochlorite if necessary?
  7. Sanitation – What do you have planned for sanitation if the toilets stop running? Do they know where your portable toilet and stash of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and lime is?
  8. Power – What are your backup power options? Do you have a generator and do they know how to start it? Do they know how many electric devices this machine will power so they don’t expect every appliance in the house to run off a 3000KW generator? What about solar chargers, inverters to be run off a car battery or other options you have?
  9. Communications – It’s great that you have all of the Ham radio gear you need, but do they know how to use it? What repeaters are programmed into your handsets? How should they monitor their communications? Is there anyone they can trust and what frequency and call sign do they use? Additionally, you might not be able to communicate with them to tell them you are OK and headed back on Route 80. They should know how to communicate their intentions if they have to leave before you get back for a hopeful reunion.
  10. Homesteading Skills – Gardens, livestock and anything that needs to be considered for long-term disasters. Do they know how often the chickens need to be fed? Do you have survival seeds stored somewhere? Do you have plans for harvesting game locally?
  11. Money/Finances – Where is the money stored that you kept hidden? What guidelines should they follow for using each after a crisis?

This list could be 10 times as long, but these are just some ideas I came up with off the top of my head. Your instructions should fit your plans and resources.

Where should you keep this prepper master plan?

As corny as it sounds I would stick this information in a binder with a big label on the outside that says something like “In Case of Emergency”. Make sure your wife, kids and any relatives who you trust know where this is. The information you put in here could save their life.

Now, I don’t expect everyone will write down as much detail as is needed on every single subject. Each could be its own book and there are great preparedness books out there. I recommend everyone have several resource books on-hand to fill in the holes and answer questions you might have forgotten.

The job of making sure your family is taken care of doesn’t end when you leave the house. It’s your responsibility to ensure they know as much as possible in order to survive. Sharing information with them if you are delayed in coming home could save them.

Would your family know what to do in the event of a disaster or SHTF event? Would the prepping supplies you have carefully purchased and stored away help your family

In any severe crisis or disaster, there is a risk of a breakdown of society. Even if there isn’t a complete breakdown, there’s the possibility of demonstrations, rioting and mob violence. It doesn’t take much for a crowd to form, protesting something; all it takes is an expectation of bad news. Any crowd can quickly turn into a mob and become violent.

Even without any help, mobs can do crazy things. When the Argentinean economy collapsed in 1999, they overturned public transit buses and set them on fire. When the Grand Jury failed to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, the mob burned down 25 businesses in their community.

Mobs rarely are left alone to take whatever action they see fit. There are always instigators looking for such an opportunity. They are quick to show up at any mob situation and turn it to their purposes. In most cases, it is these professional rabble-rousers who turn mobs violent, as a form of violence against the established order in general.

Mob Psychology

In order to avoid falling victim to a mob, it helps to understand a little bit of what’s going on in that mob’s collective mind. I say collective mind intentionally, because you’re really not dealing with people’s individual thoughts; you’re dealing with a collective reasoning; one that is usually directed by people who have nefarious purposes in mind.

There’s something interesting that happens to people in a mob situation; they lose their individuality. They literally stop thinking for themselves and start accepting the mob’s thinking as their own. If the mob gets angry, they get angry; even if they don’t understand why. If the mob starts running, they start running; even if they don’t know where they are going. If the mob is turning over a bus, they’ll help turn over the bus.

Along with losing their identity, people in a mob lose their inhibitions. Normally calm, meek, law-abiding citizens may commit heinous crimes, simply because the mob is doing so. There’s a sense of anonymity in a mob, so people aren’t worried about being identified. If they can’t be identified, then they won’t be punished for their actions.

Mob violence can quickly escalate.

Since the fear of reprisal is what keeps most of us from committing crimes, removal of that fear gives us the liberty to resort to the basest emotions and instincts. Hence, the mob easily becomes violent, allowing all of their pent-up anger out, regardless of whether what they are angry about has anything to do with what the mob is doing or not.

Avoiding the Mob

The best thing you can do with any mob is to totally avoid it. That means avoiding large gatherings of protesters as well as avoiding places where they might gather. You never know which “peaceful protest” will suddenly turn violent, so you are best off not being involved in any of them.

In times of unrest, a police scanner is an invaluable tool to help you know what’s going on and avoid any potential mob situations. If a crowd or demonstration turns violent, the first place where you can receive any news about it is via a police scanner. The police will be working to track the mob, even as they try to disperse it. Their actions will be announced over the scanner.

What if You’re Caught in the Mob?

Even if you try to do everything you can to avoid a mob, you might find yourself caught in one someday. If you do, your goal has got to be to get out of the mob and get away safely. However, you can’t just walk away. To do so would identify you as not being part of the mob and put you at risk of becoming a target.

So, the first priority to fulfill if you’re caught in a mob is to blend in with the mob. You need to act like them, while not becoming part of them. That can be tricky, as the same inclination which has caused the other people to become part of the mob can hit you as well. You’ll need to keep your head clear, while deliberately acting like you’re part of the mob. Just don’t do anything you’ll regret later.

Work your way to the edge

While you are acting as part of the mob, look for an opportunity to escape it. That means working your way gradually to the edge of the mob. Don’t walk directly to the edge, as that will make you stand out; rather, take a circuitous route, gradually working your way to the edge. A little play acting here would be good as well, as if you recognize someone and are moving to their position, then recognizing someone else.

If the mob is moving, then move with it, as you are working your way to the back edge of the mob. That’s fairly easy to do, as all you have to do is be a bit slower than everyone else. Eventually they’ll all pass you by. If it would be easier to get to the edge by angling to one side, then do that.

Arrange a pick-up

Once you are on the edge of the mob and before you break free of it, call someone to come and get you. Don’t have them come to where you are, as that will put them at risk. Rather, have them drive to a location a couple of blocks to the side of where the mob is moving and wait for you there. Once you break away, you can have them move closer, but by no means do you want them to get within a block of the mob at any time. Covering that first block will be your responsibility alone.

Breaking away from the mob

Breaking away from the mob is the trickiest and riskiest part of the operation. If the mob is moving, then you’ll want to find a location where you can go down an alley, into an open building or otherwise disappear from the back of the mob quickly, so that nobody can see you go. The idea is to be out of sight in a matter of seconds, before you can be noticed.

If the mob is stationary, you’ll essentially need the same thing. However, you’ll be faced with the fact that the mob is not moving away from you. So, your escape route has to be extremely good for hiding you from the mob. The best is escaping through a building, going in the front door and out the back. You might even be able to do this through a building that is being looted.

Once clear of the mob, put distance between yourself and them as quickly as you can. Call your pick up ride and have them move to intercept you a block away from the mob. Don’t put them in danger! You would be better off having to run farther, than to put them too close to the mob. A moving car is a very attractive target to a mob.

If they get too close, the mob may decide to surround them, blocking them in. In such a case, there’s a very good chance that they would be drug out of their car and at a minimum be severally beaten. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if they were beaten to death.

The only possible defense in a car is to continue moving slowly. Trying to move quickly, if you are within range of the mob, only attracts them. Moving slowly may allow you to push your way through them. When I say slowly, I mean at a crawl. It has to be slow enough that you won’t actually hit anyone, although you will be pushing them with your bumper.

In any severe crisis or disaster, there is a risk of a breakdown of society. Even if there isn’t a complete breakdown, there’s the possibility of demonstrations, rioting and mob

If you are new to Prepping, then you have come to the right place. Final Prepper was created specifically to help as many people as possible learn about Prepping. Whether you are looking for the supplies you need to make it through a short-term emergency or to the opposite end of the spectrum which is becoming completely self-reliant; we have the information on Final Prepper that will arm you with the tips and ideas you need to start down the path to becoming a prepper. What is a prepper? It depends on who you ask, but for me a prepper is simply someone who is taking steps to ensure that their families are as best prepared as possible within their own resources to handle whatever life throws at us. It really doesn’t matter to me the “what” that people are prepping for, it is the “why” that drives you and makes your efforts sound. I like to think that everyone from the single mother of 3 to the ex-military, living on 200 fortified acres contributes to our community and can learn from each other in some way.

How to start Prepping

Prepping is a lifestyle, not a destination and I don’t think any of us can realistically say we are prepared for anything. I don’t put too much stock in the title of expert as there are not many of us who have survived much more than what we would call minor inconveniences. Living through a power outage or going hungry for a day doesn’t qualify you as an expert. If you have camped out in the woods or eaten a bug, that doesn’t mean you know all there is to know about surviving anything. Each of us has our own experiences and there are those who have more experience in some aspects of living than others, but we are all human. Our drive and determination account for so much more than a lot of people want to consider. Each of us can survive almost anything with the right mind-set, resources and circumstances.

If you would just like to know where to start, we have a lot of articles that get you headed down the path. For a great head start into the things you can do and actions you can take to become prepared, I might recommend you start with the following articles to someone interested in getting started in prepping.

The articles above will cover a considerable amount of information on basic preparedness, but the basics all deserve their own section as well. There are really 4 main areas that almost anything to do with prepping can fall into. Those are Water, Food, Shelter and Security.

Water

Let’s start with the obvious. The average person under normal conditions needs approximately 1 gallon of water for daily use. While a portion of this is for hygiene and cooking, you don’t want to plan on less than this amount in your Survival preparations. Without water our bodies quickly become dehydrated and that can make a bad day worse very quickly. For some great articles on how you can make sure you have enough water, you can check out the following:

Food

When you start to consider prepping, one of the first things you need to start prepping for is food. Simply put, food is one essential you need if you plan on living and your family must have a supply of food on hand regardless what the day or your situation is. Because of our just in time supply chain model, most grocery stores do not have more than 3 days’ worth of food stocked. In any type of emergency or disaster situation, the store shelves are cleaned quickly. You do not want to be one of those people who realize you have nothing in the house for dinner and a major snow storm, hurricane or other event is imminent. You will go to the grocery store and find bare shelves like they did during hurricane Sandy. This happens in every instance where people could face the possibility of going hungry. The stores are cleaned out and the larger your city, the quicker the shelves are bare.

Not only will there be no food on the shelves, but the shelves could stay that way for a long time. What if the roads are impassable? What if there is some supply disruption. You could be out of food for a long time and this should never happen. You eat every day and so does everyone else. Running out of food should not be an option for your family at least for a reasonable amount of time. For information on how to stock up food, we have the following articles.

Shelter

Shelter is a broad subject and applies to a lot of different aspects of prepping, but it essentially speaks to providing a way of keeping you out the elements. Optionally, shelter can be providing you a place that is secure from people meaning to do you or your family harm, or keeping your body temperature at a level that will keep you alive. Here are a few of our articles dealing with the subject.

Security

There are few things more likely to start a fight than the discussion of firearms and more specifically, what the best options for a defensive weapon are if you are just starting your emergency preparations. There are entire survival forums on this subject alone and if you want opinions, there are lots of places to find them. Similar to the conversation regarding Bugging Out Vs. Hunkering down, there are a lot of options, opinions and reasons why you should or should not do one or the other given by everyone. I for one believe that all things being equal, every responsible adult should have a firearm at their disposal for security. For a wide array of topics on this subject we have listed just a few of our articles below.

The sections above are really just a sampling of the over 400 articles we have on Final Prepper. I hope that the above give you a great start and we will keep it up and provide more as the days march on. I hope you will join us on this journey.

If you are new to Prepping, then you have come to the right place. Final Prepper was created specifically to help as many people as possible learn about Prepping. Whether you