Nobody wants to be prey when things go wrong. I don’t have a cabin in the woods stocked with ammo and dried food with a well out back. I don’t have a pickup and trailer loaded with extra fuel waiting for the great escape.
Where I Live
I live in a city of a million. Here, we have street people living under bridges and dope shops on every other city block. (It’s legal here.) It’s also freezing cold in the Rockies and dry. All in all, it’s not the perfect place to weather TEOTWAWKI. But it’s what we have.
Here’s the plan. These are the first three things I’m concerned about: drinking water, sanitation, and self defense. Self defense is on the list because even in good times street people wander into back yards in the middle of the day seeing what they can steal.
Roving Lawless Men
In the bad times, those living under the bridges won’t have any restraint on their need to pillage. When their food stamps, welfare, and the social security checks aren’t coming, they are going after whoever has more than they do. That means you. For them the choice is steal and loot or freeze, starve, and die. The theoretical risk of arrest or jail just won’t stop them. You owe it to your family and inner circle to be prepared to defend against them.
Water to drink is critical. The average person can’t go three days without water and not be severely dehydrated. That makes them dead weight in a team sport and good for no one.
Do you have five gallons or more of water per person in your family to get you through the first week? This is just basic hydration and cooking with nothing for cleaning or washing of the body or hands or hair. (Are you women prepared to deal with your monthly cycles without a shower? Are your men?)
Those of us in the desert have to think about what it means to collect and purify water. Clean your tub with bleach and fill it with water. Go to each toilet, cover it with a garbage back and tape it off. (This is done because someone will have to go real bad, dump in it, and leave you with no way of cleaning it.)
Ever had the runs? And that low grade fever? And you’re messing all over yourself? Imagine all that without a working toilet, no shower, and no washing machine. That’s what you get get if you can’t sanitize your food, your cooking utensils, and your hands every day all day. So forget that extra sack of beans. Rather, how are you going to store and acquire water for sanitation? Where are you going to dig that latrine? Can you really stack firewood or fight off an intruder while you have this kind of illness?
Ever had food poisoning from a restaurant (where presumably they have running water)? Even in good times, disease is waiting for you. When the sewer and water aren’t running, your biggest risk is disease (not hunger). Have you thought about digging a latrine in the back yard? (For apartment dwellers, a 5-gallon bucket with some very strong garbage bags may have to suffice until you and your gang can dig a latrine.) People have lived with out-houses for thousands of years. They work just fine. When full, they make a great place to plant an apple tree.
Shovel and Tools
Do you have a shovel? Get one along with a mattock. (You do know what a mattock is, right?) Buy one when you buy some extra buckets and garbage bags at your local Ace Hardware.
Physical Strength and Survivability
Do you have the physical strength to use a shovel and dig a deep hole? There is a direct and positive correlation between strength and survivability.
Thinking What Your Latrine Looks Like
What will your latrine look like? Will it be a squatting affair, or will it have a seat? What are you going to wipe with? Do you have a lot of that? Should you put walls around it or a roof? Maybe even a door? We all can live for weeks without food but not if we get the enduring runs from food poisoning or cholera. A man with the runs is a disease vector for your family. Once one is sick, you all will get sick.
Not Insurmountable Challenge
Sanitation is by no means an insurmountable challenge. The world developed over the thousands of years without toilets or hot and cold running water, but you need to think about it before you find your trousers around your ankles with something that has to come out right now!
The strength to use a shovel is as important as a shovel itself. If you are my age (mid 50s), then you better be hitting the gym. If you are obese, I don’t really have any advice for you. Good luck, and don’t come to my house.
During the wet season I can get rainwater from the gutters if I have a tub, buckets, and a 55-gallon barrel. Raw water can be used for bathing and general cleaning. Purify it before drinking with a Big Berkey water filter, some chlorine, or boiling the water.
Gas BBQ and Coleman Stove
You’re a suburbanite, so you already have a gas BBQ in the garage. Buy an extra twenty gallon propane tank and keep it full. Get a hose to connect your Coleman stove (which you already have) to those propane tanks. You can cook and boil water for months if you do this right. Preparation is mostly thinking things through.
Preparing For the Cold Winter
Is it going to be cold this winter? What’s it like in January? It might be a good idea to have a wood stove set up in your living area. When the power and natural gas lines are down, that furnace won’t kick on for momma in the morning. Wood is good. It grows almost everywhere. Are you strong enough to cut, split, and move wood? You better start thinking about this.
Importance of Being Strong
It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of being strong. The weak and infirm die first; they always have and always will, whether from disease, the inability to care for themselves or the inability to mount a defense of your home. (Can you carry five gallons of water a mile if you have get it from the creek?)
Help is not coming. If you realize one thing, realize this: Help is not coming. You are it.
In TEOTWAWKI you are the police force, the fire department, and the doctor. (You do have some fire-extinguishers, right? And you’ve got a robust first aid kit and know how to use it, right?) If you get an infection, you’ll probably die. If you get in a gun fight, you’ll probably die, because a wound is almost always fatal without modern surgery, drugs, and sanitary conditions. Gangrene is not a nice way to go. We’ve lost the art of amputations with a bullet between the teeth, whiskey in our gullet, and an ax in the hand of your smiling buddy.
You should be thinking now about who you can trust and who you can’t, what neighbors can take care of themselves and who cannot. Who can mount a credible defense of their homes and who, like sheep, think the wolves just aren’t coming?
The police aren’t coming; they are their own gang. They will take care of themselves first, then their families, and then each other. If they have bandwidth left over, they’ll work for whoever pays them. (Do you have gold or food to pay them? I didn’t think so.)
Network now. Even if it’s over a glass of wine and a casual conversation, figure out who gets it and who doesn’t. Those storing extra water and a bag of beans are people who get it. Don’t look for a Billy Bad with a Bug-out Bag and a cabin the mountains. If you know him, then you probably already have a hide-out in the hills, too, and this article isn’t for you.
You shoot, right? No? Start shooting. Buy a .22 rifle, and teach everyone in your family how to use it. It’s a matter of safety and plain common sense.
I did not teach my children to swim because I wanted them to be “beach people”. Rather, I taught them to swim because one day it might save their life. I did not teach my boys and girl how to build a fire because I want them to take up camping; fire-building is just a basic life skill. I did not teach my teenage cheerleader daughter how to shoot because I want her to be like me. Rather, my daughter will, absolutely positively, be around weapons at some point in here life. I owe it to her to give her the knowledge of how to be safe, just like swimming. She will carry this knowledge with her when she marries a man (a man!) and raises sons. And that’s all before any consideration is given of using firearms for hunting or defense or in a TEOTWAWKI event.
I don’t know any mothers who wouldn’t kill to save their children. So let’s stop pretending here. Everyone can kill, given the proper motivation. It’s your job to be ready for what may come.
Are you strong? Don’t join a gym if you haven’t jogged in years. Walking is a great start. Then air squats and push-ups. Do that consistently before you start going to a gym. If you do join a gym, squat every time you show up.
Not Standing Alone
No man can stand alone. No family can stand alone. You’ve got to develop that network of neighbors (not your cousin two states over no matter how good his plan is). No one person can stay awake 24/7 to keep watch for the walking dead.
Conversation With Neighbors
At some point you’re going to have to get the neighbors together and have a conversation that goes something like this: “Hey folks, we’re in a situation. If you are here now, you’re probably not leaving. Help isn’t coming. We are blocking off the streets into our neighborhood and the alley. No one comes in unless they are your blood relatives. If they look suspicious, they’ll be shot. With all the murders in the last two months, there isn’t the luxury of having a fair fight. We’ve got a couple combat vets here that are in charge of security.
Remember the parable of the ten virgins? Five were ready and five weren’t? Well, the five that were unprepared were out of luck. The prepared virgins aren’t going to share. (Don’t remember that story? Read it in Matthew 25. It might be good to have a Bible when the Internet and TV are down, like, forever. And get some back issues of Mother Earth magazine and some classic English literature. You may actually learn to read again and like it.)
Nobody in junior high school voted on who your pack leader was. That’s not how the real world works. They just were the leader, and that was the end of the story. It’s all the more so in dangerous times. If you can’t stomach that leader, then either be the big dog yourself or find another pack to run with.
There will be no safe spaces. There will be no time to decide or get ready when this happens. If you are weak, whining, and unprepared, you’ll be prey.
Don’t be prey.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.