HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 37)

We never know how we are going to go out of this world do we? None of us ever know what will happen tomorrow but we plan and scheme anyway. I know that I can’t say with any certainty what the future holds for our world, but I like millions of others are planning for days that aren’t what we consider normal. Final Prepper has been dedicated for a year now to discussing events that could impact you in ways that seriously affect your daily routine. When what you are used to; running out for coffee in the drive-through at Starbucks, turns into a horror movie and you find yourself running for your life.

There are a million conversations being held right now on the Internet about what is coming and how you need to prepare for this contingency or that. I think there are some events or situations most of us can logically say are possible just from the simple standpoint of nature and how these events have happened so often in the past. We have earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and wildfires every year in the US alone. In other countries we have disease outbreaks, revolutions, wars, ethnic atrocities, humanitarian problems and economic turmoil somewhere virtually all the time. It isn’t unrealistic in my mind to envision any of those things happening at virtually any place on our planet.

There are commonalities with planning for disaster in what you prepare for and the steps you take to mitigate any risks you might face. These common elements seem to be able to stand on their own regardless of the scenario you are planning for. Take food for example. You never hear of any plan to survive that doesn’t involve food at some point in some form. This could be storing food so that you have it in case you are unable to get to the store or the store is out of food. Knowing how to find food in the wild even if the wild is your neighborhood is another way we address the issue as are hunting, growing a garden and even scavenging.

There are some elements of prepping or survival skills that we don’t focus on at least in the immediate short-term. Is this because we see their value as being less or we anticipate having to use these skills or items less likely than others? To frame this discussion I wanted to take a few basic criteria that should be common to any disaster and match them up to see what if anything was missing. The basics are food, water, shelter, security, electricity and health. I have 5 example scenarios to look at.

Global Pandemic – The hypothetical scenario is a highly contagious illness that is spread around the world with a high mortality rate. The disease kills millions but the highest percentage of people survive and may not even experience any effects.

  • Food – Food should not be an issue because even with sickness of such a wide spread, food should still make it to markets
  • Water – Unless the disease is waterborne, water supplies would be fine, but may need disinfecting.
  • Shelter – No impact outside of possibly not wanting to be in contact with sick individuals.
  • Security – The pandemic could cause panic and looting until the effects are under control.
  • Electricity – Like water, this utility shouldn’t be affected.
  • Health – This is an obvious hit in that hospitals would likely be overwhelmed with the sick. Routine injuries or illnesses may not be able to be treated.

EMP – The hypothetical scenario is that EMP devices are detonated over the US causing a complete collapse of the power grid. Not all electrical devices are compromised, but no power is flowing from the electric company.

  • Food – Food would easily be affected because of refrigeration and electricity needed to prepare the food. Your refrigerator would be useless, but food could still be cooked using fire or solar heat. How would you store your food though? Would grocery stores still be able to receive shipments of new food? Would the manufacturers be able to produce new food? Would pumps be able to pump gas? Would cars or trucks work to deliver the food?
  • Water – Water should not be impacted if it is in a freshwater source like a well, but how would you get it? Water is pumped to your house and if the power is lost to the pumping stations, the tap would shut off. No water to drink, bathe or flush the toilet with.
  • Shelter – No impact at all with a traditional EMP.
  • Security – I predict an electric outage would be catastrophic in the minds of people. Widespread looting and violence would happen almost immediately I think and you could quickly see a need to defend your home and possessions.
  • Electricity – Unless you had back up sources of power like generators or solar panels secured in Faraday cages you would be out of luck.
  • Health – There are highly inflated (in my opinion) estimates of the numbers of people who would die if we lived through an EMP. I have heard crazy numbers like 30 million people and I just don’t believe that. Would there be deaths? Sure, we have a lot of people on life support or who are old, frail or in poor health. They would seem to be likely candidates, but I can’t see millions of people dying simply because we had no power. Could I see some dying in violence? Sure, but not that many. I think more people than you would expect would be living just fine and they would be bored, scared and hungry.

Economic Collapse – The hypothetical scenario is the market crashes over a period of days or weeks. All banks close and most everyone’s money that was tied to dollars or any other fiat currency is lost. The only people who will hold anything of traditional monetary value would be precious metals.

  • Food – I think the first way food would be impacted is that you wouldn’t have enough money to purchase any food. The inflation would make buying food, even if you had money all but impossible. Food riots would eventually happen and then all the available food would be gone anyway.
  • Water – Water should not be impacted if it is in a freshwater source like a well, but in extreme circumstances, infrastructure would break down if there was nobody there to run the systems or fix them. If nobody was being paid, this could affect your water. If you couldn’t pay for water it would be shut off.
  • Shelter – No impact at all unless they want to foreclose your home because you can no longer afford to pay for it.
  • Security – I predict an economic collapse would have results to the American psyche comparable to an EMP. Widespread looting and violence would happen almost immediately I think and you could quickly see a need to defend your home and possessions.
  • Electricity – Just like water, this resource would only stay maintained with money and your ability to pay for it.
  • Health – I think routine healthcare would be moderately affected, but injuries requiring something more than a cane or an ace bandage would be out of the realm of possible for most people. Could your Obamacare cover that broken leg? Maybe, but you would have to wait 6 months to get someone to look at it and another 3 to get a cast put on it.

Zombie Invasion – OK, zombies are all over the world now for some reason. We’ll say it was a disease that most of the planet gets, but you and your survival group and a small percentage of others are immune.

  • Food – You are food for zombies so if you want to find human food, it will most likely be scrounging in homes or businesses to see what you can come up with. With the right set up you could start growing your own food and raising animals again, if you have the knowledge of how to do that.
  • Water – Water should not be impacted but you may not have it running from the tap. You would need to find a well or some body of water because anyone running the pumping station is dead or has left a long time ago.
  • Shelter – There would seem to be plenty of options for shelter in a zombie invasion, you would simply need to reinforce it and make sure zombies didn’t know you were in there.
  • Security – I am pretty sure this would be the main focus of your day; killing zombies and running for your life or simply carving out a retreat somewhere and trying to rebuild civilization.
  • Electricity – Solar panels would seem to be the best option in this scenario and they are in a lot of places. They are all over the sides of highways now running lights.
  • Health – Without modern medicine, we will all be living a different life. Getting sick has a new meaning when you can’t see a doctor, get an x-ray or have someone with skills take a look at you.

So what was the point of that little exercise? It was to get you thinking about a couple of things. First of all, each scenario left you dealing with different problems all within the context of the 6 basic survival needs. Do you have those covered? Have you considered the possibilities of any other events like this? Secondly, there are a lot of things we talk about that wouldn’t even come up in those examples above. For instance, starting a fire with a fire plough or making cord out of your braided strands of hair. In all of those hypothetical examples, you would still have access to most common survival skills, you could scavenge for equipment and supplies. What seemed to be important in all scenarios is Health. Have you received any first aid training? Do you have any survival medicine guide books? What about first aid supplies or fish antibiotics?

We tend to think about needs from a small perspective and hopefully this post gave you something to think about differently. I like to look at my preps from the standpoint of a lot of potential situations to see where I have blind spots. Maybe this identifies some for you?

We never know how we are going to go out of this world do we? None of us ever know what will happen tomorrow but we plan and scheme anyway.


I am so sick and tired of a large majority of these stories always talking about all these real nice things people have for Bugging out. Oh look at our All terrain 4X4 Super Duty Extended Cab 8ft bed Jacked up fully loaded Ford Diesel Pickup. With our totally decked out bug out trailer that’s going to keep me and my family safe so I can return to my $ 180,000.00 a yr. job.

I mean am I the only one that feels this way? I make $ 50,000.00 a year as a Professional Firefighter.  And just to state, at the end of the day, I really don’t have a lot of money left. I also work a part-time job. Still can’t seem to come up with money to buy that kind of truck. Plus have all the extras, we all know they’re going to say this man has.

So let’s get down and dirty here and talk about what a common working man would have. Poor Man Prepping… Now I may be all wrong here, and just a complete dumb-ass. But most of the people I know are just like me. Just trying to make, a better life for their kids. We are the ones that don’t have that bug out location, and are going to have to bug in at first just to see how things go.

One day at the station we were sitting around the table, and the talk was about The Walking Dead, love the show, but I asked ‘so what would you guys all do if SHTF happened right now?’ Boom the world fell apart. We went around the table and each guy that was in the conversation said what they would do. Every single one of them gave pretty much the same answer. Get their guns, grab their stuff, load up the family and leave. So when it came around to me well, they didn’t like my answer. I was going to go to each one of their houses, and grab their stuff, I can use to help me and my family survive in our home. Something to think about.

Yea we do have some Bug out Bags and Boxes ready to go, our own small stockpile of prepping supplies. Maybe even a Chevy pickup to throw all that into. But in the end, we will be the ones banding together to make it. Yea I might be the one with the stove and cooking supplies, possibly a shotgun to try to protect my family with. But my neighbor could be the guy with all the guns and nothing else. It just cracks me up that as I read article after article on here it always seems as though there trying to brag or show off in some way.

So now that I’m way off point.

Good! I am going to start writing my own articles and see where this takes me, I can say one thing for sure we are going to talk about what a common working man can afford and can get. Should they have 3 to 6 months worth of food stocked up in his basement with his AR15 and Shotgun and all his other guns, plus Gallons and gallons of water? Well it would be nice. But then again were talking about what we can do to prep.

Let’s start small, and build from there.

1 Sharpe Permanent marker, no this may never stop a mob from stealing your stuff but it will make sense in a sec. Cases of water is really what got me going, Buy one or two cases and store them in a cool dry place. Write on the case year and date you bought them. (Sharpie Marker) This will at least let you know how old it’s getting and what gets drank first or rotated out. Same thing with some canned foods vegetables, Dinty Moore beef stew, spam canned meats –  write on the can when you bought them and exp. date so it’s easy to see. Oatmeal, pancakes just add water mix, syrup. Sure, sure if you can get more go for it. But just start saving what you can.

Then try to set up every family member with a bug out bag so it is ready to go. Have them plan for a weekend away from home, 2 nights three days. This will give them something in their bags –  try to add in a few other important items. Plate, Cup, Bowl, fork, knife, spoon. This can all be cheap plastic ones bought at a dollar store. Don’t forget to have each person pack an old blanket and pillow if possible.

Now I know most of us have food at home, well when it’s time to go nothing says you can’t take that with you it’s always a good idea to save those old grocery bags to load your food up. Take it. Just make sure what you take you can cook and eat. Pots and pans from the house may just be all you have. Draw up a check list and keep it close by. I am not saying don’t read the other articles or even take ideas from them, they are all good and may help in one way or another.

As far as your Bug out vehicle that’s going to take you away to the middle of nowhere, or a Budget Inn. Will the family car will most defiantly do? Yes! Should we all strive for a nice place in the middle of nowhere, and that 4X4 ATV I mention? You can if you want.

But my grandmother once said to me when I asked, why we don’t have a bomb shelter?

She said, ‘If we did have one would you really want to be the last ones left on earth, when everyone else is gone?’ If were truly going to make it to the next century and the SHTF we need to band together as the human race, cause without each other we die divided. Just my thoughts.

Look for more from me in the Future.

  I am so sick and tired of a large majority of these stories always talking about all these real nice things people have for Bugging out. Oh look at our


Considering the regular commitments like mortgage and car payments they have to keep up with, average income Americans may feel they have no money to start prepping for disasters. The fear of the costs involved now becomes an excuse not to prep at all.

The good news is, with some foreknowledge and skillful planning, frugal Prepping can get you almost the same results as preppers who have much more funds to work with. Knowledge, for instance, will place you in a better position to survive practically any situation better than someone else who relies on just their expensive survival gear.

Your best bet is to approach Prepping as way of life rather than just a project. Take slow and steady steps as your financial resources allow to begin stockpiling water, food and other basic survival necessities and before you know it you will be pleasantly surprised to see how much your stash has grown.

Here are a few ideas on how to start prepping that will point you in the right direction.

  1. Start with a Budget.

Considering your present financial position, how much can you reasonably afford to put aside monthly towards your Prepping goals? Check your current expenses to see if there are items you can reduce or eliminate completely and add that sum to your Prepping budget. Get a journal and put this figure down in writing.

  1. Do an In-House Inventory

A quick check and you would be surprised to see that you actually have more useful survival stuff lying unused around your house than you thought. Items like pots, pans, blankets and sheets are always needed in survival situations. Assessing what you have already will prevent the mistake of going out and buying it again. Once you’ve sorted out your things, you may find long disused items that can be sold on sites like eBay. Add any money realized to your Prepping budget.

  1. Opt for Performance Rather than Brand Name

Let’s face it: many low-end products can do just as well as the high-end brand names, it’s more a matter of perception. The brands you buy for items like survival knives, lighters, firearms and even toilet paper can make over 70% difference in price depending on the manufacture’s name. Instead of focusing solely on brand name as a selection criteria, think in terms of functionality, durability, safety, adaptability and so on. We’re not recommending buying the cheapest possible items but a more balanced approach to spending. You could also take some time reading reviews from users of some of these cheaper brands to get a better picture before you decide what to spend your limited funds on.

Yard sales and Military Surplus are a good avenue for finding excellent bargains and deals on many of these items.

  1. Buy Used/Off-Season



You can easily get gently used items at fantastic knock-off prices if you take the time to look. For budget preppers, buying every survival items new hardly makes sense as the used ones will still be perfectly suited for the job at hand.

Try places like Craigslist, eBay and Military Surplus stores for bargains running up to hundreds of dollars off on used items like sleeping sets, backpacks, home utensils etc. Firearms are another item that are good used or new but you may not save too much (expect $50 to $100), as they don’t typically lose too much value. Try gun shows and pawn shops for finds on legally purchased, used firearms.

Another source of bargains is buying off-season items like camping gear in winter months or winter products in spring time.

  1. Prepare Your Meat

(Via: wideopenspaces.com)


Another important consideration is the meat you will be storing for the survival situation. The choices are many but if you are confident of your hunting skills, hunting deer to preserve the meat would be a good and very cost-effective option for you.

To enjoy the meat at its finest, the deer should be shot cleanly for a quick death. Marksmanship and shot placement is key here. Ideally, aim to kill mature does by shooting them in the head or neck. Once the doe is down you have about 2 hours depending on the weather, to quickly remove the entrails before the venison begins to deteriorate. Use a sharp, sturdy knife to get the cutting done.

Some hunters open a deer from the rear but a preferred approach is to cut where the ribs come together. This has the advantage of preventing you from puncturing the stomach. The deer liver, heart and kidney are delicious. Just separate them carefully from the rest of the entrails and keep them in strong Ziploc bags. Timing is important so dress it quickly and get the deer to a cooler or, in colder climates, hang it in a suitable place for aging. Ideally, aim for at least 5 days with the hide still intact in temperatures of 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

You could also age the meat after cutting up the animal, but skin it first and avoid any hair touching the carcass.

After this, you can decide to process the venison meat yourself before freezing or have it done commercially as it requires quite an investment of time and equipment to get it right. The meat once properly handled, will last you for many months ahead.

  1. Buy Food Items in Bulk 



There’s no escaping this one. You’re going to need food every day so a little strategic planning will help here. Plan to buy food that will feed you for at least 3 to 6 months.

Buying in bulk is the way to go here. Non-perishable, dry food items and spices like whole wheat, beans, salt and rice should be top of your list. Buy them in larger bags of up to 50lbs for $20 rather than the smaller retail bags. You can conveniently get approximately 500 servings of rice from each of these 50lb bags. Cans of fruit, vegetables, dressings and powdered food items are also good for extended storage as long as you don’t exceed the expiry dates. Freeze dried food in bulk is also recommended.

On another note regarding food, the need to buy commercial survival foods is still debatable. These foods are usually expensive. You can expect to spend several thousands of dollars to feed just one person so it may be better to just buy the kind of food you would normally eat and ensure you store them properly in air tight re-sealable bags.

  1. Buy on Sale and use Coupons



Try to take advantage of every chance you get to spend less. Watch out for sales and coupons online or offline and make use of them for items you actually need. Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it.

Major food chains for instance, routinely offer money-saving coupons and you can find these on their websites, in local newspapers, Facebook pages, social media etc. Doing this will gradually save you thousands of dollars guaranteed as time goes by.

Take your time to shop around. That time will save you money. Fortunately, the internet remains a great resource for comparison shopping to find the lowest prices on items.

  1. Alternative Power Supp­­ly

You’re going to need a generator too and the worst time to go looking for one to buy is when the disaster has already occurred. Sometimes the prices can double because everyone wants to buy and demand is high.

If you feel you can do without a generator, fine, if not the sooner you get one the better. You can also buy them during sales, buy used or you can get brand new generators at bargain prices from people who bought before but feel they no longer need it. Ensure you test it before closing the deal.

Overall, the more knowledge you have about the expected situation, the better prepared you’ll be whatever your budget may be. You can try a test run to determine what items are absolutely essential and what you can live without in a disaster setting. This will put you, and your family, in a better position to come out okay and could make the difference between life and death in extreme cases.

And remember, you don’t have to be rich to prep, just be organized.

  Considering the regular commitments like mortgage and car payments they have to keep up with, average income Americans may feel they have no money to start prepping for disasters. The

Teaching children to care about and understand the need for disaster preparedness and the development of survival skills is a complex task. First, one must maintain an understanding of the emotional maturity, attention span, and worldly understanding of the child with whom they are dealing. Then, they must tailor their instruction and expectations to that. In addition to this, it is important to engage a child on these topics in a way that they enjoy and that is interesting to them. Here are ten suggestions that might be helpful to parents or other adults who are attempting to tackle the job of introducing kids to the concepts and skills of preparedness and survival.

Incorporate Lessons into Daily Life.

It does not matter what the topic is, children learn skills and concepts best, when two things happen. The first is that they are allowed to learn and incorporate skills gradually. The second is that they see an immediate practical usefulness for these skills. The best way to accomplish this is to avoid introducing kids to huge concepts about preparedness, but to instead teach them small yet useful skills that you can build on later. This could be as simple as teaching a child how to sort food scraps for composting, or giving them the job of checking the deep freeze and pantry on a daily basis in order to determine which items need to be restocked.

Make the Child Understand that He or She Has an Important Role to Play

It is your job to introduce kids to the concepts and skills of preparedness and survival.

Nothing is less motivating to a child than giving him or her meaningless busy work. It can be tempting to give a child busy work to keep him/her out of the adults’ hair, but the long-term results of doing this are never positive. Even the least savvy child will eventually figure things out. Teaching a child new skills is a messy process that is never easy. Parents need to understand that children are going to make mistakes and that they are going to have to help clean up the resulting messes. That shouldn’t stop parents from giving important jobs to children. In fact, kids need to understand that they play an important part in things, and that the tasks they perform are meaningful. So, if you are engaged in some prepping project, make sure your child feels that s/he is truly contributing.

Make Sure that Kids See the Fruits of Their Labor

Food production and storage is a key component of successful preparedness. Many parents make the mistake of giving their children individual jobs to do when it comes to these tasks, but they fail to make sure the children have an understanding of the entire process. For example, it only takes a few moments to show a child a jar of canned tomatoes in the pantry, and then explain to that child how that jar of tomatoes came from a plant he helped put into the ground a year ago. From there, the parent can explain to the child that their jar of tomatoes along with all of the other jars of canned goods will help feed the family for a few long time. They can also explain that even if a disaster were to make getting to the store impossible, the family could stay healthy eating the food that they have stored.

Let your child know they have an important role to play.

Encourage Older Kids to Teach and Mentor Younger Kids

One great way to reinforce a skill is to have a child teach that skill to somebody else. When children demonstrate and explain a survival skill to a younger friend or sibling, they gain self-confidence and a new understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it. If the child who is doing the teaching needs to work on a skill repetitively, teaching that skill to others gives him/her the opportunity to repeat the work themselves without it feeling like drudgery or punishment. Of course, the younger children also benefit. They get attention from an older friend or sibling that kids often crave, and they probably have more fun than they would if they were learning from boring old mom and dad.

Go Camping!

Roughing it is a great way to teach kids outdoorsman ship skills that they may need to use in emergency situations down the road. Make it fun! Create a check list of skills each kid should learn and demonstrate, and then offer a reward and lots of praise when they succeed. After the child has met his or her goals, mom or dad can opt to tell them how the skills they have learned might be valuable in a situation where disaster or other tragedy has struck.

There are so many skills you can teach your children that could be useful in an emergency.

Take the Children Grocery Shopping

The family’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly trip to the grocery store is a great opportunity to educate children about purchasing, storing, and rotating paper goods, dry goods, food, and other supplies. During these trips, parents can introduce their children to the butcher, military surplus store owner, and other members of the community that they can utilize when they eventually want to stock up their own reserves. When they are finished helping with the shopping, children can be taught how to sort the groceries into items that are to be used immediately, items to be saved for use in a few months, and items that are stockpiled in the event of a true emergency.

Make it Age Appropriate

There are many reasons that family make survival learning and preparedness a priority. Some of these reasons can be hard to understand for younger children. They can also be frightening. Parents should use their best judgment when determining what children should be exposed to. It may help to remember that many of the skills that are needed for children to become survivalists can be taught in ways that are enjoyable and that don’t cause children undo alarm. Parents can wait to tell their children the reasons why they are learning these skills until they are older and better prepared.

At the end of the day, there are no magic formulas for preparing kids for the future or for unknown crises or disaster. It just takes common sense, patience, and mentoring.


Teaching children to care about and understand the need for disaster preparedness and the development of survival skills is a complex task. First, one must maintain an understanding of the

Not only is your dog a good companion, but he or she could potentially save your life in a survival situation. With the proper training, you can transform your cuddly puppy into a smart, disciplined survivalist. Training takes time and patience but there are some commands you can teach your dog that could help you out in an emergency or dangerous situation. Start out training your dog the right way with these commands your dog should know.

Teach your Dog to Speak

You don’t need to invest in a full-scale alarm system for your home because your dog’s bark can ward off any predators approaching your home. To teach this command, kneel in front of your sitting dog with treats clearly visible in your hand. Get your pup’s attention, and, in a happy tone, say his name while showing him a favorite toy, but not letting him have it.

Say speak, and give him time to respond. Repeat this process until he barks, and then reward him with a treat. Once he masters the trick, try it out in different areas without treats. Your dog’s bark could save you if there’s an intruder in your home, you’re stranded in the wilderness or you’re awaiting rescue.

Training a dog isn’t rocket surgery, but it does involve patience and some technique. This is the book we used for our Survival Dog. She is still a work in progress.

Teach your Dog to be Quiet

Additionally, teaching your dog to be quiet when you don’t want your cover blown is equally important. Pick a command like “hush” or “quiet,” and use it consistently. When training him how to be quiet, wait for him to bark. Once he does, quickly get his attention with a second sound, such as a whistle or clap. Once you have his attention, use your command and give him a treat for obeying. Repeat this two to three times in a row and continue over the next couple days until he masters the command.

However, if you’re working with an unruly dog, such as a yippy terrier or high-energy breed, you may need to use an electric dog collar with a bark-limiter. Trigger the vibration, and use a vocal command to teach your dog to stay quiet. Amazon offers a wide range of electric collars for dog training and hunting. This method isn’t necessary for most dogs provided you are patient and willing to spend the time training them. Breed differences can vary with how much they bark, but I think most of the time unwanted behaviors can be trained out of your dog with time. Our dog is extremely high energy but she isn’t a barker. Your dog may be different.

Teach your Dog to Search

A dog’s olfactory abilities are 100,000 times stronger than a human’s, according to dog trainer Dina Zaphiris. This trait makes your dog well-suited for making rescues. Train your dog to recognize you and your family’s scent so he can make a rescue in the event of a disaster, such as an avalanche or being lost in the wilderness. Dogs as young as 12 weeks can learn these skills, and older dogs can still learn, too.

To teach trailing, use a partner and your dog. First, drop a piece of clothing with your friend’s scent and walk 10 to 20-feet ahead, dropping treats with each step. Then, have your partner hide in an easy-to-find location. Show the dog the piece of clothing and let him sniff it. Use a command like “search” or “find.” Your dog should be able to follow the treats and the scent to your training partner. Reward him with his toy, play or more treats. As he gets better, use less and less treats, and take your training to different terrains. Ohio Valley Search and Rescue has put together a comprehensive guide to help you teach your dog these life-saving skills.

These commands your dog should know are by no means the end of training. There are a million other things your pooch is capable of but these commands are a start. Where you go from there with your dog is up to you two.

Not only is your dog a good companion, but he or she could potentially save your life in a survival situation. With the proper training, you can transform your cuddly


Residential security (RS) is something that is usually taken very lightly, most believe putting in an alarm system and maybe a camera or two is all that’s required.  It is common knowledge that one of the favored places for criminals and terrorists to target a victim is when they are in, entering or leaving their residence; Residential security must be taken very seriously. In times of civil unrest looters will be looking to target any location that has valuables, weapons or assets that they can use and that has minimal security, this means most residential properties.

If your threat is from criminals or terrorists and you’re going to hire security personnel for your residence or office make sure they are in some way trustworthy, just because someone has a security or private investigators license it does not mean they are competent or not working with the criminals. What a lot of people forget when hiring security personnel is that you get what you pay for. I am approached all the time by people who require security personnel, many of whom are having problems with their current security contractor, but they do not want to pay a professional rate. Sure, you can always get a cheaper option but don’t expect the budget security guard to be too concerned about your assets or well-being.

The basic procedures I have listed here can be applied on all residences or offices. What will differ is the type and size of the residence, the manpower and budget available. When taking over or moving into a residence, a threat assessment must be compiled and all vulnerable spots identified. A set of orders needs to compile and procedures drawn up for every eventuality. Before you occupy a residence, the residence and its grounds need to be searched for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices and contraband such as illegal drugs or weapons that could have been left there by the previous occupants.

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If the budget allows, electronic security devices should be employed. There is a vast array of security devices available on the commercial market, ranging from CCTV to laser sensors. Always choose the best that you can afford and buy it from a reputable dealer; it is best to also get a service agreement and have all equipment regularly serviced by trusted people. Even if your residence is in an apartment block, CCTV should be considered for the corridors and public parts of the building. Covert and portable CCTV systems are available at affordable prices and have a variety of uses. These days there are also affordable CCTV system that you can monitor over the internet. I had one client who told me while he was working in East Africa he watched Hurricane Katrina destroy his house in Louisiana over the internet. Remember if you use internet camera’s they can be hacked into, if someone gets access to your computers, passwords or on a more professional level access to your server they can also see what you’re up to.

Many people have alarms systems and panic buttons in their residences and it amuses me that a lot of people believe that installing an alarm is all they require to protect their families. We have all seen the adverts on TV where a woman is home alone, the alarm goes off, the bad guy runs away and the alarm company phones here to make sure she is OK; if only the world was that perfect. What if the bad guys aren’t worried and expect an alarm to go off because know they have at least 15 minutes before the police will respond. If you have an alarm system you need to know what the response time will be for those responding, be it an armed response company or the local police. In some places the response can take hours, even in the U.S. if the responding police believe there is a serious incident taking place with shots fire they will usually back off, call for support, cordon the area and assemble a SWAT team to respond if you’re lucky this may take an hour or two!

Another criminal tactic to counter alarm system on a residence is to keep setting them off until the target turns the system off. Think about it, if over a period of two weeks the alarm on your back door keeps going off between 1am to 4am what would you do? Initially for the first few alarm activations the police will respond, in a lot of places after 3 false alarm activations the police will no longer respond, if you have an armed response company they will be charging you for every alarm they respond to. So, I am sure you will call out the alarm company to fix the alarm but they will find nothing wrong with it. Would you keep putting up with the cost and aggravation of the apparently false alarm activations or just turn the alarm off? Take nothing at face value, if you have an alarm that starts going off for no apparent reason, look deeper!

CCTV should be considered for the corridors and public parts of the building. Covert and portable CCTV systems are available at affordable prices and have a variety of uses.

Security for a residence needs to be planned in depth with multiple rings of defense, how many you have will depend on the type and size of the residence. When planning the security for a residence you need to think like the criminals. In 1994 I was working in South Africa and was tasked to provide security for numerous residences that had active threats on them. My working day usually started in the early evening and went through to after first light the next morning. When I arrived at a residence the first thing I would do would be to assess the area around the residence for likely criminal surveillance points and approach routes. I would then assess the fence or wall around the garden for the most likely point the criminals would use as an entry point. I would then take up a position in the garden where I could see the likely criminal entry point or points and as much of the residence as possible, then I waited.

So, the first cordon of security you should consider is the general area around the residence. You need to identify any potential surveillance positions, choke points and possible ambush locations. Consider using CCTV to cover the streets and exterior of the walls of your grounds. All routes leading up to the residence need to be regularly searched for IEDs, surveillance and signs of an ambush which may be in the process of being set up, to do this the routes and exterior would need to walked by trusted and alert personnel.

If your residence is in an apartment block, the next level of security could take the form of covert CCTV in public areas or placing the building under general protective surveillance. In a large house, this cordon will be the walls or hedges that surround the grounds; these can be monitored by CCTV, with sensors or where legal topped with razor or electric wire.

In a large residence the next cordon would be the grounds or garden. This area could be covered by CCTV and be patrolled regularly by security personnel, day and night and in all weather. All external buildings such as garages and tool sheds need to be properly secured. A lot of people ask me about using guard dogs, something which I tend to dissuade people from doing. Dogs can be weapons and must be keep under control, in South Africa I had two German Sheppard’s attack me; they did not die because the client was screaming at me not hurt them. The dogs had been let out of their cage, as they usually were in the evening, by a staff member who did not know I was working there. OK, it was only me, so no problems but what if it was a child or woman and dog’s owner was not there to take control of them?

If you use dogs they must be properly trained, if I was in a high risk area would I consider having trained dogs in my garden, sure but they would need to be properly trained. Dogs can be targeted as same as security personnel, if they are not trained properly they are easy to poison. Guard dogs that bark a lot are easy to counter, same as an alarm system, we have used this in numerous times in parts of Latin America where every house seems to have a pack of dogs, you just need to get the dogs barking and keep them barking, the owner will soon get fed up with it or the dogs will get tired.

The next cordon would be the residence itself, all doors, windows and skylights need to be secured and controlled and if possible, alarmed. Consider defensive gardening to deter criminals gaining access to windows; below the window plant thorny bushes that would make it difficult and noisy for the criminals to get through. Ideally, all rooms should be fitted with motion detectors and in high risk areas locked when not in use.

Now you need to consider what you are going to do if criminals try to make entry to your residence; you need to make plans and preparations for this. On my courses I usually ask people what they would have done if someone tried to break in to their house the previous night, a lot of people say they don’t know or just then start to think about it. You need to put together sensible procedures, and then if you have an issue you will know what to do and not panic.

There are two general considerations when planning your procedures; are going to stay in the residence or evacuate, what you do will depend on your situation. A secure room needs to be designated within the residence to be used as a safe room for you and your family in the event of an attack where immediate evacuation is not practical.

The room should be lockable from the inside and have several good communications links with the outside world; there should be a list of emergency numbers in the room, so help can be summoned in the event of an emergency. What equipment is in the room will depend on your situation and the length of time you will need to possible stay in to room, this where you need to know the approximate response times of those coming to help you. The main thing a safe room needs is an escape route, if I was a criminal and wanted to target someone who I knew took their security serious I would not enter their residence. In reality if someone knows how to defend a building SWAT and room clearing tactics won’t work, you’re going to have big problems. The easiest way to clear a building is to cordon it and set it on fire, then hit the inhabitants as they exit, if they don’t exit then criminals have saved some bullets. Always have an escape route!

A set of procedures will need to be drawn up for dealing with visitors to the residence; this is the downfall of most residential security programs. A good example of this resulted in the kidnapping in Haiti of a family member of a business associate of mine. This person has a large residence and employed an armed guard to man his front gate. One evening the guard opened the gate to talk with someone who was asking after one of the staff members, as soon as he stepped outside the gate he had a gun put to his head by a criminal who was waiting next to the gate. The criminal with their crew gained access to the residence, as the doors were left open, robbed the place and kidnapped four people.

Why should the criminals try to break into a residence when in a lot of cases they can get the occupants to easily open the doors and come to them? As you read this now what would you do if someone crashed into your car; go outside and see what had happened, now you can be kidnapped and the bad guys have access to your house. A lot of houses have their electric mains outside, same in places where generators are use, so if the criminals cut the power what will most people do; go out and investigate. Sever the connecting to most people satellite TV and what will they do, go outside and check the dish. See the pattern, so do the criminals!

Residential Security Checklist

Here is list of things you want to consider when planning the security for your residence. Not everything will apply to you but take what does and use it, a lot of the considerations here can be applied to most houses or apartments.

  • Always plan security in depth, you want as many cordons of defense as possible.
  • Have several means of communications; land-lines and cellular, check them regularly.
  • Have planned escape routes.
  • If the residence overlooked what sniper or surveillance positions are there?
  • Check to see if the residence under surveillance.
  • Has the residence been searched for IEDs, electronic surveillance devices or contraband?
  • Is the residence ever left unoccupied, if yes it needs to be searched before re-occupation?
  • Does the residence have a fence or wall around it and can it realistically keep out intruders?
  • Are there gates to the residence, can they stop an intruder or a car, are the gates locked at all times and what are the procedures for greeting visitors.
  • Is there anything to help criminals climb over the garden walls or gates, such as trees or poles around the exterior of the property?
  • If the residence is in an apartment block, are there fire escapes or scaffolding that could give the criminals a way in?
  • Where along the routes in and out of the residence could an ambush be concealed?
  • Consider putting the residence under protective surveillance.
  • Always use counter-surveillance drills before entering and upon exiting the residence.
  • Regularly photograph or video the areas surrounding the residence and always watch for suspicious vehicles and people.
  • What security lights are there, do they work, when are the lights turned on and where is their control switch? If the control switch is outside, move it inside.
  • Lights should shine away for the residence not on to it.
  • Consider attaching lights triggered by movement detectors outside of doors and venerable areas.
  • Any defects to floodlighting or other security lights should be fixed ASAP.
  • If you are in an apartment block, is the reception manned 24hrs a day and If yes, are the people manning it competent? Consider a penetration test.
  • Do your doors have peepholes- peepholes are best positioned at the side of the door or in the wall so, you cannot be shot through the door. If using a peephole always distinguish any lights behind you.
  • Consider using a video phone to greet visitors and cameras to cover the doors and surrounding areas.
  • Consider an armored layer on the inside of main doors.
  • If you have a residential security team (RST) do they know their orders?
  • Are the RST from a quality trustworthy company and have they been vetted and well trained?
  • Do an assessment on your security personnel and evaluate how much you can really trust them; will they fight, flee or just rollover if there is a problem.
  • Make sure the RST patrols the grounds at all times in all weathers; bad weather is the best time for raids as guards are usually seeking shelter and un-alert.
  • If you are using guard dogs, make sure that they are well trained and preferably under the control of their handler.
  • Are all doors to the residence solid and are the door frames solid, most times a door frame will break before the lock on the door.
  • Are the locks on the doors of a good quality and have you changed them since taking over the residence?
  • If a key is lost or an employee fired who has access to keys change your locks.
  • Consider using deadbolts at the top and bottom of a door and wedges in conjunction with the normal locks.
  • Can the locks be unlocked from the outside, if a window is broken or can the door hinges be unscrewed?
  • Do you have control of all the keys to the residence and have a list of everyone with keys?
  • Have all unused entrances and exits secured.
  • All windows need to be secured on all floors of the building. It is a fact that in 90% of burglaries, access is gained through windows. Check that windows are properly shut, secured and if possible alarmed.
  • Consider putting thorny bushes under windows and around the perimeter of your garden to deter intruders. Thorny bushes can be put on the inside of perimeter walls also to tangle up and alert you to anyone jumping over.
  • Use laminated glass and heavy curtains where there is a threat from IEDs as they will help prevent flying glass. Wood blinds also work for extra privacy and protection.
  • Beware of casting shadows against windows which can be seen from the outside.
  • Consider putting a gravel walkway around the outside of your house so you can hear anyone approaching or stalking around.
  • All skylights and roof doors need to be secured and preferably alarmed. Roofs need to be secured and monitored.
  • Is the attic of the residence adjoined to another roof or attic from which someone could gain access?
  • What alarms are in the residence, are they working and when were they last tested?
  • All doors and windows on outbuildings need to be secured, regularly checked and, if possible, alarmed.
  • Are the roofs of the outbuildings secured; an IED or assailant on the roof of a garage stands a better chance of not being spotted than one in a driveway.
  • Do all padlocks have spare keys and who has them?
  • Are the padlocks of good quality and difficult to pick or shim?
  • Are all weapons in the residence legal and are they secured when not in use?
  • Do you and the RST know their rules of engagement and the laws for use of force?
  • No vehicle should be given access to the grounds of the residence without a member of the security team at least physically checking the interior of the passenger compartment. You never know- your personal driver flashing his light and laying on his horn at the gate might have a gun in the back of this head or a bomb in the trunk of his car.
  • What firefighting equipment is there in the residence and is it in a serviceable condition?
  • Are there any fire alarms and do they work? Fire is the largest cause of loss and damage to private and commercial properties. Fire prevention is, therefore, one of the highest residential security concerns.
  • Flooding is a major threat to property and equipment, common causes include taps that have been left running, leaks in plumbing systems or faulty air conditioning systems, heavy rain or snowfall.
  • Are all valuables kept secure and do you have pictures of all valuable artwork, jewelry etc.?
  • Are all valuables insured and have you recorded the serial numbers of all TVs, computer and stereo equipment?
  • Do you, your family and staff have security, emergency procedures and does everyone know them?
  • Do you, your family and staff know how to report any suspicious activity in the area?
  • Do you, your family and staff know how to the raise the alarm, in the case of an emergency?
  • Make arrangements for power cuts, keep spare batteries and bulbs for torches, several means of communications and check them regularly.
  • If you have a backup generator ensure it is serviceable and you have plenty of fuel in a secure location.
  • Keep all sensitive and security documentation secure and confidential.
  • Keep computers and hard drives secure and password protected.
  • Have your staff and employees been profiled and had background checks?
  • Do not discuss sensitive or security related subjects in front of staff, consider giving them disinformation on such things as travel and business plans.
  • Don’t let any of the security personnel get over familiar with any of the other staff.
  • Consider monitoring all phone calls from and to the residence.
  • All contractors must have appointments and must be searched before entering and leaving the residence. Searched when entering to check for contraband, IEDs or electronic surveillance devices and when leaving to make sure they are not stealing anything.
  • Contractors should be accompanied at all times.
  • If suspicious of visitors, turn them away or keep them outside and preferably illuminated, until their credentials are verified. Also consider that they could be testing your security or a distraction while others try to access your residence.
  • Never illuminate yourself in a doorway or a window, darkness is your friend.
  • All deliveries should go through the RST and be checked for anything suspicious, have a secure area to isolate any suspicious packages.
  • Use a mailbox or virtual office address rather than your residential address.
  • Be suspicious of unexpected power outages, faulty alarms etc.
  • Always have escape routes and don’t let security procedures obstruct them.
  • Know the location and safest routes to safe houses, emergency rendezvous points, hospitals, etc.
  • Think like a criminal and plan for every eventuality.

  Residential security (RS) is something that is usually taken very lightly, most believe putting in an alarm system and maybe a camera or two is all that’s required.  It is

Many Preppers get into the lifestyle of prepping, trying to solve a problem. The individuals and scenarios each person has in mind while contemplating their own unique problem are a different as any can be, but the problem usually is the same. We are all trying to avoid suffering needlessly when we don’t have to. Preparedness can be summed up simply in my opinion. It is the act of taking proactive measures to mitigate the risks to life of disasters. We prepare so that if something bad happens we can be ready to stop it, to avoid it or to live through it. The “IT” is different for each of us. Everyone has their own version of something bad but many preparedness supplies can address the needs of numerous bad scenarios because at the end of the day, prepping is all about staying alive.

Frequently, as we begin planning for those bad scenarios, we envision all manner of horrible problems that we could face with our family. Perhaps the direst and most drastic vision we can collectively focus on is some form of Apocalypse. This is the worst movie plot imaginable, a Mad Max world where it is literally Hell on Earth and survival is pictured as every man for himself. The Road and Book of Eli and dozens of other prepper movies paint the picture so well of a bleak, dangerous landscape. The apocalypse is usually planet-wide and can be the result from many potential factors but the actual definition of what an apocalypse is varies according to every person’s interpretation. Without splitting hairs, we can likely all agree that an apocalypse is the worst prepping problem that any of us can imagine facing.

Some call it TEOTWAWKI and that is a good acronym, but can we have a true apocalypse without it being ‘The End of the World as We Know it’? Could most of the life on earth be wiped out or lost due to calamity without the world coming to an end? Maybe I am taking it too literally in this context, but I am not planning for the end of the world. If that happens, we will all be gone anyway.

But an apocalypse is something that you could still live through, right? At least that is what many of us seem to be prepping for. What could life be like after the apocalypse and why do so many preppers need to adjust your thinking about the probable facts of life we all plan on living through.

So you lived through the Apocalypse, now what?

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Let me start out by saying that I may be just as guilty of thinking the way I am going to address here as anyone else and frequently, my thoughts on prepping tend to evolve or shift with something in the news. I have been known to write on the same subject from a couple, maybe contrasting viewpoints and I just chalk that up to some of the duties of writing a prepping blog and learning like so many others as I go. I don’t have too many prepper ideas that are set in stone and have been known to change my thinking occasionally.

Case in point is this one. Most of my preps to date have been what we should realistically categorize as short-term preparations. I have an amount of food stored up and the means to grow my own going forward if the conditions are favorable, but I am not guaranteed food forever. I have water stored up to last me through short-term emergencies and methods to collect and treat additional water in virtually limitless capacity provided it rains, but that doesn’t guaranty I will always have water. I have shelter options, a suitable amount of weapons and ammo stored, first aid supplies and medicine enough to last a while and knowledge in the form of books to teach myself or others a plethora of skills should I choose to read them, but all of those things guarantee nothing. I have prepping supplies but what does all that mean?

You may be thinking that all these supplies I have are meaningless if they are swept away in a house fire and you would be right. You may be saying to yourself, well that just proves that stuff is irrelevant; skills are what you need to focus on for survival and I can see that argument too, but everything above assumes that the situation will never change.

Life will keep moving after the Apocalypse

Preppers seem to be planning for these big problems in our lives that we can foresee coming down the road. I have talked openly about an Economic Collapse but I still think that even globally that would not be something we could say was an apocalyptic event.  Whatever event you think could bring on that Mad Max scenario, war, famine, plaque, global warming, solar flares, earthquakes, meteor strikes, our preparations are at best going to last a short while. If you are amazingly prepared and also very fortunate, maybe you will live a couple of years after the unknown event has wiped out most of society. But what then?

Too often I talk to commenters and even other prepping bloggers who seem to have the thought that all we have to do is live through the initial chaos of our apocalypse problem and then we will be free to live out our lives in peace. As if we just need to survive the initial die off and then everyone left will be the ones ‘who were prepared’. Do we assume that the ones who were prepared will be free to just go back to farming our land? I don’t see this happening in history at all and even if it does, the initial period will likely not be months or years but decades. Are you prepared to survive on your freeze-dried food for that long?

Do we assume that the ones who were prepared will be free to just go back to farming our land?

Two thoughts I have on this are that first of all, it won’t just be the ones who were prepared that survive. It will be those who want to survive that live and many preppers will die just as quickly as those who weren’t prepared at all. Give me a desperate individual with nothing to lose and put them up against a scared neophyte with a basement full of supplies who believes in their own superiority without any practical training and expertise and I would bet on the desperate individual every time. The most well-armed ‘prepper’ in the world is nothing without the will to shoot when necessary and the good fortune not to be shot in the back first.

The second thought is that people throughout time have formed communities and eventually those communities need more resources. When they need more resources, that usually means that they have to expand their territory. If someone is in the way, there could be conflict. Where there is conflict, usually people die. Life in the apocalypse won’t be any different. Eventually you will need to form up with a larger group unless you are living in the trees or a cave somewhere. You can’t expect to just while your days away in peace and happiness growing a small garden and tending to your livestock while your solar power generator charges each day and allows you to watch your DVD collection that was stored alongside the DVD player in your Faraday cage forever.

Prepping isn’t a permanent solution

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Preppers sometimes seem to have the attitude (and again, I have been slightly guilty of this myself on occasion) that we will by nature of our preparedness survive longer than anyone else. Perhaps that may be and many steps of preparedness certainly place us in a better position to do so in most situations, but nothing is guaranteed in life.

Prepping in my mind gives us an incredible advantage that many people don’t have, but it isn’t a superhero suit. Our prepping supplies don’t imbue on us any magical charm that will keep bad things from happening and even if we do outlive most people we are simply back to square one in a new game. When it comes to anything resembling apocalypse, your preparations if you are lucky will allow you to live for a while longer, but there won’t be any rest at that time. You will just advance to the next round and hope your planning, skills and preparations can continue giving you advantages over the next person.

As preppers, we need to be equally concerned about the other side of the disaster, not just making it through it when we are talking about Apocalypse. We need to plan not only on surviving, but rebuilding. What remains to be rebuilt will depend on the disaster I guess. In an apocalypse, it will probably be everything from our local level on up. This could take a huge amount of time and even if we make it to some rebuilding period, life as we knew it won’t ever be the same. We should all look at our prepping supplies, skills, plans and strategies as tools we hope to use to get us to that place where we have another opportunity to survive.

Prepping is a great lifestyle to practice and it has benefits from simple run of the mill problems to end of the world as we know it scenarios, but it is not a solution in and of itself. Prepping gives you a leg up, but you still have a part to play. There will still be difficulties even if you do make it through and knowing that going in may better prepare you when you come out the other side. Hope I see you all there.

Many Preppers get into the lifestyle of prepping, trying to solve a problem. The individuals and scenarios each person has in mind while contemplating their own unique problem are a


You are at work. You are 60 miles from your home and have one major obstacle (river) in between your house and work. Your work location is an office cubicle with a couple of file cabinets and a desk in a mid-sized city and you work on the second floor of the building. Your home is on 8 acres in a rural location about 30 miles outside of the closest urban built up area and there is a major city about 1 hour away that does not affect your routes home but can become an issue if the overall situation worsens. Choose any crisis situation, EMP, Civil Disturbance, Riots, Major Natural Disaster or total collapse. It does not really matter what happens, but you need to get home as fast as you can due to the deteriorating situation. The power is out at your office and people begin panicking.

You gather your level 2 kit (Get Home Bag) from under your desk. Double check that you have your Level 1 kit (EDC) on your person and you make your way to your Toyota 4Runner out in the employee parking lot. It is on the ground level of a parking garage attached to your building. You arrive at your vehicle and place your GHB (Level 2) behind your seat on the floor. You open the back of your vehicle and get some water and food to place up in front for the drive home which you think will be longer due to the traffic and detours. You also do a quick visual check of your Level 4 kit (Vehicle) you have in a small action packer container. Also, inside your rear cargo area is a tool kit with repair items for tires, hoses etc. Including an air compressor, extra tie downs (ratchet straps and 1 inch tubular nylon), a case of bottle water, another smaller container (food) with protein bars, tuna fish packets, etc. You added some tools to your kit in the last few weeks, a set of bolt cutters (small and large) and a Stanley fat max utility bar. On the back of your SUV you have a spare tire with 1 x 5 gallon fuel can.


Your Get Home Scenario Begins

As you start your SUV and prepare to drive out of the parking garage you realize that everyone is trying to exit and there is a small traffic jam on the first floor. You adjust your planned exit to use the entrance instead and it looks like some already have done the same since the drop arm barrier is broken off. You exit the garage and begin to take the most unused side streets to make your way north out of the city. Lucky for you it is not too far until you will have a couple of route options for the drive home. Since you planned your routes based off your Area Study you did when you moved out in the country, you are prepared. You have your Garmin GPS working along with a good city map and compass to keep you going in the right direction as you make detours to avoid being stuck in congestion. You decide to take a risk and use an unknown alleyway between two tall buildings. You take it cautiously, as it makes a left hand turn and you realize that the way is blocked by a 7 foot wooden fence just short of an empty side street. You stop and cut the engine, look and listen for a few minutes. Exit your vehicle, you get out your Fatmax utility bar and a folding handsaw, move to the fence. You pry off the 1 x 6 sturdy boards that make up the fence and cut the cross 2×4’s and the 4×4 post supporting them. You don’t want to pound on them to attract unwanted individuals or ram through it with your vehicle and maybe damaging your radiator. You know the width of your SUV and in 5-10 minutes of prying and cutting you have an opening. You exit the alleyway onto this side street which is on the outskirts of the city but you still need to go north to get closer to home.

You look at your map and make a decision to get away from the city as soon as possible but it will take you a little out of your way from your planned routes. So you adjust your plan accordingly. You need to make a security halt and do a good map check, so the first chance you find a concealed location in the country you take an old logging road that is overgrown and pull off into the trees. Again you look and listen after you turn off you SUV. You get out and do a quick look around your immediate area. Now you need to plan another route to one of your planned routes home. You noticed there is a power line easement that will lead you to the rail road tracks and the train bridge that crosses that river on your primary route. Good, so now you take a look at your vehicle to make it is good, tires, no leaks etc. While drinking some water and eating a protein bar you make marks on your map as reference points. You then take a quick look down the logging road where you came and are going to make sure no one is there, then start your SUV and head north to that power line easement.

As you come closer to the easement you decide to drive slower and through the woods to enter the easement not at a known junction just in case people are in that area. As you are driving through the pinewoods you hear an audible pop and stop. You noticed that you have a puncture in your tire now. It is a solid stick poking into the sidewall near the tread. You shut off the engine and look and listen. You get out the air compressor and tire kit and plug the hole with 2 large plugs. You add air to the tire and continue on your way. Since the easement can be a natural line of drift for people walking or even driving like yourself, you take precautions by stopping before this danger area and taking a look. It looks clear and you are hoping most people are still stuck in the city or on the roads. You drive more aggressively along the established dirt road along the power lines. This road has been used by the power company’s maintenance vehicles so it is some what maintained. You notice you have to cross a hardball paved road up ahead, so you take the necessary security precautions. But as you approach the paved road on foot, you noticed it has a cable across the dirt road on both sides of the hardball road. This cable is attached to wooden posts and prevents you from easily bypassing it. So when you return to your vehicle you get out your large bolt cutters and have them ready. You cut the cables on both sides of the paved road before you cross it with your SUV. You again drive aggressively to make as much distance you can from that paved road.

You approach the railroad tracks cautiously and move up to where you can see the train bridge. You use your binoculars to see the other side and notice it is identical to this side. No obstacles to prevent you from driving across it. You scan the area for people or threats. None, so you adjust your vehicle straddling the left track and drive across the bridge. Once on the other side you look in your rear view mirror and noticed some movement in the trees behind you. All of a sudden your back window is shattered as you hear several gun shots. You drop off the tracks onto the side of the railroad embankment to avoid more rounds. You see an opening in the trees on your side of the tracks and noticed it is another dirt road. You immediately turn left onto it and drive fast to put distance between you and the ambushers. You also try to maintain your location on the GPS and map. It seems you are now in one of the many state game lands that stretch between your work and home.

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Your vehicle is having issues and you realize your fuel is almost empty. So you turn off the dirt road and pull up in a security halt and take a look at it. You come to the conclusion that a round pierced your fuel tank. As you look through your Level 4 gear and repair tools you realize you don’t have a plastic fuel tank repair kit yet. So you begin to improvise a plug out one of the thick branches, but no luck. You take in your situation by determining your location and the distance to home. You realize it should take you until tomorrow night to get home if you have to walk. So you begin to prioritize your gear/kit. You have your Level 1, your Level 2 (GHB) and your Level 4 (vehicle). You know need to take items from your Level 4 kit to augment your Level 1 and 2 Kit. You adjust the items in your GHB to accommodate the extra items from the Level 4. Primarily food and water, then Medical and Technical. You also take into account that there is a threat to your rear and want to make sure you have the extra mags for your EDC pistol. As you are getting this all together, you hear noises and movement back on the road where you turned off. So you expedite your departure from your vehicle. You move out quietly but rapidly to continue to put distance between you and the ambushers. You regret leaving your vehicle and some gear back there to be found but your family is the priority and you have extra gear at the house.

As you move, you look for a good defensible hole up site to work out your routes. You find a thickly vegetated knoll above a draw you just crossed and decide to hole up here for a short rest. As you look at your Garmin Etrex you pulled out of your GHB and the USGS Topo maps you packed in it, you calculate you have little over 30 kilometers to home. You know you can walk 4 MPH on dirt roads with 50 lbs, so if you did this walk accordingly, it would take you 5 hours on a straight line. But this is not on a road and it is not a straight path. When you include the possible threats and known threats you have to reduce your speed, move slower, take more security halts, use different directions, etc. You look at the time and it will be about to be dusk or EENT (Early Evening Nautical Twilight). As you plan the route, you know you can stay off any roads and natural lines of drift from here on out. You determine you should be home after dark tomorrow night. You check your signal devices in your GHB, you have a section of VS-17 Panel, a strobe light with IR cover, GMRS radio with extra batteries, Red lens flashlight and your cell phone. You already made your initial text to the wife when you departed from work. She received it and marked the time you departed. Knowing your plan and how long it should take to drive, she would expect you to be home in a couple of hours. But that is not going to happen. You try another text to update on your movement plans, but no signal. You are too far to use the GMRS so you turn them off and save the batteries. She knows to begin checking the cell phone and radio on the hour for 15 minutes once you fail to make your arrival time. You continue to move toward home.

Armasight Nyx7-ID Gen 2+ Night Vision Goggles

You pick up and move out to the north avoiding all danger areas as much as possible. For the first couple of legs you do extensive counter tracking to make sure the ambushers do not follow your route. It is pretty dark tonight since the illumination is low. The moon is waxing so it will increase each night. You planned your route using as many hand rails as possible. Making sure you establish a good attack point and backstop for your RON positions. You arrive at your first RON position just after midnight, it took you about 6 hours to move almost 4 miles closer to home. You moved at a tactical pace of 1 kph through the woods under the cover of darkness. You hole up for the night and plan on moving out before first light. You have about 16 more miles to get home and you want to get there in just as many hours. At a pace of 1 kph you know you won’t be able to make that distance in 16 hours, so you plan on moving at a faster pace for part of your movement tomorrow.

It is 4 a.m. And you are ready to move out before it gets light. You replenished your water last night from a small creek about 300 meters from your hole up site. You travel the rest of the day without any more problems from people or terrain. You managed to gain time on your route by using handrails along a railroad track that was heading in your direction. You made sure you stayed off the tracks a good 100 meters but maintained visual of it as you moved rapidly through easy terrain with less under brush. It is getting dark now and you know you are a few miles from your house. So you stop in a security halt and try to establish communications with your wife, your cell is not working still so you give the GMRS a try. You broadcast a couple of times at the top of the hour. You wait and hear her respond and you let her know how far you are out, from what direction you are coming and that you will give here a night-time signal for link up. She acknowledges it all. As you approach the clearing that is behind your house, you observe it for anything unusual. Seeing it is clear, you turn on your radio and establish common again with her. Your primary night-time signal, an IR strobe light for her to acknowledge. You have one set of NVGs and she has them at the house. You wait for her to acknowledge what she sees. But nothing….So you switch to the Alternate, a red lens flash light with 3 flashes. She sees that and comes across the radio with what she sees. You confirm and you arrive at your door. After the greetings, you realize you never taught your wife how to turn on the NVGs. But she defiantly knew the alternate signals.

Conclusion: As I try to detail in this scenario, you must have a flexible plan. Be prepared to change and adjust it according to the situation. Your kit levels aid you in maintaining the flexibility and ability to adjust and resupply on the go. Continue to maintain forward progress and avoid having to double back unless you have no other choice. You are dealing with time, distance and contingencies so having a good PACE plan to help you is crucial. The other part I try to emphasis is not everything goes according to your plan. If you rely on other people in your plan, make sure they know and understand it thoroughly. When it comes to special equipment, make sure everyone knows how to use it. Las note I want to make, ensure you cover all possibilities with your vehicle. Now some things you won’t be able to fix, but leaks, hoses, fan belts, etc are fixable on the road if you have the right things on hand.

  You are at work. You are 60 miles from your home and have one major obstacle (river) in between your house and work. Your work location is an office cubicle


As a prepper you may have stockpiled all sorts of food items, and you probably know how to grow your own food crops. You may be so skilled at gardening that you have an abundance of fresh vegetables in the summer, and you preserve much of what you grow for winter consumption. Congratulations, you’re well prepared, but have you given any thought to fresh vegetables in the winter months? You probably haven’t, because you can get those fresh (sort-of-fresh), from your local grocery store. In a SHTF situation, you may not be able to get those sort-of-fresh items. You can forget about having a crisp tomato slice, fresh lettuce, or a crunchy carrot, just to name a few of the things you’ll have to do without.

If you have a south-facing window, or better yet, a sun-room, indoor gardening can be the solution. Where window space is limited, you’ll have to decide which crops to grow, and which you can do without. Personally, I’m a tomato nut, and I love the heirloom varieties. I’m fortunate to have a sun-room, where I can grow full-size plants. If you’re not so fortunate, and love tomatoes, don’t despair. Dwarf tomato plants might be the answer. Red Robin is one such dwarf plant. It can be grown in a small container, and is about 14 inches tall when fully-grown. Each plant produces clusters of cherry-size tomatoes (about 1 inch in diameter). For a tall window, consider a PVC tubing frame and wood planks for shelves. The goal is to place as many plants as possible in direct contact with the sun when window space is limited. Plants placed farther from the window will not get adequate sunlight. You can supplement artificial light for sunlight, but I’m assuming a grid-down situation where alternative electricity is limited or non-existent.

If you’re able to provide artificial light, light in the warm spectrum (3000k), encourages flowering, while light in the cool spectrum (4100k), is best for vegetative growth. If you don’t want to mix bulbs of various k-ratings, then 5000k bulbs would be a good choice. A bulb with a k-rating of 5000 is considered one that simulates natural sunlight. Do not use incandescent bulbs, as their k-rating is in the neighborhood of 1200. Most of their energy is used to create heat. A fluorescent tube may be the best choice, since it can cover several plants at the same time. Place the light source as close to the top of the plant as possible. It’s helpful to be able to move the light source, or the plants, up or down to facilitate all stages of plant growth. Providing adequate light to tall plants can be a real challenge. Some growers deal with that problem by creating a “wall of light”, but then we’re getting into an electrical consumption issue. Perhaps the best solution in a grid-down situation is dwarf plants, where many can be placed next to a window, or where one fluorescent tube will cover a row of plants. The use of mirrors or aluminum foil to reflect natural or artificial light is also beneficial.

Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home Into a Year-round Vegetable Garden – Microgreens – Sprouts – Herbs – Mushrooms – Tomatoes, Peppers & More

For each type of plant, you’ll have to make sure that the conditions are right. Tomatoes, for example, like cool nights followed by warm days. The soil must be warm, but cannot exceed 76 degrees, or the plant will not set fruit. I start seeds in cups, with holes in the bottom, and later transplant them into larger containers. I use good quality potting soil, and I sterilize it before use. I prefer to allow water to soak in from the bottom, rather than watering at the base of the plant. Watering at the base of the plant can cause a fungal condition known as damping off. I like to simulate outdoor conditions as much as possible, including the use of an oscillating fan now and then. The air flow not only helps with pollination, it puts a strain on the stems, helping them to grow strong. Humidity in your growing area should be 50 per cent or less, to avoid fungal problems. With tomatoes, you don’t need bees or other insects for pollination. A breeze from a fan, or shaking the stems containing the flowers will do the job. I spray the leaves now and then with water, to simulate the cleaning effect of rain.

Perhaps the most difficult part of winter growing will be controlling the temperature. If the grid is down, providing heat may be a problem. Hopefully, you’ve given some thought to the solar electric system I described in a previous article “Living Comfortably When the SHTF”. You’ll need to determine how to provide enough heat, without exceeding the electricity-producing capacity of your system. An ordinary space heater would consume too much electricity. My solution is a rectangular box, eight inches tall, with 2 sixty-watt light bulbs inside. I’ve connected the light bulbs in series, not parallel. The bulbs burn dimmer, but the energy consumption is reduced to only 30 watts. I use a heat-deflector inside the box, and the amount of heat produced is surprising. You might also consider a dimmer switch and incandescent bulbs, for an adjustable heat source. Holes in the side of the box provide an air inlet. Holes in the top of the box facilitate the delivery of warm air to the plants. I place the container plants on top of the box, on a series of shelves. I’ve also enclosed the plants and heater in plastic, to keep the warm air in. On warm days I remove the plastic. But remember, plants need carbon dioxide. A well-sealed growing enclosure may result in a carbon dioxide deficiency. Night time temperature drops (not below 50 degrees), are actually very good for the plant. Learn about growing condition requirements for each of the plant types you intend to grow, and for each cycle of growth. For many plants, the temperature requirements are not as critical as they are with tomatoes. A digital thermometer is a good tool for an indoor gardener. Periodically check the soil temperature. A moisture meter is another useful tool.


Caution: If you decide to make the heating device I described above, don’t neglect safety. Run-off water from over-watering your plants may create a shock hazard.

I mentioned Red Robin earlier, and I’ve had great success with that, but perhaps you want a larger plant, one that will give you a decent-sized tomato slice. Larger fruit comes from larger plants. If you have the room, consider Sub Arctic Maxi, New Big Dwarf, or Sophie’s Choice. These can be grown in containers, and are not as large as garden-variety tomato plants. I mentioned Sub-Arctic Maxi not only because of the size of the fruit, but also because of its ability to grow and set fruit in cool conditions. I’ve grown Sophie’s Choice tomatoes measuring in excess of 2 ½ inches. Seeds are available through on-line sources.

Red Robin can be successfully grown in a 6 inch or 8 inch diameter container, but the larger varieties would benefit from a 12 inch or larger container. Production will suffer if you under-size the container. It’s more difficult to keep up with watering, and staking can be a problem, when the container size is too small.


Build your own DIY Greenhouse

Tip: When growing tomatoes in containers it may be tempting to over-fertilize. After all, if a little is good, a lot must be better, right? Wrong! Too much nitrogen will result in lush plants, with little or no fruit. Be sure to get the right fertilizer, and follow the instructions. I prefer a kelp, or kelp/fish-based product. I also like to use humus, the result of composting, as a soil additive. I use “compost tea”, as a sort of “home-made” organic fertilizer. To make compost tea, fill a large container with finished compost. Add water, and let it stand overnight. Strain the liquid, and it’s ready to use.

Tip: Plants tend to bend toward the sun. Rotate plants occasionally to keep them growing straight.

Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Bulk Pack

To be perfectly honest, growing tomatoes in the winter months is not worth the effort in my opinion, because I can simply buy them from my neighborhood grocery store. But imagine a situation where all of your vegetables come from cans. Imagine day after day of canned food, all winter long. From that perspective, indoor gardening makes sense to me. I decided not to wait until the SHTF to see if indoor growing was possible. After a few missteps, I succeeded. I now have everything I need, most importantly the knowledge, to succeed at indoor gardening. My efforts included saving seeds from successful indoor crops, because those are the seeds best suited to indoor growing. Along the way I learned about the amazing health benefits of wheatgrass, and how easy it is to grow indoors. If you don’t care to grow anything else I’ve mentioned, you should still consider wheatgrass.

If you usually start an outdoor garden with plants bought at Wal-Mart or your local hardware store, you may not have that option in a SHTF situation. In that case, you’ll need to start your garden from seeds. For many plant varieties, starting seeds indoors is beneficial. I hope you find the techniques I’ve described here helpful in that endeavor.

Once everything is in place, indoor gardening is not hard, or time consuming, but success or failure depends on how well you understand, and follow the rules. If you do the research, it’s likely that you’ll find more negative comments than positive, but remember this: Articles are often written by great writers who happen to be poor gardeners. Just because someone else is unable to successfully grow tomatoes indoors, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. When I read an article about gardening, I ask myself “does this appear to be written by someone who has actually tried, or by someone who is book-smart”? I’ll trust the one who’s actually tried, every time.

In the event that this article is well-received, I’ll consider a “Part 2”, providing more depth, and covering topics not discussed here, including common problems and solutions. How to grow the best-tasting tomatoes is also something worth writing about.

  As a prepper you may have stockpiled all sorts of food items, and you probably know how to grow your own food crops. You may be so skilled at gardening

In the first video clip, Eddie Murphy as Detective Axel Foley spots two men entering the club wearing long black trench coats, which is seemingly an unassuming choice of clothing aside from one fact which the erstwhile detective points out: it’s June and a long black trench coat wouldn’t be a typical clothing choice for the hot Beverly Hills sun (which is where the movie is set).

WARNING: The first video clip is NSFW; it is a scene in a strip club and there is some objectionable language and risqué imagery in it; to minimize this, stop watching at the 1:30 mark, as the point I intend to make with the video has been demonstrated by that time in the clip. If you find the clip wholly objectionable, I would advise you to skip it and watch only the second clip, which will still demonstrate the point I want to make without any such issues.

In the second clip, CIA assassin Jason Bourne notices that another potential CIA “asset” is there to track him down and probably kill him. When his girlfriend Marie asks him how he could possibly know that simply by looking at the man, he says that “everything about him is just wrong.” He enumerates what is “wrong” about the man relative to the location and culture that they are in; that in Goa, India (where the scene is set), where few people drive cars, this man has a car, and a nice one. In Goa, India, where there are few Westerners and few wearing Western clothing, this man, a Westerner, is wearing Western clothing (albeit very low-key and suitable for the weather) and sunglasses, which VERY few in Goa will wear.

The second clip is fairly clean, but involves some close-up goriness if you watch it to the end. To eliminate that, stop watching at the 1:15 mark, as the point I intend to make with the clip has been made by that time in the clip. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Now, what relevance does this have to a prepper/survivalist who is going to go through an SHTF scenario? I would argue that, while few non-prepper/survivalists will have the observational acumen of a detective or a CIA operative, the “traditional” perspectives and attitudes on prepping/survivalism leave PLENTY of room for hordes of desperate and opportunistic non-preppers/survivalists to take advantage of the observational oversights that preppers/survivalists are prone to. What do I mean by this exactly? Well, I have observed that there are two primary viewpoints that preppers/survivalists hold that non-preppers/survivalists would take advantage of.

These main thoughts are either:

  1. ‘my community has fallen apart and we are living in a WROL (Without Rule of Law) world. I’m most likely going to be the best armored/most well-armed person still left in town and I’m gonna bug-in anyways, so I can just jaunt down Main Street all decked out in my LBE/tac vest with ammo and everything on, an AR in my hands, a 9mm strapped to my waist or leg, and a big knife and maybe a tomahawk tucked in my belt and if any mugger wants to mess with me, well, they’ll regret it,’ or
  2. ‘I’m bugging out and no one knows where my BOL (Bug-Out Location) is, so I can go on minding my own when I get there, doing my daily chores with my AR strapped over my shoulder and my 9mm and a knife in my belt and no one will be the wiser and if anyone DOES want to mess with me and mine, they’re gonna wish they hadn’t!’

Now, while noble-sounding, this line of thinking actually makes one very vulnerable because of the tendency of preppers/survivalists towards the practice of “tacticool,” that is to say, the practice of preppers and survivalists decking themselves out in the most top-of-the-line mil-spec-oriented gear and assume that it’s a good idea to walk around with it about town, leave it in your car for anyone in your car to see, and take pictures of it to put on social media. Whether you realize it or not, people are developing ideas and perceptions about the gear that they see you photographing, carrying, and/or wearing. Given the relatively “stable” nature of the present day, those thoughts are more likely to be something like ‘Oh, that’s a cool bag. I wonder where he/she got it. Hmm…I wonder what he/she puts in it.’ However, if you change the circumstances and put people in a catastrophic SHTF scenario and they see your gear, I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that their thoughts are more likely to be something like ‘they have stuff, they’re prepared, GET THEM!’ Just as the car and sunglasses and the trench coats made individuals stand out in the video clips, so to will that piece of tacticool gear make you stand out and more than likely make you a target for the desperate and unprepared.

While I could probably find myriad examples of the proverbial tacticool gear, I will focus primarily on three examples, to which I have already alluded to, and the correlating problems with each in a SHTF scenario: the tactical vest, the tactical pack, and weapons.

The Tactical Vest


UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

The inherent problem with the tactical vest is that it says as much as you DON’T want it to say as it does what you DO want it to say. Ostensibly, what you want a tactical vest to say is, ‘I’m ready for whatever combative situation comes my way, and I’m a tough nut to crack. Don’t mess with me!’ However, what it ALSO says is, ‘I have stuff and I’m ready for a fight.’ Now, on the surface, this may not seem like a terrible message to telegraph, but one has to also think about the implications of the messages that he or she advertently AND inadvertently telegraphs. While you may wish to telegraph a message of strength, you must also consider just to what degree you can back up that message. Anybody seeing you and taking note of the messages you send with your tactical vest may very well just decide to ‘up the game’ with more firepower than you have or more hostiles than you can reliably defend against. How many can you reliably defend yourself against? 3? 4? 6? More? What if you are traveling or living with others, others who may not themselves be armed or know how to fight?

Now, considering all of the tactical variables that one has to think of if there is an inadvertent ‘invite’ to a confrontation, would it not be wiser to keep a lower profile and avoid unnecessary confrontation altogether, a means which could be achieved by avoiding the tacticool piece of equipment that is the tactical vest? I leave it to you to decide.

The Tactical Pack


5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Back Pack

Anyone who has been in the prepper/survivalist circle for any reasonable amount of time has probably already been made aware of the risk that is the tactical bag. The primary disadvantage of the tactical bag is just that, that it looks tactical, or more appropriately, tacticool. The major problem with that tacticool look is that, in this day and age, people take one look at it and IMMEDIATELY are prone to think, ‘prepper.’

While that MOLLE-bedecked pack gives you a warm fuzzy feeling that you’re ‘ready,’ it also tells that opportunistic vulture who wasn’t ready for SHTF, ‘Oh look, one of those prepper, survivalist nuts. Hey, this person’s bound to have some great stuff that I can use. Let’s just knock them off and take their stuff.’ It’s not whether you can take that person (or that person’s buddies if they’re there), but whether you can afford to have that person (or other people later on) have that impression of you and continuously have that kind of ‘target’ on your back. Can you? I leave that to you to decide.

Tactical Weapons

The last item that I want to focus on briefly is weapons. Now admittedly, weapons are a much more manageable element of EDC during SHTF because you can choose how you carry weapons, either concealed or open-carry. However, things may not be as clear-cut as walking down the street with your sidearm strapped to your thigh like you’re the new sheriff in town. Now, at this point I think more than any other in this article, I’m sure that there are plenty of readers who are thinking (maybe even mouthing to their computer screens) ‘this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of, you can’t go out with NO WEAPONS! You can’t got out without ANY show of defense! You can’t make yourself a target like that!’


You’re right, but I am NOT advocating going out weaponless; I am merely warning against going out kitted out like you’re ready to win World War Three all by yourself. As mentioned above, that only encourages would-be thieves to up their game against you, wait until the right moment, then take you out when they have that tactical superiority. I would put it to these readers: would it be better to face one or two people who run into you on the street who think that you might be an easy mark being that you are not well-armed, only to be shocked and surprised in an alley when you pull concealed weapons on them, or to show your hand from the beginning with the tacticool look with all sorts of weaponry, only to find yourself visited later by seven or eight equally well-armed individuals who have chosen the place or circumstances of a potential fight which will put you at a disadvantage?

Another consideration is what condition any semblance of ‘law enforcement’ exists in the SHTF scenario. Again, I think that the common assumption that it will just be a WROL situation and that everyone will be free to open-carry as they please. I would suggest that this will not be the case…at least not everywhere. Whether it be still by elected officials or by vigilante gang, I would contend that in many places, some semblance of ‘law’ will still exist. As such, rules about certain types of weapons and certain types of carry of weapons needs to be considered. If you get your weapons confiscated for open-carry where it will not be allowed, then what good did all that weaponry do you?

So then, I bet that the first logical question rolling off of the minds you, the reader, is something like, ‘so if I’m not gonna wear a tac vest and I’m not gonna carry a tactical bag and I’m not gonna be carrying a bunch of obvious weapons on my person, then just what the heck am I gonna do with all my gear, and where the heck am I gonna put it?!’

Well, in part 2 of this piece, which I will be cranking out soon, I will address those issues!

The video clips below can illustrate several different points which will be important to the prepper/survivalist community, but the point that I want to focus on in this article is that of appearances during a potential SHTF event.

In the first video clip, Eddie Murphy as Detective Axel Foley spots two men entering the club wearing long black trench coats, which is seemingly an unassuming choice of clothing

Let me earn the right to have you read my article, by telling you a little about myself.

I am a 75-year-old grandpa of five Wonderful Grandkids. Born, January 17, 1941 as a great-grandson and grandson of pioneers who came west by covered wagon in 1875. I was raised on the family homestead, located on the Palouse Plateau, just north of Moscow, Idaho. The Palouse has some of the richest farmland in the U.S.

My parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression as people of the soil, meaning we were essentially early grid joiners who used the land for our livelihood. Electricity was established in 1936, phone service, (crank phones.) approximately 1938. No refrigerators or ice boxes or super markets or, or. The closest town, Garfield, Washington, was 6 miles away over twisty, curvy, muddy or dusty dirt roads; with huge mud holes in spring and fall. We were often snowed in for weeks at a time in winter.

Everything we ate had to be grown and preserved off the farm, during the summer. All repairs had to be done on sight, using material at hand, because a trip to town was a half day affair. The closest farm machinery dealer was 9 miles away in Palouse, Washington. I have a degree in Architecture from the University of Idaho; although I spent all of my work life as a test technician in research and development, working for a major truck manufacturer.

When You think of prepping, what is Your mind-set? Do You think of something that might happen maybe in the future? Is the, “Boogeyman,” going to come and steal all of Your stuff?

Prepping is a state of mind

Woman admiring sunset from mountain top

For me Prepping is a state of mind: being prepared for today and tomorrow, and maybe for the future. Look at Your situation right where You are right now and ask Yourself a few questions. You could maybe divide the questions into categories: Man-caused; economic or maybe war – or Natural; earthquake or weather or even cosmic.

If I couldn’t work, how would I live? Do I have enough set aside to get through until I could work? How and what will I eat? Drink? Keep warm? Is my living situation secure? My cousin sells used trailers and motor homes. He sells 3 to 4 units a week to homeless people. My Bride and I just returned from a trip, traveling up the California coast. I didn’t count, but I bet we must have seen 50 to 75 vehicles parked off out-of-the-way, dusty, covered windows; people living in them. Since 2008, millions have lost their work and can’t find a replacement job.

What skills do I have? Can I repair a broken whatever? Can I find out how to repair a broken whatever? How do I find out? Where do I look? I am not suggesting You become a brain surgeon, but I do think spending a little time sitting at the dining room table maybe disassembling a simple hair dryer you purchased or picked up at a garage sale is a great practice. Maybe going on to Google and seeing if You can find information on the process. Learning what tools are needed.


Ask Yourself any question about any situation.. Am I ready? If not, how can I get ready??

You see, it is a mindset.. It is putting Yourself mentally in a situation and seeing if You measure up. It is deciding to spend some time in research, study and practice, instead of whatever society deems necessary for Your attention; whether it’s sports, entertainment or politics, or, or.. If You tell Yourself, I don’t do that, or I can’t do that;; then You will probably become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

We live in the age of information, but that information is only useful, if You internalize it to the point to where You can call on it and use it if necessary.

The next big earthquake might hit right in the middle of the 3rd quarter… are You ready?

Let me earn the right to have you read my article, by telling you a little about myself. I am a 75-year-old grandpa of five Wonderful Grandkids. Born, January 17, 1941

Many preppers have formed a mental picture of the ideal bug out destination being a cabin located in some remote wilderness, well away from any population center. Others imagine an underground bunker where a mutual assistance group (“MAG”) can hunker down and ride things out for as long as is necessary. While these images have their appeal, they also present serious challenges of their own.

In the process of authoring “When There is No FEMA” I had the opportunity to give quite a bit of consideration to the ideal bug out destination, and one question persistently nagged at me – if a survival group is defending a small property in a remote location, then what is to stop a concealed enemy with a high-powered rifle from picking off members of the community one-by-one?   For me this highlights a fatal flaw in the “remote cabin” scenario, and underscores an important principle that should apply to any bug out location … any survival group should control a sufficiently large area that their base of operations is outside of rifle range of the perimeter they control.

This principle suggests that a small group is not necessarily the best group for a survival scenario. A small town, by comparison, has the physical size and raw manpower necessary to control a larger geographic area on a 24×7 basis. Additionally, a small town often has infrastructure such as machine shops, heavy equipment and agricultural land that can allow a local economy to be rebuilt.

Of course no scenario is perfect, and the small-town-as-bugout-destination scenario presents its own set of challenges, perhaps the largest of which is that only a small percentage of the population will be even remotely prepared in advance. While my book has the pages to go into great detail on how to quickly adapt a small community in the wake of social collapse, this article can at least provide an overview of the important topic.

Because great majority of an area’s inhabitants are going to be unprepared every second that passes will be critical. In the immediate aftermath there will be a lot of nervous energy, and this will be the absolute worst time for the clear thinking needed to define a viable survival community. However, that nervous energy could be constructively channeled into executing a plan that has already been developed. This article will cover the basics of such a plan (with this stipulation that there are always 1000 ways to skin the proverbial cat).


Physical security should be one of the first priorities.

All small communities are not created equal. While an urban neighborhood or small suburb may provide the manpower and geographic size to meet post-disaster survival needs, unlike small towns they often do not have the agricultural or industrial base needed to support an independent economy. Additionally, inhabitants in these more urban locations are much less likely to possess the survival skills their rural counterparts take for granted.

There are some critical prerequisites to successfully adapting a small, unprepared community to survive a major disaster. They include:

  • Mitigation of all immediate threats to life and property
  • Producing a community charter that will govern the community.

Mitigation of immediate threats includes such basic activities as putting out fires, tending to the injured and placing sandbags to prevent property from flooding.

The community charter is a document that identifies elected offices and the terms of such offices, sets forth the procedures for electing officers, and defines their responsibilities. It should also specify those within the community who are eligible to vote and the procedures for carrying out elections (in recognition of the crucial factor of time the charter might describe the use of a fair coin toss to decide the outcome of tied elections, rather than requiring time-sensitive runoff elections). The charter should also specify if capital and corporal punishments are to be considered for some offenses and have provisions for such things as amending the charter and the recall of elected leaders.

NOTE: Chapter 14 of “When There is No FEMA” provides a complete, detailed community charter.

The charter should also cover:

  • Printing and minting of new coins and currency for the community
  • Identifying the initial elected and appointed leadership positions within the community and specifying their wages (in the community’s currency)
  • Processes for bringing outsiders into the community
  • Ownership of property
  • Crime and punishment – specifically identifying those crimes for which capital punishment, corporal punishment, or banishment from the community may apply
  • A minimum wage for those working within the community (this critical factor will be discussed in more detail below)
  • Defining guidelines for assessing the value of all physical property within the community
  • Specifying the oaths of office to be taken by all elected and appointed leaders

If the community votes in favor of capital punishment for select crimes It is a good idea to consider counterfeiting as one of the crimes that are candidates for that ultimate punishment.   The corrupting of the community’s monetary system is a direct threat to the lives of all members of the community; thus counterfeiting can reasonably be equated to attempted murder.

Those leaders who are best-suited to lead during non-disaster times are not necessarily the best post-disaster leaders. As a result it would be optimal for new elections to be held to allow those leaders to be installed who are best suited to the new circumstances (NOTE: While new members of the community may move into leadership positions, for obvious reasons those who have best knowledge of critical infrastructure such as water and sewage systems should almost certainly be retained in those typically appointed positions.) In my book I describe the election of a Council consisting of an odd number of members of the community. The odd number is to avoid the possibility of tie votes. Once elected, those council members might vote for who among them will be the council leader. In addition to normal council responsibilities, the Council leader is responsible for scheduling and organizing Council meetings and setting meeting agendas.

Once elected, the council members should appoint various others to leadership positions specified in the charter, and assign those appointees the tasks of developing plans for organizing those areas of the community that are within the scope of their responsibilities (any such tasks must have aggressive deadlines assigned).  Appointed positions might include a head of defense, a chief of police, a director of public works, the community banker, a property assessor and directors of health, education, agriculture and finance.

Jump-Starting the Local Economy

As the post-disaster clock ticks, growing seasons for crops come and go, and the members within the community grow more hungry and desperate. Hence it is vital that the local economy be restarted immediately. In the aftermath of a major disaster anyone who does not make this their primary focus is courting misery and death. One of the most important roles in restoring the economy is that of the newly appointed community banker, and the banker’s first job should be to identify a means for the printing of money and the minting of coins.

NOTE: Depending on the nature of the disaster, the role of banker may be one that is not particularly popular.   However, the post-disaster community banker is an entirely different beast than any international bankers who may be considered to have brought about a financial collapse. The role of community banker is critical to the survival of the community in the aftermath of a major disaster.


A currency replacement will need to be created.

The polish and appearance of the community’s new currency is not particularly important because it can be upgraded at any time (all the banker has to do is to announce that the old currency will become worthless at some specified date, and invite community members to trade that soon-to-be-worthless currency for any superior version of the currency that is developed). The total amount of currency produced should be a fixed value, with all future printed currency either being produced in accordance with a pre-existing plan or as part of a program to replace and retire old, worn currency.

As new currency is produced a quantity of the newly-minted money should be distributed to each member of the community based on their age (and possibly other criteria). This will allow members of the community to immediately begin to make purchases, thereby restarting the economy. A substantial amount of the printed money should also be retained by the new government for purposes of paying wages, purchasing services from other members of the community, or to stimulate certain strategic sectors of the economy. Needless to say, the amount of money printed and minted for the community will be substantial – probably the equivalent of many tens of millions of pre-disaster US dollars in the case of a small town. At the same time, 80%-90% of that money should be held in reserve and dispersed into the community over a period of 5-10 years. It is not even necessary for that reserve money to be printed or minted until there is a need to disperse it; it can simply be kept “on the books”.

A minimum wage is yet another of those factors that are fundamental and critical to the community’s survival. While most communities are not sitting atop piles of precious metals that can be used as the basis of assigning value to its money, the setting of a minimum wage has precisely that effect. Rather than setting a single minimum wage, however, tiers of minimum wage might be set based on the age of the worker. This has the effect of helping younger workers to gravitate into the economy (by creating demand for their less-skilled labor) while at the same time providing a healthy incentive for older workers to nurture their own careers before they can be displaced by younger, lower cost workers.

Another important appointed position within the community is that of the property assessor, who is tasked with the responsibility of assigning value to all physical property within the community. Depending on the size and composition of the community, the assessor may have a need for a staff to work under his or her direction to meet the needs of this position. Using guidelines provided by the charter, the assessor should be able to appraise the value of virtually any physical property for purposes of taxation and/or purchase.

Property Ownership

Ownership of property is another critical linchpin to the stability of the post-disaster community. If property rights are not clearly defined then members of the community will have no faith in the system and will have far less motivation to work. The community charter should take into account the cases of those who owned property within the community pre-disaster, those who have been renting property from current community members, those who have been renting property from outsiders and property within the community that is owned by outsiders. It may be desirable for the community itself to assume ownership of all property owned by outsiders that lies within its physical boundaries.   It would be better for such assets to be contributing to the local economy than for them to deteriorate while waiting for an owner who never appears (and if they do eventually appear then accommodations might be negotiated at that time).

Initial Task Assignments

During each public council meeting new tasks should be assigned to elected and appointed officials and the results of already-completed tasks should be discussed. Initially these tasks may take the form of assignments to develop plans. For example, the head of defense may be tasked with developing a plan for the defense of the community. The director of agriculture may be assigned a task to develop plans for foraging and growing the next season’s crops. These plans can then be reviewed, revised and approved, and would result in work assignments for members of the community (or for companies that exist within the community).

Crime and Punishment

In a post-disaster scenario perspectives on capital and corporal punishment may very well change. For example, given the expected scarcity of the basics for human life, the crime of looting might be equated with attempted murder, which the community may decide warrants capital punishment. Also, because the community may not be able to afford to incarcerate a convicted criminal who could otherwise be working constructively, it may be necessary to carry out corporal punishment for certain offenses (in reality corporal punishment may be more humane than incarceration – would you rather suffer through several lashes from a whip or to be separated from your loved ones for months or years?) Additionally, some crimes may simply merit banishment from the community and forfeiture of assets.

Integrating Newcomers into the Community

It is inevitable that outsiders will eventually wish to become part of a successful community. Any such petition should be considered from multiple perspectives. Does the newcomer have a special skill or knowledge that could benefit the community? Is the community in need of physical labor which the newcomer is capable of performing? Is some member of the community willing to speak in favor of the newcomer or to otherwise sponsor the newcomer into the community? Ultimately the decision to accept the newcomer into the community should rest with the Council or those it appoints for this purpose.

Merging with Other Communities

Historically the merging of small communities under difficult circumstances has been a very bloody affair. Often the reluctance of two communities to merge simply reflects the resistance of the community’s leadership to loss of authority. The community charter should outline a means through which two communities could merge while avoiding wasteful conflict. One approach might be to make all decisions regarding potential community mergers through majority vote. Another approach might be to provide a “golden parachute” (e.g. highly desirable employment) to any displaced elected community members in the event that their position is eliminated due to such a merger.


I will paraphrase the American inventor Thomas Edison and say that, while it is essential for a community to adapt itself in the wake of a major disaster, and that adaptation does require establishing leadership and developing plans, the ultimate survival of that community will consist of one percent inspiration (electing officials and planning) and ninety-nine percent perspiration (carrying out those plans). Deadlines assigned for planning should be aggressive, and work under those plans should commence immediately and have its own tight deadlines.

As most members of the community have not prepared themselves prior to the disaster they should work as though their lives hang in the balance – because that is exactly the case!

Many preppers have formed a mental picture of the ideal bug out destination being a cabin located in some remote wilderness, well away from any population center. Others imagine an